Panasonic

Street Photography with the Panasonic TZ100

So this is really just a preview post as I have only had a quick go on this camera and I will be putting it through its paces a bit more over the next couple of months. I just wanted to get a few thoughts down about the camera and the process of using it.

The Panasonic TZ100

The Panasonic TZ100

My Partner bought the Panasonic TZ100 for our trip to Vietnam last year and it has been hanging around the house for a while. Although I had picked it up and had a quick play when we first got it I had never thought about using it properly. Last week I came across an article on the new Leica C-Lux (which is essentially the latest TZ200 re-branded) and how it was being used for street photography. This lead me to having a closer look at the slightly older model that we had. The most interesting features on the Leica version were the stepped zoom and zoom memory which are also on the older model. It made me realise that I should probably look at the camera in a bit more detail.

TZ100_Sample0011.jpg

I had discounted the camera initially because I already use the Ricoh GRII which is a compact, but also has an APSC size sensor, rashly I assumed the Panasonic would have a typically small sensor. However I have since learnt that it has a 1 inch sensor, which is actually closer to micro four thirds than a traditional compact sensor. This means that the camera has good image quality even at higher ISO’s.

TZ100_Sample0009.jpg

The main attraction to the TZ range of cameras is the zoom lens. Offering up a 10x optical zoom with a high quality Leica lens with the equivalent of a 25-250mm zoom. Quite impressive considering the size. Now for me I’m not sure if I would ever use that length unless for portraits. As I mentioned before the lens can zoom through the whole range which is pretty slow, or it can be set to predetermined focal lengths. 25mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 90mm etc. This is quite nice and makes the zoom much quicker. The zoom memory is also a nice touch, I could leave the lens set to 50mm and the camera will return to that focal length on start up, rather than defaulting back to the widest setting. I am not used to shooting anything longer than a 35mm for Street Photography so it is going to take a bit of practice to get my eye in for that.

Another nice feature is the little EVF. Not many compact cameras come with a viewfinder, so this is a nice touch and although very small it is usable. I have still yet to try out the flash.

Flower Market, London, 2019

Flower Market, London, 2019

One thing I found was that the camera is hard to manage one handed, particularly if zooming is involved, which sounds strange for a camera so small, but the situation of the dials and the thumb rest basically mean that one handed operation allows only for pressing the shutter. I was using the camera in aperture priority and the aperture control was on the front ring which makes it more suitable for using two handed.

Flower Market, London, 2019

Flower Market, London, 2019

The autofocus was quite quick, and to aid that you can use the touch screen which is quite fun and again a new way of working.

Flower Market, London, 2019

Flower Market, London, 2019

The Raw files are quite nice and convert well into my signature black and white. They have good details and seem to have a good dynamic range for a compact camera.

London, 2019

London, 2019

I think I am going to have to learn to shoot two handed though, because I was saved on a couple occasions by the wrist strap while trying to react quickly. I will also have to utilise the zoom as it will not be replacing my Ricoh GR any time soon. If I really get into using it though I might do a fuller review at a later date.

TZ100_Sample0007.jpg
Sky Garden, London, 2019

Sky Garden, London, 2019

Sky Garden, London, 2019

Sky Garden, London, 2019

It is a fun little camera and sometimes it is good to try new ways of shooting. I think this is technically my 6th blog post of the year! so I have reached my target. I will try to keep these coming with interesting content.

First Impressions - Panasonic GX1

Well the other day I bought myself a Panasonic GX1.  This is the first time I have owned a Micro four thirds camera.  First of all, why? you probably asking this, why bother?  Well I do a lot of street photography and travel photography.  Sometimes using a big professional camera can be a bit annoying as people look at you suspiciously or notice you before you take the picture.  As much as I try to blend in its hard, with a camera the size of a Nikon D3.  This was my main reason for buying the GX1 (also lugging around a massive camera can be very tiring).I have been interested in the Micro Four thirds system for some time, with the GF1 originally making me think.  I looked into it and I didn't really think the technology was at a point for me to consider it seriously (I must add, I have since seen some really good work taken on a GF1).

The recent advancement in the technology has made me reconsider and after reading up on all the specs and after a lot of thought I decided to take the plunge.  On paper the results should be similar, if not slightly better than the D90 I was using as a back up body.

The main stats for the GX1 is a 16mp sensor, ISO up to 12,800, Full HD video and obviously much more. I'm not all that interested in specs as I like to see real world results, but if you are interested here is the spec list.

Straight out of the box it felt tiny, but reassuringly made. It has a metal chassis, which makes it feel like it will take a bit of abuse.  The hand grip feels really nice and gives it a high end feel.  I bought it with the power zoom, which I am not too sure about yet, but it does make it quite a good size for the equivalent of a 28-84mm zoom.  The main downside is the f5.6 aperture, which will limits use in low light.

Out on the street the camera handled really well, with really fast focusing.  The feature that has really revolutionised my shooting with the D3 is the auto ISO function.  Basically I can set a maximum ISO and set a shutter speed, so when I am in Aperture priority, if i set the shutter speed at 1/60th the camera will adjust the ISO to maintain that shutter speed until it reaches the pre determined max ISO. Sounds complicated but it is simple and a really good feature.  The GX1 has a similar feature , you can set a maximum ISO, say ISO1000, and the camera will change it up and down to reach an exposure, however there is no way setting a minimum shutter speed, not that I have found anyway.  I am therefore not entirely sure what the auto ISO is doing.  In my first outing I found myself shooting one minute at 1/13th at ISO 160 and then shooting at 1/500th at ISO 1000.  Need more reading up on that one.

Looking at the early results, though, i am quite impressed. Even at ISO 1600, noise isn't an issue, especially once it is processed in Lightroom 4.  The power zoom has some odd characteristics and really benefit from a run through DxO optics, before processing.

As a tool for street and photojournalism work the GX1 seems perfectly capable, yes you wouldn't shoot high end advertising campaigns on it, but then thats not the point.  Its small, lightweight, fast focusing and produces good quality files up to ISO 1600.  I will be using it a lot more over the next few weeks so I will report back on any findings.

Here are a few sample images.

If you would like to get in touch or ask questions about the GX1 or anything else please email blog@darrenobrien.co.uk or leave a comment.