So I have been looking for a small good quality digicam for years now. Most point and shoots are too slow and have terrible quality at ISO 400 and above. This past weekend at Bill Allard’s workshop I noticed he is using the Panasonic Lumix 4:3 cameras. I was impressed by how compact and lightweight they were, the amount of features and control and hey, Bill Allard is using them!
So I went home and did some research on www.photographyblog.com. They did a nice job outlining all of the features and comparing it to other top contenders. I was seriously considering the Sony NEX 5N and the Olympus EP3. They both have faster fps but Sony had issues with the video, the Olympus was rather pricey and both have more limited lens choices. I read a lot of reviews and decided on the Lumix GX 1.
How is it? I’ve had it less than 24 hours and I’m in love. It’s compact and lightweight even with the 25mm Leica lens I got for it. I am impressed with the detail and lack of noise at all ISO levels, even 3200 is good. It’s pretty fast, not like my 5D Mark II, but not bad. One drawback is how to hold the tiny thing. I have really small hands and it’s a bit of a challenge to get your grip just so and not accidentally press buttons on the back.
Check out these images below and judge for yourself. I will have more on this camera later once I’ve explored all of it’s features and read the manual!
I was fortunate to experience a workshop taught by William Albert Allard, a National Geographic legend of documentary photography. Since documentary photography has never been my strong point I learned a lot and got a glimpse of how Allard works with his subjects.
The purpose of the workshop was to document a local farm, In Partnership with the Land was the official title. While a weekend barely scratches the surface of true documentary photography, Allard often spends months to years documenting his subjects, it was a start and gave me a look into how to achieve such a project.
It was also a pleasure to meet several local photographers and meet up with some past students. Nature/wildlife photography is a lonely business and it was nice to work with others for the weekend. Thanks to everyone who attended!
Shutter speed is one of the main camera settings. It determines how long the shutter is open to allow light in to hit the sensor and give you an exposure for an image. Ambient light plays a big part in how fast or how slow of a shutter speed you can achieve.
As we discuss shutter speed we will look at stopping action, blurring action, hand holding, light and variables such as distance, lenses and ISO. Today we start with stopping action.
It’s important that you have a fast enough shutter speed for the subject you are shooting if you want a sharp image. If the subject is moving and the shutter speed is too slow you will get motion blur. How fast do you need? There are a lot of variables but let’s start with this general guide:
Slower than 1/15 second you need a tripod and still life
Portrait 1/60 second
Walking 1/125 second
Person running 1/250 second
Horse running 1/500 second
Bird flying 1/1000 second and faster
You can never have too fast of a shutter speed to stop action, but you can have too slow. In order to achieve the faster shutter speeds you will need to have adequate ambient light. Stopping action indoors or at dusk/dawn is difficult. We’ll discuss solutions for this when I get to ISO.
Exercise: On a bright sunny or cloudy day, not indoors or near sunrise or sunset, try to stop the action of kids playing soccer for example. Set the camera to shutter priority with an ISO of 400, white balance auto, continuous shooting and shutter speed of 1/250 second to start.
Make sure the camera gives you an aperture reading and that it is not blinking (Canon) or showing HI or LO (Nikon). If so you will get an image that is too bright or too dark, in other words the aperture options and the shutter speed you chose will not work under these lighting conditions. If it is then you will need to adjust the ISO or find a brighter day.
The aperture setting is irrelevant for the exercise, just that you are getting one. Adjust the shutter speed up to 1/500 and 1/1000 and down to 1/125 second to see the results you get. Check images frequently to see if you are getting sharp images. Make sure to zoom in to see if they are really sharp!
Missing focus on a moving target can also cause blurry images so keep trying. A good action photographer is lucky to get 10% of the images that look good!