Crab Island

Just shot the following photos in Crab Island (located near Port Klang) recently using the Lumix GF1. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

More photos over here.

Shooting Macros with Lumix GF1

I just tested the Lumix GF1 for shooting macros at a butterfly park. The rig I used was the Lumix GF1 + Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 Macro + Extension Tube + Vivitar 285HV + Hoodloupe 3.0 ... Click on the photos to enlarge it.

More pics over here.

Lumix GF1 @ Bird Park

The photos below was taken using Lumix GF1 + 45-200mm lens at the KL Bird Park recently. Click on the photos to enlarge it.

Exploring Bangkok

The photos below were taken from all around Bangkok using Lumix GF1 during my recent holiday. You can click on the photos to enlarge.



Dumnoen Saduak Floating Market

Here are some photos I shot at the Dumnoen Saduak Floating Market recently using Lumix GF1 + 14-45mm + 45-200mm. These were intentionally shot using Dynamic B&W film mode in the GF1, with minor adjustments in Lightroom. You can click the photos to enlarge.








My Practical Experience with Lumix GF1

It has been about a month since I got my Lumix GF1 and have been shooting quite a lot with it. Quite a few people have been asking me what I thought about the Micro 4/3 system and GF1 in particular, so I thought I shall do a short writeup about it.

First things first, people need to be realistic and set their expectations accordingly. The GF1 body itself cost about RM1800 (USD500), and as such, should be compared to entry level DSLRs in the same price range. Obviously, its performance is not comparable to mid-high end DSLRs.

So, how does it compare to entry level DSLRs ? Well, I would say its performance is in the same league, up till about ISO800. For ISO1600 and above, APS-C sensors still outperforms 4/3 sensors when it comes to noise. Apart from that, I really do not see any significant differences.

Shooting with the GF1 is a real joy. The user interface (menus, buttons, etc) was very well thought out, allowing for quick access to most settings. The layout of the buttons and dials are nicely done, I do not have any problems with accidentally hitting buttons or turning dials, despite my rather large hands.

AF Speed
The AF speed is comparable to entry level DSLRs when using 14-45mm and 45-200mm lenses, but slightly slower when using the 20mm pancake lens. This is quite an achievement given that it is using contrast-detect AF, rather than phase-change AF normally used in SLRs.

The speedy AF of the GF1 was crucial for my shots taken at the floating market, as I was on a moving boat, and my subjects are also constantly moving. When I see a photo forming, I probably have a few seconds at most to lock the exposure, lock the focus on the subject, then reframe to get the composition I want, and take the shot.

The GF1's build-in flash is something that many people dismiss off-hand without much thought because it's only GN6, but after shooting so much in Bangkok, I cannot stress strongly enough how useful it is, as fill flash. I found myself using it quite often for those typical holiday snaps when you are trying to take pics of people in front of whatever scenery and the sun is blasting down, or when the subject is in a shaded area (in a car, boat, etc) and the surroundings are bright as heck. And of course, it is useful for night portraits too.

Shooting under tropical sun, as you would imagine, makes the LCD pretty hard to see. This is true for any LCD, not just the GF1. I can see enough to frame the shot, get the focus, and the live histogram tells me the exposure, so I can still live with it. But if you want to preview your photo and zoom in to double check the focus, WB, etc. under the sun, I would say it's difficult. Most times, you can just find a shaded area to rest and do this, so it's not a big deal.

I am not thrilled about the low resolution EVF for the GF1, so I have decided to get the Hoodloupe 3.0, which is pretty much future proof and I can use it with any DSLR. Yes, it does add some bulk, but it is light and *optional*. I only need to bring it out with me if I believe I have a need for it.

Well, unless I am being paid to do a shoot, it is quite unlikely that I would bother to bring out my Canon gear anymore. The GF1 + 20mm f1.7 + 14-45mm + 45-200mm weights almost exactly 1kg in total, and fits easily into a very small sling bag (see attached pic).

And if I was just going out for a casual outing, I will just bring the GF1 + 20mm, which fits into a small pouch. Contrast this to the fact that my old Canon 80-200mm f2.8L lens alone weights 1.33kg, and I think you can see why I love with this system.

As the saying goes ... "The best camera is the camera that you have with you". With the GF1, I find I have a SLR-class camera with me more often than not, and that makes up for everything.

More photos I shot with the GF1:

Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 Pancake Review

PhotoZone reviews the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 Pancake lens.

"The Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/2.8 is a lovely little lens but unfortunately it does disappoint regarding its optical capabilities. You expect a top notch performance from a prime lens but the Zuiko isn't overly sharp neither at max. aperture nor stopped down - the center quality is perfectly fine but the borders and corners are too soft in general. In principal the lens produces a hefty amount of barrel distortion."

Read the full review here.

Camera Labs Reviews Olympus E-P1

"Ultimately the leisurely focusing, average screen resolution and absence of a built-in flash mark the E-P1 down from our top award – and indeed may sway you towards the GF1 – but it still easily comes Recommended, and depending on your outlook could represent your perfect camera. Micro Four Thirds is also becoming one of the most exciting systems in digital photography and we look forward to seeing how the standard develops – along with how rival manufacturers respond."

Read the full review here.

TrustedReviews Looks at Lumix GF1

The Lumix GF1 was awarded the Editor's Choice by TrustedReviews:

"In the Lumix GF1 Panasonic has created a camera that I'm sure will come to be regarded as a classic. It really does offer comparable flexibility and image quality to a good digital SLR in a form that can slip into a jacket pocket. Build quality, performance and most importantly image quality are all of the highest order."

Read the full review here.

CNet Reviews Lumix GF1

The Panasonic Lumix GF1 was awarded CNet Editors' Choice ...

"The GF1 performs similarly to the G1, and markedly better than the E-P1. Its autofocus system operates quickly, especially compared with the Live Mode AF of digital SLRs; unlike those models, it supports continuous AF during movie capture and is very responsive. ... The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 is the first camera to truly deliver on the benefit of a mirrorless system: interchangeable lenses in a compact design without sacrificing features, speed, or photo quality at a competitive price."

Read the full review here.