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.

Lumix GF1 Real World Review

Just came across this review on SteveHuffPhotos.com:

"After shooting with the GF1 for almost 3 weeks, I am now a believer in the M4/3 format. I was 90% there with the E-P1 and when I wrote that review, I was in love with that camera. I still love the E-P1, but after shooting the GF1 I can say that it (the GF1) really is the better camera in almost every way. With the GF1 I believe Panasonic has shown that M4/3 can be a terrific format. Small camera size, small lenses, superb color, and image quality."

Read the full review here.

Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 Review

DPReview just posted their review of the new Leica branded 45mm macro lens:

"The Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH is the first true macro lens for Micro Four Thirds, and sees Panasonic 'rounding off' its initial lens line to provide users with examples of all of the most popular types (standard and telephoto kit zooms, wideangle zoom, superzoom, fast normal prime and macro). In many regards it's a very appealing little lens, and its diminutive size captures the gestalt of the format perfectly. Optically it is, if not quite top of the class, still very competent indeed - and the 1:1 magnification offers intriguing creative possibilities. Indeed Panasonic G-system owners looking for an autofocus-capable macro lens can probably stop reading and buy one now - it does this job very well."

Read the full review here.

Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander Lenses

It's nice to see more photographers using vintage lenses on micro 4/3 bodies ...

"Overall, shooting with Voigtlander lenses are really fun, the camera’s compact size makes for discreet shooting, it’s styling is just fantastic and of course most importantly, I’ve found the photo quality from a m4/3 sensor is surprisingly good even at high ISOs. On the web you can hardly tell which photos were taken with my D3 and which with my tiny Olympus Pen!"

Read the full article here.

TV and Online Commercials Shot Using Micro 4/3 Systems

It's quite interesting to see that micro four thirds systems are now being used to shoot professional commercial videos ...

TV Commercial Shot Using Lumix GH1:

Online Commercial Shot Using Olympus E-P1:

Panasonic Lumix GF1 Field Report

The Online Photographer just posted this field report:

"This camera can be carried with you, it's unobtrusive, quick to respond, quick to focus, has a fast lens, produces excellent image quality and has good low-light performance. There will be a viewfinder for it soon (albeit an electronic one). One can attach a multitude of older lenses, and new ones will keep being produced. It shoots great video to boot. ... Even though I have owned it for only a few weeks, I am serious when I say that as an all-around picture taker, this Panasonic GF1 may be my favorite digital camera ever."

Read the full article here.

Internal Build of GF1 and E-P1

Both of these bodies feel very solid when you hold it in your hands, but are they really build as tough as they look ? ... Well, you can see for yourself the insides of the Lumix GF1 over here, and Olympus E-P1 over here, and come to your own conclusions :) ...

OM Zuiko Legacy Lenses On E-P1

Someone has put a lot of effort into testing the various OM Zuiko prime lenses (8mm - 600mm) on the E-P1.

"Certainly the Panasonic G1 has spawned a panoply of adapters for many legacy lenses and I believe Olympus thinks so too as the company has produced the MF-2 adapter specifically for the E-P1 suggesting that the older OM Zuiko lenses perform somewhat better on the new Micro FourThirds body than standard 4/3rds. I also note the Olympus MF-2 adapter is not accompanied by the warning sheet about OM lenses that came with the MF-1."

See all the test results here.

PhotographyBlog Reviews Lumix GF1

Here's another glowing review of the Lumix GF1 from PhotographyBlog:

"... the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 takes most of the good points of its bigger brothers, the G1 and GH1, and literally squeezes them inside a smaller, more compact-camera-like body. The fantastically well-implemented Live View, lightning fast auto-focus, excellent image quality and added bonus of 720p video make the GF1 a great camera for beginners and more serious photographers alike."

Read the full review here.

Movie Making Using Lumix GH1

Here's are interesting articles about serious movie making using the GH1:

"For Finn, the process of making Rejouer was aided by the camera in obvious ways (low cost to purchase and use the camera, and cheap SD cards, to name a few) and some less obvious ones, too. “I wanted to make a big movie with a little camera,” he says. “That was the concept.

Read the full article here.

Here's another short film made with GH1:

Read about the making of this video in the full article here.

Olympus E-P1 Blur Issue

Imaging Resource discovered a blurring issue on the Olympus E-P1:

"The E-P1's anomalous blur occurs under two circumstances, both arising from the same underlying cause. (1) With the 14-42mm M.ZUIKO lens mounted, the shutter's vibration can produce sufficient vibration in the lens elements, especially at 35 and 42mm, to cause noticeable blurring from about 1/100 to 1/200 second. (2) With firmware version 1.0, and far less so with 1.1, turning on image stabilization (IS1) will result in increased blurring in about the same shutter speed range."

 Read the full article here.

DCResource Reviews Lumix DMC-GF1

DCResource just posted their full review of the GF1.

"It's safe to say that you can't get a better endorsement than having a reviewer buying the camera they are writing about.  ... It offers great photo quality, snappy performance, and all the bells and whistles that users of compact cameras are used to, with all the benefits of an interchangeable lens camera. The GF1 is the Micro Four Thirds camera that many people -- myself included -- have been waiting for, and Panasonic certainly delivered the goods."

 Read the full review here.

Olympus Pen History and E-P1 Review

Here's an interesting article about the history of the Olympus Pen:

"I knew nothing of the heritage of the Olympus Pen before the E-P1’s introduction. But as I nosed into the Pen’s history I found it to be a delightfully human story of ingenuity and perseverance in a culture that simultaneously celebrated and discouraged both."

Read the article here.

PopPhoto.com just posted a review of the Olympus E-P1, which was done before the Lumix GF1 was announced.

"Think big; build small. That’s the premise of the Micro Four Thirds system—big imaging performance from small cameras that have interchangeable lenses. And the first model from Olympus, the E-P1, delivers."

Read the full review here.

More Videos Captured Using Lumix GF1

Here are more videos taken using Lumix GF1 ...

Close up video of bees:

Night video of fireworks:

Lumix GF1 and GH1 Comparison

Nice video showing size comparisons using different lenses ...

Lumix GF1 Review By DannyChoo.com

Here's another review of the Panasonic Lumix GF1, filled with tons of photos.

"GF1 has met my expectations of what I wanted it to be and could possibly replace the Kiss 2. With the Kiss 2, I need to take a few shots and confirm what it looks like on screen. With the GF1, I can immediately see the effect of changes to WB for example. Also the lighter and more compact form is another major factor for me. The Kiss 2 is just too bulky and heavy to carry around all the time."

Read  the full review here.

Review of Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-42mm

PhotoZone just reviewed the Olympus M Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED:

"The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ED is relatively good match for the E-P1 but don't expect a stellar lens. The delivered resolution is pretty decent across the range although it lacks greatness towards the borders and at the long end of the zoom range. A strength of the lens is the lack of vignetting. The M.Zuiko suffers from a moderate degree of lateral CAs which doesn't seem to be corrected for whatever reason. ... A bit more problematic is the build quality of the lens - the inner lens tube is very shaky ... All-in-all a lens which has been primarily optimized for compactness and a low price tag."

Read the full review here.

SLRGear Reviews Lumix G 20mm f1.7

SLRGear just posted their review of the Lumix G 20mm f1.7 lens.

"With excellent results for sharpness, resistance to chromatic aberration and essentially no distortion, Panasonic has done well with the 20mm ƒ/1.7, and we've been having fun shooting with it. For a really compact shooting package, the lens is a worthwhile investment."

 Read the full review here.

Video Using Lumix GF1 and 45-200mm Lens

Here's a video I just found on Youtube. It was shot using Lumix GF1 + 45-200mm lens. Watch it in high-def at this link.

Luminous Landscape Reviews GF1

A nice review of the Lumix GF1 was posted by Luminous Landscape earlier today:

"In the final analysis what we come down to is that the GF1 is likely the best of breed at the moment, but not a panacea for someone looking for a semi-pocketable large sensor camera. ... If one is happy shooting with just the rear LCD then the GF1 does the job, and does it well. If you already own a G1 or GH1 then I don't think that there's a compelling case for the GF1, though the 20mm f/1.7 lens is a honey. Fortunately it can be purchased seperately."

Read the full review here.

Fujifilm Joining Micro 4/3 ?

Just saw this interesting rumour at 4/3rumors.com:

"Fujifilm is moving to M4/3rds with a new body that will have an EXR sensor inside it. The official announcement about Fuji’s joining to the M4/3 system will be made a few weeks before the camera announcement itself next PMA season (Jan/Feb 2010). The new camera body –tentatively named: Micro-S10EXR (MS10), will have a 4/3rd 12MP EXR sensor, that shares a lot of its technologies and modes with current Fuji EXR compacts, just in a much larger sensor area and pixel size. The MS10 will be intermediate in form factor between the E-P1 and the GH1. It will have sensor shift stabilization, a substantial hand grip, tilt & swivel (similar in design to D5000), and a built-in EVF that is more akin to the EVF’s of Fuji compacts than to that of the GH1."

More competition in the micro 4/3 arena would be great, and I hope this rumour is for real :) ...

Read the full article here.

Video Using Lumix GF1 with Leica Noctilux f1.0

Wowwww ! Eye popping video ... wish I can afford that lens ... LOL

Panasonic LUMIX GF1 with Leica Noctilux F1.0

Here's another video using Panasonic lens (not sure which lens though, it was not specified):

Panasonic LUMIX GF1 movie with Panasonic Lens

More GF1 videos can be found here.

Lumix G 20mm f1.7 Reviewed

DPReview just posted their review of the Lumix G 20mm f1.7 lens. It did very well in their tests ...

"Overall, we can't help but conclude that the 20mm F1.7 is the first must-have lens for Micro Four Thirds, and one which especially makes sense with the compact-bodied E-P1 and GF1. On these cameras it provides a winning combination of small size, high all-round image quality and excellent low-light capability."

You can read the full review here.

More Flickr Groups

Just found more micro four thirds related Flickr groups:

FD Lenses On Micro Four Thirds

One very interesting thing about the micro 4/3 design is that it allows for mount adapters for practically any lens mount out there. For photographers with vintage lenses from the film era, this is really great.

Now, I don't have any vintage lenses, but there are plenty of Canon FD lenses selling at relatively low prices on Ebay. I am especially interested in the primes, like the 50mm f1.4, 28mm f2, etc.

If anyone else here is interested as well, here are the information you need.

Please feel free to share your experience on this topic in the comments ...

Bags, Bags, Bags

Yup, I know, I know ... I'm getting slightly ahead of myself here, looking at bags to store my micro 4/3 gear before the gear even arrives ... LOL. I already have a full set of Lowepro toploader, belt, harness, vest, lens cases and bags, but they're all pretty bulky, so I have set out to find a more compact bag that just fits everything nicely.

So far, I have narrowed it down to the Crumpler 5 MDH, Think Tank Urban Disguise 20 and the Lowepro Apex 140 AW. Out of these three, I think the Crumpler 5 MDH is my first choice at the moment. I like how it looks like a normal sling bag on the outside.

If anyone has better suggestions, feel free to post it in the comments :) ...

More Lens Reviews

PhotoReview Australia just posted two new lens reviews for the Lumix G-Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 and the Lumix G 20mm f/1.7. They both did pretty well, especially the 20mm. 

Now I just have to patiently wait until I get mine, hopefully no later than the end of Oct ... *sighhh*

Reviews of Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Like so many photographers who are just jumping onto the micro four thirds bandwagon for the first time, I too have been searching around for reviews of micro 4/3 lenses in order to decide which lenses to get. Well, as luck would have it, I found a website (SLRGear.com) with pretty detailed reviews of almost all the currently available micro 4/3 lenses.

Why I Love Micro Four Thirds

Here's an interesting article I found, which pretty much reflects my thoughts and excitement about micro 4/3 ...

"At first I was drawn to Micro 4/3 because it had the potential to be my "Poor Man’s Leica" or the elusive DMD. While possibly true, this was a very narrow-minded view of the new format. Like many of you, I have a tendency to seize on one idea or get lost in technical specifications or reviews. Sometimes I simply fail to see the forest for the trees. It wasn’t until just recently that I realized that Micro 4/3 is not just exciting: it is revolutionary."

Read the article here.

Adobe Updates for Lumix GF1 Support

Adobe has released updated Lightroom 2.5,  Camera Raw 5.5 and DNG Converter 5.5 with support for Lumix GF1 RAW files. You can download it here.

GF1 Review by PhotoReview Australia

PhotoReview Australia just did a fairly detailed technical review of the Lumix GF1.

"Panasonic's GF1 is pleasing to use and a good example of the kind of camera serious enthusiasts would like as a more portable alternative to a DSLR kit. It provides many of the benefits of a DSLR: interchangeable lens options, a relatively large sensor, raw file capture and a full suite of user-adjustable controls. All these factors provide reasons for nominating the GF1 as an Editor's Choice in both the Advanced and Four Thirds System categories."

Read the full review here.

Waiting for Lumix GF1

Welcome to my new blog. I am waiting for the Lumix GF1 to arrive here in Malaysia sometime end of Oct ... can't wait ! =) ... I will get the GF1 kit with the 14-45mm and 45-200mm lenses, and also the 20mm f1.7 lens as well.

Thanks to my friends in the media, I had the chance to personally test both the Lumix GF1 and Olympus E-P1, and I much prefer the GF1.

I shall start posting pics and experiences with the GF1 once it arrives. In the mean time, here are some interesting micro four-thirds related links:
If you find any interesting sites related to micro 4/3, please feel free to share them in the comments =)