Category Archives: DSLR

Air Show Photos – 60D

My last post was about using my new Panasonic FZ1000 at the Planes of Fame Air Show.  I was able to attend all 3 days of the show, and brought 3 cameras with me including the FZ1000, the Olympus E-M5, and my Canon 60D.  This post is about the time I spent with my 60D.

Although I did bring the 60D to the 1st day of the air show, I didn’t use it after that.  Why?  Because I was so impressed with the capabilities and performance of the FZ1000.  It’s not physically smaller than the 60D, at least not the body, but when the 60D is connected to my Tamron 200-500mm lens it’s much smaller and lighter.  It also seems to focus faster, and can shoot at 12 fps which is more than twice as fast as the 60D’s 5.5 fps.  Is there a downsize for using the FZ1000 in place of the 60D?  Maybe.  My 60D can accept different lenses – the FZ1000 has a fixed lens.  With the Tamron 200-500mm lens the 60D has more reach.  The 60D has a larger APS-C sensor, the FZ1000 has a smaller 1″ sensor.  There are some people that think this automatically disqualifies the FZ1000 for air show photography.  In fact, I’ve been told that the FZ1000 lacks color depth, saturation, and other subjective things.  I respectfully disagree, and am not going to get caught up in an endless debate about technical details and pixel peeping.  There are plenty of examples out there that disprove this notion.  And besides, I judge a photo by how well it’s composed, how the light is used, does it tell a story, etc…  Not very scientific, but that’s just the way I roll!

So, what does this mean for my 60D?  Unfortunately it means I will be using it even less than I do now.  I’ve been on a quest to get my gear smaller while retaining image quality.  My FZ1000 could probably fill all of the roles I ask of my cameras including air shows, landscapes, and family photos.  For now I think I’ll keep the FZ1000 as my multi-role camera, my E-M5 as my low light landscape camera, and my RX100 as my fast and discrete pocketable camera.  That doesn’t leave any room for my extra equipment, like the 60D and Panasonic GX-1, and I may be selling them sometime soon.

I don’t have a lot of 60D photos from the air show, but wanted to share some of them.





That’s it for this post, until next time – Happy Shooting!

Using the GX-1 at an Air Museum

I have a Panasonic GX-1. It was purchased on a whim because of a “deal of the day” advertisement that I saw online. The deal was too good to pass up!  The GX-1 showed up in a few days and I immediately started using it.  And then, it stayed unused in a camera bag.

My thought on getting the GX-1 was as a back up camera to my Olympus E-P3.  Both of these cameras are in the same class, Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and are known as mirrorless cameras.  Neither one has an optical or electronic viewfinder and you must rely on the LCD on the back of the camera for picture taking.  While not really pocketable, they are both much smaller than my DSLR (Canon 60D), and produce very nice images.  This type of camera is generally not very good at any type of fast action photography, but do quite well for just about anything else.

I really loved my Olympus E-P3, from the moment I first picked it up.  It felt solid and has a nice retro look.  I’ve taken some very nice photos with it too!  The E-P3 is starting to show its age, especially with its older 12mp sensor.  Low light high ISO capability was not really one of its strengths.  To counter that and work within this limitation, I kept the ISO low and put the E-P3 on a tripod in low light.  The solid build has come into play for me personally.  While out hiking with the E-P3, I slipped and fell – twice!  I came away with some scrapes and bruises, and so did the E-P3.  Nothing too serious but there are a couple of battle scars on it.  Other than the pop-up flash not working very well, the rest of it is just fine.

As for the GX-1, it doesn’t have a very solid feel and is definitely not retro.  The body doesn’t look bad, it just seems like it has more plastic than the E-P3.  Both the GX-1 and E-P3 have plenty of external controls and touch screens.  I’m kind of funny in that I don’t really care for the touch screens and turned them off.  The GX-1 is a very capable camera, and has a newer 16mp sensor and better low light, high ISO performance than the E-P3, and when I used it, found that it too produced some very nice images.  The other plus of having the GX-1 is that being a MFT camera, it could use all of the lenses that I currently had for the E-P3.  I just never really warmed up to it and didn’t use it, especially after getting my Olympus E-M5.

A week or so ago, I was digging around in my camera bags and saw the GX-1.  I decided to get it out, dust it off, and give it another try.  One of the places that I enjoy walking around and using my cameras is the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino California.  It’s fairly close, and always has interesting subjects.  What better place to get re-acquainted with the GX-1!

To my surprise, I enjoyed using the GX-1 more this time than I had when I first got it.  I used my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and 45mm f1/8 lenses and tried to capture images in a variety of conditions.  Nothing that I want to get too technical about, suffice it to say that there was quite an extreme difference in the indoor lights of the hangars and the harsh mid-day sun.  Not the most ideal shooting conditions, but very realistic.  You can’t always have an epic sunrise or sunset with deliciously warm, golden light.  Sometimes you have to work with what you have!

Here are some of the pictures from that day.  I had the GX-1 in aperture priority mode, and changed the aperture (f/stop) and ISO according to the brightness of the light.  I also set the camera to shoot RAW for the express purpose of post processing.  I know there are some that don’t like post processing, and that’s just fine for them.  Personally, I enjoy working on my photos and finding new methods for creating an image.  Sometimes it’s black and white, sometimes HDR, and other times just a few minor tweaks.  Since I don’t consider myself a journalist or documentarian, I have no problem with post processing.  But to each his own, it’s all good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m very pleased with the GX-1, it was fun to use again.  It’s fairly small and easy to carry around.  I got used to changing settings and didn’t have to fumble around too much.  The RAW files provide good quality images with plenty of pixels for me to play with in post.  I think I’m going to keep it out and use it some more!  Unfortunately it has been discontinued by the manufacturer, but is still available if you look around.  I found it on Amazon – GX-1.

That’s it for this post, until next time – Happy Shooting!

Testing the RX100

I was able to take my Sony RX100 out for a little testing and fun today.  One of the places I like to take my cameras is the Planes of Fame Air Museum (POF) in Chino California.  The POF is a wonderful place to visit if you want to see a collection of warbirds, many of which are flyable and part of the big air show show every May.

Before I begin please note that this is not an in-depth scientific review.  My RX100 is the original model, there are currently 2 newer versions on the market.  I picked mine up for a very reasonable price and it has all of the main features that are important to me.

I wanted to travel light today and thought about just bringing the RX100 by itself.  But I didn’t, just couldn’t help myself!  So I placed the little RX100 in my Tamrac Slinger Bag along with my Olympus E-M5 and assorted lenses.  The nice thing is that even with a full bag (2 cameras, and a half dozen lenses) it was still lighter than a bag with my Canon 60D and 3 lenses.  The Slinger is a very comfortable bag and didn’t get in my way at any time as I wandered around the museum.

So, how did the RX100 do?  In a word, great!  It was quick and easy to use.  There were some times when I missed having a view finder but it wasn’t a show stopper.  This happened mostly when I was near a hangar door and the bright outside light would cause some glare on the screen.  I was a little worried about image quality when I set the ISO up to 800 to handle the dim indoor light but was pleased to see that it wasn’t a problem.  Although there aren’t a lot of external controls on the body of the RX100 there are enough to get the most important settings changed.  After that you have to start digging in the menus.  All of my shots today were hand held only, no tripod necessary due to the image stabilizer.

After spending a couple of hours at the museum and with my RX100 I’m very pleased with its performance.  As I mentioned in my previous post the RX100 is not a DSLR replacement.  It is however a very worthy companion or backup.  I took over 300 shots with the RX100 today (lots of experimenting), and only 60 with my Olympus E-M5.  The E-M5 was notably better in some situations, and not so much in others.  One of those situations was when I wanted a longer focal length than the RX100 had.  All I had to do with the E-M5 was reach in the bag and grab a longer lens.  Since there was no action today the speed of the E-M5 provided no advantage.  The other thing that made a difference on the E-M5 with the view finder.  This was especially helpful when I was out in the bright sun and there was some glare.  The display on the RX100 is not bad, in fact its seem a little better than a lot of other cameras I’ve used in the past.  Unfortunately bright sun is…. bright, and it was an annoyance at times.

Here are some shots from the RX100.  Other than resizing and converting the RAW files to .jpeg they are straight out of the camera, no editing!



All of the images above that were taken inside of the hangars had an ISO of 800, and all of them were done with the RX100 set in aperture priority mode.  I’d say that the noise is not really noticeable, unless you really do some pixel peeping. But at normal viewing I think they look pretty good!

I couldn’t be more pleased with my RX100! It really is a little pocket rocket!

That’s it, until next time – Happy Shooting!