Friday, 28 March 2014

Comparison @ 30mm

The launch of the Lumix GM1 compact M4/3 camera also brought the collapsible wide zoom lens, the Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S. It is seen below to the left in the extended position, together with the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN and the Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8:


The Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 is designed with a form factor to fit the new Lumix GM1 compact camera. It has a clean, smooth look, and is one of the few lenses which is small enough to go flush with the very low GM1 camera body.

The Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN is a slightly long normal lens. It's not very impressive in terms of the maximum aperture, but it has a consistently very good image quality, and a noiseless, quick autofocus.

On the 30mm lens, I have used a 46mm to 28mm step down ring as a hood. It does a good job of keeping the front lens elements safe from accidents, in my opinion, while also keeping out some stray light. If you want to use it, you also need a 28mm front lens cap.

The Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8 is Panasonic's answer to the classic standard pro zoom lens. It is very compact for a lens of this class, and performs excellent. It is probably the best lens I have ever used.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Using Silkypix on Linux

For years, I have been a fan of Linux. However, I admit to have missed some software from time to time. One example is RAW converters.

Sure, there are many RAW converters available for Linux, like UFRaw and Raw Therapy. However, they tend to not support the newest camera models. And also, while the programs are quite powerful, they require a lot of competence and time to use.

But there is good news: Panasonic's own RAW converter Silkypix can be installed on Linux, using the Windows emulator Wine. Here's how I did it.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Lumix GM1: Quality of ETC mode

ETC (Extended Tele Conversion) was a mode introduced with the Lumix GH2, and we also get it with the Lumix GH3. This mode is useful for videos, when you need more tele effect, and has now even trickled into most Panasonic cameras, including the compact Lumix GM1.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Comparison @ 60mm

These are two of the most highly regarded lenses in the Micro Four Thirds lineup: The Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN (left) and Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8 (right):


The Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN is a quite recent lens in their "Art line". Corresponding to a field of view of 120mm on a traditional film camera, it is a fairly long lens, slightly longer than the typical portrait lens. People often use it to take portraits, and for images of people from about 2-4 meter distance.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

GM1 shutters

The Lumix GH3 was among the first to feature electronic shutter. However, since the shutter reads the image sequentially row for row rather slowly, causing a number of artefacts, the feature is not very useful.

The Lumix GM1 also has the electronic shutter, of course, but is it any different? In this article I will look into it.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Comparison @ 12mm

The launch of the Lumix GM1 compact M4/3 camera also brought the collapsible wide zoom lens, the Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S. It is seen below to the left in the extended position, together with the Lumix X 12-35mm f/2.8 and Olympus 9-18mm f/4-5.6 (Four Thirds lens with adapter):


The Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 is designed with a form factor to fit the new Lumix GM1 compact camera. It has a clean, smooth look, and is one of the few lenses which is small enough to go flush with the very low GM1 camera body.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

GH3 vs GM1: AF during video recording

When the Panasonic GH1 was launched in 2009, it had an easy claim to fame: Being the only consumer interchangeable lens mirrorless camera that could autofocus (AF) during video recording. Since this time, the GH2 improved upon the predecessor in many ways, while retaining the same form factor. The Panasonic GH3 has a pro photo form factor, and further improves upon the GH2.

Autofocus during video is still an important feature. That, and continuous autofocus with moving subjects, have been problem areas for Micro Four Thirds. High end DSLR cameras handle continuous autofocus, e.g., for sports and wildlife, very good. This is due to using PDAF technology. Micro Four Thirds cameras, with the exception of the Olympus E-M1 so far, only use CDAF, not PDAF.

Achieving efficient autofocus during video with CDAF is a matter of having fast image processing capabilites, combined with good algorithms for interpreting the data. GH3, being the newest and most powerful of the GH-line, of course has the best potential here. The Lumix GM1 is also a premium camera, however, it does not have the same video features as the GH3. For example, it lacks the MOV video format, has lower maximum bitrate, and cannot record progressive video at 50 FPS (PAL regions) or 60 FPS (NTSC regions) in 1920x1080 mode.

Here is a video comparison of the GH3 and GM1 both doing AF with the Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens mounted.

Test setup


Both cameras were mounted to a Desmond Mini Dual Camera Bracket, typically used for stereo photography. On the lenses, I have used 46mm to 37mm step down rings as hoods. They do a good job of keeping the front lens elements safe from accidents, in my opinion, while also keeping out some stray light. If you want to use them, you also need a 37mm front lens cap.


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Image quality: GM1 vs GH3

The Lumix GM1 is the new darling in the Micro Four Thirds world. And how cute it is! See it below compared with the premium GH3 camera, both with the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN lenses mounted:



On the lenses, I have used 46mm to 28mm step down rings as hoods. They do a good job of keeping the front lens elements safe from accidents, in my opinion, while also keeping out some stray light. If you want to use them, you also need a 28mm front lens cap.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Macro with extension rings or front lens filter?

While there are specialized macro lenses available, there are also many tricks to achieve close up photography with various cheap accessories. In this article, I have made a summary of various options, see the table in the end of the article.

I guess two of the most common ways to get close up capabilities with common lenses are: Using a macro extender ring between the lens and the camera, and using a macro ring on the front of the lens. I am comparing these two approaches here.