Tag: raw

Lumix FZ1000 in print

I am thrilled to be shooting with the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 camera. Its features are quite remarkable:

  • 25-400mm (equivalent) Leica ƒ2.8-4 lens
  • 20mp 1″ sensor
  • Hull HD and 4K video
  • lots of customization for shooting both raw and jpegs

Winter SquallI’m impressed, too – impressed enough to have purchased one for travel photography. Lately, I’ve been putting it through its paces, really trying to push it to the limits. Of course, the limits I’m comparing it with are those of my full-frame D800E and associated optics.

So why bother with a “bridge” camera when I’m using a D800E? It all comes down to travel. I wanted something I could take with me “where ever” I go. I know I can do that with the D800E, but if I want anything beyond normal, I’m stuck carrying extra lenses with me, and full-frame zoom lenses aren’t exactly lightweight! What about prime lenses? True, they are lighter, but then I’m changing lenses more frequently than I prefer to. I want something I can pick up and head out shooting with that will give me decent quality raw photos for printing and decent-quality family snapshots for jpegs for sharing. Something I can walk around and hand-hold without compromising too much quality. I would still use my D800E for my fine art work where time allows me to slow down and use a a tripod. But it just seems to be overkill for many of the travel-type grab shots I also enjoy making – photos that will rarely see the inside of a printer, so to speak.

Winter Morning, Bark LakeNeedless to say it’s an unfair comparison, given the D800E’s state-of-the-art 36mp sensor with class-leading dynamic range, but still, I’m impressed by what the FZ1000 can do. So impressed, that it was the only camera I took with me on my annual sojourn into a Canadian winter up at Bark Lake Leadership Centre with our Grade 10s for their 6-day field course.

I made a number of jpeg images of the students skiing, building fires, augering down through the ice to collect lake water samples – those images are nothing short of fantastic. The flash did an amazing job of filling in shadows on sunny days and indoors. Actually the light from the flash is better than I get from the D800E’s pop-up flash – less contrasty and better balanced. ISOs up to 800 were perfectly fine for web and print media (e.g. 300dpi for yearbook).

FZ1000-100%Since returning, I have also taken some basketball photos at ISO3200. Not as clean and crisp as the D800E w/ ƒ2.8 70-200mm zoom, but certainly printable for web and yearbook (just). Even the team photos I took at ISO400 and 800 in the gym with the pop-up flash were plenty good enough once processed through Lightroom.

While up at Bark Lake, I made some fine art photos as well, shooting in raw at the base ISO of 125. They are terrific, indeed – quality enough for printing this past weekend as 10.5 x15″. They would even stand up well as full 13×19″ prints. And, since that’s the title of this post, here they are.

I’be also included a 100% screen capture of part of the upper pholograph. In all fairness, there is a fair amount of snow flying around that appears, in the 100% crop, to be dust, but it isn’t!

_1030085And, lastly, here is a female cardinal shot at ƒ5.6 400mm (equivalent) at ISO125. By the way, this was shot through our kitchen window. It is a 1200×1800 pixel crop from the full 5472×3648 frame. Not bad at all!

 

The importance of Raw

Thunderstorm over Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Thunderstorm, Ngorongoro Crater

It’s been a bright and sunny autumn this year in southern Ontario. Today is the first day of rain in weeks, it seems. At the same time, its been a busy autumn with guests, my book launch and the website overhaul (still on-going but will shortly be finished).

I think I need to work on streamlining image processing. I have a good system – one that I will write about one day – but it seems that for every hour I spend photographing, I spend at least an hour working on processing: editing, numbering, past-capture processing, organizing. It takes forever. I’m sure there are efficiencies I can start to use.

Right now I’m processing everything using Adobe Camera Raw. I am still in awe of what can be done using 5.5. For many images I don’t even open Photoshop at all, but just do everything through Bridge and ACR. I take half the time now compared to one or two years ago, but, at the same time, features like Adjustment Brush and Spot Removal mean that I am taking longer with each image due to the finessing that is now possible.

I have also been revisiting images taken years ago as I prepare my Tanzania book and have reaffirmed the importance of shooting Raw. Loading up and processing 7-year-old raw files from my Minolta Dimage 7i has been a wonderful experience. Yes, they are grainy-looking, but the power of ACR now compared to then has led to the same images being revitalized and reinvented in a new way.

Image quality is absolutely key for me and although I can’t afford full frame – I’m going to work as hard as I can with what I have to maximize image quality – something I have always believed right back to my film days. It is for this reason I have always shot raw – even when the write times were  20 to 30 seconds per shot. It is certainly paying off now!

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If you’re looking for something photographic to do, visit the dpReview Challenge page and enter a few photos.

My Art of Earth series continues with “My Own Backyard” opening for entries Thurs 26th Nov.

Good luck, have fun – and learn from viewing photos by other photographers!