Posts Tagged ‘EXPERIENCE’

LONDON COLOUR : AUTUMN IN REGENT'S PARK

LONDON COLOUR : AUTUMN IN REGENT'S PARK

And here’s the colour version – shot on the F200EXR’s ‘Standard’ (Provia) film mode – that I’m pleased with, especially considering that I’ve not yet updated the firmware ….which apparently lends some warmth to the Auto White Balance rendering.

Much more at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com ….images from F200EXR/LX3/CX1/D200/D3 …you get the idea

DOES IT WORK ?

DOES IT WORK ?

(Macro image from Ricoh CX1)

Prompted to post this, following several recent e-mails from readers of my (various!) blogs …. hope this answers some questions for you : 

The LX3 is acknowledged as one of the very best compacts out there, and enjoys a huge fan base, which has perhaps grown further lately as some potential buyers – swayed by the announcement of the Olympus E-P1, Panasonic GF-1, Ricoh GRDIII (and CX2), and Leica X-1 – have more recently decided that this fixed-lens model, producing consistently great-quality images, has to be considered a relative bargain at around £350 …and have bought-up all available free stock. Pretty well globally.

But whilst the LX3 undoubtedly has a huge, die-hard fanbase, there have been a couple of other contenders for buyers’ cash …notably the Ricoh CX1 and Fujifilm’s F200EXR.  Both have proven extremely popular.

For those interested in all of the (potentially boring) technical differences between these three ‘pocket rockets’ – you’ll need to look elsewhere. Life’s too short. But if it’s real-world usability and satisfaction rating you’re more interested in, you’re at the right place. No waffle, here’s how it goes :

 

1/ LX3 : Excellent in very many respects:

  • Stunning lens (of course), starting at 24mm f2 …but ends at 60mm (equiv).
  • White balance dramatically better than it once was – I feel there’s still a little room for improvement. Reds are still oversaturated, even when cooled-off. If you like Canon colour, you’ll like LX3.
  • BW – in ‘Dynamic’ form …very film-like, fantastic high-contrast, highly-detailed results.
  • Multi-film mode – three separate, consecutive images
  • Multi-Aspect mode : very useful. 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 options
  • Superb Mega O.I.S
  • Slightly ‘hollow’ feel to chassis
  • RAW files – very detailed, but need to use (time-consuming) SilkyPix software to extract quality
  • Separate lens-cap
  • Almost pocketable (!)
  • User interface – a bit fiddly, but ok

 

2/ Ricoh CX1 : vastly underrated

  • Some say it’s a far cry from ‘GRD output’ – I disagree (unless you want to pixel-peep… but why would you?)
  • White balance – superb. Multi-awb is a useful extra. Great colour rendition, and fantastic ‘Outdoor’ setting
  • Electronic level …excellent, should be standard on all cameras 
  • Very flexible 7x zoom focal range – 28-200mm(equiv), capturing images that the LX3 is simply incapable of
  • Image stabilisation very effective – and this camera is capable of surprisingly good low-light images
  • Rapid response …focus, image display, scrolling, changing options ….CMOS etc means very fast all ’round
  • Reliable exposures, and wide dynamic range (without the inhibiting DR Double-Shot mode)
  • As advertised, not prone to sky ‘whiteout’  …more useful and more impressive than I expected
  • Multi-film (Colour, BW, sepia) works brilliantly – exactly same image processed three ways
  • Multi-Aspect – but only one at a time : 4:3, 3:2, 1:1  (needs addition of 16:9!)
  • Stunning 920k screen – looks like the image you download and view on pc screen
  • Amazing 1cm macro capability
  • User interface – as good as it gets – intuitive, fast, logical, reliable
  • Great build quality exceeds all other compacts I’ve ever used
  • Very recently superceded by the new CX2,  with even greater 28-300mm(equiv) focal range

 

3/ Fujifilm F200EXR : useful award-winner

  • EXR sensor promises much, delivers some (sometimes)
  • Sensor option (three in total) has to be manually selected for best results
  • Some strange metering/exposure reactions, so inconsistent results …even in fairly ‘normal’ shooting conditions
  • Irritating real-world aspect : the high-contrast (but fairly lo-res) screen makes you wonder what you’ve captured … or not
  • Images often – but not always – look far better on computer display, once downloaded (thank heavens !)
  • Multi-Aspect modes : can select one at a time from 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
  • 5x zoom range : 28-140mm (equiv) …again, captures some images that LX3 just can’t
  • Image stabilisation ok, but definitely not as effective as CX1’s
  • Some blackout after image capture, as if processor working really hard
  • Feels ‘lightweight’ and small in the hand, compared with bulletproof CX1 build and solid feel 
  • 12MP files (jpeg only) are very detailed …although images not quite as responsive to processing as CX1 jpegs, in my experience
  • New F70EXR has wider focal range, and is less expensive – but its sensor is more highly pixel-packed
  • Overall – great camera, hoped for more than it has delivered (so far, at least)

 

Hope this helps you draw your own conclusions on usability for your own needs – because that’s all that really matters.

Without doubt, all three are very high-quality cameras, and all are capable of great results much of the time, even under very difficult conditions.

Images in separate galleries from all three models at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com – enjoy !

ULLSWATER, LAKE DISTRICT

ULLSWATER, LAKE DISTRICT

Another image from our recent trip, taken from an Ullswater steamer that took us around the lake for a couple of hours (doesn’t move very quickly !) …the Lake District is well worth another visit soon, hopefully in drier weather, although the ever-changing light in this part of England makes it always a pleasure for landscapes.

Notably on the boat were several with cameras – one guy with a Canon 1D, photographing the punters (probably for a promo leaflet/web photo (!)), a girl taking an odd snap – without much care – with a Sony DSLR, and a few with Panasonic FZs of various vintages. In each case, they had something quite cumbersome to deal with, in less than ideal conditions – so pleased to have had my LX3 with us, with the D3 nowhere to be seen on this trip – way too heavy !

More as usual at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com … enjoy

INGLETON, YORKSHIRE DALES

INGLETON, YORKSHIRE DALES

Took a few compact cameras with us on a recent trip to Yorkshire & the lakes …LX3 (of course), Ricoh CX1, Panasonic TZ-3 and Fuji F100fd.

Needless to say, it was the LX3 that gave the smoothest, sharpest & most detailed images of the lot, although I used it less than I would have liked as I needed a longer focal range for many shots. However, I was really pleased with the ones I did shoot with the LX3, and the quality amazes me every time – even now, after 8 months of continuous use.

This image was taken in Ingleton, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park … a stunning location for landscape photography. Just don’t expect dry weather too often, even in July !

Many more LX3 images as usual at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com

PANASONIC GF1 ...BUT IS IT REAL ?

PANASONIC GF1 ...BUT IS IT REAL ?

(This image courtesy of  http://www.xitek.com)

Given that there’s been so much new camera activity lately – both in DSLR and compact market areas, as well as the recent launch of the Olympus E-P1, this is apparently some detail on a forthcoming LX3 replacement.

Rumours have been rife for a while – perhaps what we see above will be the reality, and with so many reported LX3 global stock shortages, maybe it’ll be here sooner than we think.

So, for those not quite enamoured of the E-P1 …is the GF1 the Holy Grail ? 

Just maybe.

WILLEN PEACE PAGODA

WILLEN PEACE PAGODA

Capture at dusk with the LX3 …..The first Peace Pagoda in the western world … this was completed in 1980, at the northern edge of Willen Lake, Milton Keynes. There is a Nipponzan-Myōhōji Order temple and monastery nearby.

What’s a  Peace Pagoda ?

A Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist stupa designed to provide a focus for people of all races and creeds, and to help unite them in their search for world peace. Most (though not all) have been built under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985), a Buddhist monk from Japan and founder of the Nipponzan-Myōhōji Buddhist Order. Fuji was greatly inspired by his meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931 and decided to devote his life to promoting non-violence. In 1947, he began[1] constructing Peace Pagodas as shrines to World peace.

The first Peace Pagodas were built as a symbol of peace in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the atomic bombs took the lives of over 150,000 people, almost all of whom were civilian, at the end of World War II.

By 2000, 80 Peace Pagodas had been built around the world in Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Civilization is not to kill human beings, not to destroy things, not to make war; civilization is to hold mutual affection and to respect one another. -Most Ven. Fujii

The Peace Pagoda was awarded the Courage of Conscience award June 5, 1998 in Sherborn, MA.

As usual, many more LX3 images – architectural & many other subjects – at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com

webcompP1120383NX

A comp of three images here from the Docklands/Canary Wharf collection.

It’s an area of London that, like so many others in the City, is so full of photographic promise. There are two great likelihoods in photographing parts of London in 2009 :

1/ You’ll get some fantastic images

2/ Completely unexpectedly – or maybe not, now – there’ll be a request not to use your camera …could be the police, a jobsworth security guard, or … the latter, speaking through a mic, plumbed into a ‘speaker somewhere near you.

The last option, where you’re being observed via perhaps a distant camera (!), does seem strange …my own photos are neither for commercial gain (I’d have asked for a ‘permit’), nor for terrorism … I actually quite enjoy photography, thanks … there’s no ulterior motive in my case. However, by photographing certain things in the UK in 2009, we’re apparently guilty until we can prove our innocence.

It seems strange that, in these ever-changing times, our ability to record UK life photographically is so inhibited by the people we ultimately elect to run the country … but one of the best ways to be inconspicuous is to use an LX3, set to RAW capture for ultimate flexibility & quality.

Do that, and read up on the legalities of photography in a public place, work ethically, use your common sense, and you should be able to capture some fantastic images…unscathed, I hope.

Many more LX3 images – of London, and many other subjects – can be found and viewed in safety (!) at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com. Don’t forget to also take a look at http://1001noisycameras.com for more on the LX3 and many other ‘must-have’ photographic tools, which so far, can stil be bought legally !