Panoramic with the D-Lux


You access the panoramic feature of the Leica D-ux (Type 109) via the drive menu – it’s right up the end of the list. The Panasonic Lumix LX100 works the same way.

The camera fires off numerous frames and stitches them together for you. I haven’t really had a lot of time to analyse the results, but a quick look shows they look pretty good.

I was going to post a full-res version, but it’s over 7000 pixels wide. Here’s one which is 2000.

Lake Macquarie Pano

Stray images


I’m in Melbourne, Australia, on a business trip – no shooting. But I’ve brought the little Leica and thought I’d post anything interesting. Nothing here ‘professional’, just glorified snaps which show off the camera’s capabilities.

The globe

Nothing bright here…

Frangapani L5500022

Approaching storm L5500030

Using an in-camera filter to enhance a dull scene.

 

 

4K on the D-Lux


I bought my Leica on a Friday, so on Saturday I made a video – a very short, unremarkable video.
Except it tracks along, as though on a slider, stops when I’ve walked into the frame and wave, then starts sliding again.

http://vimeo.com/113185459

I sent it to a couple of filmmaker mates who’d both picked it – all the sliding is done in post. It would have been a nightmare to make such a shot in 1080, because I wouldn’t have been able to slide the camera. It was achieved because I could crop the 4K.

For the past three months I’ve been making Cycle Torque TV, a low-budget motorcycle TV show. Catch it at here.

The show has been successful enough that I think we will be starting production on series two soon, and the little Leica will have a staring role as the go-to camera for pieces to camera with a wide, mid-shot and close up in the same take with the same camera.

It can go on top of a lightweight tripod and stay stable. And the experiments we did In the studio today show with careful set-up of white balance and exposure, I think few viewers will ever be able to tell it apart from the 5D shots it will be combined with.

All that for less than the cost of a good slider.

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Leica D-lux (Type 109) and Panasonic LX100 – Features most people missed.


After just a day with my Leica D-Lux (Type 109), I’ve found features most of the online reviews missed, and discovered things I thought would be there which aren’t.

I’m sure you know about the 4/3 sensor, 4K video, dial controls…

No remote flash support
Look, I doubt I’d have used it much, but if the Type 109 supports remote flash, I can’t work it out. Mind you, the included strobe is so gutless it probably won’t actually add to the exposure much if you use it to trigger slave units though.

A lens shutter
There’s effectively a pair of shutters in the LX100/109 – a mechanical leaf or lens shutter, and an electronic shutter. This means flash sync up to 1/4000th of a second, which is really cool when doing fill flash outdoors. It works to 60 seconds.
The electronic shutter will take the exposure to as short as 1/16,000th of a second, which I want to try Real Soon Now – that’s studio flash duration style stuff, and will result is some stunning images. By people better at this stuff than me.

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Leica D-Lux (Type 109) and Panasonic LX100 misinformation


I bought the first one of these cameras I actually saw in the metal, and in the 24 hours since I’ve been trying to get my head around what I’m sure is a technological marvel. But I’m shocked at the reviews, opinion and comments which are quite wrong.
So here are the things I’m finding, good and bad.
Here will be notes about why I chose the D-Lux and samples, but more than anything I’m wanting to refute some of the mistakes out there, and put an alternate position as to why some things were done.

Most of all, I’m doing this to learn about the camera and if you get something from all that, great!

Note: I’ve been playing with this thing for a day, and it’s my first Panasonic/Leica digital camera. If I get it wrong I’m happy to post corrections.

Myth 1: It’s too easy to bump the auto button and switch to idiot mode.
There’s an iAuto button quite close to the lever which switches the camera on, but there’s a selection in the custom menu which lets you set it to press-and-hold to activate.

Myth 2: it should have a Mic input.
Seriously? Have you really listened to the pre-amps on a Canon 5D MKIII? No small camera has a decent audio system built in, so the best you’re going to do is record some background audio – if you’re even a tiny bit serious about audio (and you should be), record separately. A Zoom H1 is about $100US, or add a Rode Smart Lav to your iPhone. Sync in Final Cut, it’s easy.

Myth 3: No tilt screen.
I love the tilt screen on my Olympus EM-1, Canon XA20 and yes, life would be more convenient if the Leica had one too. but it would also be bulkier, heavier and more fragile.

Myth 4: No weather sealing
See my answer to Myth 3.

Myth 5: you can’t set shutter speeds between stops
You can, actually. If you spin the dial on the back it changes the shutter speed to the standard 1/3-stop increments. so 1/50th is available to Pal video shooters like me.

Myth 5: The resolution’s not high enough.
For what? One of my favorite cameras of all time is the Canon 1D MkII, and that was 8MP. Yes, there will be times when 13MP won’t be enough, I accept that, but the times will be few and far between.

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Recording a phone call with an iPhone


The iPhone doesn’t support the recording of calls, and, as a journalist, I’ve found this to sometimes be a pain. Generally I simply resort to Skype, because that’s an easy way around the problem, but when one of my colleagues asked me about the problem, it got me thinking.
I came up with a workaround.
I didn’t want to waste a lot of time on the problem, so if I couldn’t solve it with stuff in the studio, too bad. My first thought was to take the call on speaker and record it with a Zoom H1, but I thought, “that’s way too analog!”
So I thought I could run a 3.5mm cable from the headphone jack to the H1, then headphones from the H1… But this eliminated the microphone. No good.
Then I remembered my Monster SoniTalk microphone. Bought back in the day so I could take calls but use my Earmold headphones (custom molded earplugs with audio capability, used while riding motorcycles), the Monster cable was the missing link.
The solution was iphone-monster cable-headphones-3.5mm cable-H1. My colleague was rapt and the interview recorded easily.

Day 1 with OM-D EM-1 & m.zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8


I’ve quipped with people that the M.Zuiko 12-24 f/2.8 is $2300, the same price (Australian) price as the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L lens* – except when you buy the Olympus, they throw in their latest to-of-the-range camera body.

That’s what I paid for the EM-1 & 12-40, and so far I’m very impressed. The lens is beautifully built and features the sliding focus ring – push it forward for AF, pull it back a few millimetres – which it does with a satisfying click – and it’s manual focus, exposing a distance scale in the process. It’s an awesome solution to the problem of quickly disabling AF.

I used the camera and lens today to shoot the media preview of the Sydney Motorcycle & Scooter Show – everything’s handheld, mostly available light (sometimes with on-camera fill flash), auto settings – primarily Aperture Priority, but sometimes Program and even a few on iAuto just to see what I’d get.

The shots here have been imported into Aperture and exported at 2000px, not modified in any way – and the originals were JPEGs. I’ll start playing with RAW files soon.

The EM-1 and 12-24 lens is a great combination. One batch of shots was focussed on the background instead of the subject, but Aperture showed me the focus point is one the background, so I suspect I’d bumped the focus point with the toggle on the back – which I feel is a soft spot of the Olympus system – it’s too easy to move the focus point inadvertently.

I’m impressed with the JPEGs today – although there are a few I consider overexposed, generally I’m very happy with the images straight out of the camera, especially colour balance under terrible artificial light conditions. My gut tells me it’s handling the colour much better than the EM-5 of 5DMkIII.

 

• These lenses have effectively similar focal lengths of you compare the Olympus micro 4/3 field of view to full-frame on Canon, which works for me because I have a Canon 5D MkIII system in addition to the Olympus equipment.