Monday, October 11, 2010

F300EXR – Review Part 24 – Some random images …

It’s been a while since I showed you some random images and described what it was like to shoot them with the F300EXR. So that’s what this part is all about …

An image of Karen, shot at a restaurant in very bright and nasty colored light. I used fill flash at 800 ISO and this managed to destroy the colors in the image as the sunlight balanced flash mixed with the overhead lights. Hence, the lack and white treatment. I also shot this with the usual DR400 settings, which, alongside the –.67ev compensation, might explain why the TV in the background is perfectly legible.

DSCF0498_karen[1] The next day, I noticed that my fence was really getting bad in one spot. This fence is about 20 years old, a rather impressive life span for wood fencing. But it shows its age in ever way, with panels falling down every year when the wind blows hard. This damage was aggravated by squirrels sitting on the platform provided. Anyway, it’s fixed now … as for the exposure, ISO 100 at –1ev to hold theb ackground highlights. This adds to the smearing of details on the fence, and raising the shadows did not help much. Still, I do not find the details objectionable … the smoothness of the fence in the foreground (right side) is also explainable because of depth of field limitations at 240mm approx.

DSCF0503_fence_needs_repair[1]

I next focused on the lattice itself … the one standing up on the right that is :-) This image is also shot at –1ev, again to hold the background, which is much brighter than the fence itself. This was shot at 200 ISO though, because I shot at the full 360mm …

DSCF0504_lattice[1] Very decent detail in my opinion … and note the incredibly shallow depth of field at 360mm, despite the tiny sensor. DOFMaster.com reports projected depth of field (DOF) of about .26 feet (3 inches) at 8 feet at f/5 at 66mm (360mm equivalent) for a 1/2” sensor. So … that’s just about exactly what we see here. It’s cool when the laws of physics become visible to us …

Just beyond my fence are some shamefully tall thistles :-) … and since the season is long over, I thought I’d capture one for posterity … at 360mm, the background blurs out nicely even thought I am shooting a subject from a bit of a distance …

DSCF0505_thistle[1] I watched for a while as a crow sat on my neighbour’s chimney … eventually I thought I’d shoot a few images to see what I could get. The answer is not much … a decent silhouette I suppose … the branches here look pretty nice after some processing … but they don;t look very pretty at 100%. This is *so* not a pixel-peeper’s camera …

DSCF0510_crow[1]

I’ve always been enamored with the sun’s power to warm scenes during the late afternoon … and tree bark takes on a gorgeous glow with lots of little details showing. Here we see a neighbor’s tree bared for the coming winter, but it still looks completely alive in the glow of the sun.

DSCF0522_tree[1] Click through to see it in all its glory. Those of you with quality monitors that are hardware calibrated will get a real show … the others might see it a bit more washed out, as it looks on my TN panel. But still, the glow of the bark is there.

The more observant of you will note the blur in the upper left corner of this camera. Bummer. But something I can personally live with.

As evening approaches, I pop into the backyard and shoot this little scene with the patio chairs … the colors are a bit cool and the details are not too bad …

DSCF0526_chairs[1] And just to be clear on how well the details are preserved for 800 ISO …

DSCF0526_crop[1] I really do find that acceptable for a compact with the kind of reach I have in the F300 …

What happens when you shoot an airplane in the distance? A long, long way away … well, you get some edges that only a mother could love. But at web sizes, it’s a cute image.

DSCF0527_airplane[1] My garden this year had a mind of its own. I don;t even know what th is … perhaps a thistle in the final stages … I don’t really know. But this walkway is over grown right now, and that makes for a mildly interesting image as the day fades …

This is shot at 400 ISO and –.67ev … And still the sky could not be saved, although the sky was washing out at this point because of the lateness and depth of the shade I was shooting in.

DSCF0530_done[1]

Facing the other way, across the pool, we have the lovely Purple Ninebark next to the Silver-Leaf Dogwood. The burning bush is poking out from underneath. And there is a peak of the Annabelle Hydrangeas bottom left corner. The darkness of the scene required 800 ISO to capture. I should have changed the –.67 ev here, but I left it on. Had I moved it to 0ev, though, it might have jumped to 1600 ISO to get adequate shutter speeds.

DSCF0531_ninebark_dogwood[1]

Around the other side of the house and we get some serious shade. And here we are forced to shoot at 1600 ISO again … layers of native plants :-)

DSCF0534_layers[1]

Over to the fence, where we have better tones again and the camera chooses 400 ISO … I am in macro mode at 24mm, and the F300EXR gets really, really close …

DSCF0538_bolt[1]

The next day, I am off to get the newly painted grill piece installed back onto my car My mechanic is a great guy who lives way out in another town … about 30 minutes from my house. A nice drive in the country though, and I especially like this property, about 300 meters from his house.

Here stand a couple of barns … old and new …

DSCF0542_barns[1]

Closer focus on the older barn … 360mm at 100 ISO.

DSCF0543_barn[1] And finally, the field  beside the barns … note that the depth of field does not allow the whole field to remain in focus …

DSCF0544_field_hill[1]

And later that day … here is the grill for my car … it outshines the rest of the car, but that just means that it is time to get it detailed again :-)

That’s my Ash tree reflected in the paint and windshield …

DSCF0552_car[1] And there you have it … the F300 is a pretty nice general purpose camera. In dull light and with distant foliage is does not satisfy, but I still find it quite useful for the kind of shooting I like to do when just plinking about.

4 comments:

Shawn Pfaff said...

Another exhaustive review - thanks Kim. Given your experience with the 300, do you recommend it over the F70 or F80 assuming money is no object? Since money IS an object for me, would a great deal on the 70 or 80 outweigh any benefits of the 300?

Kim Letkeman said...

Shawn, I can't really say that I enjoy the F300 any more than the F70 or F80. All three are fun cams and all are about the same size. I will be attending a couple of concerts in two weeks, so I will know more then ... sort of. I do not plan to bring the others with me, but I do plan to test the video against the ZS3. That will determine if I keep the ZS3 along with the F300.

The F70 still wins for best overall image quality in low light. All three will smear in dull light, but the F70 holds off the longest.

But if you shoot the kind of things you see here, and in my gallery (puppets up! and Jacksonville are the F80, San Antonio and Helsinki are the F70) then you should be satisfied with any of them. I.e. a bargain would be a good thing.

DavMarx1994 said...

What compact superzoom do you currently recommend? Any from other manufacturers?

Kim Letkeman said...

DavMarx: I currently recommend any of the EXR cameras for still imagery. The F70 gives the cleanest high ISO, but the F80 and F300 all do a decent job in low light and for concerts. Still, I would choose the F70 were I recommending only one for someone who does not want to run post processing software. I will know in a few weeks how the F300 handles concerts in second-tier venues.

For video, the ZS3 is outstanding. The F300 seems promising with much better audio clarity than the F70 and F80, but we'll only know once I've recorded some concert footage in a few weeks (Josh Ritter and Wintersleep.)