Saturday, September 29, 2012

Panasonic GF3 – Review Part 2 – Low light fun …

I’ve been poking around with the GF3 for a while now and shot a few miscellaneous images in darkish light. Here are some of the result … all hand held.

Down in the basement, I have my album collection from the 70s … just waiting for me to set up my turntable in a nice usable area. Hopefully one day.

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois  @14mm  800iso  f/3.5  1/8  -2/3ev

I’m at a alight angle there, which is why the edges are softer. Very clean for 800 ISO in the dark, though. The lighting down there is very low and is compact fluorescent, which means that I was forced to adjust white balance by adding a lot of blue.

An even sharper angle …

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois @14mm 800iso f/4.5 1/6 -2/3ev

For fun, I shot an image of the lens cap for the power OIS zoom as a macro. I got this insane magnification by holding my Pentax K 50mm 1.4 in reverse against the front of the zoom’s lens. It leaves a microscopic depth of field, which looks kind of cool here. The red X appears to be floating off the page …

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois @42mm 800iso f/5.6 1/6 -2/3ev

A bathroom portrait Smile

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois @22mm 800iso f/4.6 1/200 -2/3ev

I made some smokin’ terrific crispy baked chicken last night. Everyone liked it. Simple recipe … dip chicken breasts in beaten eggs, then coat with: Panko break crumbs (Japanese light and fluffy variety), red pepper flakes, Piri Piri spice and black pepper. Place on pan (I use perforated pizza pans and bake with convection) and sprinkle each with more Piri Piri after drizzling with melted butter. Mmmmmmm …. then bake. Seriously easy and amazingly tasty.

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois @42mm 800iso f/5.6 1/10 -1/3ev

You can see that I finally noticed that I had been shooting at –2/3EV and switched it to –1/3EV. That seems the best overall setting so far. Pretty classic for a RAW shooter.

Delivered the boys to their friends’ houses for parties and on the way I stopped to shoot my Sensei’s place of business in the neighbourhood. His name is Tony Greco and he has built a strong fitness business that includes Karate (a blend of Chito Ryu and Shotokan styles originally from Dr. Chitose in Okinawa and passed along through several masters in Ontario until Sensei Tony taught it to me. I got my black belt in 1996 from Sensei Tony and am still proud to call him sensei.) Sensei Tony is now training some heavy duty NHLers and other celebrities and appears on YouTube in numerous videos on personal training.

So … back to the building … this is the first real flaw I have found in the power zoom – a tendency to flare badly with severe purple fringing. The lighting at the top of the building is really extreme, but still …

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois @26mm 800iso f/5.1 1/10 -1ev

Note the –1EV exposure compensation. Preserving lights at night is very tricky, but shooting at –1 or –2 EV is pretty much mandatory if you are to have any chance to retain some detail.

The image is mostly ruined by flare, but it can be somewhat mitigated by desaturating the bright blue somewhat …

Back inside, I shot this image of the Tamron 19-35 3.4-4.5 lens that I am pondering selling. I have been thinking about a total switch to the m4/3 system, as I really like the size of the cameras and as the Olympus OM-D has image quality now on par with my D7000. Of course, I have some great lenses for the D7000 and two excellent flashes, so it is really a major decision.

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois @42mm 1600iso f/9 4/10 –1/3ev

A surprisingly clean image, considering that the shutter was open for nearly half a second and this is hand held. I like the 800 ISO images I have been getting, but I need at least 1600 as the limit, so I raised it and found that the image was quite good. Especially since it is bathed in low, but very blue, light. And the subject is black, which means that it is nothing but shades of shadow. There is grain in the background, but it is very fine grained and not objectionable at all.

And finally … I have supported the Harvest House Ministries for decades. They do good work giving people with addiction or other issues a chance to regain some balance in their lives and go on to achieve a level of normalcy that the usual medical programs cannot manage.

This drive resulted in my getting a couple of very nice calendars and a letter opener. The opener is hand carved by one of the fellows at the center, and the must have been disappointed to see the mistake made by the stamper on the website. Bummer, but my gain.

panasonic gf3 + 14-42 pz vario power ois @42mm  1600iso  f/9  1/15 –1/3ev

So … I pronounce the GF3 quite usable in low light in RAW and with Lightroom 4.1. The clarity is very impressive and the noise is very unobtrusive. Super fine grained, just the way I like it.