Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fuji S1 versus HS50EXR versus Panasonic GM1 – Review Part 28 – Once more to the moon … stills *and* video …

Well, you knew it had to happen. The moon was sitting right there in the sky looking all moony and beautiful with a super clear, calm and warm night belying the imminent approach of winter. I just had to beat this subject utterly to death by shooting it yet one more time.

But more importantly, I wanted to check the ability of the two small cams to shoot clear imagery of the moon in video mode.

And shoot they did. The S1 in particular shot beautifully crisp video. But both small sensor cams shoot video with purely automatic exposure, and no matter what I tried, they would not meter the moon properly in video mode. The moon was blown completely out everywhere but the edge at the terminator, which looked magnificent on the S1 and ok on the HS50EXR.

Anyway, I won’t even bother showing the videos as they completely suck. So, chalk up video of the moon as something that is beyond Fuji’s video prowess.

Now, for the stills. I shot less than a dozen images from each camera, knowing that the seeing was excellent and the moon was reasonably high in the sky. I used the Tamron 500mm mirror lens and 1.4x teleconverter on the GM1, so it had the reach advantage over even the S1.

But guess what? The results are not what you would expect.

I shot only raw tonight, as I have beaten the jpegs to death by now and no longer feel like wasting the disk space. The moon is a subject that benefits from the extra pixels in L size so that was a given for the HS50EXR. I processed the GM1 first but went back and reprocessed because of tonality issues. I just did not like how I’d removed the roill off at the terminator. It made the craters crystal clear, but made the moon look really unnatural.

So I’ll show the HS50EXR first. When I say the images come up on the screen I was struck once again at how soft and grainy moon shots are with this camera. It just never comes out all that crisply. However, one of the shots was decent and is worthy of going up against the other two cameras.

I’ll show the GM1 next, for reasons that will become clear shortly …

When I saw that image, I was very pleased … right up until I saw the S1’s image …

Holy smokes! That image looks like it was shot with a decent telescope. The fine edges and overall clarity are astounding!

So the S1 wins this one easily … and it’s not all that close. The lens on the S1 is simply superb at the long end. Much better than the HS50EXR in my experience. (This might be sample variation at play, but I’m thinking not.)

The GM1 had the reach advantage, but the teleconverter’s added blur is obvious when looking at these images at their full size (right click on each and open it into a new tabs to be able to quickly compare back and forth.) Especially when compared with the S1.

Good for Fuji. The S1 has issues, but sharpness at the long end is not on that list.