1.07.2020

A sample from the Lumix S1 and the "kit" lens. I think it all works pretty well and I'm happy with the way the camera handles skin tones and color.

I started using the Lumix stuff in earnest back in early October.
The image just above is from the "Day of the Dead" parade in 
downtown Austin. Lumix S1 + 24-105mm.

I've been pretty much delighted with the Lumix stuff so far. It's big and heavy and so it makes me believe my work must have more gravitas than usual...

The "kit" lens (24-105mm f4.0) is great and I find myself using it a lot for everyday stuff. It's fast enough and seems to be sharp enough, wide open, to match up well with the 24 megapixel sensor in the S1 camera. I tend to try and stay around f5.6 with the S1R camera. 

There are just a few things I wish were a bit different. First, I wish the batteries lasted longer. There is a power saving mode where one can select to have the camera go to sleep either immediately, or in 1,2 or 3 or more seconds after you take your finger off the shutter if the rear screen is in the quick menu display mode. That works, unless you want the camera to wake up super fast. But you have to remember to set it and, if you are in that display mode you'll have to hit the display button at least once before you review files or else.

I don't wish the cameras were lighter or smaller. I'm happy with those things.

I do wish that Panasonic would come out with a line of slower, smaller and less expensive lenses that are native to the system. I don't mind splashing out for expensive lenses in focal lengths I use most often but a second, smaller and lighter set would be nice for travel and street photography. 

I often replace the 2.5 pound 50mm Lumix S Pro lens with an adapted Carl Zeiss 50mm f1.7 lens because it's easier to walk around with. But I envision myself doing more stuff in the studio and in static locations this year, and less walking around in the street (concentration on portraits) so it's not a "make it or break it" deal. 

I'm going to say that at the four month mark I'm plenty happy with the Lumix S system and delighted with the images. 

Some notes from the field: I've been shooting with Fuji and Panasonic stuff for the last two years so I haven't fired up a Sony A7 series camera for video in a (relatively) long time. I got a text today from a friend who is shooting video at the CES show this week for a corporate client. He just ran into the nightmare scenario: important stuff to shoot, Sony A7iii in hand, and 20 minutes into a take the camera overheats and shuts down. He's concerned because he's got CEO interviews on the agenda and now can't trust his two primary shooting cameras to finish a long interview. He's shooting in 4K and my only two suggestions for him were to go to 1080p (much less processor intensive) and to set the "thermal shutoff" menu item to "high". That, and to pull the battery between takes to help cool down the camera interior. 

He took a couple of the Sony A7iii's with him because he predicted he'd spend a ton of time shooting "B" roll, and also wanted to travel light. It get that. Working on a gimbal on a fast moving, chaotic trade show floor is much better than trying to drag a big camera all over the place, or a big tripod for that matter. 

I gave up shooting video on the Sony A7 series back in the A7ii and A7Rii days for the same reason; overheating. I also never warmed up to editing 8 bit files from those cameras either, but I never had the same thermal issues with the Sony RX10ii or iii. They would plow through a 30 minute take without breaking a sweat. And I used the RX0iii to very good effect in Toronto on a long day of shooting with temperatures having around 10-14 degrees (f). No issues. 

My friend is also reporting that one of the cameras shuts down without warning when the battery is depleted. That's never fun. 

I've run the S1 in 4K for a full half hour with no temperature issues to speak of, same with the Fuji X-T3 and the Fuji X-H1 with the battery grip. Those cameras seem to be able to go all day long without fainting.

Some thoughts about the Nikon D780: I liked my D750, I really did. It was a good all around camera that produced great files and worked well for stills with the caveat that it, like nearly every DSLR Nikon I ever owned, was prone to backfocusing with some lenses. The D780 is more an upgrade and refresh than a big leap forward. Same 24 megapixels. A bit better video. More responsive when in "live view" mode. But the big, new positive improvement, in my view, would be the on chip phase detect AF sensors. That should go a long way toward curing the annoying tendency, when using some lenses, of getting nicely sharp earlobes and unhappily unsharp eyes in some portraits......

I'm setting a timer now and waiting for the first recall. You'll remember that the D750 had two or three recalls during its long lifespan. 

The one interesting thing (to me) about the new Canon 1DX mk3:  I watched a few videos about this new sports camera from Canon and found myself nodding my head about most stuff but I sat up and paid attention when they showcased what was new in video. The camera will now shoot full on, heavy duty, video raw files! Not just V-Log files at good bit rates but full raw files which should allow an enormous flexibility in changing the look, feel, color, exposure and overall quality of video files in editing/post processing. 

The downside is that a 64 GB card fills up entirely in about 5 minutes. Just like the old days of shooting with a 16mm movie camera and a 400 foot film load.....

The other feature that should be of interest to everyone who loves to shoot Jpegs is the introduction of a HEIC file which, I believe, Canon is called a HIF file. These are better compressed than Jpeg and feature a ten bit color space for thousands of colors rather than 256 colors. A big step in the right direction for future cameras. Just right if you have an upcoming assignment shooting at the Olympics...

Aqueously speaking: I've found the right mixture of antihistamines and mind altering coffee blends to mute the symptoms of Cedar Fever allergies so I was back in the pool Sunday and again this morning. We had a great set today courtesy of coach, Jimmy  Bynum, and my lane leader suggested finishing off our 3750 yard practice with five shooters (swim 25 meters underwater/no breath and then swim easy on the way back). Holding your breath at the beginning of workout is psychologically easier at the than after an hour and a half spent grinding out fast yards. 

Hope everyone is happy and healthy. I'm booked all of next week on photographic assignments so I'll probably slow down the pace of posting a bit. Don't construe that as a surrender....

A second image from Day of the Dead, 2019, in Austin, Texas.