Monthly Archives: November 2019

Luminar 4 released

Skylum today released Luminar 4. You can get your copy or upgrade your current version. Luminar 4 now costs $US89 for new customers / US$74 for owners of previous versions of Luminar, but you can now get a US$10 discount if you use the code VERMA. Click on the image above or click here

Posted in Photography

Pushing the Limits

It was very early morning when we spotted this young lion. He has been through some territorial fights – see the scars. The sun had not risen and I was not sure if I could get a decent image. Captured with the Panasonic Lumix S1R and the S Pro 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens. I had the ISO on “auto”, and I set the shutter speed to 1/160 sec (i wanted to be as close to one over the focal length I was at). The focal length was at 130mm. The aperture was set at f/2.8 and the camera set the ISO to 16000. Typically I set the limit at ISO 6400 but there would be no image at that sensitivity.

The image a direct conversion from RAW to JPG – no adjustments at all except a crop for composition. The noise reduction is at 0, sharpening at 0. Image processed using Capture One 12.

Please do click on the image to view it larger.

IMPRESSIVE!!!

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Lumix S Pro 70-200 f/2.8 hand-held

Zebra Family at Sunset

One of the greatest features of Lumix cameras, the G and the S series is the incredibly good image stabilization. On the S1R was rated at 6 stops. With firmware version v1.1, the in-body IS system will reduce shake by an additional 1/2-stop, for a total of 6 stops with non-stabilized lenses and 6.5 stops with Dual IS-compatible glass. With the new S Pro 70-200 f/2.8, the stabilization is rated at 7 stops.

This image was captured hand-held with the S1R and the S Pro 70-200 and a 2X Teleconverter. The combined focal length was 400mm. Exposure triad f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 800.

Click on the image to view a larger rendition.

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Lilac Breasted Roller

Lilac Breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)

This bird is one of my absolute favorites. This avian lives in acacia country where there are well-spaced trees, bushy game lands, riverside areas, and cultivated lands. However, they do not associate with human habitation. They are about 14 in. long.

The Lilac Breasted Roller is also referred to as the Fork Tailed Roller or Mosilikatze’s Roller. They typically perch at high points of trees, poles, etc. so the can spot thir prey close to ground level. they will swoop down to grab insects, scorpions, lizards and even small birds.

This specimen was photographed with the Panasonic G9, the Leica 50-200 lens with the 2X tele-adaptor. Exposure triad: f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 250.

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My impressions of the new 70-200 mm L mount zoom lens – LUMIX S PRO 70-200 O.I.S (S-E70200)

I had the pleasure of using two of these lenses, albeit pre-production, with two Lumix S1R bodies while on my trip to Tanzania. I used these with and without the 1.4X and 2X teleconverters in order to extend the reach as needed. With the high resolution of the S1R cropping is a viable option.

The Pro S 70-200 has one of the best image quality performance I have seen in a zoom lens in the range. The lens surely must meet or exceed certain stringent standards to be certified by Leica.

Color rendition
Leopard resting
Exposure triad f/63, 1/500 sec, ISO 2000

Tech details: 22 elements in 17 groups, the use of 2 UED (Ultra Extra-low Dispersion) lenses, 3 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses. Magnification .21X with a close focus distance of .95m. Focus range switchable from Full to .95m-5m and 5m to Limit. The lens is 208.6mm (8.2 in) long with a max diameter of 94.4 mm (3.72 in)and weighs 1,570 gm (3.46 lb). Filter diameter 82mm. It is dust and splash resistant and has a working temperature range of -10 C to 40 C (14 F to 104 F). The focus speed is rated at 0.12 sec. at the extended focal length of 200 mm. It has a focus clutch to allow manual – autofocus switching and the lens barrel has three programmable focus buttons. Dual IS – when coupled with a Dual IS2 body the overall image stabilization is rated at 7 stops. The provided lens collar has an Arca Swiss compatible foot.

Superb detail and dynamic range
African Elephant and Calf
Exposure triad f/8, 1/1000 sec, ISO 500

I found that the lens had exceptional focusing speed and now understand why. The lens uses a double focus system. A large linear motor is used for long-throw adjustments and a stepper motor is used for small incremental strokes. All focusing is internal and the focusing lenses are light so as to allow rapid movement during focusing. The focus frame rate is 480 FPS and the lens tracks subjects incredibly well. This combination clearly has the fastest focusing I have experienced in the Lumix lens line-up. The close focus distance is .95m or about 3 feet. Even at this close range, there is no visible distortion. in-fact the has little to no distortion over its entire zoom range even wide open at f/2.8.

Smooth focus fall-off.
Impala Stag
Exposure triad f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 400
Another example of smooth focus fall-off
Cheetah Yawn
Exposure triad f/8, 1/1300 sec, ISO 3200
Fast action capture
Wildebeast Migration
Exposure triad f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 250
Tracking performance with fast-moving subjects
Wildebeast (Connochaetes gnou)
Tracking performance
Impala on the run (one of the fastest four-legged animals)
Exposure triad f/6.3, 1/800 sec, ISO 320
Tracking performance.
Juvenile African Fish Eagle  (Haliaeetus vocifer).
Exposure triad f/11, 1/800 sec, ISO400
Low Light Detail
Lion Family on Kill
Exposure triad f/8, 1/800 sec, ISO 2500
Low light longer exposure.
Serval Cat (Leptailurus serval)- 2x teleconverter used. Exposure triad f/5.6, 1/200 sec, ISO12800

For the duration of the Tanzania safari, I never mounted either S1R on a tripod or any other clamp or mount. All images were captured hand-held and the image stabilization was amazing even at slow shutter speeds.

Note: Some images have been cropped and some have a vignette applied for presentation purposes.

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Tanzania – October 2019

My Tanzania photo safari was truly one of the best wildlife photography experiences. I took a pair of Panasonic Lumix S1R full-frame cameras and the Lumix G9 micro four-thirds camera. Various lenses, a tripod, and ball-head that were never used. However, I did mount a Platypod Ultra with a ball-head to the armrest of the Land Cruiser. This provided all the mounting and support I ever needed for both camera systems. Yes I was over the weight allowance but was prepared and prepurchased excess baggage coverage.

The following are a few images captured with the Lumix G9, the Leica 50-200 mm lens and a 2X Tele-extender.

African Elephants protecting a sleeping calf.
Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/400sec at ISO 640.

I spent the entire time at the Nasikia KasKaz Mara Camp in Northern Tanzania. The camp is a 45-minute drive from the Kogatendi airstrip. My superb guide Moodie is both a bird and leopard expert and a great photographer too.

This next image was captured at one of the many vast grasslands of the Serengeti. These Cheetahs are brothers who stay and hunt together and rarely stray beyond their marked territory.

Cheetah Brothers
Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/1000 sec at ISO 640.

Northern Serengeti has an abundance of bird species. It is truly a birder’s paradise. The African Fish Eagle fishing is a fairly common sight along the Mara River. Here I am not sure who is eying who.

Yellow-billed Stork and African Fish Eagle.
The pink flush on the stork indicates breeding status.
Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/640 sec at ISO 200 EV -0.3.

It was late afternoon when I spotted this Little Green Bee Eater. It grabbed what you see in this beak, swallowed it and then realizing it was not what it thought it was – spat it out with a vengeance.

Little Green Bee Eater.
Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/800 sec at ISO 1000.

The last image for this post is of a pair of Nubian Woodpeckers. It is most interesting to hear the pair call in unison.

Nubian Woodpecker Pair
Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/640 sec at ISO 320 EV+1.3.

Stay tuned for a lot more from this trip.

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