A trip to the Kennedy Space Center

Exposure triad: I had turned the aperture ring to f/10 by mistake so ended up with and ISO of 2000 and 1/1600 sec shutter.

Yesterday January 27, 2018 I had the opportunity to go with a group of 18 participants to the Kennedy Space Center to find and photograph the Florida Scrub Jays.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy sitting on Pad 39 awaiting its launch next week or soon thereafter.  The pad is 3.6 miles from the Camera Pad where I captured this image. Image only cropped on either side.  Hand held, exposure triad: f/5.6, 1/1250 sec at ISO 200 – lens at 800mm (35mm equivalent) 

The Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) is one of the species of scrub jay native to North America. It is the only species of bird endemic to the U.S. state of Florida and one of only 15 species endemic to the continental United States. The Florida scrub-jay is the rarest of five species belonging to the genus Aphelocoma, which means ‘smooth-hair’ and refers to the absence of the head crest possessed by some of the more ubiquitous North American jays. The Florida scrub-jay has a co-operative lifestyle. Each Florida scrub-jay pair mates for life and builds a new nest each year between February and March.

G9 with the 200mm f/2.8. Exposure triad: f/5.6, 1/1250 sec at ISO 200 – lens at 800mm (35mm equivalent) 

As there was a fair amount of hiking through the scrub I carried no tripod and hand-held the Panasonic Lumix G9 with the new Leica 200mm f/2.8 lens and the 2X teleconverter.  This is an amazing combination with 6.5 stops of image stabilization the configuration was perfect for this excursion.

A sentinel Scrub Jay making an alarm call. Exposure triad: f/5.6, 1/640 sec at ISO 200 – lens at 800mm (35mm equivalent) 

For this last image I used the pre burst feature to capture RAW files with the camera set to auto focus continuous.  I selected this image for the truly awesome wing position as the jay too flight.

Pre-burst High Speed shooting. Exposure triad:f/5.6, 1/2000 sec at ISO 400 – lens at 800mm (35mm equivalent)

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Space Coast Wildlife & Birding Festival – Day 1

Great Blue Heron in early morning light. Lumix G9 with the Leica 100 – 400 at 528 mm eq. Exposure Triad: f/8, 1/320 sec ISO 800

It was a gorgeous 84 degree day yesterday when I arrived in Titusville for the Space Coast Festival but this morning it was a cold 51 degrees.  This rapid change is no good for bird photography as most of the birds were hunkered down in the mangroves.  The few that braved the cold were mostly way out of reach even with an 800 mm equivalent lens.

These are a few decent images albeit severely cropped.  Now for the good news – the new Leica 200 mm f/2.8 arrived and I have just unpacked it.  Will give this lens a shot tomorrow morning.

Snowy Egret. Lumix G9 with the Leica 100 – 400 at 800mm eq. Exposure Triad: f/6.3, 1/6400 sec ISO 400

 

Spoonbills and Great Egret. Lumix G9 with the Leica 100 – 400 at 800mm eq. Exposure Triad: f/6.3, 1/2000 sec ISO 200

 

Spoonbill Preening. Lumix G9 with the Leica 100 – 400 at 800mm eq. Exposure Triad: f/6.3, 1/1000 sec ISO 200

Posted in Lens, Lumix Leica 100-400 mm, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photographs, Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , |

21st Annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival has Appeal for Everyone

I am so looking forward to be at this festval.  As a Panasonic Lumix Ambassador, I am presenting, doing photo walks and will have all the latest Lumix Cameras and Lenses for you to try out.

Florida’s Space Coast is geographically located right between the northern temperate and the southern tropical climatic zones? That is why they are blessed with such an amazing variety of birds and animals and the places where they live. Celebrating its 21st year, the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival is the perfect place to immerse yourself in all things natural in Central Florida. Headquartered at the Titusville Campus at Eastern Florida State College January 24 through 29, the festival features some of the world’s most renowned birding and wildlife experts and wildlife photographers.

Field trips take place at the region’s best birding and wildlife sites by bus, van, car, hay wagon, pontoon boat and on foot. Some are morning trips and some last all day. Many occur on Brevard County’s Environmentally Endangered Lands properties. Pontoon boat trips provide the chance to see wildlife on the water; if you are interested in Indian River Lagoon restoration, one excursion will focus on oyster reef and living shoreline projects taking place in Mosquito Lagoon. Some of America’s leading wildlife photographers will offer classes and field workshops to help you hone your photography skills.  

The Exhibit Center features 82 booths filled with worldwide birding, nature and cultural tour operators; environmental organizations; booksellers; photographers; crafters and an outstanding representation of camera, video and optics equipment. Deals will abound on travel to many foreign lands with adventures available in Antarctica, Africa, Asia, South and Central America and more.

If you’re thinking about buying a new camera or a pair of binoculars, you don’t want to miss this event! Panasonic, Canon, Tamron and Sigma dealers will be present with camera equipment you can borrow to try out in the field. Once you make a choice, Hunt’s Photo and Video will be there with the best prices. Representatives from Swarovski, Zeiss, Opticron, Leica, Kowa and Leica will be happy to show you the latest in binoculars and spotting scopes. Make a choice and you can buy optics equipment on the spot from Time and Optics.  

Field trips and photography activities require registration; classroom talks are included in the registration fee. Entrance to the Exhibit Center is free. To register and to find the 36-page attendee guide, daily schedules and more visit www.scbwf.org.  

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The Adorama Panasonic Lumix G9 Launch Event

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The Lumix G9 and Post Focus

I have been asked this many times and no matter how much I explain it there is still some confusion.  Basically, the Post Focus function in the supporting Lumix cameras rely on the high-resolution video capability in conjunction with focus racking to capture a sequence of images that can be selected by defining the plane of focus.  So as an example, if you were to set up a yardstick and let the camera take a post-focus image – the camera would focus on the nearest point to the lens take an image and then gradually refocus a bit further out and take another image till it reached the end of the frame at the farthest point.  There would be a series of images each one at a different point of focus.  Note however that this sequence is captured using the video mode of the camera. 

Once the images are captured, the camera does internal processing that then allows you to tap on the screen to select the image that has the best focus at that selected point.  You can then opt to save this selected image.  Supporting this function is post-capture peaking to confirm focus and in addition, you can magnify the image for a selective selection.

This feature is further augmented with a merge function.  You can merge all the images captured into a single image that is tack sharp from the closest focus point to the farthest.  However what is even more useful, particularly if you use large apertures for a shallow depth of field and you want to keep your background out of focus.  You can select the range you want to merge and thereby leave the remainder of the scene out of focus.

The following image that I used as the lead image was captured in post focus and merged in its entirety.

For this next Post-focus demonstration I placed a postcard on the background and merged the entire set of images.  As you can see the postcard is in focus as are the flowers.

 

Next, I used the same Post-Focus set but this time iI selected just the range I wanted, just the flowers and executed the merge.  The following is the resulting image with the postcard nicely blurred:

I hope this gives you a better understanding of the power of this feature and the many ways you can use it.  Please note that when these images are captured using 6K Photo Mode, the resulting images are 18 MP and suitable for very large enlargements when processed with the appropriate software.

 

Posted in Educational, Flowers, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photographs, Photography Tagged , , , , , |

Introducing the LUMIX GH5S: Exceptional Mirrorless for Videography, Photography and Low Light Image Capture

  • Introducing a newly developed 10.2MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor for enhanced image quality in low light: Allowing up to 51,200 ISO recording without extended ISO.
  • Time Code IN/OUT for easy synchronization of multiple cameras and Dual Native ISO, providing low range (400) and high range (2,500) ISO environments.
  • True “Multi-Aspect Ratio” Function in Both Photo and Video

Panasonic is proud to introduce the new hybrid Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera LUMIX GH5S with expanded video recording capability and enhanced image quality. Designed and developed for professional filmmakers, the LUMIX GH5S achieves highest-ever image sensitivity and video image quality in the history of LUMIX cameras, especially in low-light situations.

Packed with big features to satisfy demanding photographers and videographers alike

The new 10.2-megapixel Digital MOS Sensor with Dual Native ISO Technology and Venus Engine 10 faithfully reproduce even dark parts of the image, allowing high ISO capture when the use of supplemental lighting may not be possible. This sensor is a multi-aspect type with a sufficient margin for realizing the same angle of view in 4:3,17:9,16:9 and 3:2 aspect ratios. The sensor also enables photo shooting in 14-bit RAW format, providing higher flexibility for professional RAW stills development workflows. When shooting in dark environments, videographers can now focus on filming that perfect shot as they no longer need to worry about noise which often results from having to use higher ISOs. The Dual Native ISO Technology suppresses noise to produce cleaner footage when taken in all light. Both videographers and photographers can now enjoy the same diagonal field of view across all aspect ratios with the True “Multi-Aspect Ratio” Function. This feature means you can easily swap between difference aspect ratios giving you the accuracy you want from your lenses, and making the process easier while producing and editing in post-production. The LUMIX GH5S is compatible with Time Code IN and OUT, like the professional camcorders, which is easy to set using the flash sync terminal and bundled conversion cable for a standard BNC terminal. This is especially important for “lip synchronization” when using multiple cameras.

The LUMIX GH5S can be used as Time Code generator for other GH5S cameras and professional camcorders. The Time Code IN/OUT functionality makes a production teams job pain-free as it provides synchronization for both video and audio devices used on multi-cam productions.

The LUMIX GH5 achieved 4KUHD 60p video recording for the first time as a digital mirrorless camera in 2017. The new LUMIX GH5S establishes a new milestone by realizing the world’s first 4K 60p video recording in Cinema 4K (4096×2160), 3 capable of internal 4:2:2

10-bit video recording up to Cinema 4K30p and internal 4:2:0 8-bit Cinema 4K60p. This is a color subsampling commonly used for film production, for even more faithful color reproduction.4

The LUMIX GH5S also records 4:2:2 10-bit 400-Mbps All-Intra in 4K 30p/25p/24p and 200- Mbps All-Intra in Full-HD.

Continuing the LUMIX GH tradition, there is no time limit for both Full-HD and 4K video recording. The LUMIX GH5S complies with 4K HDR video with Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) mode in Photo Style. A low-bit-rate recording mode, 4K HEVC for HLG, is available. This enables playback on AV equipment compatible with the HLG Display format, such as Panasonic 4K HDR TVs.

The VFR (Variable Frame Rate) function lets users record overcranked (time-lapse) and undercranked (slo-mo) video in C4K/4K (60 fps, maximum 2.5x slower) and FHD (240 fps, maximum 10x slower). A V-LogL and Rec.709 LUT (Look Up Table) are pre-installed in the camera, so users can play videos recorded in V-LogL without having to separately purchase a Software Upgrade Key. Four additional LUTs can be installed using the Panasonic Varicam (.VLT) file format.

DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology and ultra-high-speed digital signal processing achieve fast auto focusing of approximately 0.07 sec 6 with 12 fps (AFS) / 8 fps (AFC) in 12- bit RAW and 10 (AFS) / 7 (AFC) fps in 14-bit RAW high-speed burst shooting. In addition to a total of 225 focus areas, The options for Face/Eye Recognition, Tracking AF, 1-area AF and Pinpoint AF are available for precise focusing. The 4K PHOTO enables 60 fps high-speed capture in approximately 8-megapixel equivalent resolution.

Achieve outstanding footage in any environment, especially in low light

As a camera that excels in shooting in low light, the LUMIX GH5S boasts -5EV luminance detection performance with Low Light AF thanks to the higher sensitivity and optimized tuning of the sensor. Live Boost is another practical feature that makes it possible to check the composition even in total darkness, by boosting the sensitivity just for Live View. The magnification ratio in MF assist is increased from conventional 10x to 20x, which is convenient especially for astronomical photography. An AF Point Scope function, first introduced in the Lumix G9 and Night mode are also integrated.

In order to make the GH5S tough enough to withstand even heavy field use, it is composed of a magnesium alloy full die-cast front, rear and top frame that is not only splashproof7 and dustproof but also freezeproof down to -10 degrees Celsius. The GH5S is equipped with a double SD Memory Card slot, compatible with the high-speed, high-capacity UHS-II and Video Speed Class 90. Users can flexibly choose the recording method from Relay Recording, Backup Recording or Allocation Recording. The HDMI Type A terminal is provided, along with the USB-C Gen1 interface.

Exceptional image capture without concern

The GH5S has a large LVF (Live View Finder) with a stunningly high magnification ratio of approximately 1.52x/0.76x (35mm camera equivalent) providing smooth display at 120 fps. A high-precision, high-speed OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display features 3,680K-dot resolution and 100% field of view. In addition to dual dials, an omni-directional joystick enables more intuitive and flexible operation.

The GH5S includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi® connectivity to offer a more flexible shooting experience and instant image sharing with easy operation. Compatibility with Bluetooth 4.2 (called BLE: Bluetooth Low Energy) enables constant connection with a smartphone/tablet with minimum power consumption. For Wi-Fi, 5 GHz (IEEE802.11ac)8 can be selected in addition to the conventional 2.4 GHz (IEEE 802.11b/g/n) for an even more secure and stable connection.

For extended battery life and a more stable hold, the new Battery Grip DMW-BGGH5 (sold separately) is available. The XLR Microphone Adaptor DMW-XLR1 (sold separately) allows high-res sound recording with an external XLR microphone.9

The Panasonic LUMIX GH5s will be available from end of February 2018 and will retail for $2499 (body only).

Posted in Photography

Lumix G9 – High Resolution Mode

Many new cameras have repurposed their in body image stabilization to create high resolution images employing sensor shift capture.  The Lumix G9 uses the same concept but shifts the sensor by 1/2 pixel rather than a full pixel.  It captures 8 images in raw and combines them in-camera to generate a single 80 MP Raw file.  Whats more is that you can capture a single standard resolution RAW file of the same image in addition to the high resolution image.  This is a great feature for studio based product photography, still life and architectural photography.  As there is (releatively) significant capture time, any scene with moving subject matter is not suitable for High Resolution capture.  

I set up a simple shot of a Gerbera Daisy with an artificial background to test the resolution and imprtance of this feature. the image above is what I was photographing.  The shutter delay was set for 15 seconds to give me enough time to exit the room and to stabilize any vibration or tripod and camera body. The exposure triad:f/8, 1/200 sec at ISO 200.

The red stroked are is enlarged below for comparison. Of significance, is the minimal pixilation of theis crop in the hi-res image compared to the standard 20.3 MP file.  

Cropped section of the High Resolution Mode Capture

 

Cropped Section of the Standard 20.3 MP image

The  base file at 300 DPI is approx. 34.5 inches by 26 inches. I have sussessfully enlarged this image to 30 feet by 22.5 feet and the image maintains exceptional quality.

Posted in Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photographs, Photography, Product Reviews Tagged , , , , |

Warm Colors on a Frigid Afternoon

Swift River – Kankamagus Highway, NH.

On a frigid day when it is so cold that when you step out of the car it feels like your nose is going fo freeze and fall off, your fingers and toes become numb in seconds. It is no fun untill you see some golden light from the setting sun on the last day of 2017.  Now the frezing cold is forgotten – the image is all that matters.  The colors contrased against the ice, the patterns in the water and the terraces in the ice had to be captured.

This was shot with the Panasonic Lumix G9, the Leica 12-60 mm lens at 44 mm. Exposure triad: f/6.3, 1/250 sec at ISO 200.

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Panasonic Lumix G9 Continuous Auto Focus Test

First – Wishing all my readers a Very Happy New Year.

This past weekend my wife and I spent two days in Franconia, New Hampshire.  The temperatures were in the -10 to -13 Degrees in the evenings and -7 to -10 during the day.  We were hoping to photograph some ice climbers but the winds were too strong and we did not find any.  In any case, these frigid conditions were ideal for testing out how the new G9 would perform.  the camera is rated to work at temperatures below freezing down to 14 Degrees F.  This morning it was -7. I did not want to risk doing an extended time-lapse sequence but did want to test out the continuous autofocus.

Canon mountain has some decent ski slopes and there were a few skiers on the slopes.  A skier coming downhill and then swinging across to the right was the layout.  I set the camera to AFC (Auto Focus Continuous), drive mode was set to high, Manual exposure – f/5, 1/1000 sec, ISO 200.  The lens was the Leica 12-60 at mm.  I set the capture to RAW + Jpeg (large) with RAW to Card 1 and Jpeg to Card 2.  The cards were not the fastest – SanDisk V30 SDXC, 95 MB/s.

Waiting for a skier to come into view, I depressed the shutter and followed him as he came down the slope.  The sequence was 9 seconds for a total 66 images.  I was very pleased to see that the autofocus continuous mode worked really well. I believe that all 66 images in the sequence are in acceptable focus and very usable.  I would like to try a similar test with a longer lens but given the way the camera performed, despite the cold, I am extremely happy.

The entire jpeg sequence is below. The only adjustments made to the images was a small correction in white balance, sharpening and noise reduction were both zeroed out in Lightroom. The images were then exported for this display with a 1024 pixel horizontal setting. If you are interested in a folder of these jpeg images or any of the RAW files for further validation please let me know and I will be happy to get them to you.

 

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Seasons Greetings

Thank you all for a great 2017 and looking forward to 2018.

Regards,
Shiv

Posted in Photography