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Tuesday, 03 March 2009

Comments

I'm enthralled with the idea of this camera. I haven't heard many stories about the G1 besides the reviews. Any thoughts, ideas, great resources to learn more about this?

Is that 7-14mm (14-28mm-e) the widest (angle of view on intended format) available rectilinear lens for sub-FF cameras? The various 10mm lenses are 15mm-e or 16mm-e (Nikon or Canon).

Of course in FF we have 14mm usually, and the old Sigma 12-24mm full-frame lens.

That 7-14mm looks very pretty indeed.
And a wideangle that size would make an excellent street lens.

Are you aware of the lengths Panasonic has gone to in hiding flaws in their standard zoom lens:

http://www.photozone.de/olympus--four-thirds-lens-tests/414-panasonic_1445_3556

Software correction for lens aberrations isn't new, but getting third-party raw converters (such as ACR) to do the dirty work is.

If the result of the correction is something you are happy with who cares? I'm pretty pleased they did this. I dislike SilkyPix and correcting things by hand in ACR is a PITA.

I really would like to have seen Klaus do his lens review with and without correction.

@David

Olympus also has a 7-14/4.

If the 7-14 and 20/1.7 end up being decent lenses, I'd be happy to dump Nikon and get a GH1. I'd love to have a fold out screen again! And all in such a compact package*.

* That's what she said?

Yes, Stephen, that issue's been discussed here before.

I'm with Mike -- where's the 20mm? The roadmap said that was to be the next lens out for this system, and it's one of the reasons I bought the camera. If they welch on the 20mm, they can forget about me as a customer in the future.

Pretty cool they chose 24fps for video. That plus the 20/1.7 would make some nice-looking videos.

Tasty. Want!

Next up: Compact primes please!

And didn't I read somewhere that the new GH1 sports a new sensor and processing engine? Panasonic promises better image quality at higher ISO's.

If the low-light IQ is indeed on a par with most DSLR's, this will be da bomb, whether in black or red...

The write-up on the Amateur Photographer website says:-

Panasonic also plans to launch a 45mm f/3.8 Macro lens later this year, along with a 20mm f/1.7 'pancake' optic. These are expected to go on sale in the autumn.

It also says:
Panasonic has also announced plans to launch adapters that enable Micro Four Thirds cameras to accept Leica M and R-mount lenses, expected to arrive in the autumn.

http://www.amateurphotographer.com/news/PMA_Panasonic_launches_videoequipped_GH1_camera_news_277857.html

I am even more tempted to buy this than I was the G1. But I'm holding on to see what Olympus has to offer.

Yes, I read that too: the new sensor is more sensitive, less noisy (tastes great?), at least according to http://dpnow.com/5753.html

...and multiple video resolutions and speeds, including 60fps @ 1280x720p

I wonder what HD video shot with Summicron-M's and Contax G lenses are going to look like...

Granted that a G1 with video was expected, what impresses me is that at least on paper, Panasonic has done it right.

- High quality EVF so you can shoot video without holding the camera at arms' length.

- User-adjustable aperture.

- Autofocus while recording.

- Stereo sound and a mic input.

Of course we'll have to see what the results look like and what the price point is, but this could be the ultimate soccer parent's camera, an excellent blogging/podcasting camera, and possibly even of interest to PJs.

Ever since I found out that the G1 sensor has difficulty with Leica M lenses (Sean Reid found oblique rays produce very bad results) I've been a bit bummed on the concept. I was hoping it could help me get my foot wedged in the M system door. Now I'm left with the pipe dream of Leica re-launching one of these with offset microlenses.

This said, I think the 7-14 is the real news of the day. Between the Nikkor 14-24 and the new Zeiss Distagon 21mm it looked like DSLRs were finally getting the perfect wide-angle lenses we've been dreaming of. But this little 7-14 has the potential to meet them both at a much lower price. The very short sensor plane distance naturally leads to better wide-angle lenses (see: Leica). We'll soon find out.

Ultrawide + articulating display = great street shooter. The old Olympus E-330, when paired with the ZD 7-14mm or the 8mm fisheye, was well-regarded for exactly that reason.

Dear Stephen,

I first became aware of Fred Picker in the mid-1970s when Ilford Gallerie paper appeared. I chanced across a review of his in the Zone VI newsletter. He trashed the paper. Ilford Gallerie had an unusual emulsion that required very active development, and Ilford produced a special developer for use with that paper to produce the best results. They made it very clear that you could not expect good results from that paper without using their developer.

Well, good old Fred decided that was unacceptable. Since the standard industry developer was Dektol he was going to test the paper in Dektol, by God. Big surprise, it looked terrible. So he reported to the world it was an awful paper.

I'd have found his review acceptable if he gave the paper a demerit for requiring a special developer, while testing it according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Instead, he just wasted words, his time, and mine.

Photozone committed the same sin.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
=====================================

"They made it very clear that you could not expect good results from that paper without using their developer."

I must have missed the fine print that said the lens is only to be used with Silkypix or ACR s/w, and only on their body with the corresponding corrections.

The underreported feature of this camera is definitely the sensor. Like the LX-3, the GH-1 offers a real choice when choosing aspect ratios: instead of 1:1, 3:2, and 16:9 being mere crops of the 4:3 image, the sensor is actually large enough to cover the full image circle needed for all of those aspect ratios. The image height and width expand and contract to the full image circle at a given aspect ratio, and field of view is maintained. I think this is fantastic, and would love to see more cameras doing it. It'll be great to shoot 1:1 or 16:9 without cropping out a ton of useful resolution.

I'm with everyone lamenting the no-show status of the 20mm. I was excited about that one; tiny like a Pentax DA Limited, but fast like a normalish prime should be.

No offense to Ctein, but it seems that photozone's only "sin" [in showing the Panasonic's severe barrel distortion] was doing what DxOmark gets plaudits for: telling the public about the unprocessed recording by the sensor.

No one's arguing that a manufacturer doesn't have the right to specify exactly how it *wishes* its images will be processed, but a lot of us still want to see how the raw images look without that officially-approved processing.

Post-processing was one of the most freeform, personal, and experimental aspects of film photography, and I hope that (regardless of what any camera manufacturer might wish!) it can remain so in the digital age.

This is a pretty interesting camera... one that I have absolutely no need for, but nevertheless one that greatly interests me.

A decent dSLR, and a poor man's RED digital HD video camera? One that can autofocus and adjust exposure while filming? Now, if only you can rig up stops for zooming and manual focus so you can shoot like a real cinematographer... wow! Quentin Tarentino, here I come!

Robert,

But that doesn't help the person who will buy it and wants to use it with ACR/LR or SilkyPix. I'd like the numbers corrected and uncorrected.

As 90% of the people who buy the camera will use one of those two processors (or just out of camera jpegs) it seems reasonable that the review should reflect the results you'll actually see.

Taylor,
cameralabs.com has a good review of the G1, including video.

I'm more in agreement with Ctein's line: You want to see how the final intended output looks like. DxO or Photozone can state what they like in terms of "neutrality" or truth, but really, is anyone going to process their photos in such a way?

It's good to use for a reference, but the problem is most people use it to judge a product. I think that's my (and Ctein's I guess) beef with such reviewing methodologies.

As for the 20mm, they should be developing it; http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?id=2804&cid=18&pg=4>here's a link to an article with a photo of the GH1 behind glass. Photo's at the bottom of the linked page. Note that the article was published last month, and shows what looks like a really compact lens next to the GH1.

Ctein, I get your point and was no great fan of Fred Picker and some of his opinions.

But was it really necessary for you to speak ill of the departed in order to support your argument against DxO?

All this talk of street shooting, video, PJ etc...

The big news for me with this (and I'm keen to see the 20mm too) is the small travel combo.
I do a lot of hiking trips and it looks like a G1 or GH1 with the 14-200 will make a great outfit for me, if image quality is decent. Likewise taking along on cycling trips.

It's a shame they went with the traditional SLR form-factor. With an EVF, they could have just as easily done a rangefinder style body (and had a rangefinder/viewfinder focus like a Contax G2).

I haven't bought a digital since my D70. But I'd buy a digital that handled like a Contax G2 (or Canonet or Yashica 35GSN).

It'll happen eventually, and not in some retread Epson/Cosina frankencamera.

I hope soon most, if not all, slrs include video. It's a fantastic addition for it seems like not an excessive cost, and I think it has the power to revolutionize amateur film making. Many people want to make a film at various points in there lives, but few of us know some with a high end camcorder suitable for that, and for that, I think cameras like this will be great

I just hope the video mode isn't achieved by row skipping (aka line skipping) which is to say that only every other or possibly even third row of pixels are used.

The 5D MKII employs that technique, and it can create some pretty bad moire and aliasing:
http://www.redgrabs.com/up/1228226829.jpg

Mike, when you said the camera had a lens "specifically designed for video", I had a brief moment of great interest. Until I saw it wasn't a parfocal. That would be very nice for video.

And I really didn't expect them to start using marketing tricks from compacts so early: "Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken." Ew. At least they didn't openly say it's "stabilisation".

OTOH, it will be interesting to see how much the sensor advanced in low light performance.

It will also be interesting to see how that Intelligent Multiple metering works.

I find it interesting that the kit lens is a super-zoom. If they have managed to squeeze better quality out of such a lens than Canon and Nikon have, then that is pretty big news in itself.

Panasonic also plans to launch a 45mm f/3.8 Macro lens later this year, along with a 20mm f/1.7 'pancake' optic. These are expected to go on sale in the autumn.

All I really need with a camera like this is the 20/1.7 and a portrait lens, say 45mm. But someone please tell me why it's f/3.8 for crying out loud? That's the slowest EFL 90mm lens I've ever heard of. Why not 45/1.8 or, at the very least, 45/2.8?

In the pictures, the 45mm macro is f/2.8, not f/3.8.

Ahh, must have been a typo on the part of the original poster.

Do you have a link to the pictures you're speaking of?

"..It'll be great to shoot 1:1 or 16:9 without cropping out a ton of useful resolution."

Will - You are, in fact, still cropping out useful resolution, albeit in what I think is a more intelligent way. What they've done is shrink the "default" number of pixels used below what it would have been given the same sensor with a single mode. That way no single mode uses an area that really changes the angle of view.

The image circle formed by the lens isn't special. And, as with all digital cameras, it is large enough to cover the whole sensor. The difference is in which pixels are used.

I think the key point here is that the different aspects purportedly show up differently in the viewfinder. I think that could make a big difference in the way people compose.

From what I read, the pixel pitch is exactly the same as on the G1, and with the 4/3 aspect ratio, it produces the same 4000x3000 images that the G1 does. However, the sensor is physically bigger. That would mean that the extreme corners aren't necessarily covered by a 4/3 lens. The sensor is presumably rectangular though just for fabrication reasons.

In other words: take the image circle, inscribe maximal rectangles of the appropriate aspect ratios, and take the bounding rectangle that encompasses all of those. That's the physical size of the sensor.

David L.,

What you have described is exactly what I have taken them to have done.

David B.,

You're saying the camera is oversampling? I don't think that is the case.

I agree that it'll be a treat to be able to compose for these aspect ratios in the viewfinder.

Finally, it appears I was at least a little bit wrong. 16:9, 3:2, and 4:3 appear to be actual choices. Sadly, 1:1 produces a smaller image in both dimensions than is captured by the 4:3 mode. I can't imagine why that is, but there you have it.


I read it was "under $2000". I was hoping that it would be in the upper Rebel price range but looks like it's going to be priced against the 50d kind of camera?

It would not take much at all for me to sell out of my Canon stuff for this camera. I'd like to be able to mess around with cheap fun manual lenses again. The video end seems awesome. Canon did whatever it could to drain me of money and their customer service has been unspeakably bad.

That said, the sensor on my old 5d is still seriously sweet and I love the prints I've made with it. I'd need to know that the sensor on this camera was competitive up to 13x19 with the old 5d to make the jump. What are the chances of that?

While it's odd that 1:1 produces a 2992x2992 image, since it can do a 4000x3000 imaage, I doubt it'll be able to produce anywhere close to a 4000x4000 image. As David Long has mentioned, the sensor is likely rectangular, with a height of slightly more than 3000 pixels. If the sensor has a 3:2 ratio, that gives a width of slightly more than 4500 pixels, which all adds up to the 14 megapixel sensor stated in the specification.

I fail to see the need for video in what is basically a still camera. If I want to do video, I would get a video camera.

Also regarding the video, unless the 24fps can be changed in a menu,it not going to be very useful where 25fps is the standard.

Will - Not exactly sure what you mean by oversampling. All I'm saying is that the sensor is still a fixed rectangle. So if you use any aspect ratio other than that of the sensor, you are not using all of the pixels. Now the way this was implemented in this camera keeps the diagonal about the same; Which means your field of view is the same in the different modes. In order to do that, none of the modes use all of the pixels. (AFAIK, In other cameras with multiple modes like this, one of them DOES use all the pixels, but field of view changes for the others.)

What David L said, though, sounds correct. That's interesting to know. I guess what I was getting at with regard to the image circle is that it didn't change. It's the sensor and the way it's used that changed.

I think maybe I just wasn't clear, and we're pretty much on the same page.

Hey, wait a minute people! I said nothing about DxO; Robert dragged them into the discussion. I don't consider it relevant nor germane. (For one thing, show me a single case where a camera body manufacturer has indicated that in order to obtain acceptable results their RAW files need to be processed in some specific way other than what DxO does.) My comments were solely about photozone's review. Do not co-opt them to other ends. I repudiate efforts to tie my comments to DxO.

I do not have any beef with standardized methodologies. My beef is with reviewers who use ONLY standardized methodologies In cases where they know that that will produce a flawed result.

Mani, I do not revere the dead. I will speak as good or ill of them as I will of the living. In fact, I'm more likely to speak ill of the dead because I don't have to worry about hurting their feelings. In my opinion Fred Picker was a blight on the profession. I knew him to be dishonest in his pronouncements, his testing, and his business dealings. I did not respect him when he was alive, and I am not about to do so when he is dead.


~ pax \ Ctein
[ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]
======================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com 
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com 
======================================

John -

If you wanted to take video with a camera that allowed for shallow depth of field and interchangeable lenses in order to get a professional "look," you would have to spend thousands and thousands(perhaps tens of thousands) of dollars on a video camera. That is what is so attractive about the video capabilities of these cameras. A typical consumer cam, even with high def cannot touch it in terms of flexibility or low light performance. Even if most of a video is shot with a consumer video camera, selective scenes can be added shot with narrow DOF to give the final product more artistic credibility. So, these digital still/video cameras can complement a video camera. Even if one is only going to take family photos and videos, why carry around two cameras when you can get by with one. Right now, no consumer video cameras can produce a still photo of reasonably good quality (IMO).

Sooner or later, someone harps about buying a video camera instead of a still camera.

Here's the thing: There's no video camera at this price point that has a sensor this big. They're all using some version of a tiny chip.

Take a look at the Vimeo HD samples of the Nikon D90. The results, while potentially having wobble, and generally exhibiting a lower bitrate, look very film-like. It's just beautiful. I have yet to see a video camera under $4k come close.

Here's the thing: There's no video camera at this price point that has a sensor this big. They're all using some version of a tiny chip.

Considering that even professional HD cameras have 2/3" sensors at best, I don't think the argument is particularly valid. Take a look at Panasonic HD offerings. Or what Sony has. And then take a look at their prices.

And no, I'm not a fan of video in still cameras.

Yeah, we are all on the same page. What confuses me about the 1:1 is that it is 2992x2992 instead of 3000x3000, since that portion of the 4:3 frame should be available in full. At any rate, I did the math and the three "full" aspect ratios all work out to a diagonal of really close to 5000 pixels, which is correct. At that size, a proper 1:1 that fills the image circle would be 3535x3535. Sad to see that isn't an option, as that'd offer quite a bit over the 2992x2992.

After doing the math, I found this, which gives a nice visual aid (and includes the footnote that "Multi-aspect doesn't support 1:1."

http://panasonic.net/avc/lumix/systemcamera/gms/gh1/high_image.html#no01

By rights, the sensor doesn't *need* to be any larger than 4352x3000 to get all of the aspect ratios covered. Interestingly enough, if the chip is indeed 4:3 as the Panasonic Illustration suggests, and is no wider than it needs to be for the 16:9 crop, then the height should be 3264, and the 1:1 could theoretically be 3264x3264. That could easily add more than an inch to each dimension in a top-quality print, so I wonder why it isn't there.

It'd be great if the camera were hacked to deliver RAW files of the full sensor, vignetting and all, just to have it.

"What confuses me about the 1:1 is that it is 2992x2992 instead of 3000x3000, since that portion of the 4:3 frame should be available in full."

Yeah, there is something fishy going on there.

Panasonic G1 and Olympus E-30 have basically the same sensor. And while G1 has the resolution of 4000x3000, E-30 has 4032x3024. E-30 also has the crop of 1:1 (called 6x6) and it's 3024x3024.

Hmmm. Maybe it's because of the distortion correction on G1 and, presumably, on GH1?

BTW, Will, you can always try LightZone or DNG Recover Edges when they add GH1 support. You will have more pixels than the official resolution.

Dear Will,et.al.,

You're worrying about an invisible difference in file dimensions. You really can't see a 9% change in the pixel dimensions unless you pixel-peep like mad.

It's not about whether you can print an inch larger-- you can always print an inch larger. It's about whether you'll see the difference between, say, a 350 source-ppi print and a 320 source-ppi print. You won't.

As for 3000 vs 2992... that's a joke.

pax / Ctein

Cool graphic Will...thanks. What is interesting is that Panasonic wasn't caught up in the "megapixel" race (that admittedly seems to be dieing out at the non-pro level). They even state that "Using only 12.1-megapixel of the total 14.0-megapixel Live MOS sensor gives the DMC-GH1 a multi-aspect ratio capability." So they are saying, "yeah, we throw away pixels because this is better". Cheers to them - more companies should do more interesting things like this...

Ctein,

You're absolutely right that I could always print at a lower DPI and never know the difference. Still, if the chip occupies that real estate, I'd like to use it, both for print fidelity and to get as wide an angle of view as is possible.

I mocked up the image circle/sensor in Illustrator and took a look at what it would mean for them to do a full 1:1 aspect ratio, and it certainly isn't worth it. It adds quite a bit of chip that is either never used (falls outside of the image circle entirely) or is used only for the 1:1 aspect ratio. Pity that it isn't so, because I'd love to see some kind of digital camera using the old Hasselblad V-series argument of taking the best part of every lens. I'd like more cameras with 1:1 in general. I'm glad it is still an option, even at less resolution and smaller angles of view.

I also know that the difference between 2992 and 3000 is impossible to detect, I just wonder what the reason is for not using all of the 3000 (or more if the chip is indeed "taller")? If it is there, it stands to reason it should be usable, right?

Will

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