Wednesday, 21 January 2009

new lightweight cameras

Well I must say that I'm getting excited about the developments in digital cameras. I've been anticipating what the Panasonic G1 micro 4/3rds format can do for my world and after reading the latest post from DPReview about it I'm very keen.

I've made this composite overlay (scaling the cameras to be same dimensions) which I reckon represents the size difference.

I have been pleased with images taken with my 10D, but after using compact cameras for so long I'm tired of heavy lumps. For example (as mentioned in my previous post) the 10D together with my Tokina 12-24 makes 1.3Kg slung off my shoulder, while the Lumix weighs around half at 630g.

With a big sensor and incorporating the improvements that have happened in sensors since the 10D its not surprising that it makes images that outdo the 10D.

Just in case you don't know what I mean about the sizes of sensors, most digital SLR cameras have a sensor which is called APS sized (because there was a film called APS) and when chips were expensive to make the camera makers tried to save money by making is another "format" called Four Thirds (of 4/3'rds). {Note: its perhaps worth mentioning that APS film less died because it was smaller than 35mm and had no significant other advantages}

As you can see from this figure while the 4/3'rds sensor is smaller than the more common APS its still rather larger than the more common sizes presently used to gather the light for your 10MegaPixels. In fact its more than 4 times the light gathering area of the sensor in cameras like the Canon G10.

Signal processing helps the camera makers get the most out of their small sensors, but if you've got a bigger better signal to start with you can make better and cleaner images with your RAW files.

Here's an example. Using RAW processing and some software I can make much more from the files my camera captures and open up new worlds of photography for me (and anyone else who owns one). On this file I was initially disappointed by the conversion (in camera JPG and from RAW in photoshop) as below:

Taj Mahal one corner

I've recently been finding that I can take my basic RAW file and with little effort in Photoshop and Photomatix get it to look like this:

tone Mapped Taj

now that's more like what I saw at the Taj on the early morning we were there.

Roll on future!

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