Sunday, 6 December 2015

Panasonic 25mm f1.7 (the m43 Shallow Normal I've been waiting for)

well recently a bargain of epic unmissable proportions came across my vision and I bought the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 for US$99 (plus shipping) which I just clicked "buy" on it immediately.

So this is my quick review of how the lens performs for me and how it fits with my equipment , style and needs.

Readers of my blog will know that I've long wished for a shallow normal, for example read these links dating back to 2010:
and here

When the Olympus 25f1.8 was released I was tempted, but just felt that it wasn't worth that much to me (they weren't cheap. Then the Panasonic 25mm f1.4 was even dearer (and bigger).

So now with the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 in hand I can say for me I've found the Graile.

Like Goldilocks pronounced, its not too dear, its not too heavy and its just about perfect.


This lens is great to use, it feels very natural for an old school 35mm SLR camera guy and feels great on my GH1, where it operates perfectly.
It feels less perfect on a compact camera, but my view is that such a camera makes subject "engagement" through the viewfinder (what view finder) impossible and when dealing with shallow DoF you'll really need to take care with placement (or take pot luck with results).
There is no substitute for faster apertures in low light, but its a killer outdoors.

The meat

I use a normal lens as (in my view) it was intended. A lens to take general purpose shots: shots which aren't too macro, aren't too telephoto, aren't too wide ... just "normal". I don't use it to take pictures of Mr Potato Head on my keyboard, nor sweeping wide scenery shots (well I suppose if I was stitching then of course).

So for me "normal" is also not infinity shots (implies scenery) and not in tight facial portraits (implies telephoto, if you respect your subjects facial features).

My first shot was off my balcony with my camera at 100ISO, and on a sunny day the brightness washed out with my max shutter of 4000th of a sec.

There is no one in this shot, but if someone was standing beside that pole it would be a "normal" sort of shot of them in front of the scene ... and man, is there great details in that pole, both in sharpness and in subtle textures. That's a camera JPG, but here is a dcraw development of that image at 100%:

This serves to show a few things:
  1. how much better dcraw is over in camera JPEGs (which I've mentioned many times here) and
  2. there are obvious colour differences between the camera selection and the RAW processors selection.
  3. there is better tonal handling (note clouds in background) in RAW
  4. CA is almost non-existant

I've read a few Wangers (term explained here) mention the lens has significant CA ... well just like I expect from Zombies of Moronity (from King Wang) they either haven't got a clue what CA looks like, or they don't even know what it means (probably both).

ePhotozine have done a review on the lens (here) and they rated it as Low CA ... have a read of their tech analysis.

Before looking at more images, I wanted to show the lens in perspective (as Foghorn Leghorn would say "I say, that's a pun boy"). So here are my three native m43 lenses which cover "normal".

The 20mm is perhaps a little wide (but I love it as general lens too, and its fast), then there is the 25, and then my faithful 14-45 that came with my G1 so many years ago. This is a great general purpose lens and (of course) covers normal.

Now I love the 20 on my GF1 because it is it more compact and fits in with the compact design philosophy:

But the new 25mm is (to me) a bit unweildy on it.

So to me the 25f1.7 is more suited to an SLRalike body such as my GH1 or an OM-D

Where the size feels natural, neither too small (which I sometimes feel about the Oly45mm f1.8) nor obtrusive. And while the 20mm isn't in the way, its sort of a bit pointless in terms of saving space ... when the rest of the camera doesn't really feel minimalist

So in my view the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 is really designed for the mindset of a camera like GH series or the OM-D series.

So with a contemplative engaging type camera we can use the 25mm to have some good renderings indoor in low light, using natural light not needing (yuck) on camera flash.

I took this set to compare the 25mm to my 14-45 set to 25mm (and interestingly the zoom markings are pretty spot on too). I wanted to see what I'd see.

If you click it you can load a full sized image and pixel peep around the place, but here is the center at 100%:

Notice how quickly the DoF falls off? Her locks are sharp on her forehead and the weave of the cotton visible, but by the back of her neck its really softening.

Now, lets look at another shot taken with the 14-45 zoom at 25mm wide open (which BTW is f4.9)

DoF is now no longer shallow, and there is that "phone cam" look about it starting to appear. Also, if it looks soft ... well here's why:

Motion blur ... so while a Wanger will tell you how good their IBIS is at allowing an extra 2 stops of shutter, its pointless when the subject moves ... and folks, if you didn't already know it, kids move ...

IBIS or OIS just ain't helping here is it ... Shutter speed is your best friend on this sort of work.

So the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 gives you something that the Zoom just can't ... shutter speed! So maybe you can find at f2.8 zoom that covers that range, but to me, even f2.8 isn't the same as f1.7 in neither DoF nor Shutter Speed. Plus such a zoom will be expensive and heavy, while the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 was well priced and light. So to me the 25mm f1.7 is perfect to toss in the bag (adding almost nothing to weight) and bringing to the table something wonderful, when your 14-45 is your main versatile picture taker (and outdoors it will be ideal).

Lastly on the little girl is this segment of a shot, a pixelpeeper who isn't skilled will probably whinge on a forum that the lens isn't sharp ...

But the fact is that if you look at the shirt pattern and the locks of hair over her ear the answer is that the focus was on them. In these shots I relied on the Face Detect AF to give me capture quickly as manual focus would have been a bit tricky with a fast moving subject who doesn't sit still ... when there is no 'recognisable face' (meaning two eyes and a smile) then the camera defaults to picking a focus point it wants ... and may miss.

Here's another shot from the day, of my wonderful host, in this I used manual focus and got the focus on his face exactly where I wanted it (click image for a full size version).

Its a hand held shot perhaps a little tighter than is ideal for a portrait (I'd prefer to have stepped back and used my 45mm f1.8) but it just goes to show how well the 25mm can do as a portrait lens ... in a pinch. Certainly better than the even wider 20mm f1.7. This shot also shows how well the lens handles flare and CA in what is a challenging shot for lighting.

Miles even took a shot of "Yours Truly" with the camera and found the MF (which auto enlarges the viewfinder) to be easy and accurate.


The little Panasonic 25mm f1.7 is a fantastic buy. It comes with a hood (if you could be bothered with such) and gives the photographer who knows what he's doing a great tool with which to make great shots.

I now no longer look wistfully at my 35mm or full frame gear as the shallow normal I want is here in my hands now.

Better than the "nifty fifty" of my EOS days, this lens is good corner to corner at f1.7 while the 50mmf1.7 normally needed stopping down to avoid softness, corner softness and vignetting. While there is some of that on this lens, it really is so minor that you probably won't even notice it unless you go looking for it.

If you take photographs that are of the nature shown here, then I'm sure that you'll be really glad you got one.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

comfort and the little things

I use a bluetooth headset when driving (or even just so I can hands free round the house). Frankly I'm stunned at the amount of total wankers out there driving while holding their phone. Some try all manner of "cunning methods" to (attempt to) hide this fact (that they are juggling a phone, a steering wheel and perhaps gears). Then they whinge like stuck piglets when they are caught and fined. Probably they don't give a shit till they kill someone.

The problem I have with the Bluetooth headsets is that often they don't fit comfortably or even at all. I've had the most success with the smallest "in ear" type but frequently the silicon "comfort pads" are simply uncomfortable. Today I'd like to present my solution to this problem, which (in my usual manner) is both DIY and cheap.

Essentially this is an ordinary foam earplug used for noise reduction (cost about 5c unless you buy them individually where its probably about a buck), which I have adapted to fit onto the spigot of the ear piece.

When fitted into my ear its not only more comfortable than the original silicon, but it holds better in place and  blocks some ambient sound, making it a peach to hear the other person above the car noise (I don't drive a luxury modern car I have an old 4WD).

To get the foam over the sound spigot part of the earpiece, I "drill" a hole in the center as well as shorten it down.

To "drill" the hole I heated up a rather fat nail (while holding it with pliers) and then just pushed it gently through the foam earpiece (with the foam melting as it passes through), cutting a channel for sound and fitment onto the device. The proverbial "hot knife through butter".

You can see the heat stains left on the nail from the last time I heated it up.

To make the entire process easier (as the little foam earplugs are soft by nature), I whack the earplug in the freezer for half an hour before hand. That stiffens it up and makes it easier to hold (without compressing it) and easy to get a nice clean hole through the center.

I also cut it with a sharp knife (a box cutter actually) to be shorter first, then drill it second.

I use a small butane flame (like people use to make brulet or soldering) to heat the nail, and of course hold the head in the pliers (so's I don't burn my fingers).


.. you now have a simple, replaceable, comfortable head set which stays in place well and blocks out car noise from that ear making hearing easier :-)

Go Wild

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


This song by The Masters Apprentices seems to be variously interpreted but today the words kept echoing through my mind.

But listening to it, it somehow changed into a dialog.
Somehow the verses are my feelings

It's because I love you
Not because were far apart
It's because I love you
And because your near my heart

It's because I miss you
Oh how long it seems to be
It's because I miss you
Thoughts of you come back to me

Once we walked together
From the fields up to the door
Promised love forever
I remember that day still
It's because I love you
I'll come home to you one day
It's because I love you
In my thoughts you'll always stay
 yet the chorus feels as if it is being sung to me

Oh, Do what you want to do, be what you want to be yeah 
which is interesting as I've been pondering "what I should do" for some time now and wondering if doing X Y or Z is what I should do, what others would want me to do, what I want to do.

It's because I love you, In my thoughts you'll always stay

Monday, 19 October 2015

managing my INR - an example

Well the last few weeks has been a good example of how I manage my INR my self. Obviously the "plain sailing" is easy ...
  1. dish out your pills, 
  2. double check you have the exact correct dose
  3. load them into your daily box
  4. take them each day

its only when things go 'unaccording to plan' that management of your dose is needed. Such an event came a few weeks ago and now that I'm back on an even level again I thought I'd write this up to assist anyone home managing and self testing to see how I did it (and perhaps include of few of my methods into yours).

This post is an example of the practices I outline in my other blog post about managing INR over here. Central to that is the philosophy of "keep a steady hand on the tiller" : this means don't be micro managing adjusting (tinkering all the time) and don't be adjusting too much (meaning the dose size change). To quote from there some relevant points:
  • keep your doses steady, by this I mean take the same number mg per day. I feel there is evidence to support that alternating high / low doses lead to increasing instability
  • there is a natural swing in range of INR which will occur even with the same dose. Accept this and don't try to micro-manage it
  • measure frequently (like weekly or fortnightly not monthly or bi-monthly)
  • if there is a trend which worries you, measure more often (such as again in 3 days) to see if the trend is continuing or returning of its own accord (it may well just do that)
  • adjust doses in small amounts, such as 0.5mg per day.

So this is an example of what happens when I do a mid week measurement based on an INR which I feel warrants it.

I do my testing every Saturday morning, and write this into a spreadsheet, write in my intended dose for the week and move on.

So I found the other Saturday (12 Sept 2015) that my INR had risen from 2.8 to 3.8 since the last check. My preferred range is between 2 and 3 (although in practice I don't really care if it dips a little either side of this.

The Y axis scale of my graph is omitted to keep the image compact, but the X axis represents week number starting on the first Sat of Jan.

So the red arrow points to the 3.8 reading, the dose line (red dotted line) has been consistent at 7.25mg for weeks. The lows in that graph are around 2.1 and the highs are about 3, so you can see that its "normal" for me to bounce around within my range.

You can see a few more readings following, which break out of that "stasis" that I'll go into now. The reading of 3.8 on the 12th was a signal to begin what I call an Adhoc monitor, where I increase the INR tests from weekly to twice a week. When I see something high like this, I like to follow it and see within a few days (like 3 or 4) if its going to return lower on its own ... most often this is exactly what happens.

Mostly no change is needed and it corrects itself. This is the best option ... leave it alone if you don't need to change it.

However since this occasion was nearly 4 I thought I'd also drop only my next day dose to 6 from 7.25 and check again on Tuesday. The logic of a single dose reduction is that it will have a quick effect on reducing your INR, it will then resume back to where it was going to "level out to".

Of course this is where you ignore the conventional "knowledge" that INR does not respond fast, as that is wrong.

This graph below shows the progression from the 5th of September (INR = 2.8) through my AdHoc monitor. It shows the dose in mg on the right hand Y axis (as a red dotted line) and the INR on the left hand X axis (as columns).

After my dose reduction my INR moved back to 3.2 (still higher than I wish). Note that I did not alter anything again yet. But by the next Saturday had gone back up to 3.7 again. Clearly this wasn't going to be returning any time soon, so it time to take a little bit of action


From this I decided that something more consistent had changed with my metabolism so I thought I'd drop my dose on that Saturday to 4.5mg and continue at 6mg for the time being and continue my adhoc frequent measurements. Of course I also wrote the Saturdays into my normal sheet (and you can see that in the first figure above where there are 2 high readings).

The following measurements were trending in the right direction (under 3) which you can see above in the graph (if you weren't taught graphs at school I encourage you strongly to learn to read them, its not hard children do it). However the trend down started to head too low and so when on the 3rd of October I got a 1.9 I decided that I'd revise my daily dose up a smidge to 7 daily and see if that found a better balance. You can see that it did.


So you can see  that I've now changed my dose from 7.25mg (administered as 7.0 alternating with 7.5) to 7.0 daily and my INR is now meandering around the 2.4 area, which is (to quote Goldilocks) just right.

So looking at the second chart again:

we can see (starting at the left) that my INR bounds were creeping up to be between 2.8 and 3.8 ... my adjustment down corrected that, but to my mind it was still sloping down (the green line) and so I stepped my dose up a bit. I moved it to less than it was before, but still up by a little more than 10%. That's not a rule, its just a guide.

To my mind something seemed to happen to my body during this period and without action my INR may have been between 4 and 5 which is higher than I would be comfortable with. If one was measuring once per month it is easy to see that you could have measured 2.8 and then been over 4 for weeks without knowing it.

This is exactly why I advocate for weekly measurements, and if you are self managing then increasing your measurements in the face of events so that you can learn - but you must be structured and documented or you're just wasting money on strips.

Its also worth mentioning that this is exactly what INR clinics do. They

  1. look at the measurements
  2. Determine a trend
  3. Adjust dose as required
They do not have any more magic than that. But unlike you they don't really get to know you. Which is why they may make more changes than you would. Wouldn't you be happier with an extra finger prick than an extra vein draw to get this data? I know I am.

This is also a good example of why you don't use massive variations in dose, such as  5mg one day, and 10mg on another day. There is just no way you can expect to ever be stable or reliable with such input variations.

So now
  • my INR is now exactly where I want it to be
  • my INR did not stay too high or too low during the adjustment period
  • I have found and established a new stable dose
No problems, no "bleed events", no bruises (even though I was working on my motor bike engine and bashed myself many times) ... all because I was monitoring and adjusting with care , caution and diligence.

I hope this helps you to do the same



It is now Saturday the 24th of October and my INR reading this morning was 2.2 with a weekly dose of now 7mg shown above. I seem to have gone back to my normal metabolism again, so I'll resume my 7.25mg per day dose that I was previously on.

This of course begs the question of "should I have done nothing" and "was there any point in knowing".

My answer is this: If I had done nothing my INR could have remained above 4 for a few weeks. This is not in itself a significant problem. But if I'd had an accident (say a motorcycle or car crash) it could have exacerbated any inter-cranial bleeding and thus brain damage.

Its true that mostly we don't have accidents, but do you wear your seatbelt most of the time? If you do then you'll know that wearing it only matters if you have an accident.

Thus I like to keep my INR below 3 most of the time.

Just be sure that you don't over manage it, look for trends and adjust in small increments.

In hindsight I think that dropping my dose to 6mg daily after I took action on the 19th was perhaps lower than I should have done for the smoothest possible outcomes. Next time I'll drop it to 6.5mg instead. Of course there was nothing "wrong" with being between 1.9 (the lowest recording) and 2.3 ... its a good result too.

Best Wishes

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Glimpse the past today

I quite like visiting the historical societies in small towns

Its often surprising what you find inside

Monday, 28 September 2015

clouds and mountains

Sometimes the assortment of cloud types and a little rain in the mountains here are lovely.

I do wish that digital didn't smash the highlights so easily however.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

I can hear (him) for miles and miles and miles ....

The bird that's probably my most recognizable sound for my sub tropical area is the Koel (or Stormbird, or Cooee bird...)

He's got a distinctive two part call which can be heard for miles ... its something like the common name of "Koo Eeee"

Like any good singer he really knows how to put his entire body into it ... and projects that sound well

He's really grown fond of that Lilli Pilli right beside my place. Now that summer is on the way he's arrived to find a mate, and together lay eggs in someone elses nest (yes, he's a cuckoo). He likes to start calling with first light ... guess I won't need my alarm for a while now, now that I have this new Cuckoo Alarm Clock.

I wonder where the chainsaw is...

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

control: is it denial or delusion?

I'm not sure if I've "come out and said it" but I just wanted to pass on something which to me has gone beyond "knowledge" and into the fully grokked ... that is that control over things is an illusion or a delusion (depending on how you view yourself).

Sure, we know how to control our bodies with our will, but once it gets past simple things, the lines blur and the illusion breaks down. Even with our own bodies (which we think we control) there are processes which we do not. Mostly we attempt to have some sort of control over our bodies, which we often call social graces, and we don't fart, piss or shit in places which social thinking tells us not to (and indeed good hygienic practice too). Of course this can only be controlled for so long (and many a joke had about that topic).

But after then its all pretty much down to chance or luck; not our planning.

You could (for instance) be walking across the road on the phone planning that big thing to be hit suddenly by a car that you walked out in front of ...

If you survive (and depending on your injuries) you may come to the realisation that you were not actually in control of the things which matter in your life. By your inattention you had abdicated the control over them.

Sometimes however we never actually had control. For instance my friends death from cancer when I was 20, my own heart condition, my wifes sudden death from a brain tumor, all these things are clear reminders that I'm a wanderer on this earth not anyone in charge of my destiny.

This is not to say don't try to plan and don't try to organise, but it is to say that you need to keep in mind that it just may not happen the way you planned.

The important thing is to not get angry at these things because your control was just an illusion anyway.

To me getting angry over what you had no control over is just evidence that you are in denial about this, or deluded about what power you really have. Probably the more angry you get the more you are deep in denial or delusion.

Life can be enjoyed (of course sometimes its not fun at all ... ), but don't stake your life (and your plans in life) on the delusional idea that "you're in control" ... well ... it never leads to happiness.

Happiness is a state of being which we can actually have control over. We can choose to not be effected by something in a bad way if we wish to.

So having introduced Stoic philosophy here let me leave you with some advice from one of the greats, Marcus Aurelius

Friday, 4 September 2015

all quiet here

It would seem to have been quiet here on my blog lately. Its not that I've forgotten or even that I've not had anything to say. Its more that the things I have to express have perhaps been all said here and I can see also from the activity some of my older works are providing useful reference / reading for others.

Its been three years since I buried Anita (anniversary just passed) and as one could expect there has been a lot on my mind, especially with respect to my relationship with her.

obvious paradoxes

She is with me every day, yet not here at all. I am finding that I am gradually developing the strength to carry her memory while not being overwhelmed by its 'weight' (and by the weight of her absence). My desire to learn to carry that and to train myself in carrying that has brought with it an awareness that (unlike physical training) I do not know how to train myself effectively. So I'm sort of like a kid in a gym playing with the machines and bars but not knowing how to do it - not having anyone to show me how.

I guess that I am accepting my load of doing things in the physical world (which I have been ignoring) but only in so far as it facilitates me getting away.

I feel a strong wish to be wandering, which I realise that I have done many times in the past. Japan, India, Korea, Finland ... each time brought with it changes. Sometimes it facilitated finding myself, sometimes it was just distraction.

I tire of being lonely but I do not (curiously) waver in my love for Anita. This makes it clear to me that for me to ever have any other relationships that person will need to be as aware, developed and patient as I am. So probably there can no further relationships in my life. Its not that such a person will not exist, but that I meet them at the time that they are ready to be met is so improbable that I'd call it as I just did.

Lets see where the road goes.

There remains much to do here, but then Finland first then probably to Ireland.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

basking in the sun (as seen from different planets)

This image below was published by a fellow called Burton MacKenzie. He made this image and posted it onto his page in 2009 ( however that server seems gone now, so only references are found today. So in a nod to his work I thought I'd publish it here.

So assuming that you know the size of the sun looking out the window, then it'll look bigger on Venus, huge on Mercury and by the time its out to Neptune it's but a bright star.

The New Horizons page reports:
The latest spectra from New Horizons Ralph instrument reveal an abundance of methane ice, but with striking differences from place to place across the frozen surface of Pluto. "We just learned that in the north polar cap, methane ice is diluted in a thick, transparent slab of nitrogen ice resulting in strong absorption of infrared light, said New Horizons co-investigator Will Grundy, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona. In one of the visually dark equatorial patches, the methane ice has shallower infrared absorptions indicative of a very different texture. "The spectrum appears as if the ice is less diluted in nitrogen," Grundy speculated or that it has a different texture in that area."

As Nitrogen melts at about -210°C it means that the surface there will be bloody cold.

So the sun which heats our world nicely (thank you very much) is shedding so little heat out there that as its size suggests, its not giving much more radiation than a star. Who knows, maybe Jupiter gives is something too...

Saturday, 11 July 2015

reading into things

Sometimes in life little things happen to make one wonder if some sort of message is being sent. One of the things that Atheists like to point out is that the human mind is designed to see patterns where there may be none.

Of course there may be a pattern and what is dismissed by one is observed by another.

When I was in Alberta some years ago I was struck by the way people love to stack rocks on the shore. As it happens I never saw anyone stacking the rocks, but noone had to tell me that this was done by a person

It was obvious to me that this was not a natural formation. Yet to many animals who walked amid it I would doubt that they'd give it a second thought.

People have in the past recognized enough patterns to take us from whacking things with rocks to being able to deftly control electrons and make entirely new molecules.

Recently other creations of ours (machine learning) have begun to see patterns which have been ignored or missed by humans (in this case pathologists) for some time. These new observers (the AI machines) have seen things we missed or dismissed. This TED talk is an excellent example of this.

In this pathology case, the computer system actually discovered that the cells around the cancer are as important as the cancer cells themselves in making a diagnosis. This is the opposite of what pathologists had been taught for decades.

So when you feel something may be a message to you from your loved ones who are not in this universe anymore, perhaps it is something from them. Perhaps they did not alter the environment, perhaps tfhey are only able to touch at your mind to get you to observe something differently and see something in a new way. Perhaps they are more impartial but who knows?

The computers saw the same histology slides as people and recognised some new patterns, yet we don't call them crazy.

Perhaps there is no way to externally validate the feelings I've had and the small things which have come to my attention.

Perhaps they are just errant observations ... but if seeing them helps me to adjust to life with out Anita by my side then its only a good thing ...

I hope some good comes in your world too

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

reflecting on boundaries (of change)

Can we ever "see" into nothing?

As anyone who has a grounding in physics (or experience with photography) knows that when you cross a boundary (like the surface between water and air) that you get a reflection as well as transmission of light.

This image below is an example, its looking into a pond (turn your head upside down and its obvious) at the mountains in the distance (as if we were looking directly at them)

We don't see the dark depths of the water, but it is no less illuminated by the light that penetrates the surface.
I turned the image upside down to show two things:
  • the pond surface so smooth, it was just like a mirror
  • perspectives can alter what you think you see

If it can be said that we are living in a world where there is always something, then the idea of 'nothing' really doesn't exist. Even in deep space there is something (waves, gravity, subatomic particles, atoms of hydrogen...) and we really don't have anywhere where there is nothing.

In our minds we try to imagine nothing, but its hard to imagine something which is beyond our experience, perhaps outside our possibility of experience.  When I attempt to see into that "nothing" (by meditation or contemplation) there must be a boundary between the existence of my thoughts (something) and the nothing. Does such a boundary create a reflection?

Is what I see in that meditation just a reflection from the boundary into nothing?

Like looking out a window at night, we see the room reflected back at us. If there is not enough light outside we see nothing. If there was nothing (no light coming back from the moon or the stars) would we see something which we think is outside, but is actually inside the room?

So I struggle with the idea of death. Is Anita nothing now? Personally I just can't imagine this, but yet it may be true. Its easier for me to imagine that she has moved to somewhere (that fits within the scope of my experiences).

Are our thoughts about death just reflections from this boundary?

When I die do I just cease? Is there nothing? I myself no longer care ... because what bothers me most is that she is not here. Nothingness for me would just be a salve for my present pain.

If I knew there was nothing I would embrace it.

As usual I feel only discontent at this ... an urge (which I repress) to destroy things and walk away.

But I know there is no away while I remain here.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

GWC-1 - adding a filter thread

one of the criticisms of the Panasonic GWC-1 0.79x wide angle adapter is that it does not have a filter thread. On a recent discussion a fellow mentioned that he had mounted a thread on the inside of his by starting with a 55mm filter and sanding down the outside to press it into the GWC-1.

Fan-fukken-tastic idea if you aske me ... So I thought I'd give it a whack.

As you can see below, the front of the lens inner surface is smooth ... no filter thread ...

While the procedure is not for those with 10 thumbs, it certainly does not require a Master tradesman.

Please excuse the lack of process shots as while I intended to document the process, I got carried away with it and ... well soon enough it was finished and done.


You start with a 55mm filter,  of any kind and any cheapie on ebay will do.

Step 1:
with your dremel or small grinding wheel, you carefully work around the outside of the filter wearing it down evenly and periodically testing for fit. Basically you want it to be very snug so that it will hold itself in by fit alone (no cement or glue needed). Do not remove the glass of the filter yet, it will add support so you don't distort or bend your filter (soon to be just a metal thread). Be neat.

Step 2:
when this is accomplished you can now remove the glass from the filter (I used a small hammer with the filter on a bit of wood and tapped it lightly to smash it gently). Wearing leather gloves and using a pair of pliers carefully remove the glass shards. The retaining ring which held the glass in now, simply unscrews.

Step 3:
It will be obvious now that there is a thread at the back of the filter which is designed to screw into a 55mm threaded surface ... we don't need that, so again with your dremel tool (and again wearing gloves) carefully cut off the thread with the 'metal grinding cutting disc' ... be patient and just work your way around. When this comes off you can then just sand the back with some 240 grit paper on a flat surface (I use a large book).

Last step:
The filter is now ready to mount, so using the 67mm stepup ring screwed onto the front (as a holder so you don't bend it) carefully twist it onto the front of your GWC-1 as far as it will go by hand. This should be most of the way. Now remove the stepup ring so you can access the front edge of the filter, which will be almost flush with the front. Then using a bit of hard wood (such as say the handle of your hammer) holding the lens in one hand and the hammer handle in the other tap it in working your way round so that its then snuggled in tightly against the edge of the inside of the GWC-1

It will look like this:

You can see that next to none of the ex-filter(now thread) protrudes ... we want exactly this.

So now you can screw on the step-up up ring normally and then screw on the 67mm filter.

looks perfectly suited ... while you will need to remove the filter and stepup ring to replace your GWC-1 lens cap, and yes, the lens cap just goes on as it did before because you have not actually altered your GWC-1 in any way.

So here is the entire kit (man my house is dusty)...


Now, I'd picked the 67mm because previous testing showed me that (with a step up ring) that was the smallest size which did not cause obstruction of the image (you know, vignetting).

There is a weee teeny bit but it is only visible if you shoot RAW and convert without any correction for distortion.

but when you shoot JPG you never see that as the reshaping applied to correct lens distortions streches them out of visible range.


Voilla ...

So with a small amount of elbow grease, you can have a GWC-1 with a filter thread

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Cultural Differences

Around this time last year I was back living in Finland. One of the many things I like in Finland is the different (dare I say it more natural) attitude towards many things. One such topic is women, and while I will not say Finland is without gender discrimination I will say that they don't regard women to be pissweak dolls to dress up like hookers and be unable to get down and do work.

So on this topic I was walking through town and noticed an ad for an upcoming sporting event (which sadly had crap snow that year) which would seem to most Americans (and sadly increasingly large numbers of Australians) to be incongruous.

So having a history of skiing and shooting, biathlons are common sporting events in Scandinavia and of course Finland too.

Seeing a bunch of fit and strong women who can ski well and shoot straight is to me one of the things which sets Finns as being still humans and the American Dream to be more like Aldus Huxleys warnings of the brave new world.

I like Finland, and I hope to be back there again soon

Monday, 6 April 2015

buy by the Kilo (or bang for buck)


we're all familiar with the price of things by weight (either Kg or lbs depending where you're from) but most of us don't think of our photographic gear this way. Some time ago I did look at that with respect to my Panasonic G1 and a Canon EOS 5DMk ii and found that the image quality was not so different but the price per Kg was ... I thought I'd expand on that post with some more data and in a chart.

its sort of interesting that there is a reasonably linear price / kg change along the line from G1 (price when new) to Sony A7ii (price when new too) and some standouts in the "dear" range as well as the lower end.

What's also interesting is that I seem to also buy on the more cost effective side of things (interesting coincidence really).

I should probably toss in megapixels into that but to me they are about equal as image making tools.


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

party camera

I took my GF1 along to a party recently with just the 20mm f1.7 and the 45mm f1.8 ... I wanted to remain discreet (not look like I'm carrying a brick). I dislike flash so I like the GF for its larger sensor than compact cameras and this setup is great.

I was able to get great shots

and the images were acceptably clean at 1600 ISO which still gave me 1/60th (which stops enough motion). I dislike OIS in these situations because people move (no matter if the camera was on a tripod or had top shelf stabilisation).

And (it being simple) I can hand it off to people and know I'll get good results back:

Again, background separation is good ... dueling photographers

But his is much bigger than mine.

So my 5 year old micro43 GF1 is still pulling good shots while some people struggle with their "superior" SLR cameras.

and others snap away with their phones...

its sorta clear to me why the SLR market is diminishing as phones are getting pretty good results these days (like the top shelf ones anyway).

None the less I'm not about to trade in my GF any time soon as there is no way the phones can capture stuff like this:

with that sort of subject DoF isolation ...(again, hand held, 1600 ISO 1/160th)

Happy Birthday mate!