Thursday, October 9, 2008

AARGH. Stupid [fake] Leica!

Okay. So I thought I was all super clever when I purchased my first digital camera. 

I had used pro digital SLRs, but they were always owned by the company I was working for. Borrowing the camera for personal projects was never a problem, so I had no need to buy one myself. Now that I'm not working as a commercial photographer, last year I thought it about time to get myself a little something something. SLRs are great, but bulky, so I decided on a point-and-shoot which I could take with me on outings and trips and the like. But of course, I couldn't get just any P&S, I had to get a super-fancy one.

Here's the clever part. Leica create—in my opinion and many others—the greatest cameras. Period. I've wanted one for, ever. So when I was looking into Leica P&S cameras, I learned that Panasonic makes their digital cameras, using Leica components. So looking at the Leica D-LUX 3, you find the Lumix DMC-LX2
The Lumix DMC-LX2 to the left (the pic is silver, but my camera is black), the Leica D-LUX 3 to the right. They're the same camera. Except the Lumix is about $300 cheaper. And has a little grippy thing. Otherwise it has the exact same components. Same high-end Leica lens, same CCD, same image processing. Did I mention they're the same? And the Lumix is way cheaper? Not even like, similar. MADE BY THE SAME COMPANY(s).

So yeah. Love my LX2. Takes awesome photos

MoMA_Olafur Eliasson - Take Your TimeMona sitting on bench under neat Hobbit tree.Gnarly tree with the sun peaking through.Dude. Batman is Awesome®.Sprinkles cupcakes
That's enough of that. For a P&S, it's amazing. Awesome lens. Optical image stabilization (meaning the lens floats a bit and corrects for camera shake to an extent). Manual focus. RAW files. Widescreen CCD (not just a cropped square CCD). 10MP. The list goes on and on.

Now, for the not so happy things. It doesn't do well in low light (the next model up, released after I bought mine, is supposed to fix this and everything else I have quips with). It tends to add noise and look "processed." So effectively I only use it at ISO100. This is mostly due to 10MP CCD on a P&S. More pixels is not necessarily better. In fact, smushing more pixels into a small CCD means less quality per pixel, overall. So, zooming in to 100% of an image can often reveal limitations. At typical viewing and printing size, none of this is an issue, because the image is resized down and you don't see the imperfections. BUT: when shooting product shots, like I do for Sunshine Cupcake, I get issues.

P&S macro is hit and miss. They tend to have a longer minimum focal distance. Meaning, the camera and lens need to be further away from the subject before it can focus clearly than an SLR with a larger lens needs to be. So getting up close and personal with little clay dudes or buttons 1" tall means I have to set up my tripod (no problem), zoom in to the maximum optical zoom of 4x, and then still be over a foot away from the product. So I end up getting a little bitty button in the middle of a huge frame. Case in point:

Which when cropped, becomes this:

This does not a happy Nathan make. It's okay, and shows the product, and is better than nothing. But I will enjoy the day when we sell enough to warrant the purchase of a good ol' SLR, and keep my LX2 on my hip, where it belongs.

No comments: