Lawrence Photographic



   Panasonic GF1 Camera - In Action!





4th July 2012 

GF1 + Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom Lens!

I have a piece of a field that has been fenced off and allowed to grow wild, right next to the canal. It is a haven for wildlife and frogs love to settle in the long damp grass. You would think that frogs like to hide in a pond but nope they love the grass, under damp rocks at the side of water and even garden dung heaps.

Nature is amazing, as soon as the frogs move about, their activities are witnessed from the air and down comes the heron. I have been trying to get a close up picture of this heron for a long time but every time I get near to him, he is off on the wing. He loves to stand on the fallen tree in the swamp area with his beady eyes planted for movement in the grass. It's the same guy that executes dawn raids on my garden pond hoping to catch my fish or perhaps some unlucky frog amongst the rocks at the side of the pond which is hunting the midges.

If you ever go camping in the Scottish Highlands, especially near water, never step out of a tent during the night or early morning without any clothes on - not only will you get arrested but the midges will be drawn in the dark to your naked skin in their thousands and before you can get back into the tent you will suffer bites that last for days and cover your body in red itchy lumps. Then try eating your porridge with your eyes half shut and your lips double the size. If you are coming to Scotland this year, don't worry we have great 'midge sprays' to deter the little blighters.

Yesterday, I managed to get near the heron without disturbing him and using my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera with the external view finder fitted and Lumix 100-300mm f4/f5.6 OIS zoom lens 'hand held', I managed to get this shot before he flew off. The small image is the actual shot taken at about 90 feet away and the larger image is cropped in for effect.



The combo has it's image quality vs distance limitations but the image is not half bad for a lens that costs around £385.00 vat inclusive in the UK (including the Panasonic £50 cash back). The lens 'field of view' with the digital sensor 2x crop and the post processing cropping in Lightroom 4.1 is probably about 800mm.

You can purchase the lens in the UK -
"Panasonic 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 Lumix G Vario Lens offers a long zoom range of 100-300mm (35mm camera equivalent: 200-600mm) while achieving minimum distortion and chromatic aberration by implementing advanced lens system including an ED (Extra Low Dispersion) lens. It incorporates Panasonic's MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), which makes it easy to shoot super clear shots even in telephoto shooting or in low-lit situations without using a tripod by suppressing the blur caused by a hand shake. 7 aperture blades consists a circular aperture diaphragm and produces an attractive smoothness in out-of-focus areas even shooting at large aperture settings. This lens system uses multi-coated lens elements that reduce ghosts and flare to an absolute minimum, helping deliver a high optical performance"

You can read more in my article regarding the Panasonic 100-300mm f4.0-5.6 Lumix G Vario Lens.



5th April 2012 


Tasha has short legs, a long sausage body, a cute face and
being a small dog with terrier instincts she has great fun chases rabbits but never catches them. She never stops barking at the door when she is being let out for a walk and despite those funny curved small legs she can run like a whippet and perhaps there is part of one in her?

The i
mage of Tasha was captured recently with a Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera and Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens 'hand held'. The background is a patch of daffodils with a wooden fence behind them and white slanted plastic posts some 50 feet behind the fence in the far distance. It was post processed in Adobe Lightroom 4 software with minor adjustments to saturation, contrast, brightness and sharpness.

I was checking out one of the 'gear' forums today and it is no surprise that many photographers have stated that they will forever hold onto their Panasonic GF1 camera even if they upgrade to another camera. They regard it as a 'classic' and I have to agree.



27th March 2012 

The Panasonic 100-300mm OIS Zoom Lens!

A couple of recent images taken with my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera with clip on viewfinder and Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens.

The shots were taken 'hand held' at my home and at the nearby canal. The 'RAW' files were converted in Adobe Lightroom 4 software with minimum post processing. The female duck is quite plain but shot against the ripples of the murky canal water, she seemed more interesting.

The pied wagtail (I think it is a female) is quite a flighty bird, always hopping about, darting here and there but she remained stationery for a second during this shot. If you check out the post next to the bird in the picture, you can see insects on the right side.




18th March 2012 

Jupiter & Venus - GF1 + Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens!

I had never used my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds digital camera and Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens for a long exposure shot at night.  Last night, I decided to try out the combo at my home, especially with Jupiter and Venus passing overhead............I was sure the two bright stars above my house were those planets as I had never seen them before.

It was cold and the sky was pitch black but very clear when I set up my
Manfrotto 055MF3 tripod in the field. The tripod was fitted with a Manfrotto 468MGRC2 ball head. The GF1 camera was set up for 10sec timer, multi area exposure metering, small spot central area autofocus, aperture priority, ISO:100, aperture at f4 and the shutter compensated for a 60 second shot. However, the main problem was trying to obtain an accurate focus and the camera just hunted when I tried to lock onto a star/planet. When I looked at the LCD screen all I could see was pitch blackness with light showing at the house on the left and light at the stables on the right.

I wanted a well lit image and I figured that the house area was a reasonable balance, so I just tipped the tripod over to the front and and to the left side, locked onto the house, holding the shutter at half press, I re-aligned the tripod by tipping it back to it's original place and pressed the shutter home. The timer's 10 seconds steadied the rig, the shutter fired and the exposure lasted 60 seconds with a further 60 seconds to save the data to the memory card.

The 'RAW' image was originally processed in Adobe Lightroom 3 and then I later upgraded the software to Lightroom 4 and upgraded the image when the software requested it. Incredibly I could see the improvement to the image as LR4 made the update - it became much clearer overall. The marks on the fencing are natural and caused by weathering, not the processing. This image has been adjusted for slight brightness, saturation, contrast and sharpening. The very slight distortion in the image was corrected to bring the stables and the fencing on the right into the vertical position. I could not see the distortion on the left edge of the image due to the dark trees.

Unfortunately I could not get planet Earth to stop so the sky had shifted slightly during the exposure and elongated Venus and Jupiter as well as all the stars. The Lumix 20mm does suffer very slightly from a 'coma' effect
(depends on the angle of light) even without my UV filter fitted, so the largest planet did display it as a small light shadow above and I cleaned it as best as I could with the clone healer in LR4. I knew this was a wrinkle before I started but I wanted to see how the GF1 and the 20mm lens handled noise with a long exposure at ISO:100. The noise was very well controlled but I did very slightly tweak it.

Normally I take these kind of shots with my DSLR but the GF1 and the Lumix 20mm lens combo was not that bad. This image is good for at least a 23" x 17" print - wow, what a moment in time!


6th March 2012 

Lumix 100-300mm Lens - 1/10sec Image Stabilisation Test?

This was taken in an Edinburgh pub and is an image of the bar counter - the camera used was a Panasonic GF1 with a Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens and the (small size) centre area focus was locked on the Belhaven Best logo and the scene re-aligned.

Shot Data - 300mm (600mm field of view) hand held whilst sitting on a chair, camera held out in front of me and LCD screen used to frame the scene - RAW file, ISO:800, aperture f5.6 and shutter at 1/10sec (one tenth of a second) processed in Adobe Lightroom (minimal basic adjustments).




24th February 2012 

Panasonic GF1 + Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens - Landscapes!

My Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds digital compact system camera with it's Lumix 20mm f1.7 ASPH lens is a neat combo for carrying around, especially if I leave the clip on external viewfinder off the camera and pop it into it's small carrying case in my pocket.

I often just take the combo in my Lowepro Apex 60AW
bag which I can clip to my belt or use as a shoulder bag. Digital cameras don't like damp weather and the Lowepro Apex 60AW has a weatherproof cover that can be pulled out and slipped completely over the bag. I once made the mistake of not covering the bag in the rain and the dampness soaked through to the camera, misting it all up. Fortunately the camera was not damaged but I learned my lesson.

The GF1+20mm lens has excellent resolution and the 2012 equivalent of my (2009) combo and capable of delivering even higher image quality with a 'far superior resolution' clip on external LVF2 viewfinder is the Panasonic GX1 Micro 4/3rds compact system camera.

Images of the new Panasonic Lumix GX1 Camera + Viewfinder (click image for specification) -


The following image was captured with the GF1 + Lumix 20mm f1.7 ASPH lens (Hoya HMC 46mm UV filter fitted) and the 'distance' resolution is not half bad for a small digital sensor camera which was 'hand held'. I was up on Blackford Hill in Edinburgh with Brad (my dog) and the scene is the east coast of Scotland with Cockenzie Power Station in the far distance with Berwick Law (the high hill) further back to the left. In the foreground on the right is the Royal Observatory which had just been renovated and you can see the new copper sections. If you open up the image to the 1,200 pixel size and look carefully, you can see a plane in the top left part of the image.

When using the combo 'hand held' to shoot landscapes, I find that to achieve the optimum resolution, I am seeking the lowest ISO rating and the highest shutter speed possible. I know that the camera can capture images at 1/10sec 'hand held' but for distant landscapes I want a shutter speed of around 1/400sec minimum and even higher if possible.

Image Stats - 40mm field of view, ISO:100   aperture f4   shutter 1/800sec



18th February 2011 

Wild Pets - GF1 + Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom Lens!

When you live in the countryside all manner of creatures appear at your door and these guys are no exception, especially in the winter time.

The pheasant appears just after the hunting season
starts and comes to my back door every morning for crushed peanuts and biscuits. He has been coming to visit at Hermiston for the last three years. Some times we have hen pheasants as well but for some reason there has been no sign of them this year.

The pheasant actually stares at
Brad (my dog) through the patio window and knocks on the glass with his beak to attract my attention. He watches through the window whilst I blend the peanuts and then retires to the high garden wall until the food is put out near the bushes. This 100mm '200mm field of view' shot of him was taken with my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera (external viewfinder fitted) and Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens 'hand held' through thick and dirty glass - the windows are never cleaned during the winter months. The 'RAW' file settings are ISO:800, Aperture f4, shutter 1/320sec and developed using Adobe Lightroom 3 software with adjustments for contrast, brightness, saturation, slight noise reduction and sharpness.

The crow has a mate and they both visit regularly, in fact they are never away from the place and raise their
young at Hermiston every year. They invariably sit up in the sycamore trees and stand guard ready to chase or harass the buzzard when it lands on a branch. There have been some grand fights in the sky and on the ground. Once I had to pull the buzzard of this guy who was upside down on the grass getting a right old pasting - they were so busy fighting they never saw me until I intervened.

Every time we come home in the car or go out for a walk in the grounds, the crows appear and start squawking for food. I usually put out broken biscuits on some of the fence posts and they come down to feed. It is great fun in the summer when they are feeding the young, who fall about a lot.

This 300mm '600mm field of view' shot was taken with my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera (external view finder fitted) and Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens 'hand held' outside in the open and the 'RAW' file settings are ISO:400, Aperture f5.6, shutter 1/800sec and developed using Adobe Lightroom 3 software with adjustments for contrast, brightness, saturation and sharpness. You can see from the photo that his eye is always on me, always alert, especially when I have the camera.



28th January 2012 

Panasonic Lumix 14-45mm f3.5/f5.6 OIS Zoom Lens!

The Panasonic Lumix 14-45mm f3.5/f5.6 OIS zoom lens is a lens that I like for general 'walk around' photography. I also used it with my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds digital camera during my last holiday in Turkey (Istanbul).  The image below (click to enlarge) is nothing special in composition but it does provide a reasonable idea of the image quality in a depth of field extending to infinity from a 44mm 'field of view' at an aperture of f8.

I still use it with my Panasonic GF1 which delivers a 28mm-90mm 'field of view' and produces excellent images. The video below contains 'full sized' jpegs captured using the combo 'hand held' in Edinburgh, Scotland and Istanbul, Turkey. Converted from 'RAW' files in Adobe Lightroom 3 and then finally rendered to Mpeg-4 format using Cyberlink Power Director Ultra 10 Software. Some of the sharpness has been lost in the video rendering which is more down to the YouTube upload than the actual Cyberlink Software.

For the highest resolution and best effect, run the video full screen at 1080p - also a larger frame version.



25th January 2012

Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom Lens!

The Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f4/f5.6 OIS zoom lens is one of my all time favourites and I cannot wait to team it up with the new Panasonic GH3 Micro 4/3rds digital camera when it appears (hopefully) in February?

I currently use it with my Panasonic GF1 which delivers an incredible 200-600mm 'field of view' and produces excellent images. The video below contains 'full sized' jpegs captured using the combo 'hand held' and converted from 'RAW' files in Adobe Lightroom 3 and then finally rendered to Mpeg-4 format using Cyberlink Power Director Ultra 10 Software. Some of the sharpness has been lost in the video rendering which is more down to the YouTube upload than the actual Cyberlink Software.

Virtually all the zoo animal images were either taken through thick glass, fine mesh or metal frames.

For the highest resolution and best effect, run the video full screen at 1080p - also a larger frame version.


For more about this lens - please see my Lumix 100-300mm Lens Article.


19th January 2012 

The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 ASPH Lens!

The Panasonic 20mm f1.7 ASPH Lens is one of my favourite lenses and I use it with my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds digital camera.

The combo is great with the clip on external view finder removed, especially indoors where I like to use the LCD screen. My GF1 is a bit long in the tooth by digital standards but the image quality with the 20mm (40mm field of view) is superb.

The 20mm is most excellent at aperture f1.7 'wide open' and I can 'hand hold' the combo at 1/10sec without any problems. In low light conditions I can work at ISO:800 f1.7 (no flash) and even with noise reduction in post processing, the image quality will hold up. At ISO:1600 in brighter conditions with less shadow, the 20mm lens on the GF1 still delivers the goods.

I have re-visited old images taken during a visit to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and compiling a Mpeg-4 video of some of them. I came across this image that I really like - plain and simple, almost devoid of colour - it was shot at ISO:100, aperture f2.0, shutter 1/60sec and post processed in Adobe Lightroom 3 software for saturation, brightness, contrast, sharpening and applied vignetting.

The following video clip contains more GF1 + 20mm lens images taken during my visit to the National Museum of Scotland. For the highest resolution and best effect, run the video full screen at 1080p.




3rd January 2012 

Scottish Gales!

Heavy gales, some travelling at 100 mph plus have battered central Scotland and over here on the east coast at Edinburgh we have really suffered the high winds and yet more rain!

Three large trees have come down and smashed into the fields - in the picture below (click to open) the larger tree immediately behind 'Lady' the horse on the left has demolished the dry stain dyke and my fence. Looks like I will be spending most of my time this month cutting the trees up for removal.

This is an old image, captured with my GF1 + Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens, when I first purchased the combo back in the winter of 2009. You can read more about the combo in my
GF1 Diary (downsizing article).

Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds Camera + Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens

I have finished the upgrading of my Croatia images using Adobe Lightroom and creating a new sub web. I have added some of them in larger format (1,000 pixel) to my Colour Images Section on my website.

Adobe Lightroom sure makes the work easy but I will be glad when all the FrontPage stuff is converted to the Lightroom format. I would really like to display everything in 1,000 pixel format but space is at a premium for the moment. Once I get into video presentations later this year - I may up the image sizes?


14th December 2011 

'Street Photography' with a Lumix 100-300mm Lens!

What is the ideal camera and lens for 'street photography' and are there any limits?

Ask a Leicaphile and the Leica answer will be a 35mm 'full frame' digital sensor or 35mm 'film' camera with a 50mm lens - the same combo that Henri Carter-Bresson used for his street photography. However, in some cases a 35mm lens is preferred for wider shots and to enable the photographer to get in amongst the action.

In the TV documentary of America in Pictures, the photographer Rankin in Times Square used a much larger Leica S2 'medium format' camera to shoot the street scene - hardly a small rig. So what is the ideal combo for 'street photography' and what, if any, are the lens focal limits?

Street photography can be difficult at times, especially in the UK and in these 'modern times' a photographer has to be 'more aware' of the pitfalls when taking pictures of people. It can prove difficult to know what camera to take along, a small inconspicuous camera and lens can be frowned upon if it is brought up quickly to the eye and then put back down at your side - it can draw suspicious looks. On the other hand a picture taken from a distance away can be just as suspicious and problematic if a member of the public spots you and takes exception. I often watch the videos where the photographer is right in there, amongst the people, clicking away, smiling, talking, sending out the social signals and I wonder how they get away with it? To make the video the public are aware that the photographer is being filmed and behave in a reasonable manner but I often wonder just how many would have turned hostile if that video cameraman had not been there?

Fortunately, I have never had any dramatic moments with the public as I tend to take pictures at events where there are many photographers milling about or on holiday, when I am just a tourist with a camera. I do prefer a longer focal length and this is not because I want to disappear into the background but rather that I can cut right through a crowd of people to isolate an individual. A lens with a fixed focal length can prove difficult as it invariable does not offer the 'optimum' flexibility so I do prefer a zoom lens. The size of the combo does not seem to pose a problem as I have used my Canon 5D DSLR + Canon 24-105L zoom lens along with my smaller Panasonic GF1 + Lumix 20mm prime, 14-45mm zoom and even with my Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens.

Back in July, I tried out my Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens fitted to my Panasonic GF1 camera in the streets of Edinburgh and it worked out very well for isolating individual subjects from the crowd. The combo was not inconspicuous but drew very little attention as there were other photographers taking pictures of the 'street performers'. The picture above was captured using this combo and isolated the performer from the large crowds around her. It was taken 'hand held' at ISO:200, shutter 1/2500sec, aperture f4.8 and at 188mm (376mm FOV). It was a 'RAW' file post processed in Adobe Lightroom with the minimum corrections of brightness, saturation, contrast and sharpness - no cropping, no noise reduction. You can click on the picture to open it up to 1,000 pixels and click again to return here.

For more information, please read my articles on -
Street Photography


10th November 2011 

The Panasonic GF1 + Lumix 100-300mm Lens!

I visited the local zoo in Edinburgh the other day for a casual walk around to see the animals and a spot of lunch. I had my Panasonic GF1 and Lumix 100-300mm OIS zoom lens with me, a great rig for carrying around cupped in my right hand all day, no sweat and no neck pain.

This picture was taken 'hand held' through thick glass at an acute angle. The wire shadows and shimmering are in the background caused by the sun entering through the top of the cage, the Jaguar was sitting high up at the right side - you can see a wider shot in my zoo gallery. The details of this GF1 image are on the larger plate version - click the image to open it up and then click again to return to here!

What is the problem with the Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom lens - well nothing really, it does the job and coupled with the GF1 it produces excellent images right through the focal range. However on very bright days, the GF1 is a nightmare to use with it's LCD screen and with the external electronic viewfinder it is very hard to compose a shot on an animal or bird that is moving. I get by but it's a pity because it robs you of the (total) pleasure that the lens is capable of delivering. I suspect that a younger person may not have the same problems?

For more information and image samples - visit my articles GF1 Diary  -  Lumix 100-300mm and for a large number of samples visit (updated this date) galleries 3-6 of my Zoo Gallery. The Lumix 100-300mm images start at the seagull image on index 3 - even seagulls reside at the zoo. You will also be able to compare images with my Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L and Canon 300mm f2.8 IS L Lenses in my Zoo Gallery.


27th October 2011 

The GF1 + Panasonic 100-300mm OIS Zoom Lens!

I am still trying to get a proper shot of the  buzzard at my home.

I was working in the field today and it landed on a tree in the brilliant sunshine, so I grabbed my GF1 with its external viewfinder fitted and the Lumix 100-300mm lens from the house. I started to walk across the field towards the tree but using the viewfinder, I could not pick out the bird against the autumn leaves. I wasted a great deal of time trying to 'frame' the bird - I could see it with my naked eye but through the viewfinder was a different matter. In fairness to Panasonic, the bird was pretty well camouflaged against the leaves.

It was difficult to get some shots in, considering that I was slowly walking towards the bird in an open field, in brilliant sunshine and 'hand holding' the camera. It was watching me from the tree and then flew off, just as I was getting within range.

When I use the lens at 300mm (600mm field of view) I always try to get the primary subject as large as possible in the viewfinder, at least 1/3rd of the frame height.
On a very bright day, a fairly static subject would let me get the ISO rating down to 200 and sometimes even 100 but as you can see from the main shot that the bird was nowhere near that size in the frame before it flew off. I had started at ISO:400 to get the shutter speed up at 1/1250sec as the subject was distant and small. My intention was to reduce the ISO rating and shutter speed as I got nearer and the bird became larger in the viewfinder but I never got the chance. The Micro 4/3rds sensor is forgiving but it has it's limitations, the smaller the subject is in the viewfinder the harder it is to hold the camera and lens steady over it and so a much higher shutter speed is required - even if the subject is static.

I was using the GF1 with the autofocus centre area (spot) reduced in size to fix totally on the bird's body. The exposure metering was set for multiple weighed. It turned out an interesting exercise - to fine check the limitations of the lens at 300mm in bright sunshine. I used Adobe Lightroom to process the 'RAW' image files.

The single image is not cropped and serves to show the size of the bird as I saw it in the viewfinder. The other two images are 'cropped' examples, one of the 1st image and the other was a 2nd shot cropped. The 'cropped' versions are 1,000 pixels and reduced in quality by 40% to save web space. The shot details are on the large examples under each image. I did not apply any noise reduction but I did sharpen them.

The 1st image (click to enlarge) may at first appear out of focus but this is due to small areas of the image on the same plane which are in focus due to the thin 'depth of field' of the lens at f5.6 at 300mm (600 field of view) or it may just be my eyes?


The cropped images show the bird at the ideal size it should have been 'in the viewfinder' when the shots were taken. I know the image quality of this lens is exceptional at 300mm and even more so at an aperture of f8 but the subject has to be relatively large in the viewfinder when the shot is taken and the shutter speed has to be correctly set for the conditions.

The 'cropped' images when converted from 'RAW' to a tiff file format are good (with more than reasonable image quality) for a print size of 11.75" x 8.83".

Technical Links - Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom Lens and my GF1 Diary



19th September 2011 

'Street Photography' with the Micro 4/3rds GF1 Camera!

I like my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds digital camera and Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens for street photography.

The combo is very discreet, compact and lightweight and unlike digital compact cameras with their fixed lenses the GF1 has a much larger 4/3rds

The 20mm lens is great for low light, even in the darkness under street lights and it seems to cope well, even when used at ISO:800 and sometimes, depending on the light, I get good results at ISO:1600.

All the images were captured 'hand held' and the
'combo' will successfully operate even down at 1/10sec shutter..........obviously at that speed, any moving subjects will blur.

Black and White photography seems to be very popular at the moment, just like the return of white cars. I like colour just as much, so these days I tend to convert my colour images to monochrome and place both types on my website.

I use Adobe Lightroom for all my post processing and it does quite a good job of colour to monochrome conversion.

The combo is also excellent at aperture f1.7 and more than capable of creating a shallow depth of field when required. I also use it on the odd occasion in 'hyperfocal mode'.

The GF1 is hard to come by these days but new ones can still be found and obviously second hand ones can be sourced on the Internet. The other camera from Panasonic to consider is the G3 which is similar to the GF1 but has a viewfinder built into the body.

More Information Articles - GF1   Street Photography   Henri-Cartier Bresson  



15th September 2011 

The Lumix 100-300mm 'The Fun Lens'

From the Panasonic Web Site - The LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. offers a long zoom range of 100-300mm (35mm camera equivalent: 200-600mm) while achieving minimum distortion and chromatic aberration by implementing advanced lens system including an ED (Extra Low Dispersion) lens.

The LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. incorporates Panasonic's MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), which makes it easy to shoot super clear shots even in telephoto shooting or in low-lit situations without using a tripod by suppressing the blur caused by a hand shake.

When mounted on LUMIX G Micro System cameras, the LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S. allows use of the advanced contrast AF system, which includes a Face Recognition function, for more convenient, more enjoyable shooting.

This has to be one of the most 'fun lenses' I own and I thoroughly enjoy using it. It works fairly well with the GF1 plus the 'clip on' Panasonic external viewfinder and I can achieve some nice images. I find myself using this lens a lot..............around the area at my home and when I can, at the zoo and nature reserves. Although this year has not been that great for photography as I have spent a great deal of time stuck at home nursing an injured horse.

I shoot 'RAW' image files and develop in Adobe Lightroom. I have shot a little bit of wildlife video with the 100-300mm and my GF1 and it turned out very nice! I am sure that with the current GH2 it would be even better.

I captured these images 'hand held' at the Edinburgh Zoo and the one of the lemur was shot through fine wire mesh at ISO:200 at 300mm (600mm 'field of view'). The baboon was taken indoors and through glass, he was crouched on a shelf away in a dark corner and the image is an example of an extreme 300mm (600mm 'field of view') shot at ISO:1600 with a very slow shutter speed of 1/10sec. He was illusive and very difficult to photograph, he seemed to understand that I was taking his picture and moved away from the front of his room as soon as I raised the camera to take the shot (smart monkey). The one of the bird was taken through heavy wire fencing at ISO:400 at 136mm (272mm 'field of view').

More on the Lumix 100-300mm and the GF1+100-300mm Combo and some more Zoo Images with the 100-300mm and the Canon 300mm f2.8 IS L Lens. If you flip through the images the Lumix 100-300mm shots are in the last few sections.




11th September 2011 

Only One Camera + One Lens?

As it currently stands, if I could only have one camera and one lens from MY gear bag, I would select my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds digital camera and Lumix 20mm f1.7 Lens. The choice would be based on the size, weight and the image quality I would get across a large spectrum of photographic shots with the 40mm 'field of view'.

The choice is not made lightly, as I have a Canon 5D MK I with a Canon 50mm f1.4 USM lens and a Canon 450D DSLR with a Canon 24mm f1.4 L lens which are both excellent combinations. The GF1 combination would provide more 'flexible' photography, as it can be used in 'social' settings where it is less likely to get in my road but also for more 'niche' work and there is more -

The Panasonic GF1 combination is good for ISO:800 and that puts a fair bit of power in your hands as the 20mm f1.7 (40mm FOV) lens can be 'hand held' down at 1/10sec shutter speed in almost darkness and under street lights any moving subjects at aperture f1.7 can usually be taken at 1/100sec shutter speed and frozen. Even better, the image quality with the aperture 'wide one' at f1.7  is excellent for all manner of shots and is capable of a very fine depth of field but also a reasonably large depth of field. Check out the image samples for some f1.7 shots.


With uneven light shots (bright skies/dark foregrounds) I invariably use a 2 stop graduated grey filter to get the best dynamic range out of the combo although the above shot of the garden tree was taken without a grad. To achieve the best images you really have to shoot 'RAW' files and post process them in SilkyPix (bundled with the camera) or Adobe Lightroom. I have used both and they match each other with Lightroom having the edge because of its software tools that can assist in post processing corrections and to assist recover images that would normally be binned, especially those treasured family moments.



16th August 2011

The GF1 - A Fishy Tale!

This week, we had a ray of sunshine so I decided to visit the golden waters, just of the Fife Coast under the famous Forth Rail Bridge spanning the Forth Estuary at Queensferry in Scotland.

with all sorts of wonderful sea creatures it even hosts beautiful fish from tropical waters in many splendid colours. What a place for scuba diving in gorgeous warm waters, whilst armed with my trusty Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera and Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens.

Now before you tourists come flocking to Queensferry with your scuba gear, I'm afraid the good folks at the Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, might not let you all swim in their fish tanks!

As well as large tanks, Deep Sea World has a huge underwater 'clear view' glass tunnel where sharks and other large fish swim alongside you and above your head. There is a fixed walkway and a slow moving flat conveyor belt running alongside it.

I arrived at 10am just as the doors opened and walked in with a handful of people. Within an hour all the kids in Scotland decided to visit the place, along with their dads, mums, grand parents, wheel chairs, buggies and even floating helium filled balloons. So much for a nice casual, leisurely day taking pictures of fish, it was fight time at the tanks for photographers, phone cameras, compacts, disposable 'film' cameras and there was even a guy in a wheelchair, with a great big long lens up at his face, rocketing about like
Dalek in Dr Who.

Anyway, I did manage to get some shots and I learned a great deal about the
GF1 and 'fish' photography. It is very difficult to capture a moving fish and even more difficult (luck) to catch an interesting pose - check out the little guy swimming alongside the big guy in the first image sample.

All the image samples were 'RAW' files, captured 'hand held' and have had noise reduction applied in Adobe Lightroom. They have all been cropped by about a quarter into the image. Other than the
Angel Fish, all the other images have had very little changes applied, saturation, contrast and brightness.

The Angel Fish (image on the right) had smears all over the image from the disturbance in the tank water and areas of tiny bubbles, it was spot removal, cleaned up as best as possible and then using the 'adjustment' brush in Lightroom - the background was reduced in clarity. I like the pose of the fish, so I decided to keep the image.

I tried real hard to keep the ISO rating down to ISO:400 but because I required to raise the shutter speed up (on most occasions) to 1/60sec or even better 1/125sec to have a half decent chance of 'freezing' fish movement, I was always in around ISO:800/1600 with an aperture of f2. I could have used f1.7 on the 20mm lens, but at f2 the image quality was slightly better and although the 'depth of field' in focus was wafer thin, it was still larger than f1.7 and provided me with a nicer image.

The fish on the left with it's mouth wide open, is a good example of the wafer thin 'depth of field'. The 'spot' centre focus of the camera was positioned on it's left eye and I used the smaller 'reduced' centre area focus. The yellow frogs on the right also display a wafer thin focus and were captured at ISO:1600.

Exposure: I found that at f2, the camera metering often had my shutter speed way down at
1/20sec, sometimes even slower and that was at ISO:800, so I had to try and find a 'fine' balance between image quality versus noise in the darker shadows by raising the shutter speed up nearer 1/60sec to 1/125sec and under exposing the image.

Noise: The GF1 'RAW' files have tremendous latitude for post processing
away the noise at ISO:800/1600 and it is a balancing act, between the size of the final image for 'print' and just how much noise reduction and sharpening to apply. It is a different application each time I change the size of the image, so what is presentable in a small print may well have to be changed for a larger print.

I invariably start by applying a little noise re
duction and sharpen it, then if need be, repeat the process with more noise reduction until I reach a satisfactory image that 'hopefully' has not degraded down into a 'water colour' effect. The picture of the Zebra Lion Fish on the left is an example of an image taken at ISO:1600 and the shutter speed raised in an attempt to freeze it. It is verging towards a water colour effect so I let some of the noise creep back in to increase the visibility of the fish. In fact virtually all my images at ISO:1600 (apart from the very well lit ones) have to display some noise in the image to retain any quality in the subject. The large frog in the right image, was taken at ISO:400 as it lay motionless in it's well lit tank, an ideal subject.

Glass + Water: Dammed difficult to shoot through at the best of times, trying to avoid glass reflections and hoping that the fish does not swim so fast and the water stays clear from tiny bubbles and muck. Large streams of bubbles are great but others put small smears on the image and spoil the effect. I invariably use aperture priority mode, set the aperture to f2 and then balance the shutter speed as high as I can get from an ISO rating as low as I can get. Ideally 1/125secs at f2 at ISO:800 maximum but preferably ISO:400. I always use the AE button and lock the final exposure setting. I usually have a good idea of what the ISO/shutter settings should be at f2, so I invariably just raise the camera to a brighter light to grab and lock a shutter speed that suits me. Thereafter I put the lens against the glass, half press and hold the shutter button to lock the spot (reduced centre area) focus on the subject, re-align the scene if required and then press home the shutter.

Conclusion: This type of photography takes the GF1 to it's extreme limits, it is possible to get great images of moving fish in fish tanks in a 'back lit' room but a lot of work is involved.



14th August 2011

HDR with a GF1!

Not for me, not anymore, not with any camera,  although the results with the GF1 can be pretty amazing.

No, after some months of trying HDR out, I dumped Photomatix HDR software and concentrated on my
 B+W Filters  for my GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera.

I also use a kit of  
Lee Filters  for my 'full frame' Canon 5D MK 1 DSLR camera.

HDR can open up the dynamic range of the image but a 2 'stop' graduated grey filter delivers a more natural effect..............although HDR images can be very dramatic, if they are not 'overcooked'.

These images are an example of HDR extreme photography with the Panasonic GF1. The first image on the right
was taken with the GF1 and the Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens and is a picture of the harbour at Cockenzie, East Lothian, Scotland.

It was created using SilkyPix and a single 'RAW' file to generate 3 x jpeg files of different 'pseudo' exposures which were then blended in Photomatix HDR software. Not the ideal way to accomplish a typical HDR picture. Usually I would take a  minimum of 3 x different 'RAW' exposures with the camera on a tripod and then blend I cheated!

The original GF1 'RAW' image file was shot at ISO:100, aperture f8 and shutter at 1/400sec. It was taken 'hand held' using the LCD to compose it and the weather was appalling, it had just finished raining and the light was starting to peek from behind the clouds. These days, unless it is a planned 'landscape' shoot with my Canon 5D DSLR, I rarely have a tripod with me.

The GF1 files have tremendous latitude for post processing so I pushed the boundary a bit by using the final HDR image and Adobe Lightroom to convert it to monochrome. The image on the left, is the Lightroom conversion.

More on Post Processing in my  
Thoughts on Post Processing Article  and more on filters in my  Lee Filters Article



13th August 2011

Adobe Lightroom + GF1 Camera Image!

When it comes to post processing software, I have tried SilkyPix which is bundled with the Panasonic GF1 camera and also Adobe Lightroom which I now use for about 98% of my work.

Without a shadow of a doubt, SilkyPix delivers superior noise reduction quality on a 'full size' low light image. When it comes to developing 'RAW' night and low light files, SilkyPix is extremely capable and I prefer it, although I still tend to use Lightroom due to my laziness. I cannot be bothered to develop a whole load of 'RAW' files and jump over to SilkyPix just for one or two low light shots.

SilkyPix has it's limitations for moving image files around and it is not as flexible as Lightroom for post processing, although I believe the upgrade to the professional version is worth considering as it is more powerful than the bundled version.

I like Lightroom, it is fast to get to grips with and has good tools like the adjustment brush. Sometimes my images appear excellent but on closer examination can have tiny flaws such as an object in the background that displays a blown highlight, a candle overexposed or a light bulb in the dark. Provided it is not too far 'blown' then Lightroom's adjustment brush can invariably recover it and bring it's exposure down whereby it is properly visible and in context with the overall scene.

There are images where some parts of the scene can never be recovered. This next image is a classic example. SilkyPix actually did a better job in relation to a full size version of the image but at 1,000 pixels, Lightroom matched it for colour and image quality and the difference in relation to noise reduction is not so easy to spot at that size.

The Panasonic Lumix 14-45mm OIS Zoom Lens - Shutter 1/5th Sec - This lens offers excellent image quality and the image stabilisation is simply awesome!

I was out for lunch today with my mother and I had my Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera and my Lumix 14-45mm Zoom lens with me - no external viewfinder.

As we finished lunch, I wanted to see what the combination
could do in low light and decided to take her picture with the restaurant bar in the background. I used the LCD but I did not adjust and lock the exposure which would have resolved the background problem but probably my mother's face would have been darker. I don't use flash on the GF1.

Anyway, the LCD on playback showed the 'blinking' in the background which were areas obviously blown out. It would have been much nicer if there had been a little bit more detail in the signs and lights, emerging out of the bokeh. Unfortunately the bar filled up with bodies again so I did not get a chance to take another shot.

This 'RAW' image was captured at 45mm (90mm 'field of view') hand held at ISO:400, f5.6 and the shutter speed was 1/5th sec which is a slow as it probably gets for a hand held shot at 45mm..........quite incredible! Not bad considering the photographer was in his 60s and the subject was 89 years old. You can see she is fed up - "hurry up, my backs killing me" and I told her to smile as well.

The image was developed in Lightroom and converted to a jpeg and re-sized for the web. I have cropped it to a square size because there were 'blown' areas to the left and right which were even more unsightly. The distance from my mother to the bar was about twenty feet and for f5.6 the amount of 'out of focus' is reasonable and so is the bokeh, considering the reflective bright lights in the background.

Lightroom's adjustment brush could not repair the damaged signs and bright light parts in the background of the image which had nothing left to recover but it is a nice example of the problem and the limitations of any post processing software package. Of course it is up to the photographer to take the picture correctly in the first place.

More on Post Processing in my
Thoughts on Post Processing Article



11th August 2011

The Scottish Mist and Wimps?

What a year for torrential rain and this week has been horrendous. Scotland is a lovely country to visit, the mountain views are spectacular, lush green landscapes and the Festival has just started in Edinburgh. I hope the tourists have brought their umbrellas, "rain madam, this is not rain, it is only a light mist, wait until you see proper rain".................oh we hardy Scots!

First to do battle and usually with each other, no riots on the streets here, we all drink Iron Bru "made from girders" so the advert states. Whisky, nah, it's for wimps, most of us just use it as a mouthwash!

However, I do think the lads are softening up a bit. There is too much of this "I like to cook" from this new generation of Scots.
Remember Henri Cartier-Bresson, time for a 'decisive moment' or you might end up like the guys in this video - I want to Break Free

The image was captured using a Panasonic GF1 Micro 4/3rds camera and a Lumix 14-45mm zoom lens. It is a great combo for walking about and fits very neatly, cupped in my right hand with a wrist strap for backup. With a 'field of view' of 28mm to 90mm and image stabilisation, the lens delivers very good image quality.



11th August 2011

Micro 4/3rds Bokeh!

Ideally I want at least a 35mm or 50mm lens on a 'full frame' digital sensor camera to have a reasonable amount of 'out of focus' control with good quality bokeh. The lens image quality has to be excellent at the wider apertures (f1.4/f2) to provide me with the ability to narrow down my 'depth of field' for effect. I enjoy this control with my Canon 5D MKI DSLR and my 50mm and 100mm prime lenses.

When I pick up my more compact and lightweight system, my Micro 4/3rds camera, my Panasonic GF1 with it's Lumix
20mm '40mm field of view' f1.7 AF lens, I have to recognise the combos limitations and benefits. With a wide open aperture at f1.7, I know that the 'primary subject' which I want to be in focus with a blurred background and which delivers reasonable bokeh will have to be nearer to my 20mm lens than with my Canon 50mm lens.

This image of the coloured glasses was captured 'hand held' at ISO:200, 1/125sec and an aperture of f2. The glasses were inside a glass cabinet, one behind the other on a glass shelf and I took the shot with the lens against the glass front of the cabinet and the background was beyond the glass at the back of the cabinet.

The Lumix 20mm lens benefits are enormous - I can 'hand hold' it on my GF1 camera down at 1/10sec and wide open at f1.7 - the image quality is simply amazing. The combo is unobtrusive, lightweight and a blast to use with 'fast enough' autofocus for pin point accuracy. On the street, indoors and for night photography it is simply outstanding!

Although the Lumix lens delivers a 40mm 'field of view' it still is a 20mm lens and even with a Canon 'full frame' camera a 20mm lens is still darned hard to work with for creating 'out of focus' 3D style shots, where the primary subject is not distorted due to its closeness to the lens. The 'Early People' image is a Lumix 20mm lens example of distance to subject with a reasonable 'out of focus effect' where the primary subject is not distorted.

This 'Early People' image was captured 'hand held' at ISO:400, 1/60sec and an aperture of f2. The spot focus was on the face of the front character from a few feet away, yet the background is out of focus and this image has been well cropped. It would have been ideal, in 'some instances' to have a 50mm lens with a 100mm field of view but I am sure there would have been difficulty in keeping the ISO down to 400 as the shutter speed would have had to be raised to avoid hand shake with a 50mm lens on the Micro 4/3rds sensor, not forgetting that I would have had to move further back.

The Lumix 20mm is also terrific for f1.7 street shots where you want
excellent image quality with a sizeable depth of field.

It has only one slight weakness with some night shots, it can create a slight halo or coma effect above street lights. You can see an example of this in my GF1 camera diary article.

This night shot of the 'Peace and Rescue Centre' was taken 'hand held' at ISO:400, aperture f1.7 and shutter at 1/40th second. There are a lot of lights but there was no coma in them.

All in all, the Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens is a 'stellar performer' and probably the only other Lumix lens that I might consider to replace it would be the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.4 DG Summilux ASPH autofocus lens, which will soon be released. It is early days and the 25mm lens professional reviews have yet to materialise.

These images and part of the commentary have been taken from my
GF1 Diary and NMS articles.



4th August 2011

Panasonic GF1 + Lumix 100-300mm - Extreme Distance Shots - ISO:800/1600 'Hand Held'

At my home at Hermiston, I finally managed to get a half decent shot of the young buzzard in it's 'crèche' in the trees. It's mother leaves it there while she goes out hunting in the fields for rabbits.

When it gets hungry, it makes a loud 'kee' cry over and over again until the mother returns. I grabbed this picture as it was in mid cry. This image on the left was captured at
600mm 'field of view', ISO:800 - shutter 1/125sec - aperture f5.6, not perfect but not bad considering it was taken 'hand held' while I was working in my yard and it was a hurried shot. Its strange but as long as I was working the buzzard ignored me but as soon as I stopped and raised the camera, it soon flew away. I think it sensed the different body language and instinct kicked in.

GF1 and the Lumix 100-300mm Zoom lens makes for pleasurable photography even although the light was not that great under the trees at 6.40am in the morning. Sure the image could be improved, if I set up a hide nearer to the tree and waited with a flask of coffee, fixed up the tripod and used my Canon 5D MKI DSLR with my Canon 300mm f2.8 IS L 'prime' lens to take the picture but what a reasonable image I can get with the GF1+100-300 zoom lens combo with no hassle.

The left jpeg image was converted from a 'RAW' file post processed in Adobe Lightroom.
The image was cropped in by about 30%, producing a field of view of about 800mm, noise reduction was applied and then sharpening. At ISO:800 the crop, noise reduction versus image quality is not bad and the full size picture is good for a 12" x 9" print. If the shutter speed had been up around 1/1250sec instead of 1/125sec the feather detail would have been more pronounced. Unfortunately 1/1250sec was not possible under the trees.

The second image on the right was taken at 600mm 'field of view', ISO:1600 - shutter 1/250sec - aperture f5.6. Even at ISO:1600, with 30% cropping, noise reduction versus image quality, the picture is not that bad, in fact it looks (to me) better than the one at ISO:800, so noise reduction with a slower shutter speed of 1/125sec might not be as good as noise reduction with a faster shutter speed of 1/250sec at ISO:1600?

For more information on my current GF1 - please visit my GF1 Diary Article and the Lumix 100-300mm lens. 

I have some zoo shots, the 100-300mm shots are near the end of the gallery..........
Edinburgh Zoo



19th July 2011

Adobe Lightroom Software!

I have been using my Panasonic GF1 micro 4/3rds camera for about 18 months now and there is no doubt that to obtain the best images out of this camera, I have to shoot ‘RAW’ files and post process them in Adobe Lightroom Software on my personal computer.

Very often my images require the minimum in saturation, brightness and contrast adjustment, whilst in other cases where the ISO rating exceeds ISO:800 or I am using the Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom lens, I will apply some noise reduction and sharpening. There is tremendous latitude in the GF1 ‘RAW’ files for post processing without any reduction in image quality or in overall image size for print purposes.

I always use a camera calibration
GF1 profile to set-up and create my DEVELOPMENT pre-sets and thereafter it is just a simple matter of choosing a pre-set that fits the type of scene and lighting conditions, such as landscape, portrait, wildlife, street, contrast and saturation amongst other settings, as well as colour or monochrome.

This image of ‘Charlie’ was originally colour and I used Lightroom to make the monochrome conversion.

It was converted from colour to antique grayscale and in the EFFECTS section the highlight priority was changed in the post crop vignetting. The image was left sharp and slightly cropped for effect. The shoulders, and the top of the hat were adjusted to slightly lift and put back the exposure using the adjustment tool and the nose and cheeks area were slightly reduced in exposure to remove the glare.

There are so many different ways to present this image during post processing and one day I prefer it in colour and the next in monochrome. There are a multitude of different effects to suit the individuals taste. You can compare the original sharpness of the Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom lens in the monochrome image and the softened effect applied to the face in the colour version (see below).

Since I have started to use Lightroom, I have discarded my other software packages even my HDR software. I am still tempted to purchase Nik Silver Efex Pro for my colour to monochrome conversions but so far Lightroom is handling this area very well.

More on
Post Processing.



16th July 2011

Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm OIS Zoom Lens!

I really enjoy using this lens with my Panasonic GF1 micro 4/3rds digital camera. The combo is lightweight and very easy to carry around all day in my right hand with a wrist strap for backup.

I find the balance with the GF1 is very good
and I always use the Panasonic external 'clip on' viewfinder instead of the LCD screen. The lens is exceptional for all kinds of photography and I have even used it for portrait and street work.

This image of the Charlie Chaplin (tramp) look alike was taken in the High Street, the 'Royal Mile' of Edinburgh. The GF1 and the Lumix 100-300mm zoom lens combo is excellent for distance shots in the 'street' although the lens is not that discreet when fully extended.

The shot was taken 'hand held' and the 'RAW' image was post processed in Adobe Lightroom. The lens is awesomely sharp and showed up all the blemishes on the face. The sharpness gave the image character but it was too much and spoilt the look. I softened the face quite a bit and brought back the sharpness in the eyes. In the background there is a dark pillar, so I added some vignetting to soften it away and place more emphasise on the face.
This image was captured at 410mm 'field of view', ISO:200 - shutter 1/640sec - aperture f5.

I post process my 'RAW' images using Adobe Lightroom s
oftware and I usually have to apply some 'noise reduction' especially when using the lens for shots at 300mm (600mm field of view). This image of a baby sparrow screeching for it's mother to feed it, is an example of extreme cropping in Lightroom.

The shot was taken in my back garden. I did not expect to see the birds there and I was just about to enter my house. It was a 'snapshot' and the camera shutter speed should have been faster. The birds were in the wrong place in the darker area of the garden and there was a wheel barrow leaning against the wall protruding right into a 1/3rd of the frame.

I was surprised that the image still displayed good resolution despite noise reduction and very heavy cropping. The image was taken 'hand held' at
600mm 'field of view' - ISO:400 - shutter 1/250sec - aperture f5.6. The mother bird seems unimpressed and you can see the blurring in the wings of the baby as it screeches for food.

More on the
Lumix 100-300 Zoom lens and more on the GF1+100-300mm lens combo.






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Richard Lawrence
United Kingdom