Help - Will GF1 fulfill my needs?


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gongong

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Nov 24, 2009
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#1
I got a problem. Not sure if GF1 with 20mm pancake can fulfill my needs.
(dunno if a Lx3, G11, S90, F200Exr will actually be able to solve my problems)


My needs:

1) Shoot in low light without flash at faster shuttle speed to get clear and better exposed pic.
(Most of the time, indoor do not have enough light and I do not like the flash as the colour of the subject will look funny. My 10mth old son cant keep still and my current Fx520 cant get the job done. faster shuttle speed becomes under-exposed pic while higher iso above 400 have too much noise)

2) size needs to be as small as possible. (i will definitely not bring a DSLR out often. and at times, it will be a bit inapporiate.my wife wont like the size too)

3) able to get brighter faces when there is a strong backlight. ( i have got quite a number of shots where our faces is too dark and my son is looking straight and smiling)


I know i cant have everything. but will a GF1 be able to meet my needs generally? I know that for point3, some of the entry level DSLR wont do a good job too.

Do not want to buy something and end up not solving my problems.
Hope I can get some answers or comments.
Everytime i see those shots where my son is smiling, but the pic didnt turn out well, my heart will sink a bit. coz i know i wont be able to go back in time


Thanks in advance.
 

artspraken

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Aug 7, 2009
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Ricoh GRDIII is superior to LX3, G11, S90
http://www.alphamountworld.com/reviews/review-ricoh-gr-digital-III-review?page=0,0

GRDIII is unique for its snap mode which enables you to pre-fix autofocus distance. this makes it ideal for street and child photo. at f1.9 it has the fastest lens compared to LX3, G11, S90. In terms of sensor, it is same sensor as G11 and S90. LX3 is using the oldest sensor.

GRDIII has a pro user interface, if u are beginner i do not recommend it. but if u are pro, the settings are very powerful and help me customise the GRDIII in a way u never dreamed possible. for eg. there are 6 custom pre-set modes on the GRD!!! LX3 only has 2.
 

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gazkw

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Jan 12, 2009
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#3
2 solutions to the bright background issue.

1. fill flash
2. exposure compensation to make overall picture brighter
 

artspraken

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Aug 7, 2009
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#4
3. change direction/angle, dun take pic facing the light lah
 

#5
With low-light, even if you increase the ISO 1600, for a correct exposure, the shutter speed you can go to is 1/10 sec?
You can't have a fast shutter under low light without flash (unless you camera have very high ISO). ;)
 

surrephoto

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Jan 14, 2009
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#6
1) Shoot in low light without flash at faster shuttle speed to get clear and better exposed pic.
(Most of the time, indoor do not have enough light and I do not like the flash as the colour of the subject will look funny. My 10mth old son cant keep still and my current Fx520 cant get the job done. faster shuttle speed becomes under-exposed pic while higher iso above 400 have too much noise)

2) size needs to be as small as possible. (i will definitely not bring a DSLR out often. and at times, it will be a bit inapporiate.my wife wont like the size too)

3) able to get brighter faces when there is a strong backlight. ( i have got quite a number of shots where our faces is too dark and my son is looking straight and smiling)
Strangely the GF-1 certainly fits in most if not all your needs except with no. 3 which is most certain a user fault as you did not compensate your exposure with the backlight. That is, you either expose for the subject using spot/partial metering (result in overexposed bkground), or use fill flash to expose the front nicely with the background.

I have tried the GF-1 personally and was impressed in all aspects (especially the fact that it can shoot 5 raws in a row before filling up buffer, and actually has servo AF in video mode). With regards to high-ISO such as 1600... you will be impressed nonetheless since you are upgrading from a fx which has a puny sensor vs even m43.

As much as I always like to advocate full-frame cameras for low-light, the point of using FF high-end D-SLRs is lost with multiple subjects since big aperture and big format means less depth of field.

GF-1 with 20 mm f1.7 is a great combo. 40 mm equiv. is the true do-it-all focal length, i miss my old konica AR 40 mm f1.8.
 

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pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#7
My needs:

1) Shoot in low light without flash at faster shuttle speed to get clear and better exposed pic.
(Most of the time, indoor do not have enough light and I do not like the flash as the colour of the subject will look funny. My 10mth old son cant keep still and my current Fx520 cant get the job done. faster shuttle speed becomes under-exposed pic while higher iso above 400 have too much noise)

2) size needs to be as small as possible. (i will definitely not bring a DSLR out often. and at times, it will be a bit inapporiate.my wife wont like the size too)

3) able to get brighter faces when there is a strong backlight. ( i have got quite a number of shots where our faces is too dark and my son is looking straight and smiling)
1. Depends on what you mean by low light (indoor, daytime in a windowed room? ); Almost any camera will have worse noise ISO800 and up. Its not a sin to have noise in the pictures anyway, so long as you caught what you wanted on camera. You might also want to try a noise reduction software.
Shooting kids indoors will be hard for the shutter speed and the AF (on any camera). One way is to use bounce flash. If you can use directional bounce flash to make it look as if it came from a window, even better.


2. OK. GF1 is small.

3. You can either set exposure compensation (camera should have this) or use a spot metering exposure mode (if your camera has one).

Your existing camera should be able to do ok.
 

shahrulesa

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Dec 2, 2006
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#8
based on what you posted, don't think the GF1 can help you since you do not want flash, you need a full frame body, but then again it won't satisfy your size requirements.
 

artspraken

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Aug 7, 2009
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#9
GF1 is small only if you compare to DSLR.

GF1 is considerably bigger than LX3, and will not fit in jeans pocket.

GF1 is basically equal size as Leica M.
 

gongong

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Nov 24, 2009
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#10
Thanks for all the comments thus far.

Low light – such as complete indoor with fluorescent light, restaurants, windowed room during daytime, not enough lighting in the house in the right place. Of coz, I not referring to the kind of low light conditions such as when in a pub.

I still trying to check how slow I can go with my Fx520 based on my son movement. So far, 1/40 speed seems to be able to get clear pic, but too underexposed at iso400. Beyond iso400 at 1/40shutter, the pic will be ugly with noise.

I can accept noise in the background, tables, etc. But I cannot accept that the subject or the faces are not clear and nice. Hence, dunno if the 4/3 sensor size would help alleviate the problem by using Iso200 or 400 with a faster shuttle speed. (I am assuming that a 4/3 sensor size will allow you to use lower iso or faster shuttle speed and still achieve a better exposed pic when compared to 1:1.7 sensor in same condition, correct me if I am wrong)

Eg. taking pic in a booth seat in Tanglin mall Chili’s or Xin Wang at Marina Sq, my Fx520 cant get a good shot of my son at iso400 without flash. Clear pic will be underexposed if shuttle too fast (or blurred if shuttle speed too slow)


Strong backlight – whenever possible, I will try to change angle or change our positions or subject position. But this is always not possible. Did use flash before to fill. But somehow, I see this “aura” on the subject where its brighter/lighter than normal. (dunno if its me imagining things or my fault). Also do use spot metering and prefocused on face to get right exposure on face. But then, certain parts of the picture, such as sky, or walls, will be overly bright.

Was hoping that the intelligent contrast adjustment on newer cameras can help reduce this.
But this is not the most crucial aspect, hence listing it as 3. Point1 and 2 are my important needs.

I know that the GF1 is not small. Have held an EP1 before. Hence, I know that m4/3 is the biggest I can accept. Will need a bag or waist pouch to carry. Am considering GF1 over EP1orEP2 coz of the occasional use of flash. Wont want to lug around an extra flash unit since size is already a concern. But GF1 is not cheap and I wont want to pay $1.4k and still be back at square1. Worse case, for my conditions, maybe I wont see a difference between a 1:1.7 and 4/3.
 

ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#12
Thanks for all the comments thus far.

Low light – such as complete indoor with fluorescent light, restaurants, windowed room during daytime, not enough lighting in the house in the right place. Of coz, I not referring to the kind of low light conditions such as when in a pub.

I still trying to check how slow I can go with my Fx520 based on my son movement. So far, 1/40 speed seems to be able to get clear pic, but too underexposed at iso400. Beyond iso400 at 1/40shutter, the pic will be ugly with noise.

I can accept noise in the background, tables, etc. But I cannot accept that the subject or the faces are not clear and nice. Hence, dunno if the 4/3 sensor size would help alleviate the problem by using Iso200 or 400 with a faster shuttle speed. (I am assuming that a 4/3 sensor size will allow you to use lower iso or faster shuttle speed and still achieve a better exposed pic when compared to 1:1.7 sensor in same condition, correct me if I am wrong)

Eg. taking pic in a booth seat in Tanglin mall Chili’s or Xin Wang at Marina Sq, my Fx520 cant get a good shot of my son at iso400 without flash. Clear pic will be underexposed if shuttle too fast (or blurred if shuttle speed too slow)


Strong backlight – whenever possible, I will try to change angle or change our positions or subject position. But this is always not possible. Did use flash before to fill. But somehow, I see this “aura” on the subject where its brighter/lighter than normal. (dunno if its me imagining things or my fault). Also do use spot metering and prefocused on face to get right exposure on face. But then, certain parts of the picture, such as sky, or walls, will be overly bright.

Was hoping that the intelligent contrast adjustment on newer cameras can help reduce this.
But this is not the most crucial aspect, hence listing it as 3. Point1 and 2 are my important needs.

I know that the GF1 is not small. Have held an EP1 before. Hence, I know that m4/3 is the biggest I can accept. Will need a bag or waist pouch to carry. Am considering GF1 over EP1orEP2 coz of the occasional use of flash. Wont want to lug around an extra flash unit since size is already a concern. But GF1 is not cheap and I wont want to pay $1.4k and still be back at square1. Worse case, for my conditions, maybe I wont see a difference between a 1:1.7 and 4/3.
May I know what is this 1:1.7 that you are referring to?

I have 1 suggestion for you to try:
Stick some kind of diffusing material (tracing paper, tissue, etc) over your FX520's built-in flash. Take in a similar indoor environment to Tanglin Mall Chilli's (or go back there again if you so wish) and see if the slightly diffused flash works better... Though it won't totally eliminate the "deer in the headlights" look, it should help to mitigate it somewhat.

By the way, it's a shutter... The shuttle is either:
a) the special vehicle that astronauts use to get into outer space.
b) the special vehicle that shoppers/office workers sit on (sometimes for free) to get from one place to another (eg. City Hall MRT to Suntec City).
 

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ZerocoolAstra

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Mar 13, 2008
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#13
gongong said:
I am assuming that a 4/3 sensor size will allow you to use lower iso or faster shuttle speed and still achieve a better exposed pic when compared to 1:1.7 sensor in same condition, correct me if I am wrong
I may be wrong here, but I'd guess that the FX520 at f/3.5 (assumption), 1/40 and ISO400 should give the same exposure as the GF1 at f/3.5, 1/40 and ISO400
The GF1 would likely give 'cleaner' photos, thus allowing you to go for a higher ISO without so much noise.
With the GF1, if you mount the 20mm f/1.7 pancake, you can shoot at f/1.7 and thus you can use a faster shutter speed.
 

sin77

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Nov 28, 2004
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#14
the quality will be better, but does the difference justify the hefty price? This is very subjective.

For me I will still get GF1, but on the other hand I will also brush up my photography basics (including street-smart techniques), as well as my photoshop skills (which can do wonders).
 

artspraken

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Aug 7, 2009
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#15
btw, the viewfinder for GF-1 sucks.

if you need to use viewfinder, buy EP-2
 

gongong

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Nov 24, 2009
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#16
I may be wrong here, but I'd guess that the FX520 at f/3.5 (assumption), 1/40 and ISO400 should give the same exposure as the GF1 at f/3.5, 1/40 and ISO400
The GF1 would likely give 'cleaner' photos, thus allowing you to go for a higher ISO without so much noise.
With the GF1, if you mount the 20mm f/1.7 pancake, you can shoot at f/1.7 and thus you can use a faster shutter speed.
So, if FX520 - Iso400, f/2.8, 1/40 give me an underexposed shot.
would GF1 - iso400, f/1.7, 1/40 give a brighter shot?
 

sin77

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Nov 28, 2004
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#18
So, if FX520 - Iso400, f/2.8, 1/40 give me an underexposed shot.
would GF1 - iso400, f/1.7, 1/40 give a brighter shot?
Theoretically a larger aperture will get a "brighter" shot, assuming it is at full manual mode with the above mentioned settings.

However, why in the first place would FX520 give you underexposed shots? I assume you are using full manual mode or shutter priority?
If you are using aperture or shutter priority, you can +0.3 (EV) the exposure compensation, or use spot metering, or use AE/AF lock.

If you did not get the basics right, no matter which camera will also get underexposed shots.
 

gongong

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Nov 24, 2009
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#19
Theoretically a larger aperture will get a "brighter" shot, assuming it is at full manual mode with the above mentioned settings.

However, why in the first place would FX520 give you underexposed shots? I assume you are using full manual mode or shutter priority?
If you are using aperture or shutter priority, you can +0.3 (EV) the exposure compensation, or use spot metering, or use AE/AF lock.

If you did not get the basics right, no matter which camera will also get underexposed shots.
Sorry for the confusion. Didn’t give enough background details.

Am using 1/40 shutter speed coz I am trying to take a pic of my 10mth baby.
As you are aware, baby cannot keep still. Even if they laugh or smile, they move their head/body/hands.
The moment they look up and smile, you have to snap it.
Hence, based on the various shutter speed I try before, 1/40 seems to be the slowest I can achieve a blur free shot of my baby.

Having said, half of the time, I will be taking shots of my baby indoor (restaurants, living room, bedroom, etc).
So, most of the time, there are not enough lights.

Hence, at 1/40 speed in a not too bright room, the shot will usually be underexposed. (of coz this depends on the location)
Tried the exposure compensation to even +2ev, it doesn’t help much. It will look bright on the camera LCD screen, but once you half-press the shutter or take the shot, the pic will turn out not much of a difference. Going beyond iso400 on my Fx520 will give me a rather noisy pic.


So, was wondering if a GF1 with 20mm f/1.7 (or Lx3/S90 range of cameras) can alleviate the underexposed shots.
Am not expecting that a GF1 will do wonders, After all, if there is really not enough light, one will need to slow the shutter speed (its physics right?).


Assuming same lighting condition and same shutter speed at 1/40.
1) Would a larger size sensor give a brighter shot (when compared to tiny sensor such as 1:2.3)?
Or it simply give a clearer/cleaner pic? Coz exposure should remain same.

2) With larger sensor, I should be able to go iso800 and get a better and brighter pic (when compared to my Fx520 at iso400)?

3) With the GF1 20mm @ f/1.7, it should be brighter too (when compared to my Fx520 f/2.8)

So, I think my question should be how much brighter is a GF1 20mm f/1.7 iso800 (when compared to my Fx520 f/2.8 iso400).
Would one be able to see the difference easily? (the difference, I am referring to something similar to switching to night mode in a mobile phone in a dim room. where you can see the difference in brightness)
Also, would the difference be obvious between GF1 and LX3 range of cameras?

(If I am not making sense here, please correct me. I am basing from what I understand. Hence, I might have totally gotten things wrong)
 

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crusher

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Mar 4, 2005
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#20
Hello gongong, you keep talking about 1/40s and ISO 400, do you know what is aperture or not? If you picture is not "bright", that means it is not sufficiently exposed. Normally the camera will give you a warning if your aperture/shutter speed/ISO combi is insufficient to give a correct exposure. However, if you still persist to use the setting, then it is your fault, not the camera.

I suggest you go read up more about shutter speed, aperture and ISO, buying a more expensive camera is not going to help if you don't know what is going on. If you don't want to read up, then don't try to be too creative, select auto mode and let the camera decide aperture, shutter speed, ISO and flash settings for you.
 

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