Tag Archives: Digital Cameras

Another Early Morning…

No traffic meant a pre-work trip to the canal again. I wasn’t as lucky I was yesterday with the hoverfly that stayed still while I got up close and personal with my Panasonic TZ7’s, but I did manage a few shots of various flies, bees and spiders – all of which can be seen on my Flickr photostream.

Aside from the stray blade of grass on the right of the bee, I think this one came out rather nicely:

Bumble Bee

Later on at lunchtime I ventured out into the car park at work and found this armoured fellow:

Beetle

He was tiny so it’s a credit to the macro powers of my TZ7 that he came out so well. As an aside I have no idea if it’s a he, or if Beetles even have male and female counterparts! It wasn’t until I looked closely at the next photo that I realised that the antennae of the beetle were swishing back and forth while I was taking a few shots.

Beetle with swishing antennae

My next subject was a midge, which I falsely identified as a mosquito at first – hey, what do I know? If anything these photography exploits are enhancing my knowledge of the natural world and it’s many inhabitants. Let’s look at the first photo:

Midge

I took the next shot with the flash activated – I had to choose the ‘Forced Flash On’ stetting as the camera believed there to be enough natural light. As you can see the photo is clearer with the flash on, though possibly over-exposed. That’s something I’ll have to think about in future when I’m taking macro photos in indirect sunlight.

Midge with Flash

This last photo, again of a midge, shows what incredible detail this camera captures, and reinforces my decision to buy it. Not sure of the 3 green blobs of liquid were secreted by the midge, and if so whether they are natural excesses or the result of some kind of injury.

Midge up close

Remember, you can always click these photos for bigger versions or see those very same bigger versions on my Flickr photostream.

I’ve had the camera a full week now and I’m absolutely delighted with the results I’ve obtained so far, especially as they are impulsive photography expeditions and not the results of lots of preparation. Imagine how great the photos could be if a took my time and dug out my tripod!

As always, advice, criticism and possibly praise is appreciated – whatever you think, leave a comment and tell me how I’m doing or if there’s anything you’d like me to photograph with the TZ7 and publish example shots of.

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Filed under Bees, Beetles, Flies, Macro

Down By The Canal

For some reason there was no traffic today so I was able to walk down by the canal and take some photos before work. There were lots of huge bumble bees but none of them would stay still long enough to take a photo, added to me not wanting to get too close should they decide they don’t like the look of me! This first shot is of a partially dispersed dandelion:

Dandelion

Fauna out the way, here’s where I lucked out in managing to spot a hoverfly that was sat on a leaf, and stayed sat there for a few minutes, allowing me to take a few shots. This showed off the Panasonic TZ7’s macro ability beautifully and I’m really pleased with just how great these photos turned out.

Hoverfly on a leaf

Hoverfly close up

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Filed under Flowers, Macro, Wasps and Hoverflies

First Weekend With My Panasonic TZ7

It’s strange, and I can’t quite explain it, but the camera felt different to when I had one back in August of last year. It felt better and easier to use – maybe it’s just because I’ve finally made the right camera choice for me and my feeling of comfort with the camera gave me a feeling of having a superior piece of equipment. The Intelligent Auto mode is superb and chooses the right scene option very quickly, as well as focusing almost instantly.

The first thing I did was head out into the garden to test the macro mode, something I had been looking forward to doing ever since I’d ordered the camera. Luckily my Class 6 Integral 8GB SDHC memory card arrived on Saturday morning so I knew I’d be able to snap away without any worries of running out of room. These are the first two photos which I thought were good enough to publish on this blog:

Yellow Tulip

Daisy

I’m really happy with these photos – both have been cropped down in Photoshop and the Daisy has had the ‘Auto Levels’ function applied to it, the Tulip as as it came out the camera – the Auto levels left it unchanged, must have been such a good photo!

Next was a scenery shot, taken in Hitchin opposite the Millstream Pub:

Field in Hitchin

Again, very happy with the results. On the Sunday we went for a walk around Hitchin and then to St.Albans where I took a variety of photos, the ones I am happiest with can be seen on my Flickr Photostream, but here a few I liked for a variety of reasons.

Spider


This one was taken in our back garden and although the focus isn’t the best I was really happy to get such a good shot as it was hard to get to and the spider in real life is tiny – this shows the macro mode off really well, I can only begin to imagine how good the photo could have been had I had better access and used a tripod.

Ladybird


This is another shot which was pretty hard to get to but came out really well. Thanks to more auto level applying in Photoshop the colours look a lot more natural, especially the red of the shell which was a bit orangey straight out of the camera.

Canada Goose Teeth


This one isn’t here because of image quality but because of the image quality while zooming in from a long way. This photo is at maximum resolution. Look at the teeth on the goose’s bill and then look at the next photo which is the uncropped original – this camera has pretty spectacular zoom capabilities.

Canada Goose

All in all I’m very happy with the camera and think I have made the right choice. I am keen to get out and take more photos, and to use more of the different features and shooting modes that the Panasonic TZ7 has to offer. I will of course report back here with findings and photos. As always, comments and advice are welcomed.

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Filed under Birds, Macro, Spiders, Zoom

My Panasonic TZ7 Has Arrived!

A little history…

I bought a Panasonic TZ7 last August, but then I thought I wanted to get more into photography and sold it in favour of a Sony A200 DSLR. I hardly used the A200 so sold that and was on the verge of buying a TZ7 again but instead went for the much cheaper Fujifilm F72EXR. I once again had yearnings to get into the world of DSLR photography so sold the F72EXR and bought another Sony A200. I was happy with the A200 for a few days but then thought of our upcoming trip to North Devon and a visit to the zoo. With a 2 year old boy in tow was I really going to have time time to use a DSLR, and without extra lenses was I going to get as close as I wanted to? The answe was no, and so the A200, the second one, was sold. It was then a decision between the Sony DSCHX5VB and the Panasonic TZ7 – the TZ7 won on better zoom and reported better image quality, plus the HX5 has no dedicated macro mode. The £100 cheaper price tag also helped. So there you have it – the story of how I have ended up with my second TZ7, some 8 months after having my first one. The Panasonic TZ10 maybe the upgrade to the TZ7 but I’m not bothered about GPS wizardry  – I don’t go anywhere places varied and exotic enough to warrant a £100+ price augmentation.

At this very moment the battery is charging, which is for the best as I’m at work and have more than enough to get on with. Hopefully I can get out this weekend and give it a good road test, something I never did with the first TZ7, such was my eagerness to sell it and buy a Sony A200. Being Spring there are plenty of flowers in the garden which will be handy to test the macro mode, and I’m hoping for some visitors from the insect world to pose as subjects for my fickle minded photography hobby.

I’ll leave you with a fascinating photo of the newly arrived box and the camera from inside – both taken on my long time superseded Panasonic TZ1. I’d love to hear from other Panasonic TZ7 owners – point in the direction of some photos you’ve taken and lavish me with expert tips.

Panasonic TZ7 In The Box

Panasonic TZ7 Out Of The Box

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Filed under The TZ7

First Outdoor Shots with Fujifilm Finepix F72EXR – in the Snow!

As I write this blog it has started to snow again, a weather condition that forced me work from home today. The one advantage of that is I was able to take 10 minutes to have a play with my new Fujifilm Finepix F72EXR (the same as the Fujifilm FinePix F70EXR) in natural light for the first time. I haven’t read up on how to actually use the camera properly or set any of the manual settings – this was a brief photographic endeavour to say the least! You can see all six, yes six – told you it was brief, of the photos on my flickr photostream, and here a few to whet the appetite.

One of our solar lights, capped with a nice thick layer of fluffy snow.

Snowy Light

Some snow coated twigs in the garden.

Snowy Twig

I gave this the black and white effect – works well I think.

Snow Covered Trees

I’m pretty pleased with the results – for such a small and reasonably priced camera I think the photos have come out pretty well. More to come in the future as and when I get the chance, and the results are good enough!

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Filed under Cameras, Photography

The Camera Saga Continues – Fujifilm Finepix F72EXR

First off, this is the first blog I’m writing with the iPhone application so URLs and photos (there is a photo function so I will try!) will be added at a later date if I can’t add them via the iPhone application – please excuse all inevitable typos!

So, it started in August when I had decided that my Panasonic TZ1 was no longer good enough. While the 10x optical zoom us great, having that coupled with a measley 5MP sensor is not going to give the best results. The obvious upgrade was to the much talked about Panasonic Lumix TZ7
– 12x optical zoom and 10MP. I had this for about a week before I sold it – at the time I’d decided I wanted to get into photography properly, and that for that I’d need a Sony DSLR-A200K
.

There’s no denying the Sony DSLR-A200K gave great results, but it’s too big a camera to carry around on a day to day basis. It also needs a lot of time to progress and learn how to use the camera to it’s best ability. Add in the extra investment of lenses and I soon came to realise that the world of DSLR photography was not for me – maybe in the future when I don’t travel 3 hours a day to and from work and when our little boy is less demanding of our time.

So now we are in December and I’m back looking at the Panasonic TZ7 again, although now I’ve been Reading about people having issues with cracked LCD screens and Panasonic not doing anything about the problem. There us also the limited low light performance of the Panasonic TZ7 and add in the almost £250 price tag and I’m looking elsewhere.

After turning away the Canon PowerShot SX200
due to the flash popping up with every photo, whether it’s needed or not, and no optical zoom in video mode, I was seriously considering the Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR. It seemed to tick all the boxes – 10x optical zoom, 10MP, wide angle 27mm lens and these clever EXR settings giving enhanced performance in low light, to name but one benefit. Thanks to Hot UK Deals I became aware of the Fujifilm Finepix F72EXR, which is the Jessops exclusive version of the Fujifilm Finepix F70EXR, for a great price thanks to a £30 cashback offer from Fuji.

I’ve had this latest new camera for just 2 days and am yet to upload any photos to my laptop. Results on the camera’s LCD screen look good, and all have been low light photos so far. I’m looking forward to seeing the actual photos and to giving the camera a good road test outside at some point. The price of the Fujifilm Finepix F72EXR came to £125 with the cashback, a fantastic deal in comparison to the expensive and flawed Panasonic Lumix TZ7.

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Filed under Cameras

Photography: Sony A200 & Panasonic TZ1 Photo Comparison

This past Sunday we took our little boy to the park so I decided to use the opportunity to take a few photos as well. One thing I am beginning to realise is that my standard seems to have risen since I started using my Sony A200, and by that I mean that expect more from a photo and am finding that fewer of the photos I take are meeting my expectations. That aside, on spying a ladybird sitting on a leaf I decided to take a photo with both my Sony A200 and my Panasonic DMC-TZ1 – DSLR v Compact: Macro Battle!

The TZ1 has a 10x zoom with an effective focal length range of 35-350mm, while the A200 was used with the kit lens with an effective focal length range of 18-70mm. The better wide angle setting wasn’t going to help the A200 but was the lack of zoom and macro capability going to hold it back? Let’s look at the evidence, and note that the photos have not had any post production aside from cropping and resizing.

Panasonic TZ1 - f/6.3 - 1/1600 - ISO-800

Panasonic TZ1 - f/6.3 - 1/1600 - ISO-800

Sony A200 - f/5.6 - 1/250 - ISO-100

Sony A200 - f/5.6 - 1/250 - ISO-100

Interesting when looking at he exif information that the TZ1 chose an ISO of 800 compared to the A200 which chose ISO-100. I’d hazard a guess this is due to the superior quality of the A200’s sensor which has picked up more light than that of the TZ1. This could also be why the colours in the photo taken by the A200 are more natural looking.

There is more detail on the leaf of the TZ1 photo but that is because I purposely selected the ladybird as the focus area when using the A200 and increased the aperture setting to get a shallower depth of field.

I’m very encouraged by the photo taken with my Sony A200 and can only begin to imagine what results i will be able to achieve with a dedicated macro lens or a zoom lens with macro capability. Macro photography is an area I am particularly interested in so such a lens is on my wish list – you listening Santa?

I’ll leave you with two more photos taken on the way to the park.

Now that is a blue sky!

Now that is a blue sky!

Dew on the flower petals.

Dew on the flower petals.

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Filed under Aperture, Cameras, Depth of Field, Macro Photography, Photography