Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Bought a NEW Camera


I went to the PC Fair today, and I found one camera I could not resist, hence I made a spontaneous purchase.

It was a budget, compact camera. Introducing...

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-LZ8

*click* image to see its awesomeness



5X OPTICAL ZOOM, IMAGE STABILIZATION, LEICA LENS

*click* image to see its awesomeness



PASM CONTROL MODES

*click* image to see its awesomeness



For those of you who have been surprisingly loyal to this blog till now, you must have known that I have started my blogging days with a meager point and shoot camera. I have been shooting with a budget compact camera for over 3 years before the previous one gave up on me and died. Hence someone nudged me to get a DSLR, thus I dived into the world of DSLR which opened me to an entirely different approach to photography.

Nevertheless, I have been using a compact for such a long time, I do miss what a true compact camera can offer.

Why a compact camera?

1) Convenience. Small, light and compact. I can bring it everywhere I go.

2) Being Discrete. I can slide it into any pocket and by its tiny size, it can be hidden and slip pass any places where photography may be prohibited. And usually interesting photography subjects are at those prohibited places !!

3) Video Recording. I know newer DSLRs have this capability, but ALL compact cameras have it. And my current DSLR does not have it.

4) Everyday Camera. I can't bring DSLR to work. Its ridiculous.

5) Security. No one would notice that extra bulge on your pants unless its wrongly placed and shaped but carrying a HUGE DSLR bag around can attract unnecessary attention. KL streets are not exactly safe to walk around with anything expensive on your body.

6) Budget. Since its dirt cheap, I would not regard it as something overly precious. Less things to worry about when I am on the move.

TEST SHOT: NIGHT LANDSCAPE (hand-held)

*click* image to see its awesomeness



TEST SHOT: INTERIORS

*click* image to see its awesomeness



Do not get me wrong. I am still shooting with a DSLR. This new Panasonic Lumix is just to complement my photography tools currently. It is to fill in the gap, and perform the duties in places and times my DSLR cannot do so.

I have mentioned, I did snap pictures with a compact for years, I have become quite fond and good with it. I miss the old days, and I do realize a need, and desire to own one.

TEST SHOT: INDOOR SUBJECT

*click* image to see its awesomeness



TEST SHOT: INDOOR SUBJECT

*click* image to see its awesomeness



But why this Panasonic Lumix LZ8?

1) It has full manual control over photography parameters and settings.

So far no other budget cameras other than my previous Kodak offers full manual control. PASM (Programme, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual) is unexpectedly, but made available in this camera, providing me freedom and flexibility in controlling the camera.

2) 5x Optical Zoom.

More zoom than other cameras in its class. My previous compact camera was a 5x zoom as well, and I do not think I could live with anything lower than that. Additionally, this Lumix has an interesting feature, the optical zoom can go up to 8x by shooting in 3MP mode. If reach is the main concern, this is certainly helpful.

3) Optical Image Stabilization.

Panasonic has got to have the credit to include this !! I have got shaky hands, and having IS on the camera would really aid me in getting more sharp shots in low light conditions. Now how many budget cameras have IS?


4) Really good ISO peformance in low light conditions.

Of course I do not expect the performance to be compared and live up to any DSLRs out there. Comparing with other similarly priced cameras out there, this camera seriously shines. DPREVIEW supported this fact, click to go to their site.

5) Long Exposure/Slow Shutter speed up to 60 Seconds. This should give a good coverage for night photography outdoors !! I do not think this feature can be found on other budget compacts.

6) DPREVIEW crowned this camera the overall winner amongst the group test of budget cameras from different mahufacturers. Yes, it pwned Olympus Nikon and Canon.

7) Super value for money. 8MP, 5x Optical zoom, PASM full manual controls.

All for RM380, what more can I ask for in a budget camera?

TEST SHOT: BACKLIT SUBJECT

*click* image to see its awesomeness



TEST SHOT: LOW LIGHT MACRO

*click* image to see its awesomeness



After purchasing the camera, off I went to test on it right away. A lot of people may be hard to fall back onto the hard ground of earth after being on heaven with DSLRs, but I did not feel that way. I somehow, felt right at home with it !! I miss the lightness and compactness, on how the camera fits so well on my hands. I miss the simplicity and straight-forwardness of taking pictures, just a minor tweaks there and here and let the camera do the rest. I miss using a compact camera, and now I have one.

I did a set of tests, very brief and short ones, but just to have an initial impression of what the camera is capable of. I did an outdoor handheld night shot of the KLCC towers, some indoor shots on the Mercedez Benz, a few macro on the food, and people shots. On the whole, I would say it is too early for me to fully analyze the camera's performance and image quality, but somehow the camera seems to be a joy to use, with minimal fuss. Coming from godlike speed that a DSLR has offered me, a little wait with slower processing was inevitably obvious, but not pushed to the annoying side. I am still comfortable with the operations and general shooting conditions. Autofocus and zooming was smooth and snappy. By the way, the Image Stabilization does its job rather well too.

TEST SHOT: FOOD MACRO

*click* image to see its awesomeness



TEST SHOT: MACRO FOOD

*click* image to see its awesomeness




Images came out bright and sharp, to the expectations of a compact camera. ISO-noise can be an issue, I only used ISO400, and the grains seemed intrusive and destructive to the photos. Nevertheless, the pictures can still be salvaged by some effort put in post-editing, which I have become lazy to do much of these days. The pictures may be noisy to a certain extent, but I believe they are still very usable for small prints. However, I do have to complain about the color rendition of this camera. There is a strong green cast in the pictures which took me quite some time to remove by editing. And the overall colors just lack the punch and depth that Olympus or Kodak versions are offering me all these while.

On the whole, I do think that this was a value, and a darn good buy. The image may not be top notch, but hey, if you are doing a contest with other similarly categorized cameras out there, this Panasonic Lumix LZ8 does climb to the top with much ease. You have got to admit that for all the features built in, there is just so much bang for the buck that other cameras are lacking.

For RM380 only, I think it is a steal.

TEST SHOT: INDOOR PORTRAIT

*click* image to see its awesomeness



TEST SHOT: INDOOR PORTRAIT

*click* image to see its awesomeness



Side note: Camwhoring comes more naturally with a compact camera !!

I still need to do more sets of testing before coming up with my definite conclusion on what I honestly think of the camera. Nonetheless, initial impressions suggested very promising results ahead.

It was weird, I used Kodak, then Olympus, and now a Panasonic. I do wonder why I chose this over Canon or Nikon. I wonder why.

Owh, and do not worry, I have not forgotten about the PC Fair chicks. I did snap their pictures using my DSLR. Rest assured you will see them in the next coming entry.

Cheers for the compact camera !!

19 comments:

  1. compact point and shoot camera can beat DSLR (without macro lens) anytime! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey allen,
    Completely agreeable !!

    ReplyDelete
  3. depends on who's holding it :D

    if its robin.. anytime XD

    if its me.. both will turn out like shooting with camera phone... wait even camera phone turn out better LOL

    ReplyDelete
  4. just curious... that is the final result unedited?

    ReplyDelete
  5. hey Jian,
    nolah, now after having experience with DSLR if u go back to compact camera can produce better results liaw.

    hey Clement,
    I only applied minor processing (as mentioned in the blog entry), eg contrast/brightness and a little color correction. But what you see is basically almost similar to the untouched results.
    I believe in getting the settings in-camera right and do minimal editing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice image! Did u PP the image? What lens u use? 50mm f1.8L IS USM?

    But seriously though, the lack of bokeh is really a bummer for ppl with bokeh fetish like me, so I guess I'll stick to a200 for awhile ;D Or I'll buy a (comparatively larger) large sensor compact like the Zigma or LX3 or G9s.

    ReplyDelete
  7. hey fishtan,
    dun play play ok its LEICA PWNS canon L anytime !! LOLLLL...

    WTF for RM380 u are seriously expecting bokeh???

    but then even the LX-3 and other larger sensor compacts cant produce bokeh up to our standards lar.... or rather your bokeh fetish standards LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. Robin, you gave me another good reason to shop for a camera next month. Panasonic Lumix!

    ReplyDelete
  9. robin is the most down to earth photographer! looks like you can't let go of your roots!

    that shot of the root beer in frosty mug is absolutely tempting! too bad we don't have A&W in spore! along with nando's, baskin robbins, etc. sigh...

    -Marcus

    ReplyDelete
  10. er, whatever happened to the old point n shoot digicam?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wonder how long this unit will survive under your 'treatment'...

    ReplyDelete
  12. welcome to lumix! been using it over a year (though it actually belongs to my mom) and i'm still loving it! remember the shots of the beaches in kk on my old blog? it's from the lumix! :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. hey daniel,
    go go lumix !! panasonic has been really serious about compact cameras recently.

    hey marcus,
    thanks !! U know I have not had the root beer for ages, and after downing one mug, I could not help it but ordering another !! It was that good !! Gosh...

    hey KM Lim,
    you pay, I wont complain.

    Hey Jasonmumbles,
    its one hell of a good shit if you asked me.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hey Ian,
    it died?

    hey chong,
    ahahaha this time its different, im giving that "treatment" to the dslr, so not full load is imposed on the compact.

    hey silveraven,
    Of course I remember that entry !! Those blue waters, and greenery, how can anyone forget !!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, good. Much better than a dslr, price-wise at least :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. hey neo,
    yeah for a rm380, it sure does its job well.

    ReplyDelete
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