Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Welcome Panasonic LX7

Panasonic LX7
It's been a while since I've updated my compact Panasonic LX3.  When the LX5 was released, I didn't think the upgrades made the cost worthwhile, and in fact, bought another LX3.  The result of which both Panasonic LX3s made it up to the summit of Mt. Everest with me.  One of them came home with me, and I presented the other to my trusty Sherpa.  Both are still in use today.

However, my LX3 is showing it's age, and is long overdue for retirement.  What to replace it with?  I'll be frank, I'm biased.  I loved the combination of Panasonic technology married to the Leica lens on the LX3.  I don't think I can go wrong with the LX7 which brings an even faster (bigger aperture f/1.4 compared to f/2) lens compared to the LX3 and LX5.  Cleverly, they have included a built-in ND (Neutral Density) filter in case you want to use a big aperture combined with a slow shutter speed in bright light.  The ND filter is even more useful in video mode when you might want to use a big aperture for creative effect, but are limited to using a certain shutter speed.  I also like what they have done with the control layout.  The ergonomics look pretty good, better than the LX5, much better than the LX3.

Should you buy an LX7?  This comes down to a few factors.  Do you need a camera with interchangeable lenses?  If so, one of the mirrorless M4/3 cameras like the Olympus Pens or Panasonic GX1 might be right for you.  This would increase your creative choices with different lenses, but also increase the size, cost, and weight of your set-up.

If you don't need or want interchangeable lenses, then the LX7 looks pretty good.  It's not the smallest premium compact.  If you are really looking for the smallest premium compact, that honor might belong to the Canon S100.  The small size comes with certain tradeoffs though.  A slower (smaller maximum aperture) lens, possibly harder to grip and not feel as secure in the hand.

If I were undertaking some extreme adventure today, like climbing Mt. Everest (Err... no thank you.  Once was enough!) where keeping it lightweight is of key importance, the LX7 would be at the top of my list.  I'd wait for some pro reviews though, just to be sure that Panasonic haven't dropped the ball. 

Just my 2 cents...




Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Whole Enchilada

Just got back from a mountain biking trip to Durango and Moab.  Although I now live in Singapore, and it's a long journey to get there, I've been to both those places before, and know there's plenty of good biking.  This time around, we had a diverse group of friends with a wide range in  ability and fitness come ride with us.  Ilya, was a former downhill pro rider and Felix, was nearly an absolute rookie who hauled his mountain bike out of cold storage a month before the trip.  Nevertheless, we all had a blast.

The riding was varied and the weather was good for the most part - a little bit hot, a little bit cold, a little bit wet.  All in all, the weather held out for us and could hardly be better.  There was a lot of dirt road, but there were also a lot of scenic bits, and some sweet singletrack.  Of course, the ride included the awesome 'The Whole Enchilada' singletrack Trail, which dropped us into Moab for the finish.

I used my newish Olympus OMD EM5 with mainly a 7-14mm lens, and an old GoPro HD for the POV and timelapse sequences.