Perhaps an odd couple for cities, but my first trip on my new plane fortunately took me to Portugal and Switzerland. Managed a couple of quick walkabouts to put the Fuji X100T through the paces since I've been busy with training the last six weeks. Nice to get out & shoot again!
This is the promised follow up about a camera that I purchased, sort of liked and then sold in short order. After much toiling I purchased the Panasonic LUMIX LX10 last year and initially really [sort of] liked it. It’s a small, sleek (errr...slick), functional and well appointed carry-everywhere-with-you camera. Yet, it wasn’t ultimately what I was hoping for. Let’s break it down and I’ll share a few images from my short journey with the LUMIX to see why it didn’t make the cut.
Form Factor & Reliability
One of the major factors in deciding on an everyday carry is the size & how it fits in your hand. The LX10 nailed both of those well enough, but it was almost too small without the addition of some sort of grip as it was a very slick camera to hold onto. Thankfully I never dropped it but came close a few times (love that wrist strap). The much lauded Sony RX100 series suffers from the same design flaw as well. A bit of grippiness could have gone a long way in keeping this thing around. The on/off switch was also unfortunately very easy to activate and I’d sometimes reach into my bag only to find the battery was drained. Clearly not a good thing if time is of the essence for a particular scene.
After a short time of use the lens closure (automatic cover) developed an annoying issue. It wouldn’t fully close or open when turning the camera on/off. This of course didn’t affect the way it captured photos per se, but was a pain as I needed to pay attention so as to not miss a photo opportunity with the closure stuck half open (assuming the battery wasn’t dead). I ultimately sent it back for warranty twice for this issue and it worked great after the second fix. Nonetheless, I wasn’t overly impressed and lost weeks of time without the camera while it was being repaired.
What I Liked
For a small body and 1” sensor the LX10 actually captured pretty decent photos. The Leica f/1.4-f/2.8 lens is an excellent addition that I felt without the camera would have been pure ‘meh’. It is decently sharp with a useful 24-72mm optical zoom range and a slightly useful digital zoom for a touch more reach.
The articulating screen while fairly standard on cameras these days is a welcome & useful addition for low angle shooting. I’ve really adapted and gotten used to having an articulating screen and fully believe they belong on modern cameras.
The macro capability was actually quite good for such a small sensor and the focusing range nearly down to an inch it makes for easy floral shots or of course Lego Photograhers.
Though technically most cameras come with what are better known as ‘features’ I like to call them ‘gimmicks’ depending on their usefulness. Things such as the aforementioned articulating screen and 4K focus stacking are arguably useless if they are not well executed. The 4K focus unfortunately stacking falls in the gimmicky range. I was looking forward to this feature for shots of Photo Lego Dude’s adventures, but in the end the results always left something to be desired. Better to manually stack images in Photoshop for truly sharp results.
How about that touch screen you say? Actually yes, it was useful and I enjoyed being able to select focal points with it and navigating the less than stellar menu system with relative ease. Seems everything is touch screen these days and that isn’t always a bad thing. So not quite gimmicky.
Ultimately I found the LX10 uninspring and at times frustrating to shoot with but also occasionally useful and fun. I’ll probably miss it at times, but it wasn’t a camera that I felt I could get repeatable results with or print with confidence if I did capture a good moment. Would I recommend it as a general point & shoot for vacation memories or backpacking camera? Certainly. But for the discerning pro or enthusiast who needs a little more from their everyday carry looks elsewhere. Something like say...oh a Fuji X100 series.
Awhile back I wrote a post about my search for the 'Ultimate Travel Camera', eventually purchased a camera after much deliberation, lazily never made a follow up post about it and have since purchased yet another camera to replace the first 'ultimate travel' camera. Whew. The long short of it? I purchased a Panasonic Lumix LX10, didn't fall in love with it and decided to go back for my gut instinct of the Fuji X100T.
So here I am a few weeks into owning the X100T and I've been loving every minute of shooting with it. While I won't dwell on the Lumix (I plan a post about my experience with it soon), I just never fully loved shooting with it. It simply stayed in my bag too often and I was rarely inspired to shoot with it. I should've known the Fuji brand would be calling my name and I'm happy it's my new everyday carry.
This post won't be a 'review' because there a million such things out there to geek out about over specs & pixel peeping. Nope, just some pics and the simple joy of shooting with a very capable compact camera that produces gorgeous images.
Then it was off to Amsterdam for a few days to let the legs recover before we headed home. I wanted to put the X100T through the paces in an urban environment and one I'm more familiar with. Definitely starting to get used to this thing.
One of my best selling & favorite images from Sri Lanka also happens to be one of my most stolen.
The Demodara 9 Arches Bridge is an iconic structure built by the British when Sri Lanka was still called Ceylon during WWI. To create this photo my wife and I journeyed along the tracks, sweated profusely, made it through a tunnel full of bats, met friendly folks clearing fields with machetes and I even got my first leech to capture this photo. Then we even got to ride back on another train for about 25 cents (USD) and were able to cross the same bridge to Ella where we were staying, it was a fun but exhausting day.
It was all well worth it and just one example of what photographers do to capture the images you see. From postcards to online use, this picture has been illegally used by many companies. I've spent this week tracking down image thieves, issuing invoices and take down notices. Please, if you are going to use someone's work for commercial purposes do it properly! Good photography isn't done cheaply, easily or for free.