So… I went to my neighborhood Octoberfest yesterday. Actually it was more Septemberfest and the main event was a chili cook-off. Hey what did you expect in rural Maryland. We do things a little different here. I shot a couple of images with the GF1 and LX5 and treated them both like point and shoots. You know the drill, auto everything, Program mode, etc. They weren't in dummy mode but close to it. I didn't even bother choosing focus points for any of the images I snapped.
Mind you the images are nothing special I just wanted to get a feel for what the cameras would do un-attended. I did learn a few things and thought I would share them with you.
- Both Panasoic cameras have a giant propensity to gravitate towards a wide-open Aperture in program mode left to their own devices. I guess this is okay but does take some getting used to if you are used to say Nikon's program mode. I guess I found this surprising because I have been "testing" both cameras in situations where the amount of light would dictate a wider Aperture and reasonable shutter speed so that the camera did not have to boost the ISO. In this case I saw shutter speeds of 1/1000 at ISO 100 while program mode was choosing f 1.7 and such. I wasn't really paying attention while shooting but afterwards saw this as not so good in P+S mode when doing casual environmental portraits while letting the camera choose the focus point. Bad combo because the focus point was almost always where you don't want it. Like on the forward sleeve vs. the eye/face. Beware in auto-everything mode of this. If you choose the focus point - no worries.
- If there is a hint of sunlight in a shady scene both the LX5 and GF1 auto WB seem to choose a WB toward sunlight. Again no big deal but something to be aware of if you want to use the JPEGs. RAW - who cares.
- Both cameras were plenty fast enough for this kind of event. Amazing. All the bad images - most of them in this case, were my fault. Not the camera locking up or not responding quick enough.
- If you worry about no DOF effects with either camera - don't. In real world shooting at real world distances both of these lenses, the 20mm 1.7 and 24-90 f 2.8 look great wide open.
- The autoflast/force flash on both of these cameras used as fill is WAY TOO MUCH. Be prepared to dial it down if you use it. In not one instance did it not add too much flash for fill. Looks like shit, I would say you will have to use -1 all the time but will experiment. I don't use on-camera fill much for my use but thought you would want to know.
- The GF1 image quality is much better than the LX5 - even at low ISO in a lot of circumstances. I will dig into this with more analysis but for now here is what I mean. It's not like I am unhappy with the LX5 at all. I love it but in some circumstances - not the ones you would imagine like high ISO, in normal bright light, the LX5 takes on that small, junky, P+S look like all small cameras used to. Sort of a smeared over, plastic-y, over edge sharpened look if you know what I mean. The GF1 always looks great. I will see if I can figure out what provokes it in the LX5. Strange. To be blunt I think all of the Canon S90/S95/G10/G11 images look like this so the fact that the LX5 only does it sometimes is a good thing. The fact the GF1 never does is great.
That's all for now. Will update. Here are a couple of random shots with notes in captions.