eat. shop. love. nyc.

Second thoughts
June 10, 2010, 1:13 am
Filed under: Do | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m having second thoughts.

As it turns out, my brand new GF1 camera is defective. The camera itself is beautiful, and what few pictures were taken before the  screen went all wonky were gorgeous. Eye-openingly gorgeous. But after firing off a few shots at dinner tonight, the LCD screen got all fuzzy and staticky – like when you have no signal on an analog television – before going all crazy with the red and purple highlights and this is the picture that it took (picture of the screwy screen taken by my trusty BlackBerry camera):

Fortunately, Amazon has an excellent return policy and I’m sending it back tomorrow for a full refund. But now I am agonizing over whether I should re-order the same, or if I should mix things up a bit. The GF1 with the 20mm pancake lens is $808 on Amazon. The other contender in the Search for Mel’s New Camera was the Olympus E-PL1, which has better high ISO output, has a great JPEG processor, in-body image stabilization and cheaper lenses, and goes for $549 with a 14-45 mm zoom kit lens. If I really want the Lumix 20mm pancake (which does not have in-lens IS), I can get that for $360 more, and pay about $100 more in total ($808 vs. $909) to have a camera with in-body IS and two M4/3 lenses.

But the GF1 is faster, has a better autofocus, great HD video… It is extremely well-loved in the reviews, and often compared to the more expensive big brother of the Olympus E-PL1, the E-P2 ($899 with 14-45 mm zoom kit lens). But the E-PL1 doesn’t have the little red light sensor on the front so apparently auto-focusing in the dark is near impossible.

I want to be able to shoot food, portraits, and travel photos.

How do I choose?!


New camera!
June 9, 2010, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Do, Love | Tags: , , , , , ,

Aren’t you sick of looking at my sad, dark little photos of various things I’ve made or eaten? I am. That’s why, after much research and thought, I got me a new camera. Hello, lover.

Meet my Panasonic Lumix GF1, outfitted with the 20 mm aspherical pancake lens.

The most important things for me were quality (duh), a compact size (I would feel uncomfortable about taking pictures too conspicuously at restaurants), portability (if a camera has a gigantic lens and doesn’t fit easily into my purse, I won’t take it everywhere), and versatility (I want to be able to take portraits, landscapes, macro, etc.). For all this, I decided the best option would be to go with a smaller micro four thirds lens system camera. I had narrowed my selections down to the Panasonic GF1 (the GH1 is out of my price range, and I didn’t want to wait for the G2 to come out) and the Olympus EPL-1. After a harrowing research and review period, I ultimately decided on the GF1 because the 20 mm pancake lens is so darn sexy. I couldn’t resist. With the 20 mm lens on, my camera is 4.5 inches wide, 3 inches high, and not quite 3 inches deep. It will fit into any of my purses with the exception of my tiniest clutches, and I won’t incur the wrath of various restaurant staff as I fuss and zoom.

Some reservations I have about the GF1:

  1. There is no string attached to the lens cap. Knowing me, I will lose that lens cap.
  2. There is no built-in viewfinder. I’m going to Guatemala in July, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to see anything on the LCD screen in bright sunlight. We’ll see how it goes.
  3. Lack of in-body image stabilization means I have to have a really steady hand… which is not something I have. The Panasonic lenses have compensation to make up for lack of in-body IS, but as a result, are more expensive in turn.
  4. High ISO output not as strong as Olympus, which has a bigger sensor. Hmm. This could be bad for taking macro photos of food in low-light situations.
  5. The GF1 takes considerably better pictures in RAW than in JPEG, and I have zero photo processing experience.
  6. I don’t actually remember very much from my photography class in college. F stop what? Oh, wait. This is not a reservation about the GF1; this is a reservation about my photo-taking capabilities.

I am going to be learning how to use it for the next few months, and I hope that ultimately, its use will result in a more beautiful blog. In the meantime, if you continue to see grainy, dark photos, it’s probably because I am still trying to use up all the photos from my now-old Canon point-and-shoot (which has served me well, and will still be my carry-everywhere camera) while I figure out how to work this thing.

Wish me luck!