Monday, April 30, 2012

G1X: Gallery

Easter Lilies

I’ve set up a G1X gallery in my Smugmug account for showing my better G1X photos.  Not very many really good shots at this time but I’ll be adding to it – soon, I hope.

The shot above is a good one in my opinion.  It printed well at 12x18 inches and will soon be framed on hung on my wall.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

G1X: Wide Angle Conversion Lens

G1X Wide Angle

This is the G1X with the Canon WC-DC58B wide angle lens from with my G9 and used with my G12.  It is connected (almost) with the Lensmate G1X filter adapter.  That is, this is the way the combination would look if the G1X filter adapter (either the Canon or Lensmate version) actually connected the camera and conversion lens.  Those adapters will not make that connection.

G1X Wide Angle

Here’s the Lensmate adapter on top of the WC-DC58B.  Notice that the threads on the lens are still showing.  The adapter is not deep enough to accept the threads on the lens.

G1X Wide AngleHere’s a closer view.  Neither the Lensmate nor the Canon filter adapter is intended to be used with the WC-DC58B wide angle conversion lens.  Well, neither was the G12 but the combination could be made to work.  If the WC-DC58B were optically matched to the G1X then there would be an incentive to make an adapter for connecting them.  For testing the optics, I used a crude but effective temporary connector:  my hand.  The combination kind of looked OK on the G1X display so I proceeded to my official wide angle test site.


Easter Lilies

I’ve used this location for several types of comparisons, including the wide angle adaptor on the G12 and G9.  The image above is from the G1X at its maximum wide angle setting of 28mme.  The G1X was mounted on a tripod so I simply held the WC-DC58B wide angle conversion lens up to it. 

Easter Lilies

It works!  Or does it?  Well, almost but not quite.  Perhaps a better “adapter” could eliminate the vignette.  I probably could have eliminated the lens flare with a slightly different angle, lens hood or strategically placed hat.  Canon could revise the G1X firmware to correct the distortion.  So the potential exists for a new adapter and revised lens but would I buy them?

For starters, I’m not about to hang a heavy conversion lens – wide angle or telephoto – off the end of the G1X zoom lens.  No sir, not me.  Now, if someone were to make a rigid tube type lens adapter I would consider it but, so far, that product is not available and, evidently, must be a difficult one to design.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

G1X: Lensmate Adapter

The Canon FA-DC58C adapter for the G1X has been criticized for being an expensive piece of plastic that should not even be necessary.  That may be but it actually is necessary and therefore competition comes into consideration.  Lensmate is a well known and respected third party manufacturer of components for Canon and other cameras.  

Lensmate G1XI received my Lensmate filter adapter today; it is a nice looking, quality piece of machining. I also have the original Canon version. The Lensmate adapter is much more similar than different from the Canon adapter. The most obvious Lensmate G1Xdifferences are that the Canon adapter is labeled “Canon” in white paint whereas the Lensmate adapter appears to be without a label. Also, the Lensmate adapter has a continuous knurl around the entire circumference whereas the knurl on the Canon adapter is interrupted. The Lensmate adapter is made from Delrin polymer whereas the Canon adapter is said to be made of ABS plastic.

Lensmate G1X

Lensmate G1X

The functionality of the Canon and Lensmate adapters appears to be identical. Both install with a 90 degree twist and both are threaded for 58mm filters. The Canon lens cap works with either the Canon adapter or the Lensmate adapter.

Lensmate adapter on G1X

The Lensmate adapter has “LENSMATE FOR G1X” inscribed on the filter side. To install the adapter, position it so this inscription is at the top then twist the adapter clockwise (that is, “tighten”) 90 degrees. I admit to being a little uncomfortable putting a torque on the lens so I’m going to always install or remove the adapter before turning on the camera so that the lens is fully retracted during the process.

Lensmate adapter on G1X

Although the Lensmate website appears to have installation instructions, the instructions have actually not been posted at this time.  Also, no instructions were included with the product so, cowardly disclaimer: 

The above “instructions” are my idea.  Proceed at your own risk!.

The Lensmate adapter fits much tighter to the G1X than does the Canon adapter. In fact, at first I was hesitant to tighten the Lensmate adapter but after examining the fit, crossed my fingers (well, I would have, except, you know ...) and gave it a twist. I'm much more confident now and have had the adapter on and off several times. The Lensmate website appears to acknowledge that their adapter fits tighter.

At this point, I don't know which adapter I'm more likely to use -- probably does not matter but the Lensmate looks and feels a little better so I’ll be using it preferentially for now.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

G1X: Digital Zoom and Resolution

Slide Show 1: G1X digital zoom examples

I made a mistake in an earlier post about the digital tele-converter feature of the G1X. My rationalization is that I’ve rarely used any sort of in-camera digital zoom because it is really just cropping; in other words, I’m not experienced with digital zoom.  If a picture is to be cropped then my preference is to crop in Photoshop. My mistake was in thinking that the standard digital zoom was not up-rezzed whereas the digital tele-converter zoom (the fixed 1.5 or 1.9 zoom) in the G1X was up-rezzed. I was wrong. Both standard and tele-converter digital zooms are up-rezzed to the full 4352x3264 resolution of the G1X.

My error has unnerved me and I now wonder if there is a possibility that other posts may also contain errors!

The slide show above illustrates the G1X digital zoom at several settings but here’s some background information. The G1X lens has an optical focal length of 15.1mm to 60.4mm – a 4X zoom. For small sensor cameras, optical focal length is often stated in terms of equivalent full frame 35mm film camera focal length. For the G1X, the equivalent focal length is 28mm to 112mm. Instead of writing out “equivalent” every time, I prefer to use “mme”. With digital zoom (cropping) the effective equivalent focal length of the G1X is 28mme to 448mme – a 16X zoom.

Digital zoom choices are made in the Main Menu. The menu item reads “Digital Zoom” and does not indicate “digital tele-converter”. Options are: OFF, 1.5X, 1.9X and Standard. The 1.5X and 1.9X options are “digital tele-converter”. In terms of image size, all options produce 4352x3264 pixels in 4:3 aspect ratio frames. Digital zoom is not available for other aspect ratio frames and not available in RAW mode.

Using Standard digital zoom, digital cropping begins once the optical zoom has reached its maximum. That is, digital cropping begins above the 112mme focal length. This also means that the largest aperture is f5.8 for standard digital zoom on the G1X.


Slide Show 2: G1X digital tele-converter examples

In contrast to Standard digital zoom, the digital tele-converter zoom factor (1.5 or 1.9) applies to all optical focal lengths. This means that the optical 28mme becomes 42mme and the optical 112mme becomes 168mme when the 1.5X digital tele-converter is activated. Additional digital zooming is not possible when in the digital tele-converter mode of digital zoom.

The advantage to the digital tele-converter is that larger apertures are available in comparison to the optical or Standard digital zoom. Suppose, for example, a given scene is best photographed at 85mme. The largest aperture for 85mme optical focal length is f5.6. Standard digital zoom applies only to focal lengths larger than 112mme. Using the 1.9X digital tele-converter feature, the same composition is available at an optical focal length of ~45mme for which the maximum aperture is f4. Therefore this scene could be captured at f5.6 with pure optical zoom or at f4 by using the 1.9X digital tele-converter.  Using the larger aperture means that a faster shutter speed or lower ISO can be used when in digital tele-converter mode.

To my surprise, the combination of digital tele-converter and larger apertures did not increase the amount of background blur, see Slide Show 2 above and notice the blur in the far background.  The explanation is that depth of field is increased at shorter focal lengths and this increase more than offsets the slight change in aperture even when the image is cropped.

Although my preference is to crop in Photoshop, the digital zoom and digital tele-converter features do have their place. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

FotodioX LED312AS


The Fotodiox LED312AS is an LED light with 312 bulbs. Half the bulbs glow white to simulate daylight; half glow yellow to simulate incandescent (tungsten) bulb light.


At full tungsten setting, the daylight LEDs do not glow at all (photo above taken at Daylight white balance to emphasize tungsten lighting effect).


At full daylight setting, the tungsten LEDs do not glow at all. (Above picture shown using Daylight white balance.)  Color and intensity are controlled by two independent dials on the back of the light. The net effect is said to be a controllable color range between 3200K and 5600K and brightness up to 6580 lux. The LED output panel measures roughly 6-3/4 x 3-3/4 inches.

I bought the Fotodiox LED312AS on the recommendation of Kirk Tuck in a post on The Online Photographer about LED lighting.  Kirk writes regularly about the advantages of LED lighting; in fact, he has a book titled “LED Lighting” that I found very useful.  After posting his recommendation for the Fotodiox LED312AS, Kirk posted a brief follow-up on his blog.

The LED312AS comes in a nice kit consisting of light, a small swivel stand, a clearish diffusion panel, two NP-F550 Li-ion batteries and a battery charger all neatly stowed inside a zippered nylon case.


The LED312AS needs only one battery to work but two batteries can be mounted on the light. Continuous working time is said to be 100 minutes (I assume this is with both batteries.)  The little ballhead swivel to hotshoe mount is usable but a better configuration will be to mount the LED312AS to an umbrella style mount.  Picture above is shown with Daylight white balance to emphasize that the LED312AS was set for tungsten light.

Kirk Tuck reports that nearly all LED lights have a slight greenish tint and recommends a 1/4 magenta gel to be placed over the light.  My experience, based on working with RAW files, is the same.  I don’t have a magenta gel but will be getting one – especially to work with video.

Speaking of video, my first attempt to use the LED312AS was a bust.  I attempted to use it to provide a bit of fill light in a shady area on a bright day.  The LED312AS could not be placed closer than about 8 feet from the subject and it was relatively ineffective.  I resorted to bouncing sunlight with a reflector.  My guess is that at least two, probably four, LED312AS were necessary for that setting.

I like continuous lighting because of the immediate feedback on placing the lights.  The LED312AS is small, lightweight and battery powered so I expect to use it a lot. 

(All above photos taken with the G1X.  Accessory close-up lenses were not necessary.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

G1X: Time Lapse

Time lapse photography is yet another aspect of the game hobby that I want to learn about. I’ve made one time lapse video using my G12 and an intervalometer. The same intervalometer works with the G1X; however, the G1X battery has less capacity than the G12 battery. How long would the G1X run using only battery power?

To test the battery and practice the technique, I set up my G1X for time lapse with a freshly charged battery and put it on full manual exposure, manual WB, manual focus and turned the display off. Exposure was set for 1/100 sec at f5.6 and ISO 100 -- my guess for capturing a morning sunrise. I also set image capture for JPEG only at 1920x1080 pixels. The memory card was a Transcend Class 10. To my dismay, I forgot to turn off the focus assist lamp and didn't realize that until later so decided to let it run anyway.

I used this cheap and simple intervalometer to trigger the G1X at 2 second intervals.

All this was (roughly) the setup and process I used to make the time lapse sequence with my G12 except that a 6 second interval was used for the G12.  (I don’t remember how I arrived at a 6 second interval but it must have made sense at the time.)

In the morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the G1X had run for 2 hours 46 minutes and captured 2518 images of the dark room.

There was a problem though. Right away I had sensed that the interval was not always 2 seconds. Sometimes it would be 2 seconds and sometimes seemed to be more than 3 seconds but I continued the test anyway. Checking the times, the first shots were at intervals of 2 sec followed by 4 seconds then 2 sec, etc. The last shots were all at 4 sec intervals (battery running down, I assume). The gross average interval during the night was 3.96 seconds. So it appears to me that the G1X should be set for intervals of more than 4 seconds over a long period of time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

G1X: Harbor

OS Beach

Just a few shots from my walk-about this morning.  All shots were taken with the G1X in RAW+JPEG.  The in-camera JPEG is shown without additional processing except to reduce in size.

OS Beach

At this point, I would be showing off a beautiful panoramic view of the harbor except for a minor (!) but embarrassing error on my part.  

OS Beach

OK, not so minor when every shot is over exposed by two stops! 

OS Beach

Here’s what happened.  Just before leaving the area, running a bit late, I decided to grab a few shots for stitching to make a panorama.   I’d been shooting in Av mode at ISO 100, f11.  For the panorama, I switched to manual focus at infinity and also set manual exposure at 1/100 second and f11.  I completely forgot that the G1X retains an independent ISO setting for manual exposure.  After getting five shots for stitching, I quickly turned the camera off, returned to the car and hurried away confident that I had good shots.  No chimping – that’s confidence!  Tonight I see that those shots were taken at ISO 400 and are badly overexposed. 

Don’t let it happen to you!  In manual exposure mode, the G1X remembers the ISO setting from the previous time it was in manual exposure mode.