Inspirations from older cameras: The Panasonic LX3

The Panasonic LX3 was one of what I like to think of as a matured, serious compact – it had a larger sensor with fewer pixels for better dynamic range and low light performance (notice I said ‘better’, not ‘good’). It had a fast and sharp 24-72/2-2.8 equivalent, with variable aspect ratios on a switch; one of the downsides of this piece of glass was the price and unpocketability thanks to the protruding lens barrel, but it was worth it. Great dynamic range for a compact, too, though color accuracy could be somewhat wanting at times.

Enjoy! All images can be clicked on for larger versions, or EXIF information. MT

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Sunset

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Distorted reality

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Internal facade

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Silhouettes

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Under the awning

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Look up

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Pastel interior

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Puddle

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Traffic

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Opposites

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Untitled

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Pipework

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Ouch

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Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D3, part two

Part two of of this series. Part one was here.

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Exclamation mark. D3, 300/2.8 VR

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Untitled. D3, 24-70

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Rest. D3, 105VR

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Satay man. D3, 14-24

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Suggestions of a watch. D3, 105VR

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Tour de Langkawi 2009. D3, 24-70

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The ‘hollywood’ shot. D3, 24-70

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Virtual buildings. D3, 24-70

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Blending in with nature. D3, 24-70

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The proverbial rose. D3, 24-70

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It can only be Fuji. D3, 24-70

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Sunset. D3, 50/1.4 AFS

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Children, Bangkok. D3, 14-24.

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Live retouching. D3, 24-70.

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Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D3, part one

For me, the Nikon D3 is one of the cameras that revolutionized the way I shot – no longer was the camera the limitation in any way. It almost made things too easy; it forced me to rethink the way I shoot and stop trying to capture ‘everything’ in hyperreal detail and light (that was the previous challenge) and start moving myself to a more selective way of seeing. This was further reinforced by the Leica M8 that followed…

The D3 and D700 share the same sensor and much of their innards; the latter camera is still in service with me today, and used for things where I either don’t need the resolution or have to shoot under more demanding conditions than would be convenient with the D800E. And for anybody thinking of upgrading from an older DX camera, do it – you’re in for a treat.

Part one of the reinspiration is here. MT

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Fushima-inarii, Kyoto. D3, 24-70

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Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. D3, 70-300VR

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Rain. Kuala Lumpur. D3, 70-300VR

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Scarlet ibis. D3, 70-300VR

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Joy. D3, 24-70

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Detective in the city. D3, 24-70

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Stamens. D3, 105VR

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Imperial Palace moat, Tokyo. D3, 24-70.

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Shadows, Tokyo. D3, 24-70

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Omega Dynamic. D3, 105VR

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Daibutsu, Nara. D3, 24-70

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Inspirations from older cameras: The Ricoh GR Digital III

The original Ricoh GR-Digital was a cult camera that was known for two things: its ability to produce interest B&W JPEGs directly out of camera that heavily resembled Tri-X, and it’s incredibly configurable user interface. A fixed 28/2.5 equivalent was just part of the package. To be honest, I never really got along with this camera; I bought it solely because I loved the way it felt, and hardly used it.

Somehow, I found myself finding the 28mm focal length more and more intuitive as I matured as a photographer, to the point where I would see 28mm frame lines around every scene suspended in midair. The ideal compact was therefore an easy choice – I acquired a Ricoh GR-Digital III in early 2010, and used it heavily – occasionally as a primary camera, too. Although it still produces excellent out of camera B&W JPEGs, its sensor has fantastic tonality in both color and monochrome, and conversions are best done in ACR to make the most of the files.

Suffice to say it’s given me a surprisingly large number of keeper and portfolio-grade images over the years. MT

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Self portrait

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Construction break

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The Number 15 to Trafalgar Square

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Inside your watch

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After the rain

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Untitled

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There is a divergence in the force

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Untitled

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Chinese New Year

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Bulbs

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Stubbornness

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Reflections on people

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Inspirations from older cameras: The Canon SD780IS/ IXUS 100 IS

Early 2009. I’d never really thought of the importance of the camera you have with you up til this point – I’d always gotten around that by always carrying the best camera I had. There were, however, situations where that wasn’t really suitable, so I went in search of a compact camera. I was taken by the overall stealthiness of the Canon IXUS SD780IS; it was matte black, rounded, and had a load of flush buttons. 33-100 wasn’t an ideal focal length range, but it did start somewhere reasonably acceptable for street photography and covert documentary work. It also produced a reasonably nice file that was easy to work with in photoshop. My mum inherited this camera and refuses any attempts on my part to give her an upgrade. MT

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Steampunk

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Liquid

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Abandoned

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Untitled

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Truth is found at the bottom of a glass

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Paradise found

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Sunset

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Untitled

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Autumn in London

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One of my favorite portraits ever

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Untitled

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All about the eyebrows

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Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D200, part two

Part two of the Nikon D200 inspirations. Part one was here. MT

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Bluetit

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Under the arch

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Traffic flow

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Hanging

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Kinkakuji in summer

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Town crier

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Suggestions of life

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Observing the observatory

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Pea soup

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Echoes

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The underside of a ladybug

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Fingers

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Distorted reality, II

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In a hurry

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Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D200, part one

A pair of D200s replaced my D2H as my workhorses – I shot extensively with these cameras from around mid 2006 to early 2008, until I got a D3. They managed to improve on the low light performance of the D2H, while increasing resolution by a considerable amount; popularly thought of as ‘D2x lite’. The only issue was mediocre AF, and at best average battery performance – I’d have to carry five or six to feed the pair of monsters on a heavy day of shooting. MT

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The end of all things

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Movement

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Morning fog

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Animals with personality

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Fighting, passing on a message, embracing…only they know.

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Lange 1815.

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Mosaic

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A Parisian in London

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Alone

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Time for a rest

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Japan in a lantern

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Traffic

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Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D2H, part 2

The second part of the inspirations series in tribute to the Nikon D2H…part one was here. MT

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The ballet

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Out of place and time

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Snowy echoes

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Column wheel chronograph

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Fur

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Cattle egret

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Something’s going on in the square

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Wondering where to put it

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Temple spires

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A bird portrait

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Dragonflies

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London through the gap

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Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D2H, part 1

Possibly one of the most unpopular Nikons ever, and certainly the most derided professional DSLR – the D2H had a mere 4.2MP (the 0.2 mattered, when you only had 4.2 in total) when launched in 2004; its direct competition, the Canon 1D Mark II, had double that at 8MP. Worse still, Nikon’s much feted low noise JFET LBCAST sensor was in fact extremely noisy and pretty much unusable at ISO 1600 and above; an updated version – the D2Hs – actually had very good high ISO performance, but by then, the damage was done.

What the camera did do well was be insanely responsive – from the lighting-fast AF system, to 40ms shutter lag and hair trigger buttons, to 8fps shooting, it just felt alive. It was also a great teaching tool, precisely because it was so unforgiving of exposure or WB errors that you just had to learn to get it right, or not get a useable shot at all. When you did get it right, the D2H punched way above its pixel class – it resolved about the same amount of detail as my 6MP D70, and had very clean, high-acuity pixels; the unique sensor architecture also made for a beautiful tonal response, which doesn’t seem to exist in any camera today – the closest we get is the Leica M8 and M9.

I shot nearly two hundred thousand frames with this camera – picking the best few is going to be tough, so we’ll do this in a few parts. Part one is here, and part two follows. Enjoy! MT

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Blue mountains

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Early watch work

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Scarlet ibis

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I wish it were real

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Umbrellas in Bangkok

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Rush hour in London

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It’s suspicious because the book is upside down

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Swords

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Inside the Arc de Triomphe

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Crowned pigeon

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider supporting the site via Paypal (mingthein2@gmail.com) or via Ming Thein’s Email School of Photography – learn exactly what you want to learn, when you want to learn itYou can also get your gear from Amazon.com via this referral link.  Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

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Inspirations from older cameras: The Panasonic TZ3

This will be the first in a series of photoessays dedicated to showcasing older equipment: don’t bury those dinosaurs just yet! In all seriousness, I hope it will both go do its part to convince you that the equipment doesn’t matter; and at the same time, show you my evolution as a photographer (to be the subject of a future article; one of the hardest things to write are the introspective, self-assessment genres).

First up is the Panasonic TZ3, a 2007 vintage compact ‘travel zoom’ camera that combined a very good 28-300mm equivalent zoom with a multi-aspect ratio sensor; I particularly enjoyed 16:9 mode on this camera. It shot fast, too – 4-5fps depending on the shutter speed, with large bursts and fast buffer clearing, making it ideal for capturing sequences of expressions. The lens-based stabilizer was also excellent. Its main handicap? A sensor that was dodgy at ISO 400 and above. I’m not 100% sure what happened to the camera, but I think it’s probably with my brother in law somewhere.

Enjoy! All images can be clicked on for larger versions, or EXIF information. MT

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Moon and ships

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The bits of the chicken we don’t eat

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Paradise found

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Sunset in the city

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Heavy metal

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Singapore by night

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Koi pond

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The need for air conditioning

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Race time

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A tudor story – in Malaysia

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Advertising in your fridge

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Man and duck

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Cameron highlands fog

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The inaugural mingthein.com photography contest closes 31 July 2012 – the more people entering, the larger the cash prize! Enter here

If you enjoyed this post, please consider supporting the site via Paypal (mingthein2@gmail.com) or via Ming Thein’s Email School of Photography – learn exactly what you want to learn, when you want to learn itYou can also get your gear from Amazon.com via this referral link.  Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

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