David Clapp review of the GF1

Iansky

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Amazing

I saw this review a week ago and can only say - Wow those are some incredible images.

My initial thoughts about the GF1 being able to almost match the Canon 5D for quality have been vindicated in his images and associated comments and it goes a long way in making me feel happier in my purchase.

Great review of a great camera!
 

matmcdermott

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I have to say that I bought the GF1 as a backup with video for my Leica M8 + 28 Summicron combo, and while in dim lighting the M8 is faster the work with and for pixel peeping the Leica wins by a small margin, at 1/7th the price and a smaller size for now at least the GF1 is my main camera. It's really pretty amazing.
 

chrisman

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An excellent article. Just goes to show what can be done with a good camera (does not have to be the most expensive, flashy etc), excellent technique and a good 'photographic eye'.

I've got the camera - where do I get the rest!!!

Chris
 

Iansky

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As an adage to my previous comments about his review, I would be interested to see what his workflow is for his Raw images.
 

soundimageplus

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Workflow

As an adage to my previous comments about his review, I would be interested to see what his workflow is for his Raw images.
One thing he does, that I do know about, is that he shoots the same image at different exposures and combines them in Photoshop. These are not HDR images. He would use the sky from one image, the foreground from another for example. In this way he gets a well-exposed image, without the artificiality of HDR or Grad. filters. His sunsets are a good example.

http://www.davidclapp.co.uk/image_gallery.php?image_subcat=The%20Sea%20-%20Horizontal
 

Brian Mosley

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Interesting - and I can see what you mean... he must have some excellent selection/blending tools - you can't see the join :wink:

Cheers

Brian
 

soundimageplus

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Blending

Its much easier than you think. Provided you have identical images at different exposures, the tripod is obviously essential here, its relatively easy once you've done it a few times.
Its a case of placing the images one on top of the other and "rubbing out" the bits you don't want and then leaving what you do want and flattening the image.
With Photoshop you can adjust the texture and shape of your "rubber" and even the opacity to selectively remove or just lighten sections of the image.
Plus the "dodge and burn" tools in the latest Photoshop now work very well.

There's also a technique I got from a Digital re-toucher which works very well on single images, shot in "difficult light" which I put on my blog.
http://soundimageplus.blogspot.com/2010/01/exposure.html

This can be seen as a digital version of the old Ansel Adams film Zone system where exposure and development were linked. Its also a bit like the old maxim of "expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights"

I've always been surprised that more people don't "balance" their exposures more, as there are lots of ways to do it, without resorting to HDR which is often hideous and very artificial in a lot of cases. I've only ever seen a few examples of it looking natural.

I can't actually remember the issue but David Clapp explained his methods in a copy of Amateur Photographer a while ago.
 

Brian Mosley

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Thanks soundimageplus,

regarding this quote from your blog :

"His basic idea was that for digital raw files you should always shoot with slight overexposure.
The reason for this was that raw files have 1 to 1 1/2 stops of latitude for highlights."

I think that I'd disagree here - what I prefer to do, is to set
* Colour tone Natural
* Contrast -2
* Sharpening -2
* Saturation -2
* Gradation Normal

And this gives me a very neutral jpeg for in-camera previewing... as well as a histogram / auto exposure which most closely matches that of the raw file.

I then expose to the right (where more colour data is stored), making sure not to clip highlights.

The biggest problem with blown highlights is the transition from some colour to white - some raw converters are better than others in providing smooth transitions.

Cheers

Brian
 

soundimageplus

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Exposure

Thanks soundimageplus,

regarding this quote from your blog :

"His basic idea was that for digital raw files you should always shoot with slight overexposure.
The reason for this was that raw files have 1 to 1 1/2 stops of latitude for highlights."

I think that I'd disagree here - what I prefer to do, is to set
* Colour tone Natural
* Contrast -2
* Sharpening -2
* Saturation -2
* Gradation Normal

And this gives me a very neutral jpeg for in-camera previewing... as well as a histogram / auto exposure which most closely matches that of the raw file.

I then expose to the right (where more colour data is stored), making sure not to clip highlights.

The biggest problem with blown highlights is the transition from some colour to white - some raw converters are better than others in providing smooth transitions.

Cheers

Brian
It does depend on the amount of "overexposure" and the ability of the sensor to handle it. I don't find I can rely on a camera preview to let me know information I have (or don't have) in the file. In tricky situations I will always bracket to give me options.
It all depends on the dynamic range. I'm reasonably good at predicting how much difference there is, but far from getting it right 100%. Purists would tell me that I should be working taking spot readings from the lightest and darkest sections of the image, but I usually have neither the time nor the inclination to do that.
After working with a camera for a while I can see how it renders various situations & usually work out some strategy to deal with exposure problems that might occur.
Heres an example, with the .jpg straight from the camera and the result I got from working on the raw file. You won't see it from the images posted here but the original is "noise-free" in the shadows and the highlights have restored well.
M4/3 does have less dynamic range than full frame sensors, but it can cope, provided its not pushed to far.
These were taken on a GF1 with the 20mm f/1.7.
 

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Brian Mosley

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That would be a great image for our Lightzone workshop... thanks for sharing.

My point was, that the histogram and highlight/shadow clipping views are based on the in-camera jpeg.

The in-camera jpeg is created using the in-camera settings (contrast, saturation, sharpening, gradation etc) - and this can be brought much closer to a true representation of the raw file by reducing contrast, sharpening, saturation to the minimum.

Give it a try - you should find it takes a lot of guesswork out of your exposure assessment in the field.

Cheers

Brian
 

soundimageplus

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That would be a great image for our Lightzone workshop... thanks for sharing.

My point was, that the histogram and highlight/shadow clipping views are based on the in-camera jpeg.

The in-camera jpeg is created using the in-camera settings (contrast, saturation, sharpening, gradation etc) - and this can be brought much closer to a true representation of the raw file by reducing contrast, sharpening, saturation to the minimum.

Give it a try - you should find it takes a lot of guesswork out of your exposure assessment in the field.

Cheers

Brian
That is pretty much how I have my jpgs set & while I agree with you that its a fair representation of a lot of pictures, there's always the tendency for a lot of cameras to deal with very contrasty scenes in an "auto exposure" way. I've had jpg images that are wildly off from a "flat" i.e. everything zeroed out, raw file.
 

Brian Mosley

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Yes, it's crazy that the histogram and highlight/shadow clipping views are generated from the jpeg when shooting raw.

That should really be addressed.

Cheers

Brian
 

pointoneeight

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Iansky

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Thanks Soundimageplus,

I must play more with bracketing which is easy in the GF1 - you can set the camera to take up to 7 different exposures of the same image at varying EV's.

I am not a fan of HDR as it is too easy to make it look "plastic" and false.

This thread has made me realise even more that maybe I do need to invest in a remore release rather than use the self timer, especially when bracketing.

Thanks for a great post with valuable discussions.
 

Iansky

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Thanks Pointoneeight,

I have just had a look at the site and unfortunately the release does not appear to be available for the GF1.

Ian
 
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