ARE WE GETTING GEAR-SPOILED in 5 pictures (dec 2014)
According to nowadays opinions the first generation Panasonic GF1 12mp/m4/3 sensor is very outdated. Using 400 ISO and up should be avoided for getting clean, sharp and detailed images. The first generation superzoom 14-140/4-5.8 is not very well recommended. It is not impressively sharp, less at the edges and corners; and especially soft at the long tele-end.The picture above is made with the old GF1 @ 400 ISO. The not so good lens is set at its softest being 140 mm, stopped down to 8. To me it is sharp and detailed, even at the edges and corner. No cropping done. And how about the bokeh, with m4/3 and a slow lens stopped further down to 8!
The jpg shot is taken handheld with a lot of patience, at standard/default, noisereduction down. Minor processing in lightroom to avoid artifacts.I like the result. I could add more punch and colour, but preferred the reality-close image.
At the introduction of the Panasonic GF1 reviewers judged it being unusable at 3200 ISO. After the arrival of so many new generation sensors, the judgement may only have gotten worse. So let us evaluate.
The cat picture was taken at 3200 ISO (raw) with the very good pana 20/1.7 first generation lens. Colours are faded, noise everwhere, detail absent. But sharpness is there. It all suits the cat. The almost monochrome dark stage light and curtain of noise underlining the easy to ignore cat that sharpley is there. Unusable by comparative standards the image suits the atmosphere fine. I will keep it in my printed portfolio.
Bruxelles awakes, a very short time-window balance between darkness, first daylight glimpse and lantarn lights. Two persons perfectly in the light circle is photographers luck. Taken at 3200 ISO (raw) with the good 14-45/3.5-5.6 first generation kitlens, the image is technically bad. Colours faded, noise everywhere, no detail and sharpness compromised by smearing noisereduction. Look at the sky (click on picture to enlarge, and then click on the picture once more to further enlarge) and notice vertical artificial stripes. Like the cat, this image also catches the atmosphere. Knowing the quality is over the edge, I will also keep it in my print portfolio. A good printed image still looks better then on a (perfect hd-) screen.
I did make a dark light Cologne-Cathedral series with a Fuji XE2, reducing some clarity and saturation, and adding some noice (how crazy are we: at last we have almost noiceless sensors and now want noiceadding software). The Fuji did perfectly catch the misty atmosphere. Is it better? Absolutely. But does that make the old GF1 rubbish we desperately need to get rid of. No, and I know it lacks high ISO quality. New 4/3 is better, as apc, as full frame, as medium format. A never ending race.
At base ISO the GF1 sensor already shows noice, more so at 200 ISO at which I shot the wooden door and old train pictures. In good light, with the 14-45 lens in raw. Anything wrong here? Sharp and detailed edge to edge, good colour rendition, highlight/shadowtones fine, natural looking, resulting in a perfect A3 format print. Why should anybody want better.
So are we getting gear spoiled, our minds and judgements shifting upwards with gear evolution moving up. The answer is subjective. Evolution towards better image quality and ergonomics is a good thing. But I also know the gear-monster is out there, sneaking to eat your brain and wallet away. So dear fellow photographers beware.
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