I think this site has three main elements; Travel, Motorcycling and Photography. The later I have not posted so much about. (maybe poor grammar is the fourth element ha-ha, I need a sub editor)

After a 30 year hiatus I am again a Canon user. Last Canon I owned was the EOS 650 back in 1988. That was the first EOS camera. The beginning of EF autofocus lenses and the camera used to take the first photo uploaded to the internet. Far too much for my first proper camera. From film I moved to video around 1992 where I stayed for the next ten years.

IMG_0030Circa 1992 Venice. With Sony Handicam and bag of tapes and batteries.

With a background in video it’s perhaps odd in this YouTube era I don’t videoblog. For me video ended up being contrived, made to please others. Photography is just for myself. I drifted back to photography around 2002 with the arrival of digicams.

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The Nikon Coolpix 2100 had 2 megapixel sensor and a optical viewfinder. Image quality was not very good. My first digital camera jumped ship, literally, while riding 100+ kph in the New England region never to be seen again. I replaced it with a Coolpix 3200 which had 3.2 megapixels and slightly better images. That slipped from hands whilst being passed to someone in Canada and stopped working.

Having lost two cameras I looked for something cheap and got a Sony Cybershot DSC-U for half price. But it had poor image quality. I sold that and got a Panasonic Lumix compact with 4.0 megapixels around 2006. This was the first digital camera I had that took an acceptable photo. I got a few years from that camera before it too slipped from hands. At the Timmelsjoch pass Austria breaking the lens.

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Olympus released their M4/3 sensor Pen camera in 2009 and this was a jump in image quality for a compact size camera. I struggled with it because the rear screen was terrible in sunlight and I was often guessing what was in frame. I sold it and moved to a Pentax DSLR. This had great image quality but of course a DSLR is big. Really big. I had not fully thought that through. I got a tank bag to carry it on my bike but never took it with me to any social events so it was the wrong choice.

Ebay let me change cameras without losing much money. It was before they raised their fees to exorbitant levels. I went back to Olympus with their Pen Mini that had a new electronic viewfinder accessory. This was a really nice setup for awhile. Alas it was broken on my ride in Thailand. Sigh. Well least I didn’t drop it.

I used my phone few years and pondered if wanting to buy another camera. There isn’t a big gap from today’s smartphones to cameras but the user experience is very different. Couple of years ago I got the Panasonic Lumix LX100. It produced some lovely images on my ride to the Goto islands – when it worked. It had a fault that affected many LX100’s causing it to front focus which means the camera does not want to focus to infinity. I persisted with manual focus but I could not be sure the shot was pin sharp until reviewed on a bigger screen and then it was too late.

I sold it and last year got the Lumix GX85 which seemed the ideal replacement. Incredibly – more focus problems. On my ride in India many photos were slightly out. The camera and lenses passed a focus test but would sometimes produce fuzzy photos.

The GX85 gathered dust this year until I found I could trade my gear at Map Camera who confirmed it had focus issue. (they refurbish before selling) What’s more they had some Canon G1XMIII cameras already traded, in mint condition checked with warranty so the changeover was reasonable.

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Seems a long road from the Canon EOS 650 to the Canon G1XMIII. This is a camera somewhat maligned online. Reviewers say not having a wide aperture who can it possible suit. But you get a Canon DLSR sensor and a Canon DSLR kit spec lens, a combo used by millions, packed into a compact camera …

24mm-72mm f2.8-5.6 is fine for me. I shoot scenery and don’t want the background out of focus so will be at f8 or higher most of the time. I think that seems lost on most reviewers who think everyone must be shooting portraits (or video) and score a camera based on their preferences only.

First thing I noticed is how good the OLED viewfinder is. Panasonic use a field sequential type screen for their EVF’s which show colours sequentially. The OLED offers so much more clarity despite same claimed resolution.

Of course main thing is can I carry it in my riding jacket. The GX85 used to fit but was too heavy this one is fine but at the limit of what I would carry on me. Then can I work out the menus and use the camera easy. This is not exactly good, the menu system is horrible and I hate the lock button on the mode dial which is never going to move accidentally anyway.

Well I shall update once I have used it more.

Update.

Initial follow up. I am reasonably happy so far. I used it on my South Africa and Oman rides and the photos from those rides are mostly good despite only shooting Jpeg as my post edit software had no lens correction for this camera. I expect to see even more from it going into this year shooting raw format. I am missing some of the creative modes from the Lumix cameras and how the HDR mode in those cameras make water blur like a slow shutter.

Update 2019.

I am in two minds. It doesn’t like me using a polarizer filter, which for landsapes is very helpful but this camera has issues with one attached. I still dislike the menu system and the button lock on the mode dial. Thought I would get used to both by now. There is an improvement in dynamic range from the Lumix but there is also a drop off in lens sharpness and in less than bright sunlight the Canon lens seems lacking.

Update 1 year.

I now have a iPhone Xr and in its sweep panorama mode it can often produce a better photo than the Canon which really surprises me. Then summer in Japan I attended some fireworks and the Canon in fireworks mode was hopeless. Panasonic have much better modes that really work, especially their HDR which on the Canon that is weak as shutter speed is so slow between each frame it only can be used on static scenes.

I am making slow progress, the camera’s auto ISO was always shooting everything ISO 100, even very low light so now that I am choosing the ISO things have improved. I have a different polarize filter which seems to not throw the camera as much – but it’s still an issue. Canon says the camera is not to use any filters. I’m sure in the right hands it would be great but it has not worked out so well for me.

2 Comments

  1. I'll be interested to see your photo's from the new camera. Canon have some of the best auto focus in the business. I can understand you not wanting a dslr, big and bulky and i have yet to take mine out once on the bike.

    • I have like many people shifted to taking most photos with my phone because it is the camera always with me but when I do have my camera I can produce vastly better results that the phone. This is reasonably compact, will see how I go Steve.

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