Build complex toys and simple tools
by Tony Karp
Something new -- Interchangeable cameras
Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside, my Panasonic DMC-FZ28 and DMC-FZ18 - Mister Inside and Mister Outside - My DMC-FZ28 and DMC-FZ18 - Picture taken with my DMC-FZ5 - Tony Karp, design, art, photography, techno-impressionist, techno-impressionism, aerial photography , drone , drones , dji , mavic pro , video , 3D printing - Books -
Mister Inside and Mister Outside - My DMC-FZ28 and DMC-FZ18 - Picture taken with my DMC-FZ5
Both are wearing their collars that protect the lens. Details are here.
Fifty years ago, I went to California to photograph TV shows for NBC. In 1959, I shot most of the newspaper ads for the fall TV season. What got me this freelance assignment was my use of 35mm cameras and available light shooting. While Life and other magazines were already into this, it was new for NBC, where most of the shots were being done with Rolleiflexes and Speed Graphics, with all the pictures carefully posed and lit. Using 35mm cameras, with their interchangeable lenses, along with high-speed film, I was able to shoot during rehearsals, which gave the pictures a more realistic look.

I usually had at least three cameras hanging from me, each with a different focal length lens -- there was no time to switch lenses once the action started. I used both rangefinder and single lens reflex cameras, with lenses ranging from 28mm to 200mm. The multiple cameras, along with their lenses, all made of brass, gave me a gadget bag weighing between fifteen and twenty pounds. This was long before the days of lightweight cameras with plastic bodies and zoom lenses with an 18X range.

For some reason, I hung on to those cameras and still have them today, along with other cameras I picked up along the way. Selling them would be like selling an old friend.

When I got into digital photography, my first camera was a "superzoom" with a 10X zoom lens. What a revelation. Instead of fumbling with lenses, trying to attach the best one for each situation, I could simply aim the camera and adjust the focal length to suit the scene. Sure, the fancy and expensive DSLRs held out the promise of better image quality, but I had spent enough time fumbling for the right lens and perhaps missing the shot. Now it was possible to carry just one camera and be ready for anything. My collection now includes eight digital cameras, all with fixed zoom lenses.

My first Panasonic camera was a DMC-FZ5. Lightweight and sporting a 12X zoom lens, it took incredibly sharp pictures. I carried it everywhere for two years and shot over 14,000 pictures with it. During that time, I was always on the alert for the next "magic" camera. I tried a few, but always ended up going back to my trusty FZ5.

In 2007, I bought a Panasonic DMC-FZ18. It was a little bigger and heavier than my FZ5, but it sported an 18X zoom lens, going all the way to 28mm at the widest, and it had a larger sensor with 8 megapixels, compared to the 5 on the FZ5. The pictures were razor-sharp, and the longer zoom range gave me added capabilities.

This was one terrific camera. Except for one small problem. The FZ18 is lousy indoors. The image quality is great outdoors, but indoors, as you start to push the ISO higher, the image quality goes straight downhill. The pictures are not only noisy, but it's a really ugly, streaky noise. Plus, it has that annoying yellow blotch thing that sometimes shows up in the shadows and in white areas.

Cut to 2008 and there's a new game in town -- the Panasonic DMC-FZ28. I order one as soon as it's available. Although I'm originally put off by its smaller viewfinder, not as good as the FZ18's, I decide to keep it anyway. The big surprise is that the FZ28 is terrific indoors. Shots at 800 ISO are quite useable, and I even try a few at 1600 ISO. Also not too bad. (Read about it here.) And, like the FZ18, it automatically corrects for lens faults like color fringing, and barrel distortion at the wide angle settings. It had the makings of a perfect go-anywhere-shoot-anything camera.

But over the next few months, a cruel reality began to set in. As terrific as the FZ28 is, it lacks the critical sharpness of the FZ18. Perhaps it was the new Venus IV processing engine, or it might be the marketing department demanding that the engineers squeeze yet more megapixels into the tiny sensor. But it was still the camera I needed for working indoors.

What to do?

Being a photographic pack rat, I still had my FZ18. Since I had upgraded to the FZ28, the artist's muse was now using the FZ18. So it was a simple matter to switch back to my old camera and confirm, once and for all what I had suspected -- that the FZ18, under sufficient light, can produce sharper, more detailed images than the FZ28.

So the answer was obvious. Just as the DSLR users carry interchangeable lenses so that they will always have one that's the right focal length, I would carry interchangeable cameras, so that I would always have one that's right for the existing light conditions.

Think of them as Mr. Indoors (FZ28) and Mr. Outdoors (FZ18). Certainly, they weigh less than a DSLR with multiple lenses. The added benefit is that I always have a spare camera if one should expire. In addition, the two cameras are nearly identical, with similar controls and control layout, identical batteries and memory cards.

So when I go out now, I carry one of the cameras and the artist's muse carries the other. That way, we both have a camera to shoot with. And you didn't really think that I was going to schlep the weight of two cameras, did you?

I know what you're going to ask. Which camera would I carry if I was going to carry just one? The answer is simple. I'd carry the FZ28. Of the two, it's the better all-around camera. In photography, as in life, there are always compromises.
< Previous Apr 4, 2009 Next >
Copyright 1958-2017 Tony & Marilyn Karp
Web Site Design
Systems Design
The Future
About
About Tony Karp
Recent Entries
Variations on a skink
Andy shoots raw. Ann always shoots JPEG
A butterfly in Havana -- From start to finish
Recovering highlight detail in JPEG images
A tribute to Paris on November 14, 2015
Some black and white pictures from long ago
Panasonic DMC-ZS40 pictures - Part 2
Panasonic DMC-ZS40 pictures - Part 1
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- A butterfly takes wing
Shooting for NBC
What's new at the zoo?
On being a photojournalist
Some pictures of Manassas
Finishing a picture
Watching the sunset in Adams Morgan
A night at the circus - 1966
Fortune Qwerkies (tm) -- Fortune cookies for the smartphone user
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- The evolution from flat to solid
Art in the 3rd Dimension -- Showing how the pieces fit together
Getting a grip on the Panasonic DMC-LF1
Some random thoughts about the Panasonic DMC-LF1
The Panasonic DMC-LF1 is a game-changer
Art and the Zen of QR Codes -- Making QaRt
A new process for printing art in the 3rd dimension
Bubbles! Bubbles! Bubbles!
Photographing the Perry Como Show
Hiking at Sky Meadows with my Panasonic DMC-ZS20
Working for the union
A new take on JPEG vs raw - Panasonic DMC-ZS20
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-ZS20 - Part 2
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-ZS20 - Part 1
My new go-everywhere camera - Panasonic DMC-ZS20
My brief life in the studio
Shooting Shakespeare - The Tempest - NBC, 1960
Impressionist bees
In the studio with Roz Kelly
At the Peppermint Lounge - 1962
An evening with Gene Kelly
A portrait of Donna Mitchell - Variations on a theme
The "Sky Dream Ultimate" plug-in from Wilkington-Smythe
There's a 3D object on this page and why you can't see it
Post-processing: Going from good to great
Winter pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ150
Using the Panasonic DMC-FZ150's "Photo Style" Menu
A valentine for the Artist's Muse
The Panasonic DMC-FZ150's controls
Some thoughts on the Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - Part 2
The Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - A cure for DSLR envy?
Some thoughts about my Panasonic DMC-FZ150 - Part 1
The Panasonic DMC-FZ150 -- Best camera ever?
Sunglasses - What can you add to a picture?
Hey, camera makers. If my smartphone can do this…
The Artmuse Variations - a look inside my new book
A tribute to George Washington on Veterans Day
A visit to the White House
The little farmhouse, the tractor, and the interesting tree
Buckminster, the baby buckeye butterfly
Memories of September 11
Happy Corporation Day!
A trip to Monterey and San Francisco
The first battle of the American Civil War -- 150 years ago
The end of an era -- The last American manned mission
Growing an Italian stone pine tree
Random thoughts on art and other stuff - From my new book
Playing with a classic - Sony DSC-R1 - Part 3, Warrenton
Playing with a classic - Sony DSC-R1 - Part 2, In the house
Playing with a classic - Sony DSC-R1 - Part 1, Winter
Some recent pictures
Fixing a Panasonic DMC-FZ18/FZ28/FZ35 problem
Into the world of shadows
Snowbound!
A walk through Warrenton
Partly moony with my Panasonic DMC-FZ35
My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 3 - Video
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 2
Happy birthday to muse...
Pixels and parking lots -- The Panasonic FZ35
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ35
My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 2
My new Panasonic DMC-FZ35 - Part 1
On our way to Warrenton
Evolution of an Iris
A new feature in Adobe Camera Raw 5.4
A tribute to the Apollo 11 astronauts
The pole dancer - Variations on a theme
Restoring lost highlight detail in JPEG images
A short course in photography in ten easy lessons
Kodachrome memories
A walk in the woods on my birthday
Mythbusters - More raw vs JPEG myths
Restoring lost shadow detail in JPEG images
Action!!
Expose for the highlights, develop for the shadows
Something new -- Interchangeable cameras
Honey, I shrunk the newspaper - The "Nano" NY Times
Mistaking evolution for revolution
Some pictures from the artist's muse
Photography becomes art -- Daibutsu Buddha at Kamakura
Happy House-i-versary
25 random things about the artist's muse
It happened at the Met
Some pictures and some settings - Part 4 - DMC-FZ28
Some pictures and some settings - Part 3 - DMC-FZ28
Some pictures and some settings - Part 2 - DMC-FZ28
Some pictures and some settings - Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Noiseography -- A new photographic technique
Shooting infrared with the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
You're never too young
One month with the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
A trip to Berryville - Panasonic DMC-FZ28
It's the Hobbitt's birthday
On September 11th
Shooting Tri-X with the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
A shot in the dark - Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Sunset and the far-up lens -- Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Further musings on the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Customizing your camera for high-ISO photography
Panasonic DMC-FZ28 vs DMC-FZ18 at high ISO
Some musings about the Panasonic DMC-FZ28
Hummers, SUVs, DSLRs, and my DMC-FZ28
Panasonic DMC-FZ28 -- At the Flying Circus
Panasonic DMC-FZ28 -- The journey begins
Farewell, my Panasonic DMC-FZ18
More about the settings for the DMC-FZ18
Dealing with the modes and settings of the DMC-FZ18
Photography becomes art - Bird on a wire
The artist's muse at sunset -- DMC-FZ18
Do you need fancy equipment?
Now here's my plan
Good cookie, bad cookie
But seriously, folks...
Post-processing Mr. Squirrel
A museum of one's own
We need new words to describe what's happening
Going over to the dark side
Shooting the moon
Happy Anniversary, Hobbitt
The view from my window - DMC-FZ18
My favorite museum
A toast to the artist's muse
The DMC-FZ18, a sunset, and a glass of beer
Remembering Herbert Keppler
Shooting abstracts with the Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Fixing a Panasonic DMC-FZ18 problem
More pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ18
The journey of a thousand Melvins
Stairway to the stars -- Extreme post processing
DMC-FZ18 - Raw vs JPEG - The JPEG Manifesto
Chromatic aberration and the DMC-FZ18
Raw vs JPEG, the DMC-FZ18, and a mystery
Some pictures from my Kodak P880 - Part 2
Some pictures from my Panasonic DMC-FZ18
Some pictures from my Kodak P880 - Part 1
DMC-FZ18 - Don't be afraid of the dark
Shooting in "Medium" - DMC-FZ18 - The right exposure
Shooting in "Medium" and the Panasonic DMC-FZ18
In-use review -- Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - Part 2
In-use review -- Panasonic DMC-FZ18 - Part 1
Photography becomes art - Fantasy at Ida Lee
Photography becomes art - The chefs at Little Washington
My new old camera - the Kodak Easyshare P880
Photography becomes art - Variations on a theme
Doing the impossible - Part 4 - The final result
Doing the impossible - Part 3 - The solutions
Doing the impossible - Part 2 - The challenges
Doing the impossible - Part 1 - The Godfather
All the (art) news that's fit to print
The museum becomes art - #1
Photography becomes art - Making an angel
How to test a camera
Hitting the wall
Extreme post-processing - Working with infrared
Blogging 2.0 - A new interface
A funny thing happened on my way to the blog
In the beginning...