Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please

Started Jul 24, 2013 | Discussions
Ron Goodenow
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Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
Jul 24, 2013

I'm traveling a lot these days (planes and trains, not so much automobiles) and don't want to haul around one of my Oly dslr's and lenses, so got an XZ-1 after reading a lot of reviews and finding a great price on Amazon. In my next round of travels in the US West I may not have my netbook for backing up and so I want to be as efficient with memory cards as possible.

Very often I use the HQ setting on my 510 or 330. It saves space on the card (and computer) and, frankly, my poor ole eyes can't see much difference between it and SHQ on my computer. I generally do not do large prints, though I do publish a lot on the web. When I know I may be in a heavy crop situation I do use SHQ. I seldom use raw. I have been using the 4:3 ratio.

So, what pixel count and general resolution settings do you use? Or recommend for specific situations? Mainly I will be doing landscapes and some railroad photography, plus the usual snaps of friends and family.  I remember Wrotniak (who I really miss) recommending HQ for the 510 but I have not found a review which discusses this issue specifically with regard to the XZ-1.

Incidentally, I really like the camera. Got a lens adapter and can screw on a fisheye and wide angle. No need for teleconverter because I find the digital zoom great.

Thanks.

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tanniewu
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Ron Goodenow, Jul 24, 2013

If you are really short on memory cards, you may shoot L (max. resolution) and Basic (minimum file size).  That should cut the jpeg down to less than 2MB each.

But seriously I think you should just get a couple of 32GB cards, and shoot Raw + LB jpeg.

In the past I didn't shoot raw, but then I just realized (now) with the raw file in hand, I can 'save' a few shots that went bad after coming home.

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DigiRider
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to tanniewu, Jul 24, 2013

Yes, shoot in the highest resolution and shoot raw. Raw is necessary to get rid of the high noise reduction. Just use Oly Viewer in batch mode later on. Very easy and you will drastically improve your photo quality.

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BobT
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Ron Goodenow, Jul 24, 2013

Got any shots to share showing results with your fisheye and WA adapters?  Specifically which adapters are these?  I am very pleased with results of my XZ-1.  Would I find those adapter lenses just as satisfying?  I want to know more about them.  Thanks.

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Ron Goodenow
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to BobT, Jul 24, 2013

I appreciate the comments on raw. However, having been shooting Oly cameras for a very long time I have come to appreciate the Oly jpg quality and what I can do with Photoshop to fix things up if need be. Now and then I will do raw if it is a really critical commercial situation or a once in a lifetime shot. In terms of recreational photography and small sensors (e.g. as in my Pentax Optio 40 and superb Panasonic ZS1 which the new Oly is replacing) I find that by reducing the resolution to about 7meg I get slightly smoother results and less visible noise. I realize that I am also losing pixels and some degree of sharpness but for the web and relatively small print stuff I do that's just fine. I have beautiful 8x10's from my ancient Oly 2020z and did posters and glossy mag stuff for a customer with my five megpix 5060 (still one of my favorite cameras....the XZ-1 feels like the upgrade of that I always wanted.)

As for cards, I prefer as few as possible. One less thing to worry about. And I am not a prolific shooter; habit left over from 35mm days. I have a nice little backup device which allows me to back cards up to USB drives very easily and may do that on my trip, as I have done on others.

Please keep your ideas flowing, especially on settings. Thanks.

I'll see if I can pull together some examples from my experimenting. Have only had the camera a few days and I guess I need to remember how to post pics here.

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Aaron Sur
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Ron Goodenow, Jul 24, 2013

Hi Ron,

Please do some testing with both your SLR and XZ-1 side by side to see its shortcomings.

I have a EOS 400D comparable to your E510 and the 4/3rds sensor in your SLR will give a different result compared to the tiny CCD on the olympus, even on Jpeg settings.

Be really careful  with add on converters you may degrade the image quality of the superb lens on this camera.Below is a RAW ORF file converted to JPEG using olympus viewer3 and some structure sharpening and border added with Snapseed. Total investment in PP software $20.00!

If the image delivered by digital zoom is acceptable to you I feel you would have been better served by one of the compact superzooms , they start at 25mm , giving that wider angle view and longer telephoto that would beat the digital zoom . Also better video than the XZ-1.

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Ron Goodenow
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Aaron Sur, Jul 25, 2013

Aaron Sur wrote:

Hi Ron,

Please do some testing with both your SLR and XZ-1 side by side to see its shortcomings.

I have a EOS 400D comparable to your E510 and the 4/3rds sensor in your SLR will give a different result compared to the tiny CCD on the olympus, even on Jpeg settings.

Be really careful with add on converters you may degrade the image quality of the superb lens on this camera.Below is a RAW ORF file converted to JPEG using olympus viewer3 and some structure sharpening and border added with Snapseed. Total investment in PP software $20.00!

If the image delivered by digital zoom is acceptable to you I feel you would have been better served by one of the compact superzooms , they start at 25mm , giving that wider angle view and longer telephoto that would beat the digital zoom . Also better video than the XZ-1.

Aaron, thanks. I agree with just about everything you have said, but from my perspective and needs there are always trade-offs. In terms of super zooms I have loved my little Panasonic (maybe not quite 'super' but pretty close), but for two things: I virtually always have to do a little sharpening and it has very few of the manual controls I want. Interestingly, it, and I think the xz-1 produce more accurate exposures and focus as fast, if not faster than my 510, 330, and 300 which, depending on the lens, can be very quirky -- and do some washing out when I need it least. I have a bag full of good Oly and Sigma (yes) glass, as well as many Tokinas and Pentax lenses I can use with adapters. The thing is, I am making compromises for my travel habits, age and some other things. This goes back to some wild African travels many years ago when I set aside my Pentax slr's for a tiny Rollei B35 which produced splendid results.

Thanks very much for your thoughts and the fine pic.

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Aaron Sur
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Ron Goodenow, Jul 25, 2013

Hi Ron,

Thanks for replying.A couple of items that are not mentioned are the spot meter in the XZ-1 which I find pretty useful when the lightg gets tricky, and in the harsh australian sun I use the ND filter quite a bit , kind of like sunglasses over the sensor, just seems to work better. BTW I don't bother shooting a Raw+jpeg anymore the camera edit function can do a conversion if you need th image from the card and with the new Microsoft codecs the ORF files display fine in Windows. With OLY viewer I set up the conversion parameters as I want and save these so they can be applied to batches of images, kind of like going to a custom lab in the old days who develops the negatives the way you want them .

I hear you about the Rollei they are special, Carl Zeiss of Jena knew how to design lenses. There was a 24K Gold plated 35S 60th anniversary model on ebay recently. I have a model from the other mob Jos.Schneider of Kreuznach, German Kodak from the late 50's still works fine.

cheers

Aaron

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joe6pack
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Ron Goodenow, Jul 25, 2013

I like to use L[N] + RAW as the format and 3:2 as aspect ratio.

The former gives me JPEG that I will keep and RAW for situations like a good photo that I like to keep and also critical for low light situation. XZ-1 JPEG can have a lot of noise. If I shoot in RAW, I can go as high as ISO 1250 with acceptable noise.

It should be note that a few times I forgot that I left my SD card at home. The small built-in memory of XZ-1 really saves the day. I will set the image format to M[N]. That gives me around 50 shots. Good enough for a day worth (if I didn't start shooting in L[N] + RAW that is)

3:2 aspect does not make the best use of the CCD. But I think it is a better format. Both because it fills the screen completely and also because it fits HDTV screen better than 4:3. In case I needed the border, I still have the RAW to recover it.

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Ron Goodenow
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Aaron Sur, Jul 25, 2013

Aaron Sur wrote:

Hi Ron,

Thanks for replying.A couple of items that are not mentioned are the spot meter in the XZ-1 which I find pretty useful when the lightg gets tricky, and in the harsh australian sun I use the ND filter quite a bit , kind of like sunglasses over the sensor, just seems to work better. BTW I don't bother shooting a Raw+jpeg anymore the camera edit function can do a conversion if you need th image from the card and with the new Microsoft codecs the ORF files display fine in Windows. With OLY viewer I set up the conversion parameters as I want and save these so they can be applied to batches of images, kind of like going to a custom lab in the old days who develops the negatives the way you want them .

I hear you about the Rollei they are special, Carl Zeiss of Jena knew how to design lenses. There was a 24K Gold plated 35S 60th anniversary model on ebay recently. I have a model from the other mob Jos.Schneider of Kreuznach, German Kodak from the late 50's still works fine.

cheers

Aaron

Aaron, again thanks. My first camera was a Kodak Signet. I believe it had a Schenider lens. Was built like a tank. Sadly, was stolen in a Chicago train station. Cut right off my neck. Shortly thereafter I got a Retina when my father in law replaced it. That was my dream camera at the time. Unfortunately, the bellows were so shot it would cost me more than the camera to get it repaired. That's about when I got the Rollei, at one of those NY places near Grand Central station that had a million cameras in the window. I had been looking at them and found the price was right. It is the only film camera I kept.....by the time I got it I was into a Nikkormat (also stolen, in London), replaced by an Oly system (also stolen, from my Connecticut house) and then by a Pentax one which lasted til digital. Since then it has been Oly all the way except for a little Canon digital and my Panasonic/Lumix. Oh, I think you can see why I travel with relatively inexpensive cameras, with a backup tucked away somewhere.

Thanks for notes about camera memory and ND filter. Since my forthcoming trip will be the Nevada Sierra foothills, Colorado mountains, and Northern California Bay Area (where I spend a lot of time) I will give the filter a run. I do have one for my Oly dslrs. I'll look into the codec situation.

I get the feel that like me, you like to squeeze as much as you can out of relatively simple tools. There's nothing I enjoy more than a good image from one of my modest cameras. By and large that requires more thought and it all takes me back to my old film days when I might spend a week in the UK with just 2 36ex rolls of K2. Was a killer when not spooled up properly......Ouch.

I'm still getting to learn the XZ-1 and will put some images on my website after some travel in the next few days.

I had mentioned luck with wide angle converter and fisheye. On further examination the converter (a Bower cheapie) loses too much sharpness near the edges, but the fisheye, an Opteka, holds up. Paid fifty or sixty bucks for that five or six years ago.

Cheers.

/ron

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Ron Goodenow
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to joe6pack, Jul 25, 2013

joe6pack wrote:

I like to use L[N] + RAW as the format and 3:2 as aspect ratio.

The former gives me JPEG that I will keep and RAW for situations like a good photo that I like to keep and also critical for low light situation. XZ-1 JPEG can have a lot of noise. If I shoot in RAW, I can go as high as ISO 1250 with acceptable noise.

It should be note that a few times I forgot that I left my SD card at home. The small built-in memory of XZ-1 really saves the day. I will set the image format to M[N]. That gives me around 50 shots. Good enough for a day worth (if I didn't start shooting in L[N] + RAW that is)

3:2 aspect does not make the best use of the CCD. But I think it is a better format. Both because it fills the screen completely and also because it fits HDTV screen better than 4:3. In case I needed the border, I still have the RAW to recover it.

Thanks Joe. This is the kind of info I am looking for.

Oh, and I thanked Aaron by mistake for the comment on camera memory. Thank you. I hadn't thought of that. And the next time I do some event photography where flash is unwelcome I'll try raw. Try as I might I could not get over ISO800 with my 510.

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Aaron Sur
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Ron Goodenow, Jul 25, 2013

Looks like you need a titanum chain instead of a camera strap mate.Thirteen years ago I had a couple of blokes try to divest me of my coolpix 990 in Central Park,luckily I got away with the camera.Just clarifying here the ND filter is the one built into the camera not a screw in lens version. Thanks for your reply.

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Ron Goodenow
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Re: Thoughts about XZ-1 settings please
In reply to Aaron Sur, Jul 26, 2013

Aaron Sur wrote:

Looks like you need a titanum chain instead of a camera strap mate.Thirteen years ago I had a couple of blokes try to divest me of my coolpix 990 in Central Park,luckily I got away with the camera.Just clarifying here the ND filter is the one built into the camera not a screw in lens version. Thanks for your reply.

Sadly, the first Oly stolen was from the safe of a hotel. You're lucky that the only thing they wanted in the park was your Coolpix, though I have wandered quite safely there.

Thanks for the ND reminder. If the sun ever comes out here early next week I will use it down by the ocean. I have a polarizer, sky and UV that I can use with the camera. I suspect the only one I use will be the polarizer, though I am happy to be educated on that.

/r

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