Tom Caldwell

Tom Caldwell

Lives in Australia Coffs Harbour NSW, Australia
Works as a Chartered Accountant
Has a website at tpg.com.au
Joined on Feb 19, 2002

Comments

Total: 263, showing: 1 – 20
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On Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera Roundup (2014) article (120 comments in total)
In reply to:

VJVIS: Just curious about scoring. Panasonic GM1 got 78% and Gold award, Fuji X-M1 got 77% and Gold Award, and dpreview states that "Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category" and these two obviously belong to the same category, so how does that make Fuji the overall winner?

Best if the GM1/5 were actually left out of the comparison of the peaknuckle end of the replaceable lens market - it deserves more competition than this. These are actually proper front-line capable cameras that just happen to be small. Surely they can be entry level cameras for those moving up but they can also be serious cameras for those with greater experience who can see them as capable cameras to carry front line lenses and respond to intelligent use. Beneath the cute look there is a very serious and capable camera.

It is hardly surprising that the GM1 was so often compared to a RX100 - the consumer market is already primed to see the GM1/5 as a form of capable point'n'shoot only. The GM1/5 have access to the full range of M4/3 mount capable lenses.

Borrow a Nocticron and try it out on the GM1 .... see what happens .... (but I suppose it is no longer "budget" but the fact that it can be a chameleon needs to e noted.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 19, 2014 at 21:36 UTC
On Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera Roundup (2014) article (120 comments in total)

Damn with faint praise?

"The way we see it there are two kinds of users who will consider cameras in this class - those who are looking for a point-and-shoot experience with better image quality, in a body that will also play nice with their smartphone, and those who are looking for a step-up camera with which to learn the ins-and-outs of photography without going all the way up to a DSLR."

With the GM1 at least there is a third type of user - the one that sees that camera as capable as any other M4/3 camera and certainly competitive with a dslr entry level kit. And top-grade lenses and the GM1 is very capable indeed.

I really cannot understand why the GM1/5 will be forever damned as cute and cuddly and for beginners just because they are physically very small.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 19, 2014 at 21:21 UTC as 7th comment
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

BJN: The GM5's EVF is nice to have, but rather disappointing. The apparent viewfinder image is approximately half the size of the EVF image in my GH3. And to keep the EVF's profile low, there isn't an effective eyecup. Ambient light easily washes in under the bright conditions where an EVF should be most valuable. And the GM5's diopter slider is fussy to use and easy to bump out of adjustment. And the EVF has compromised the useful size of the rear LCD panel. What I'm saying is that the GM1s with its GM5 style tweaks may likely be a better choice for many. And while the GM1 can be had, the pricing is quite attractive.

Lucky there are plenty of choices for cameras irrespective of skills. If the camera does not suit perfectly (and it rarely will) then there are always other cameras that might be closer. And I do agree that natural and acquired skills will always make the best fist out of the camera in the hand. Therefore if the skills are not up to adjusting to what the camera provides then buy a camera more closely suited.

I have passed on many cameras that did not twang my string, but have not needed to criticize them because of this. More like when I have made a mistake and bought something believing that I could live with its awkwardness and found that I couldn't.

So warning about the areas that need to be considered is not necessarily a bad thing, but surely don't expect Panasonic to hit the recall button .... ;)

Direct link | Posted on Dec 7, 2014 at 23:36 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Gesture: Smaller sensor. Smaller, less complicated camera than DSLR. $500 would be appropriate.

Early adopter prices are always higher to ration demand and get as quick as possible payback of the development costs - simple economics. If you want to be in the first rush you pay a premium. For those overcome with emotion over the price there is not only someone impatiently standing in the queue behind with their credit card melting in their hand.

Meanwhile the GM1 is much more reasonably priced and takes identical images - so why fret - buy a GM1 (in fact you can have two for the price of a GM5).

When the rush subsides the price of the GM5 will come down and everybody can have one.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 7, 2014 at 23:24 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

LarryLatchkey: I held it in my hands today. It is NOT ERGONOMIC (plus the viewfinder is really quite small). Why does it seem to be so difficult to design an ergonomic grip on a compact M4/3 camera that also looks good?! It is quite astonishing that having used a Ricoh GRd (I) with it's really bad IQ for years means being totally spoilt by it's perfect ergonomics. I really want to be able to use a camera one-handedly in certain situations (including the change of setting by reaching for a wheel with my right thumb or index finger).

Yes, it is strange how good ergonomics and good firmware don't sell that well. Ricoh cameras are not perfect but they seem to always be good to use.
The only consolation is that Panasonic seems to be at least trying to get the ergonomics right - Sony made three A7 cameras before they decided to fix up a "few errors" on the A7II, maybe they will set up an ergonomics crew next door to their high-tech wizards section?

Meanwhile the GM1/5 might be compromised in its ergonomics and things could be better but they are a better trade off considering the amount of real estate the A7 has to get everything wrong all over.

I have come to really like the way the GM1 works and the much criticized multi-function wheel responds much better to a softer touch once we figure that out.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 7, 2014 at 23:19 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Free Jazz: It seems GM5 still produce 10bit raw files once using E-shutter and the price is too expensive now, $599 will be reasonable for the whole M43 market.
Hoping the next GM will be equipped with IBIS and tilting screen.

Scott

I come from a more unusual standpoint. I have plenty of small cameras - a set of Ricoh cameras for one. I also have larger cameras - a great Canon lens kit that might make a professional's mouth water. Upgrading dslr bodies soon enough get you to the "real pro" position of having several bodies to play with. A 30D, 50D and 5D before I saw sense and I gave up buying them. As a result I can and could set out with multiple body/lens combinations. Very useful in the field as it saves time and accidents. But one heck of a lot of bulk.

Come the tiny GM1 and I can do much the same thing with a camera body that is the size of a pack of cards. Each body = another pack of cards. Now it is no great bother to attach a body to each of (say) there lenses and the carry bag is still hardly backbreaking. So I am coming from a different position.

In fact if I only wanted a pocket camera then I doubt if the GM1/5 would particularly interest me.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 5, 2014 at 04:19 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

white shadow: As an owner of the GM1, there is absolutely no need to go for the GM5. The tiny EVF is just too small. Yes, there were complaints from people earlier that the GM1 don't have a hotshoe but once you mount an external flash on this tiny camera the flash would be much heavier than the camera itself. One would not be able to hold it properly.

For much less money, one is better off buying a Ricoh GR to compliment the GM1.

I am happy with the GM1 for what it is, a tiny Micro4/3 camera which can take very good image quality photos and able to use a longer lens like the Lumix 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6 when I choose to. The Ricoh GR, its partner, can take the 28mm angle of view shots.

@ Marty4650

(Grin) those that said "if the GM1 had an evf I would buy it" are now saying "if the GM5 only had a tilt lcd I would buy it"

@ white shadow

I did two weeks in New Zealand last April with a GM1 + Nocticron and some other assorted lenses. 3,950 brought back images says that I did not need another camera.

@ Allison

I think that the GM1/5 deserves to be looked at as a proper systems camera instead of the role playing stereotype that because it is small it is just another jumped up point and shoot and only suitable to carry equally tiny lenses. Therefore it is hardly a straight comparison to the RX100III when the two camera only match swords over that tiny part of the GM1/5 capability in the very niche capacity that the RX100III excels most in and where the GM series can hardly compete - as everyman's pocket camera for reasonably light duties.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 5, 2014 at 04:07 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Catalin Stavaru: The m43 advantage should be compactness, smaller cameras, smaller lenses. And yet, Panasonic unnecessarily increased the size of the GM1. This camera will not sell well.

Yes and a great way to re-invigorate the premium back into price of the GM1 whose street price has been flagging?

Direct link | Posted on Dec 5, 2014 at 03:33 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

JohnHoppy: I'm constantly surprised how photographers still moan about batteries. I have a GM1 and sure, after a couple of hundred it's running down, but I always have back-up batteries and many compatibles are really good as well as cheap. I got a pack of 2 for the GM1 at around £12 (USD19), no problem with them. Take up space? - Get outta here! I love the EM1 but it's the GM1 that goes everywhere with me.

If you were really burning juice with the GM1 the camera gets quite hot. I would hate to see just how hot it might get even supposing it could keep on kicking on at a high rate of shots with a stronger battery. I think the camera would relish a break even if it were just to change the battery.

Furthermore my experience with Canon dslr bodies showed that I could get 800-900 shots out of a dual battery grip. Divide by two and this makes about 450 shots for a single battery. Perhaps Nikon technology extracts more shots out of their batteries? Add the fact that Canon dslr batteries were at least twice the size of the batteries that go into the GM1/5. And of course two or three years and these batteries are not holding their charge as well either.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 5, 2014 at 03:30 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

daddyo: I guess I don't get the real purpose/benefit of this camera.
Based on the Studio Test Scene, the Olympus E-M10 offers obviously better IQ at high ISO's. It also has built-in flash, a higher magnification LCD and EVF, a tilting LCD, IBIS, and a reasonable grip -- just to name a few advantages, not to mention a $200 lower price tag.

While I understand that the GM5 is a bit smaller and lighter, one still has to carry the clip on flash and a lens or two. If the idea is to simply use the GM5 with only the 12-32mm lens so you can stuff it in a pocket, what's the point of interchangeable lens design? Why not simply get one of the top tier P&S cameras with a reasonable zoom range - something like the Sony RX100 III?

I didn't buy the GM1 as a camera for my pocket. In a hot climate there are no pockets big enough for the GM1 even with kit lens to fit into. In colder climates maybe a jacket-pocket camera.

But in truth if you really want a pocket camera then buy a Ricoh GR or a Sony RX100III.

The GM1/5 is a systems camera that just happens to be very small. To limit the GM1/5 to lenses that might allow it to be a jacket pocket camera is to cripple the functionality of the system's camera. So if you just want a jacket-pocket camera then best choose the most suitable one around and that surely isn't the GM1/5.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 5, 2014 at 03:20 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Mr Olympian: I couldn't resist a used GM1 I found for sale. I previously tried the LX100 and A6000 and both were a little too big for my needs. I already have a DSLR for most uses, but I wanted a good camera that fits in my pocket that is not too heavy that I can take most places.
The options of several tiny pancake lenses make the GM1 and GM5 a viable option. The store did not have the 35-100 in stock. I want to see how small that zoom really is too.

No problems with the 35-100mm f2.8 OIS lens on the GM1 - works like a charm and hardly notice the bulk. Worth the fairly high entry price where compromises are not wanted.

It is always a little surprising where there will be fussing over the performance of a new camera body and acceptance of lesser lenses because they are smaller and cheaper. Great lenses can be kept and reused whilst camera bodies are endlessly recycled.

Other than unaffordability the logic escapes me.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 5, 2014 at 03:05 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Justtimthen: the gm1 was 30mm in depth and this is 36mm It is the important dimension when talking pocketability lets go thinner - the evf was good news though.

Extra size in all directions always limits pocketability. The largish pockets necessary for the GM1 need to be larger all round for the GM5.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 5, 2014 at 02:52 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Tom Caldwell: I don't think the GM1/5 "systems cameras" are really truly comparable with the RX100III in any way other than physical size. The are quite different solutions for different purposes. No disparagement of the RX100III intended - it is a fine camera for its specific role.

The only place they show something in common is a configuration where ability to stuff in a pocket is compared.

This is the basic problem. The GM series can be a small camera but I suggest if that is what is wanted then the RX100III is a better bet any day.

That the GM series is good for small lenses makes a lot of people happy, but the blinkers come on just as soon as the GM series is relegated to "so very few sensible lenses".

I have no problem with the 42.5mm f1.2 Nocticron or the 35-100mm f2.8 on the GM1 - presumably they are some of the few that make sense?

I have a few more as well, how about the very nice Takumar 50mm f1.4 on a focal reducer adapter?

It seems that I am off on another planet from the RX100III - I really don't think I should be comparing it to the GM series.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 4, 2014 at 10:09 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Free Jazz: It seems GM5 still produce 10bit raw files once using E-shutter and the price is too expensive now, $599 will be reasonable for the whole M43 market.
Hoping the next GM will be equipped with IBIS and tilting screen.

Makes the GX7 great buying ;)

Direct link | Posted on Dec 4, 2014 at 09:39 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)
In reply to:

Free Jazz: It seems GM5 still produce 10bit raw files once using E-shutter and the price is too expensive now, $599 will be reasonable for the whole M43 market.
Hoping the next GM will be equipped with IBIS and tilting screen.

Here we go again - "if only the GM1 had an evf" it could be a little larger. Now it has an evf "if only it had IBIS and a tilt lcd ....."

Creeping by degrees to become a GX7?

Direct link | Posted on Dec 4, 2014 at 01:02 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)

Just some comments on the review - certainly the GM5 supplies some improvements that might be relished but I think this might have been at the expense of being over-hard on the GM1.

EV control is dead easy on the GM1 - "up arrow" and spin dial, just remember not to "set" the result as the function stays live (as it should do). The spinning dial needs a little patience but I now have little problem in using it.

ISO when set as one of the custom soft function keys is never far away and easy to access.

JPG noise reduction can be set "off" in the Photo-style settings. I don't know how much this truly effects the images at -5 setting but I have done so and my images look fine.

Panasonic obviously don't wish to sell oem batteries and clone batteries are much cheaper and work fine - battery cost/life is not necessarily a huge problem with the GM1/5.

No need to limit the GM1/5 to "toy" lenses just because they are very small - the 35-100mm f2.8 is very usable on this size camera.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 4, 2014 at 01:00 UTC as 58th comment
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 First Impressions Review preview (296 comments in total)

I don't think the GM1/5 "systems cameras" are really truly comparable with the RX100III in any way other than physical size. The are quite different solutions for different purposes. No disparagement of the RX100III intended - it is a fine camera for its specific role.

The only place they show something in common is a configuration where ability to stuff in a pocket is compared.

Direct link | Posted on Dec 4, 2014 at 00:28 UTC as 61st comment | 6 replies

On a somewhat less hysterical note ... ;)

The A7II does fix the stupid positioning of the shutter button and the other bogey - the controls in the ledge are gone and it is replaced by a much more user finger-friendly chamfered edge. An extra custom control might give some further configuration possibilities although the present model has plenty of buttons they are simply badly arranged.

The menu button is still a left hand operation and not so smart if the left hand just happens to be supporting a large lens at the time.

The playback button remains a long distance away from the buttons that change the magnification of the playback screen.

But overall a much more user-livable layout that goes far enough to make this body the first in the series that I could live with without complaint.

Casting about with the other hints suggested I might wonder if the A7MkII might be the cooking version and the upgrades for the A7R/S might be premium models as the "A9" with a completely new body?

Direct link | Posted on Nov 21, 2014 at 00:17 UTC as 90th comment | 2 replies
In reply to:

jhinkey: Anticipating the A7RII sometime in the next 6 months I may have to let the A7R go now. I've taken some great shots with it, but the lack of IBIS was limiting for some of the things I do. If the A7II fixes the sensor cover issues, has a less noisy shutter I might grab that in the mean time. The A7R was an experiment for me as a companion to my D800, but has not worked out as well as I had hoped for my style of shooting.

Bring on the innovation Sony - hopefully Nikon will take notice and finally get off it's a** and get a full-frame mirrorless out the door. If they do it can't possibly be any less capable than the A7R and like have far better ergonomics.

... and like Canon have a slab of lenses to start off with ...

Direct link | Posted on Nov 20, 2014 at 23:38 UTC
In reply to:

TrollFree: i have just received a brand new sony A7, shall i return it and wait for this?

Yeh man. I just was late to the party as well and unfortunately bought my A7R just a few months too early.

Fixing up the control structure was something that really needed doing but I had thought multiple models had rusted the old control situation in. Now a much nicer to use MkII version has probably obsoleted all the curent A7 bodies overnight - even those as yet not updated - might be hard to move them just as soon as the word gets out.

Sucked in ... maybe I should simply bury the hatchet and buy a super cheap A7s in the runout .... (brightens).

They I might just lie back and think of England .... ;)
(as the good lady said whilst doing her duty)

Direct link | Posted on Nov 20, 2014 at 23:36 UTC
Total: 263, showing: 1 – 20
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