Welcome to a new addition to our reviews, it's where we get a second opinion on the camera from our new contributing editor Neil Turner. Neil, a pro photographer for 13 years, currently shoots Kodak DCS 520's for The Times Supplements here in the UK. Neil is able to give us a professional photographers view of some of the more interesting cameras we get our hands on, and offer another perspective to that formed in the rest of the review.
Four Days With the Canon G1.
"....and remember to have fun with it" were Phil's words still ringing in my ears when I unpacked the G1 from it's box. Ahead were four days to shoot as much as I could with it and write a personal review. I shoot every day with Kodak DCS520s, and I was treating the G1 as a serious "third camera". I'd had a quick tour of the G1s features and I was off.
My first task was to see how well the camera worked with external flash, so I set it up on a tripod and shot some self portraits. The room that I was in was lit by a sixty watt bulb so I set the camera to full manual (f8, 1/10th of a second 100 asa) and tried it with a 550ex and a 380ex. Both flashes overexposed dramatically. Then I tried aperture priority automatic and on f8 the camera set itself to 1/2 a second. The exposures with both flash units were absolutely perfect, but the flash was now working in something of a fill-in flash mode and the longer exposure meant some noise in the image. Finally I tried both units in program mode which gave a noiseless but less interesting image because the shutter speed went up to 1/30th with the aperture on f5.6 allowing less available light. Getting all confident I tried to use the wireless slave ETTL capability of the 550exs. This was not very successful at first because the second (slave) 550 overexposed by about two stops, no matter which light balance was selected on the first (master) 550. With a bit of fiddling around I did get some good results with the slave at -2 stops and the flash exposure compensation on the camera set at -1. This was a lot of patience used up, I was off to bed.
Off to Brighton to shoot at nursery school with my DCS520s, the G1 had yet to earn my confidence so I just shot a few frames at the end, trying some bounced flash with a 550ex with the camera on aperture priority. Again this was fill-in flash as the camera was exposing the scene correctly anyway. Not bad, but the sun was out and I was off to the sea front with a chicken salad baguette and the G1. The camera was on full program mode and set to 50 asa The contrasty light helped to produce some superb images. In less than an hour I had filled my 64Mb CF card and it was time to go back to work.
On my way home I decided on the real test - some night shots. I live near a dog racing track and I shot some pictures of the neon sign outside as well as some images of moving traffic. The fully manual mode is excellent for this. You select your apertures and shutter speeds using the four way switch on the back and watch the LCD screen until the scene looks correct. I bracketed a little too, but the LCD was a very good guide indeed.
Finally I tried the screw on macro lens, first with a close up of my own eye and then with a pile of coins. To light the coins I used a 380ex with a Canon Off Camera Shoe Cord 2 and a Sto-fen Omni-bounce. This was successful, although I did have to dial in -1 stop on the flash exposure compensation to get a perfect shot. Time to charge the batteries on the G1 and have my dinner.
Early start to get to a portrait in Cambridgeshire. I shot some images with the G1 on the way there and on the way back. The camera was growing on me. The saturation of the colours on this sunny morning was very good, especially when I was deliberately underexposing a little. The red of a traditional telephone box really came through. I traveled on to Oxford for a portrait of a professor, shooting with the G1 over lunchtime. I tried the wide angle and telephoto converters and found them very fiddly to fit and remove. They also obscure a lot of the viewfinder so you have to use the LCD screen to compose the picture. The telephoto converter is a 1.5x and works pretty well. The 0.8x wide angle converter distorts badly, so you cannot use it if you want straight lines on the edge of the frame to stay straight. It can be fun though, and my hour went by quickly. I managed to fit in a few frames during the afternoon portrait session on the G1 using it on manual with Lumedyne flash units and it really impressed again.
(The second image above was actually used in print on 13th October, click here for more info)
It's Sunday today and we've been to a Christening, so the G1 has been used for entirely social purposes. I have shot picture of children in poor light and of cakes on kitchen tables. Today has tested the G1s abilities more than the other 3 days put together. It has done well, but certain features began to annoy me. The shutter delay was the biggest problem and it seemed to get worse when shooting with flash. I know that this is a consumer model and doesn't have the quick reactions of an SLR, but I missed several photographs because of it.
My first impression of it was that it looked stylish and I still think that, except that the black rubber finger grip is far too small. The G1 sits fairly well in my medium sized hands and the viewfinder is easy to use with either eye. The controls are pretty well laid out although the "menu" button gets pressed by accident when picking the camera up if it is already switched on. It took a while with no instruction manual to get to grips with the various functions and settings, but after about 250 exposures I now have the measure of it all. The rubber cover for the USB and AC connections will surely break off and the lens barrel feels a little exposed when the camera is switched on. The LCD is very good and it's swivel and rotate capabilities are superb. Fitting an external flash is easily done, but even the 380ex makes the camera feel very unbalanced. The card slot is well designed and easily accessed, and the battery is equally well stored. The shutter lag was my biggest disappointment
On 50 asa I was very impressed with the overall image quality and even at100 asa only the deeper shadows showed any noise. 200 asa was a different story and I was disappointed by the fall off in quality that the extra stop made. Underexposing in bright sunshine by up to one stop made for superb colour saturation, and underexposing using flash seemed to also help. The quality of the night shots was very good and, although there was some noise on longer exposures, the G1 performed very well in the dark. Only when shooting against the light did the quality of the images fell below excellent, these photographs displayed some moderate fringing and the lens experienced quite a lot of flare. No digital camera and very few conventional consumer models handle this situation well, so I was not surprised when the G1 came in with these results.
I really liked this camera, and I would love to own one. It performed very well in almost every situation and I loved the way that you could shoot with such a high degree of anonymity when you looked like a tourist. Four days isn't long enough to produce the definitive review - Phil's took a week. I think that I have explored the G1s boundaries and found it's weaknesses. This has not been a comparison test with any other camera, just the reactions of a working photographer to a camera at the very top end of the digital consumer market.
by Neil Turner.
You can find more of Neil's work at his website: www.dg28.com
|Dirt Hose by poppyjk|
|European bee-eaters by drvanger|
from A Big Year - birds
|Fat Is Beautiful Guinea 2008 DP by MarioSS|
from - Fat is Beautiful - (Woman's Portrait n Black and White+ A Border)
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more