Monday, August 20, 2012

My New Camera - Panasonic ZS15

This camera was actually not my first choice. That was the very popular 2011 Panasonic FZ150, a bridge camera (more than a point and shoot less than a dSLR, no removable lenses). But my budget was limited and being honest with myself about how much I've used a camera over the last few years, I couldn't justify spending over $400 for it. Last year's point and shoot the ZS8 didn't meet my requirements but this year's replacement for it, the ZS15, has been getting fairly good reviews and fixed a couple of the problems I had with the ZS8. Plus the price was right, only $165. So I bought it to replace my Panasonic LZ8 which I've had since December 2008.

My LZ8 camera served me well enough but after the first couple of years my biggest complaints about it were the limited zoom, poor low light capability and the slow recovery after using the flash.  The ZS15 is faster both in powering up, in focusing and recovering from flash photography. Plus the zoom is 16x versus 5x. I've had it not quite 2 weeks and even with some rainy days that curtailed my outdoor excursions, I've had it out and about the swamp taking photos of everything from wild flowers to spiders, chickens, my dogs and numerous landscapes. Yesterday I even got out on Hubbard Lake a snapped a few photos though taking pictures of gulls floating on the water from a floating platform doesn't generally result in decent pictures.

And the photos have really impressed me. It's possible that it's because I'm becoming a better photographer, I'm really getting into using the manual settings which I mostly ignored though the LZ8 had them. (after it nearly died on me) so I haven't many photos to compare. But within the automatic settings, especially the indoor ones the ZS15 is performing much better. That too, is probably due to the improved focal length.

Oddly, the aperture only runs between 3.3f and 6.3f and I don't know why as I have not found a good explanation.Is it something to do with the lens optics? I have no idea. So far it hasn't bothered me but if it does I eventually may need to go to one of those bridge cameras.

But enough of my pitiful attempt at a review, there are plenty of them on line on numerous photography sites. Here's a few photos.

Luna on the sofa.

Ziggy in the morning mist.

Closeup of weird growth on the forest floor.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer Photos

I've been pretty busy, or perhaps just pretty lazy, but rather than waiting to think of something to say I'll just post a few photos I've taken in July.


This is the first time I got decent photos of fireworks. I used the burst mode rather than the camera's fireworks setting which was too slow. These were taken over Jewell Lake in Barton City, MI.

The next photos of the dogs were taken at Negwegon State Park on Lake Huron. My dogs Luna and Ziggy and a friend's 7 month old puppy, Princess.

Ziggy and Princess racing in the waves.

Luna enjoying a roll in the weeds.

All 3 dogs wrestled a lot that afternoon.

More playing in the water.

Hal created a new vegetable garden across the driveway from the house. It's small yet but in a much better location than the one on the hunting property which relies on rain water of which there has been very little this summer. This garden has cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, 1 watermelon and scallions on the inside and pie pumpkins on the outside. I don't know if it's the excessive heat or simply poor soil or a combination but I have only 1 pumpkin out of 9 hills, the watermelon plant hardly grew, only half the zucchini have fruit and the tomatoes also have few fruit. It probably didn't help that I selected varieties for northern climes this year. Of course, the one hot wather variety I got, Big Rainbow, hardly has anything either.

My new vegetable garden across the driveway.
This photo was taken from a pontoon boat captained by one of Hal's younger brothers. His wife and I rounded out the crew. We really enjoy the pontoon rides.
Sunset on Hubbard Lake, MI

Hopefully I'll post some more photos soon. After all I have lots of poultry plus 9 new ducklings just hatched. And next week I should receive the new camera I just bought. Usually that will result in many,many new photos as I learn its ins and outs.