Thursday, April 10, 2014


DMC-LX5, DxO Optics Pro-9
Freedom! This should've been the title of my first Blog entry when I retired just over two years ago. Two years! With respect to my photography, I guess it's been a busy two years, during which I learned a lot, and passed it onto you, my small but devoted audience. Small is a relative term I suppose - I've had over 77,000 page views here, but I think my number of regular viewers world-wide is probably a small number, when compared to someone like Steve Huff.

Speaking of small, this is primarily what this Blog has been all about over the past two years - SMALL EFFORT photography. I've always been about getting the biggest bag for the buck, with an emphasis on buying very good antique lenses for your DSLR, and re-selling them at a profit, buying and using film SLR's and Rangefinders at exceptionally low prices, using Open Source software that you don't have to pay for (with one notable exception), and finally, buying best in class digital cameras that are really inexpensive, because the mass market has left them behind. On this last point, I've made two recent purchases that literally put an end to it all - a "broken" Canon EOS 5D with battery grip for $200 and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5, also for $200 (landed price).

And once again, speaking of small, it is this latter camera that has become my sole photographic companion. I've been intrigued by the Lumix LX Series ever since it came out as the LX1 in 2005, and now that I finally own one, the LX5, it's simply blowing me away in every possible direction! This is one darn great little camera! But as it goes in the realm of digital photography, the market has left it behind. These are now selling for less than $150 (landed) on Ebay! By selling and landed, I mean that's the price that people are willing to pay in an Auction Style listing, with shipping included. This model was upgraded to the LX7 in mid 2012, and it's store price is between $350 and $400, but the extremely low price for which people are "dumping" the not-to-different predecessor for tells me that the market has indeed left this type of camera behind. The mass market is now chasing Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens (MILC) and Smartphone cameras, with the thought that the former is easier to carry  around and the latter is "the camera you'll always have with you". I would like once again to pop both of those balloons. The MILC in most cases may be smaller than a DSLR, but with a zoom lens attached, they're still not pocket-able, so what's the difference, aide from being a few ounces lighter in weight? As for the latter - the Smartphone - I agree, they do take remarkable pictures, and with plenty of Smartphone Apps available, they're like the new-wave "Instamatic". But unlike most people I suppose, I don't always have my smartphone with me. I seldom talk on the phone, and I never use Texting, and so my Smartphone is down to three uses - 1) it plays the tunes in my car, 2) it keeps me from getting lost via it's built in GPS (Darlin') and 3) it's a cell-phone, for the odd time I'm on the road and have to call someone - and the new laws now insist that you safely pull over before doing so. As an Internet device, Smartphones are terrible, although I know some people for whom their Smartphone has become their primary device for being connected - more power to you , my friends, but I can't read the screen for most web pages, and I can't use the virtual keyboard very well. So, unless I'm in my car, my Smartphone is seldom with me.

But the amazing little DMC-LX5 fits into any of my shirt pockets - even the smallest of them (although the protruding lens barrel makes it look like I might have grown one weird looking mutant breast). Now THIS is a camera that I literally have with me all the time, and it is simply  a superb camera, which has a few compromises when compared to my EOS 5D - yes of course. But I feel like a dick carrying that big heavy camera around - it's truly lacking in one thing - "Freedom!" This is a film-oriented, small digital camera that takes amazing pictures - an "artists' camera" if you will. It gives me what I want - snapshots in the style of Charles Cushman with a very film-like appearance. If Cushman were still alive, and had switched to digital, this is the camera he would've used.

Enjoy the samples!

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