One Month, One Camera – Jan 2020 (I) – Special FX?

Last year my One Month One Camera (OMOC) project worked very well, so in 2020 I plan to shoot with just one camera every month of the year.

First up for January, following on from my happy reunion with my Lumix LX3 in December, another Lumix that I’ve had a while but not yet used, the FX10.

I’m no stranger to the Lumix range.

As well as the LX3, I have a GF1 which I used to use mostly for M42 lenses but most recently have used only with a 7Artisans 25mm f/1.8 manual focus lens.

In the past I’ve had and enjoyed a simple 4MP Lumix LZ1, and a more capable Lumix TZ2.

The overall feel, build quality and logical layout and design of these Lumix cameras has endeared me greatly to the brand, so it’s no surprise I wanted to explore another, this time from a series I’ve not tried, the FX series.

From what I can gather, the FX are Panasonic’s “ultra compact” offerings, and the FX10 is indeed pretty small, enough to all but disappear in the palm of your hand, or in a trouser pocket.

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The lens is Leica branded, which I believe means Panasonic built, to a Leica Vario-Elmarit design.

Something that appealed with the FX10 is the lens is 35mm (equivalent) at its widest, which is the focal length I nearly always favour with digital compacts, and means I can just turn on and shoot without zooming, or without needing to rely on the Zoom Resume feature, like on the TZ2 or LX3.

In other words, I can treat it like a 35mm prime lens compact, and never touch the zoom.

And it focuses close enough (about 0.05m, perhaps less) to satisfy my up close and intimate yearnings.

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The largest aperture of f/2.8 is decent enough at 35mm, and indeed better than the TZ2, which has dropped to f/3.7 at the same focal length.

The sensor is a 6MP CCD, so right in the sweet spot of where I like.

Aside from that, there’s not much to say at this point about the FX10.

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It’s small and discrete, without being fiddly or slippery to handle, and everything is where you think it’ll be – no doubt helped by my previous experience with Lumix cameras, but even to a Lumix newbie I don’t think there would be anything here overly confusing.

Oh it cost me £4 plus postage, somewhat less than the £75 I paid for my LX3 a couple of years ago, though that was worth every penny.

One of my other experiments for this year is to shoot entirely in camera, without any post processing.

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With cameras like the Lumix FX3 and GF1, with their fantastic Dynamic BW Film modes, this is easy.

But with most other compact cameras, including my lovely Ricoh pair, and the rather cracking FujiFilm S7000 bridge camera, I still need to run the images through Snapseed to get the look I like afterwards.

The Lumix FX10 has limited colour modes, and only one for black and white.

The results have mostly been as I’ve expected – decent enough in terms of sharpness and so on, but lacking contrast from my liking, unless shot in high contrast light in the first place.

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The photos in this post I’m happy enough with, because they were shot in a high contrast situation anyway.

I’ve taken many more shots with the FX10 in less harsh light, that have been rather more bland – an infinite number of shades of grey, rather than the more dramatic, crisp blacks and whites I enjoy.

So the dilemma is, do I run these overly grey photos through Snapseed and see how much better they look?

Or just continue to use the FX10 like this for the rest of the month, and then revert to something like the LX3 or GF1 with their on board processing to get me back to that zero processing dream?

Time will tell!

Do you have any cameras where you use the images straight out of camera? Or do you always process in some way?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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10 thoughts on “One Month, One Camera – Jan 2020 (I) – Special FX?”

  1. This is encouraging as I’m waiting for my first Lumix to show up in the mail.
    Interesting question about post-processing there; I too prefer straight from the camera shots, but I have no qualms about editing if it “makes the picture”. Doing it as a matter of course? Well the V1003 requires it now as its innards are failing and it no longer produces sharp images in any light. My other cameras … well they stay set on their basic mode except the Canon which I tend to shoot in my simulated Kodacolor mode because I like it.
    I’m not much of one for inflicting arbitrary restrictions on myself; life puts enough limits on us as it is.

    1. Marc, that’s exciting, which Lumix?

      I’m coming to the point that when I have two cameras that give me colour shots I love straight out of camera in the lighter months, and three compacts that give me similarly satisfying b/w images, why do I need any cameras where I have to spend time processing afterwards?

      Unlike you, I quite like a few artistic limitations, I find it keeps my creativity more fresh and engaged that having carte blanche across all photographic possibilities.

      1. I’m getting a DMC-ZS60, which should be here either today or sometime early next week.
        I quite agree that straight from the camera shots are best, especially for most people who are in fact looking for that. I doubt the typical photographer really wants to spend endless hours in the digital darkroom trying to concoct the image that’s “just right”. It’s just that sometimes you know in advance that you will be altering it later in some way, and that’s okay too. But then it is usually a specific step, such as cropping for best composition or desaturating colour.
        I kinda feel sorry for people who shoot in RAW and the HAVE to do processing just to get the picture.
        Of course sometimes the processing is the picture, but that’s more a different style than a necessity.

      2. Just googled your new Lumix, that one is somewhat more sophisticated than my little FX10! I’m sure it’ll be very impressive, it looks a class act.

        Yeh for a while I had let a few more serious photographers online convince me that you had to shoot RAW and process in LightRoom, and was in a bit of a miserable loop there.

        Trying Hipstamatic with my iPhone 5C was a revelation, then the next step was realising that there were cameras that had enough on board control to give me JPEGs I loved after a little experimenting.

  2. Happy new year Dan.

    I have been reading your comments about the LX3 and it has rekindled my memories of owning that very machine. Looking at my archive, there are some significant sequences of what life was like when I spent time travelling around with holidaying kids.

    I gave mine away, somewhat thoughtlessly, as I hadn’t used it for a year or so.

    So last week, I won an LX5 on the Bay and within around twenty minutes of opening the package, I realised why I had stopped using the former.

    Once I had started to make head and tail of the instructions, I started playing with it when I realised that my sausage fingers are incapable of keeping themselves to themselves. The key with the LX5 is to set it to iA and blast away, and either save the raws or settle on a preferred JPG, it handles colour unbelievably well, it never seems to blow the highlights and is pretty revealing in the shadows.

    The ability to set and forget some of the mechanical features is also excellent. aspect ratio can be set very easily as can “hold those zoom settings”. The mere fact that it widens out to an effective 24mm is unusual for a general purpose camera in this league too or of this era, 28mm being more usual.

    Finally, I opted for the LX5, hoping that all was similar (if not the same as the LX3), but I wanted the little input socket for the VF1 EVF, which I haven’t yet bought.

    The reason? I realised why I gave the LX3 away, in order to exploit its many features, I need a pair of varifocals, and then I need to learn how to use them, I also need a memory upgrade. You see, I cannot see the myriads of data that keep the LX5 user informed, at the same time as I look at the scene and compose.

    My real OC-OL-OY that I completed a few years ago, consisted of a Leica M2 with a Summicron DR 50, and a few simple/difficult rules… Simple to conceptualise, but bloody hard to include.

    Aperture, shutter, focus, compose, check the light, recompose, shoot.

    1. Thanks for your input Stephen.

      With my LX3 I have the display set to show just what the lens sees, all overlaid information off. Then when you squeeze the shutter button to lock focus, the aperture and shutter appear, a helpful check for me to make sure the shutter speed is not too low. I hardly ever have the overlays on with any digital camera, too distracting.

      Would you return to a long term one camera project with your Leica, do you think, or indeed any other camera?

      1. Yes that is much how I am using it Dan, however my old age eyesight means I have to face the “spectacles dilemma”, noting that I am inclined not to wear them.

        So although if I put them on, I can see the information that you see, taking a snap, on the hoof, as it were, I am not necessarily going to have my glasses ready. I just won the little EVF for 36 smackeroonies on ebay, so now I can compose accurately without glasses… 🙂

        As for a new OCOLOY, yes I do think about it, it is limiting one’s equipment that makes for thinking more carefully about the activity, and although the original concept was that one should use a screw Leica, because of its cheapness and its basic architecture.

        As I said elsewhere here, I have finally bought my Leica M-D (back in October), a camera that reduces photography to its base line. Manual focus, choice of shutter speeds on the camera and apertures on the lens, and no display or any other (serious) buttons. I view that camera as my Dad’s legacy and will treasure its enforced limitations.

        Any future indulgence might include a new focal length “M” lens, not fussy about who makes, but rate the Zeiss, Voigtlander and Leica gear which all fits.

        As for the LX5, I am going to Germany in March and I like the idea of an all purpose lens in a very small form factor… ta da!

      2. Ah yes I remember you talking about the Leica M-D you bought with money from your dad before. Are you enjoying using it? Which focal length lens do you use it with currently?

        Every time I use my LX3 it becomes closer to being the one (near) perfect camera…

    1. Thank you, I like your interpretation! It’s quite hard to see the scale in this photo, it could be small blades of grass perhaps only 15cm high, but in fact this is fairly long papyrus (I think), about 2m tall.

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