One Month One Camera – Jan 2020 (II) – Snapseed Returns

So this month in my One Month One Camera (OMOC) project, I’ve been using a Panasonic Lumix FX10. You can read more about the camera in the first post here.

Something else I said I wanted to experiment with this year was not processing images at all, or zero processing.

This is easy for the cameras I have that deliver excellent images straight out of camera, they leave no need for any further tinkering.

But more cameras than not do require additional assistance to get the pictures looking how I want them to, and most recently I’ve been using Snapseed to this end.

Using the Lumix FX10 was a golden opportunity to use a different camera without post processing the images, and just let the camera put its own personality stamp on the photos. 

Well, I did try, using the FX10’s on board b/w mode.

When the scene has enough contrast naturally (strong light and deep dark shadows), the images have been fine straight out of camera.

But the other 90% of the time, the b/w mode of the little Lumix has produced the kind of thousand shades of middle grey images that most other cameras also produce, and that I find very bland and underwhelming.

So rather than have a bunch of photos this month where most of them are written off for this overly grey affliction, I decided to relent and run a few through Snapseed, to see how they looked.

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As a result the FX10 seems far more capable, and along with the benefits of its small size, ease of use and pocket money cost, gives many reasons to recommend it.

But…

When I have cameras that are better for my needs anyway, and have enough adjustment in camera to give me the kind of inky moody b/w (or natural colour) images I love, why would I want to use Snapseed to post process every image I want to keep?

In the end, this has been a very useful experiment to move me closer to an ever smaller set of camera I love and want to use consistently. 

These include my b/w favourites, the Lumix LX3 and GF1 (though I’m undecided about lenses for the latter), and my marvellous little Pentax Q.

My Pentax K30 DSLR I’m still on the fence about in many ways, but it also makes satisfying b/w pictures.

Oh and I often overlook the first digital camera I bought, the Nikon Coolpix P300, whose high contrast mono mode first opened my eyes to what a camera could do in b/w, without needing any attention afterwards.

Indeed the now nine year old Coolpix is a future candidate for a One Month One Camera outing later this year.

My Pentax K-m DSLR also delivers pretty good b/w images, if not quite so contrasty as the others above, but I would probably reach for the K30 first if I wanted to shoot a DSLR for b/w rather than colour images.

Speaking of which, on the colour front, both the K-m and its predecessor the 6MP K100D capture colour beautifully with their good old CCD sensors.

The other half a dozen cameras I have left I only really use for b/w photography, and each of them I use Snapseed to process the images afterwards.

The Ricoh siblings – GX100 and GRD III – as well as the surprisingly delightful FujiFilm Finepix S7000 bridge camera, the Canon Digital IXUS 870 IS I used last January, and of course the FX10 I’m using this month, all come in this category, as does the quirky, charming, and tiny Samsung NV10.

Each of their places in my photographic arsenal are under threat.

Simply because I have a good selection that give me the zero processing dream, and I really don’t want the hassle of processing with Snapseed, and resaving and organising the resultant file(s).

More to come before the month is out on the Lumix FX10, but I can see already that despite its plentiful charms, I have no reason to keep it, for the reasons outlined above.

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How about you? How many of your photos do you post process, and how? 

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 (II) – Snapseed Returns”

  1. Your post coincides neatly with my tryout of the Lumix ZS60 I just got. Since it is replacing the old V1003, we have the fact that camera was aging and needed a little ‘help’ to make acceptable pictures now; every shot had to have its contrast tweaked. Also I have tried the B&W settings on the Lumix and found a curious thing; the standard setting produces results such as you describe, a ‘range’ of “gray to gray”, whereas the “Dynamic” setting cranks the contrast practically into the lithography zone. Someplace nested in the menus (which are a pain to use with the touch screen) are adjustments for contrast levels for the settings. What do we get from this? That sometimes the thing to do is accept the camera’s results and know that it is easier to give it that little change in post-processing to make it perfect than to get the camera to do it right to begin with.
    Next up I will pick some settings I like best for this new machine and go find some things to shoot just to see how it works in its intended purpose of a “walking around camera”.

    1. Marc, with my LX3 and GF1 you can tweak the settings (I use both on Dynamic B/W film mode but then further adjust the parameters within those) and save the overall settings in one of the Custom menus on the main dial. Can you do this with the ZS60? It would be a chore having to readjust settings every photograph, or every time you switch the camera on again. With both my LX3 and GF1 I just make sure they’re on C1, switch them on, and pretty much point and shoot.

      Keep us posted on how you get on with the new Lumix!

      1. Dan, the ZS60 has the ability to alter the pre-sets and keep the changes after the camera is turned off. This includes contrast, sharpness, and saturation. Plus it has one ‘custom’ setting. I’ve been tweaking the adjustments and find it still has shortcomings; when the light changes it goes wrong.

      2. I wonder if you could have like a “cloudy day” and a “sunny day” set up, or winter and summer or some other way of having a couple of different presets that between them covered the majority of photographic situations?

  2. I’ve also been experimenting a lot with my Pentax cameras to get the look I want from the camera, without need to post-process. I’m very happy with my B&W preset – though I know it wouldn’t work for you because we like very different kinds of B&W. I’m after delightful renderings of how luminance is portrayed in black and white, so for that purpose, I love all the intricate mid-tone greys 🙂
    For color, I’m getting better and better results from my CMOS cameras (K-50 and K-S1) but from the K10D, I still need post-processing, where the K10D files really shine.

    1. Have you tried the K10D on JPEG only, using one of the colour presets? I use both of my CCD Pentax bodies on the “Bright” setting and they give lovely colours – natural but somehow slightly more saturated, and kind of film like one might say.

      1. I have tried the K10D color presets, and the standard one (Bright) is actually pretty good – so for flowers and objects it’s doable. The other preset (I think it’s Vibrant or something? I don’t have the camera here with me…) was just way too much saturation, I couldn’t use it.
        But since I end up with a lot of dynamic range due to shooting a lot during the day which is when I have time, the RAW helps me get a more natural look from the pictures.
        I’ve been using Darktable for a little while now since it’s a true one-stop-shop, offering all RAW conversion/editing features plus some advanced features a lot of RAW converters don’t have. The two I use the most are the spot removal (to deal with sensor dust in skies, for example) and the graduated density effect (which works extremely well with the K10D files because they have more highlight data saved than you would think!)
        I have also used the split toning a lot with my CMOS cameras – the biggest gripe I have with CMOS (and in a way, digital photography in general) is how it renders the green colors and I found a workaround for this using this module.
        Of course I created my own custom styles (presets) like you, so pretty much any picture is a one-click job. Exporting the edited file is the most time-consuming part, actually…
        My CMOS camera use is almost all in-camera JPEG now. The K-S1 in particular is the closest to CCD I have seen in a CMOS APS-C camera…

      2. Chris, when I started with my K10D (early 2017) I was shooting RAW and then running the images through Lightroom on its standard auto adjustments, which created JPEGs with colours and punch that I really liked. But in time I got fed up with using Lightroom (and paying so much for it) and my processes evolved.

        When I returned to using DLSRs again last year with the K100D and K-m (the latter has the same sensor as the K10D I understand), I only ever had the intention of shooting JPEGs straight out of camera, and I love the results. Just can’t be bothered with the whole processing side of things, it’s not why I photograph.

        Very interesting to read about your K-S1 and the JPEGs…

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