On September 13, 2011, Panasonic released firmware version 2.0 for the Lumix DMC-LX5 camera, a fairly major upgrade, which I discussed in my posts here over the past few days. Today I am releasing an Addendum to Photographer’s Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5 that provides a brief discussion of each of the new features provided in the upgrade, along with some screen shots and one sample photo taken with the new shooting feature, Miniature effect.
As of now, this Addendum will be available only on this web site, in PDF format; I don’t currently have plans to publish a new version of the book about the LX5. This Addendum is available to everyone free of charge. Please download it here and use it as you wish for your own personal use.
Yesterday I posted my first attempt to use the new Miniature effect feature that’s included in the update to version 2.0 of the firmware of the Panasonic Lumix LX5 camera. That example had some problems because I didn’t have a tripod with me, and the central area for the “clear” part of the image was not set up all that well.
Today I tried again. This time I had a tripod and I made a stronger effort to aim at the scene and set up the camera so that a logical part of the scene would be lined up in the “clear” (not blurry) area of the movie. That wasn’t easy to do very well, because of the location that was available and the place I was shooting from, but I did as well as I could.
Anyway, at least the tripod made the movie steady, which I think helps a good deal to convey a sense that you’re looking at a model; if the camera is moving, it’s less likely to seem like a model, I would think.
So, here is the movie I took this morning to test the LX5’s new Miniature effect:
I have had the new firmware version 2.0 installed in my Lumix LX5 for a couple of days, and I’m working on writing an update to Photographer’s Guide to the Panasonic Lumix LX5 to post on this site. Naturally, I need to spend some time playing with the new features so I can understand them. Today I tried my hand at recording a short movie with the one completely new feature in the upgrade — the Miniature effect.
This new effect was added as a setting to the My Color shooting mode. The effect is similar to one found on several other compact cameras in recent years — it lets you specify a portion in the center of the image to be in sharp focus, and the surrounding parts will be blurred, to mimic the look of photographing a tabletop model. You can also use this effect while recording a video, and, in fact, I think it may be more useful for that purpose. (Or more entertaining; I can’t say that it’s really a “useful” feature in the sense that macro photography can be, for example.)
When recording a movie with the Miniature effect, the movie is recorded at a slow rate of speed, so when it is played back it will appear speeded up, either 8 or 10 times faster than normal, depending on the video format you use. When you combine the blurred edges of the scene with the speeded-up action, the effect can be quite dramatic, and it can transform your video of a normal street scene, railroad train, or some other subjects into what looks like a very accurate model of the real thing.
Today I made my first attempt at using this feature. I will admit it does not look that great, but I have some ideas for improving the results, and I will try again soon. For one thing, I will use a tripod next time. For another, I need to line up the central in-focus area with the main street more accurately. I’m going to post it here anyway, just to give you a general idea of how this feature is supposed to work. Here is a link to this first Miniature effect video attempt.
The upgrade of the Lumix LX5’s firmware to version 2.0 is now available, as promised by Panasonic a while ago. The new version includes several enhancements, including one completely new effect, the “miniature effect,” which gives you the option to shoot a full-size scene with attributes that make it look like a tabletop model.
Here is the basic list of improvements, paraphrased from the list on the Panasonic firmware upgrade site:
- The autofocus speed has been improved.
- The Recording menu has a new option, High ISO NR.
- Auto white balance performance has been improved.
- The Motion Picture has a new option, Active Mode.
- There are improvements to the process of locking exposure and focus by pressing the shutter button halfway.
- There is a simplified process for adjusting manual focus.
- The camera will now store the position and size of the AF area you have set.
- There is a higher upper limit for setting a long shutter speed in Manual exposure mode has been raised — about 250 seconds.
- The Miniature Effect option has been added to the My Color shooting mode.
- A Monitor/Viewfinder option has been added to the Setup menu. (Actually, after checking this one out, I saw that Panasonic goofed slightly in the documentation. This menu option changes its name according to whether the LCD display is active or the optional electronic viewfinder is attached and active. If the external viewfinder is active, this menu item is called Viewfinder; if the LCD is active, the menu item says LCD Display, not Monitor as Panasonic’s documentation says.)
I have just downloaded the upgraded firmware and installed it in my camera, and the process completed with no problems. Here is the link to the official site where the download is available. There are clear instructions posted at the site. If you want some extra help with the process, there have been some excellent instructions posted in the Panasonic Talk forum at dpreview.com.
I hope to get time to check out the new features provided by the upgrade in the near future, and post some more information on this site.
As of September 10, 2011, three of the Photographer’s Guide series of camera guide books have become available in versions for the Barnes & Noble Nook reader. They are the books about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5; the Leica D-Lux 5; and the Canon PowerShot S95.
Each of these books sells for $9.95 in the Nook versions, which can be ordered at bn.com using the links in the paragraph above. Or, you can go to the page at this site for each book to get more information about the book, download an excerpt or the table of contents, and see other options for purchasing it.
As of September 9, Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon Coolpix P500 is available for sale at Amazon.co.uk. It has just recently been listed there, and is not yet available directly from Amazon; I am selling it as a third-party seller, using the name White Knight Press. I ship the books quickly from the United States using International First Class Mail, though purchasers are charged shipping as if the books were being shipped from the U.K.
I have been monitoring the progress of Photographer’s Guide to the Nikon Coolpix P500 through the print-on-demand publication process. The proof copy arrived and was approved on August 30, and today, September 4, the book has shown up for the first time with a listing at Amazon.com. Fortunately, the book is listed as In Stock; some of my other books have been listed at Amazon as unavailable at times in recent weeks, and some have been listed as shipping within 2-3 weeks.
So, if you are looking for the paperback version of the Nikon Coolpix P500 guide, you can now order it directly from Amazon for $24.95 and it should ship quite quickly. Here is a button with a link to the book’s listing at Amazon:
The paperback book is also available from other sellers, including bn.com, and it will soon be in stock at camerabooks.com. You also can purchase the PDF download version from this site for $9.95. Kindle and iPad versions will be available by the end of September. For more information, please see the information page for the book on this site.
A few times a week I hear from customers who have purchased the PDF download version of one of my Photographer’s Guide books but have been unable to download it for some reason. In almost all cases, these issues are very easy to resolve. The one situation that is quite difficult is when I reply by e-mail but the customer never receives the message. I have had this happen only once or twice; in some cases, apparently the person’s internet service provider intercepts some e-mails from unfamiliar addresses and does not even forward them on to the intended recipient.
So, if you have sent me a message asking about a download and you don’t receive a reply within a few hours, please send me another message (email@example.com) and give me at least one different e-mail address to reply to, if possible.
I have this situation right now, as I write this post; a gentleman in Canada purchased the Canon PowerShot S95 PDF version, and wrote me yesterday that he never received the download link. I quickly re-sent the link, along with instructions on how to use an alternate download method. Then, this morning, I received another message from him, saying he still has not heard from me. I have tried to find another e-mail address for him, but without success. So, Sir, if you read this, please send me a different e-mail address, so I can get your problem resolved!
Early this afternoon, Photographer’s Guide to the Canon PowerShot S95 started showing up again at Amazon.com with an In Stock status, rather than being available only from third-party sellers as it was for several days before this. It showed up as shipping within 2-3 weeks, but I hope that situation will improve in the near future. Two of my other most recent books, on the Panasonic Lumix LX5 and the Leica D-Lux 5, have been listed at Amazon recently as In Stock for overnight and other fast shipping.
If you need a book more quickly than the 2-3 week time frame, I have some books on their way to Amazon’s warehouse for the Fulfillment by Amazon program; those books will be available for immediate shipping once they get there under the listing for New books, under my seller name, alexstrawhite. Also, camerabooks.com, a very reliable and fast-shipping seller, has some books on the way. So, by about September 10, or maybe sooner, you should be able to find a Canon PowerShot S95 book available for quick delivery.
If you would like to purchase a book from Amazon, or just see the book’s listing there, here is a button with the link: