29 May 2012

New camera

I got a new camera while we were in the U.S. earlier this month. Walt got one too. The cameras were our presents to each other ourselves. Walt had been threatening to upgrade his camera for years, and he finally did it with a new Canon SLR. I decided to stick with the kind of camera I've been using for 5 years now: a Panasonic Lumix long-zoom, pocket-sized camera.

Two roses in the back yard

My new camera is the Lumix DMC-ZS8. It replaces one I got about four years ago, the ZS1. I'm really happy with the ZS8 so far. It is a significant upgrade compared to the older model, and compared to the Lumix DMC-TZ3 that I used earlier and still have.

My new camera looks a lot like the old one but —
surprise — it has new and improved features.

The new camera weighs just 210 grams / 7 ounces and fits easily into a pocket. I use it with a wrist strap to minimize my chances of dropping it on the floor or ground.

Callie the border collie

The ZS8 has many manual features, but I haven't yet experimented with them. There's aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual focus. The automatic settings and autofocus do the job for me.

Looking into a coquelicot (poppy flower)

I also haven't used all the scene modes included in the camera's menus — Portrait, Soft Skin, Self Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Pet, and on and on — but maybe I'll experiment with them someday.

Grass seeds and grape flower buds

I hardly ever use the flash either. And I never use the digital zoom — at 16x, the optical zoom is sufficient. I like the panorama aspect ratio (16:9) for taking long landscape shots, and I've used the macro zoom with some success

Fading peonies

Yesterday morning on my walk with Callie I took a lot of closeup pictures — one feature of the camera that I use a lot is its "macro" mode for taking close views. Flowers, other plants, the dog's face and whatever else get this treatment. I'm posting a few examples here.

 The pond these days

P.S. Blogger has been acting up again.  A few minutes ago, when I clicked on the pictures in this post, I didn't see the expected enlargement but an image on a gray screen that was the same size as the one in the main blog post. I'm trying to figure out why. Sigh. I think it had to do with the old authoring interface. I changed to the new interface again, messed with the line spacing for a while, and finally got a satisfactory result. I think...


  1. The photos are working fine here, nice and big. Your camera sounds very impressive.

  2. Thanks, Andrew. I wish I knew whether you were looking at the version of the post I did using the old Blogger interface, or the one I did with the new interface. I'm still having line-space problems but now the photos are enlarging.

  3. Hi Ken,
    As part of an art project, I'm trying to observe more closely how flowers are organized and although I do take closeup pictures of flowers I encounter, I love yours and Walt's, so I'd like to use some of them, too.
    Cameras are always improving -- like computers. As soon as you get one, it's outdated. I got mine almost two years ago and it'll do for another while, I hope. Like you, snapshots are all I want. I don't like to spend the time doing manual adjustments.
    I don't see the problems in Blogger, but then, I've decided to be a most basic user and not tinker with spacing and such.

  4. What I'm getting is your post in the new interface. The old one says the page no longer exists.

  5. I got your post twice, one without a photograph which when clicked on says the page doesn't exist. The second one is full of wonderful photographs taken with your new camera.

  6. Ken your post photos are stunning and without glitches for me in Australia. I am in the market for a new camera before I go to New Caledonia for my French language immersion course. Thank you for the details of the camera.

  7. Louise and all, I should have mentioned that I paid only about 200 USD (plus or minus 150 euros) for the Lumix ZS8. It's a good deal from the right vendor.

  8. My flower photos never show the true colors. Is it me, or is it my cheapy camera? I've tried every possible setting and many combinations of settings, but I still can't get blues and purples to come true. Since my garden is what I photograph most often, I really need to figure this out. Your photos and Walt's always look excellent to me.

  9. Beautiful photos......I look forward to seeing more and more of them with your new camera.

  10. 16X optical zoom!? Fabulous! Geeeeze, I paid about that (on sale!) for my camera, with 5 or 6X optical zoom!

    Whichever interface controlled what I saw, it was all visible -- and that closeup of the inside of the flower... amazing!

  11. Your photos today look much clearer and it looks like more pixels than previous photos (because you told me you had a new camera, perhaps?). Yes, I, too, had never been that close up to the inside of the coquelicot. The colors look radiant, as well. Very vivid pinks and soft browns. Callie looks like I could just reach into the screen and pet her.

    Mary in Oregon

  12. Correction,Ken, on those colors:
    the first roses now that I went back to the blog are a deep coral, the poppy is in the deep orange family. The peony is a vivid and soft pink (what is left of it.
    Sorry, my memory was fading like the peony. :-)

    Mary in OR

  13. Excellent photo's!!
    You are making me really want
    the Lumix camera.
    Your photo's are always so sharp
    and such good definition from such
    a small camera. I have a Nikon SLR
    and a CoolPix as well. I don't think either one of them are as
    good as this.
    JK from NW North Carolina

  14. Based a lot on your comments, I bought a Panasonic a couple of years ago and have been quite pleased with the results. But I've gotten quite lazy and just do point-and-shoot lately. Must read the directions one of these years, try to figure how to turn off the flash.
    The newer cameras are so much thinner, though. Lovely flower pix today, too.

  15. I have a Canon Power Shot A530 digital camera which I haven't used since I got a smartphone. The phone camera takes pics just as good as the digital camera.

  16. Don't have or want a cell phone, Starman. Somebody would probably be calling me on it just at the moment when I was trying to take a nice picture.

  17. Didn't know I was following your lead, but when Ray's camera was stolen 2 years ago, I replaced it with a slightly older version of yours: a Lumix DMC-ZS7 (where these names come from is a mystery). I love it! Compared to the little one I bought just before we visited you, it's spectacular. It's all the things you said about it, plus easy for s doofus like me to use.

  18. I have the same problem as Carolyn. The blues and purples are never true and much paler. I have to treat the photos with Photoshop and it's not really satisfactory, even though the colors are improved. I hope Ken will be able to help me with this because I really don't know what to do about it.

    I also have a LUMIX and use it mostly for closeups of flowers.


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