Peter Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

Brighton, Victoria

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  • Peter Gallagher
    Peter Gallagher
    Participant
    Posts: 29
    Moving on from Olympus to… (Leica?)
    on: May 4, 2021 at 6:19 am

    Greetings,

    Well, about a year later, how did that go?

    Mixed, as you might expect. The short answer is that the idea of imposing on myself the ‘constraint’ of a single fixed-focal-length lens sort of worked. I loved the simplicity — the liberation! — of one-camera-one-lens. I adapted my approach to making images (especially landscape) and I think I benefited from the discipline (‘foot zoom’, looking for suitable frames, thinking more carefully about my subject before I shoot). I had to be more inventive. Also, the fast, sharp lens + large sensor of the Leica Q2 proved to be as good a combination as advertised.

    But I don’t love the Q2 (I hope we can still be friends).

    In my view it is not a great camera (I can’t say that in a Leica forum without the cultists reflecting on my character). It looks good and strictly follows the Leica’s ‘aesthetic’. Also, it’s nice to own a camera that isn’t anchored to Japanese designs from the 1980 like almost (bless Sigma!) every other little-black-box on the planet!

    But the Q2 is an inflexible instrument; for the sake of those design “values”. It sorely misses some ordinary but valuable facilities like a tilting (or even moving) view-screen or a port for a control cable. It has one teeny-tiny button that can be programmed for back-button focus or AEL that is near impossible to find with my thumb. And it’s difficult to mount the camera on a tripod without obstructing either or both of the battery and SD-card ports.

    The design is so severe that, in fact, the camera is hard to hold unless you purchase a dongle (probably from Leica) like a right-hand finger grip that attaches via a bottom plate (not tripod-ready), or a $200+ back thumb-grip that occupies the hot-shoe.  I was so worried about dropping the thing that I purchased a Leica wrist strap just-in-case!

    Happily, the ‘software’ design of the Q2 is ‘friendlier’. I found the Leica menu system rather straightforward and even ‘flat’ compared to the obscure depths of some contemporary brands. The ‘quick’ menu that can be reached by one back-button and manipulated on the touch-screen is more useful than most of the hardware controls.

    Cradle Mountain,Dove Lake, Tasmania

    COVID restrictions meant I haven’t used the Q2 as much as I expected when I purchased it almost a year ago. Still, I recently took a trip around some well-known landscape sites in Tasmania (images in some PDF books on https://images.petergllagher.net.au) where I used the camera a lot. I shot from a ‘table-top’ tripod most of the time for the sake of portability, stability and a great perspective for a wide-angle lens. That worked well.

    But, since the back screen is stuck to the camera body and I could not get my eye down to the EVF for most shots (water, mud, bushes, or no room) and there is no cable-remote for the Q2 I had to use the remote  controls of the Leica Photos iPhone app to frame the composition, set the shot parameters and make the exposures.  The app was OK when I managed to get the connection working (a bit more than half the time). The Q2 itself worked reliably in freezing and wet conditions.

    Then, the Q2 does not do several things that other contemporary cameras do. For example, there’s no built-in focus bracketing and the longest exposure you can get even on ‘bulb’ is 30 sec. It has a (low) ISO setting of 50, so 3-5 sec. exposures for e.g. streams and waterfalls are not a problem with or even without an ND filter (at say, f.13). But it’s not designed for astro-photography. Nor are there any ‘live view’ image composites such as Olympus offers. It offers reasonably flexible exposure bracketing and will shoot up to about 7 frames in rapid succession when creating HDR images (but then the buffer is full). I was annoyed that you cannot choose to by-pass a noise-reduction delay when shooting 1”+ shots. An 8 sec. exposure (say) is followed by an 8 sec. noise-reduction blackout whether the conditions need it or not.

    The Q2 lens is stabilized, but the shake-correction is not remarkable. I found little benefit from it below about 1/30”. It seems to be hardly any use when shooting macros hand-held, as the Summilux lens allows. I had a success rate of about 1 in 10 shots when making close-ups of the colorful lichens & fungi that are everywhere in the temperate rain-forests of Tasmania.

    Here, however, I must admit that I was too conservative with my ISO settings. Inspection of the images I took in a lot of low-light settings on my trip shows me that the Q2 sensor is not especially prone to ugly luminance noise. I could certainly have allowed the ISO to creep above 6400 without uglifying my raw files. So it is probably my fault that I did not take better macro shots.

    I don’t shoot video so I can’t comment on the camera’s capabilities. But I’d be surprised to find they were any more refined/extensive than the stills options.

    I’m probably going to keep the Q2. It has several virtues even if it is, at best, a specialised tool. But it would take more talent — and probably more years — than I can claim to learn to rely on it fully.

    Peter Gallagher
    Peter Gallagher
    Participant
    Posts: 29
    Re: rust
    Reply #1 on: December 18, 2020 at 6:02 am

    Rust is indeed intriguing for the texture, color and metaphor. I have a small PDF of images from the local shoot that includes this image. You’re welcome do download it, here::https://images.petergallagher.net.au/rust/

    Peter Gallagher
    Peter Gallagher
    Participant
    Posts: 29
    Re: The Optimum Digital Expsoure
    Reply #2 on: November 22, 2020 at 4:21 am

    Since ACR/Lr added Process Version 2012, it’s actually a lot more complicated largely because of Local Laplacian Filters…wait, WHAT?

    I found Jeff’s contribution to this discussion valuable, as always. Although I do not understand the details of the Laplacian pyramid paper, I think I can intuit from the image examples included there what Proc. 2102 was/is doing to capture the fine details of the exposure. I think I can see why it may be valuable at the extremes of exposure when we attempt to fill our images with light so that we edge up to both the upper and lower extremes. Jeff’s recommendations for local highlight and black/shadow recovery to really extract these preserved details suggest something I will try more often.

    I habitually set highlight details to med-grey (with spot AEL) & then over expose the whole image by (with my current sensor) a slightly-conservative 1.66 EV. Even so this seems sometimes to over-expose otherwise uninteresting highlights in a distracting way (if they’re large). For example, a slice of sky that has that dreaded flat-overbright-grey tone. I haven’t tried to increase recovery using local adjustments, but the mechanisms of Proc. 2012 suggest I should (as Jeff recommends).

    It’ s a treat to learn stuff.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by Kevin Raber.
    Peter Gallagher
    Peter Gallagher
    Participant
    Posts: 29
    Re: The Optimum Digital Expsoure
    Reply #3 on: November 22, 2020 at 4:18 am

    Since ACR/Lr added Process Version 2012, it’s actually a lot more complicated largely because of Local Laplacian Filters…wait, WHAT?

    I found Jeff’s contribution to this discussion valuable, as always. Although I do not understand the details of the Laplacian pyramid paper, I think I can intuit from the image examples included there what Proc. 2102 was/is doing to capture the fine details of the exposure. I think I can see why it may be valuable at the extremes of exposure when we attempt to fill our images with light so that we edge up to both the upper and lower extremes. Jeff’s recommendations for local highlight and black/shadow recovery to really extract these preserved details suggest something I will try more often.

    I habitually set highlight details to med-grey (with spot AEL) & then over expose the whole image by (with my current sensor) a slightly-conservative 1.66 EV. Even so this seems sometimes to over-expose otherwise uninteresting highlights in a distracting way (if they’re large). For example, a slice of sky that has that dreaded flat-overbright-grey tone. I haven’t tried to increase recovery using local adjustments, but the mechanisms of Proc. 2012 suggest I should (as Jeff recommends).

    It’ s a treat to learn stuff.

     

    Peter Gallagher
    Peter Gallagher
    Participant
    Posts: 29
    Re: Can someone suggest a good mouse for lightroom and photoshop please?
    Reply #4 on: October 28, 2020 at 3:46 am

    I prefer never to use a mouse for local adjustment brushes. A tablet/pen is so much more accurate and faster with (usually) controllable stroke variation.

    But I don’t want to hold a pen in my dominant hand and then drop it to pick up the mouse in the same hand for, say, interface control. This is tiresome, at best.

    Of course using both a mouse and a pen means some ambidexterity.

    My own solution for some years has been to use the magnificent Kensington Expert Track Ball under my left hand with the pen in my right (dominant) hand: https://www.kensington.com/en-au/p/products/control/trackballs/expert-mouse-wireless-trackball/

    It’s a large, well balanced ball that fits nicely in the fingers and permits uncannily accurate control. Best of all, it’s stationary. No flinging the thing around the desktop. So it saves not only on effort but also on space. Recommended.