Tag Archives: 2019

Final Thoughts on the Leica D-Lux 7

Kathy’s New Home (not really) – Belhaven, North Carolina

I wanted to wrap up my thoughts on this camera for anyone who might be interested.  Nothing earth-shaking here.  Bottom line: I didn’t buy one and won’t be buying one.  Below are a few pros and cons, some of which may repeat my earlier post, and all of them are my opinion only:

Pros:

Excellent image quality – RAW files processed efficiently in Lightroom using the Adobe camera profiles.  The “Auto” function in the Develop Module worked amazingly well.  I could be comfortable with the results and seldom feel like I am compromising quality if this were my only camera.

Belhaven, North Carolina

Lightweight and Compact – The camera was very well-constructed and has a certain “heft” to it that speaks of quality, but is very light.  I use a thin strap on my Fuji cameras, and it would easily accommodate the Leica.  Although the Leica probably deserves a fancy custom leather job…. 😉

Belhaven, North Carolina

Good battery life – this is not fully tested since I made a point of recharging it daily.  I only had one battery with the rental so I didn’t want to chance running out.

Belhaven, North Carolina

Cons:

Size – I don’t have large hands, but it is a small camera and seemed to be a little small for me.  I never felt like I was going to drop it, but some of the controls were a little touchy.

Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Manual zoom & focus – The primary zoom mechanism is a toggle switch that surrounds the shutter button.  Many camera have that but I just never feel like it is very precise.  In addition, there is a lens ring that can be set up to function as a zoom control.  I actually prefer that, except that the zoom ring is right next to the aperture ring and I kept inadvertently changing the aperture!

Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Other:

Menus – people complain about menus on all cameras.  This one was fine – I was able to figure out just about anything I needed easily.  I think I went to the manual a few times but it was mostly out of curiosity.

Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

The “Only Camera” Question – I could see myself having a camera like this as my travel camera.  The photos are good enough that I don’t think I would worry about having the “wrong” camera with me if I left the Fuji at home.  The zoom range is a little limiting for me, mostly on the long end as I like to get close to my subjects and frame tightly.  That isn’t a big deal and there are plenty of pixels for a little cropping if necessary.

Stumpy Point, North Carolina

Lens Choice – I’ve gotten used to the ability to put together a kit of lenses for a particular trip.  Going out the door with a Fuji body and a single prime lens is a great way for me to simplify and narrow my seeing.  Traveling with a lens or two or the whole bag gives me endless choices.  That can work both ways, but I’ve gotten comfortable with the idea of making a choice and living with it.

Stumpy Point, North Carolina

What’s Next? – I have a rental Fuji XT3 coming today for an upcoming trip.  I can’t wait to try it out and compare it to my aging XT1.  I’m not in the market for a new camera, but with a price point very similar to the Leica, it feels to me like the better option when and if the time comes to upgrade.

Downtown Aurora, North Carolina
Downtown Aurora, North Carolina

More words and photos to follow – stay tuned!

Stumpy Point, North Carolina

Revisiting Favorite Places

Historic Pump Station at Lake Mattamuskeet, NC

As much as Kathy & I like to explore new places, there is a certain comfort in the familiarity of places we return to often.  Such is the case with our recent visit to Belhaven, in eastern North Carolina.  Whenever we visit that area, we return to places like Swan Quarter, perhaps best known as the location of the ferry to Ocracoke Island, but also the location of a number of fishing companies and their boats.  Englehard is also the location of an inlet that houses a number of fishing boats.  Lake Mattamuskeet is the location of a number of interesting places and the photographs that can be made there.

Boats on Far Creek in Englehard, NC
Fishing Boats at Swan Quarter, NC

While I rarely return with anything truly new, it is a good place to go and look for things I haven’t seen previously.  Storms wash away old piles of debris and sometimes bring in new subject matter.  Businesses come and go and sometimes the change in decor can mean new material.  Sometimes returning to a place with fresh eyes can mean new opportunities.

Belhaven, North Carolina
Belhaven, North Carolina
Porch Swing
Belhaven, North Carolina

This is another collection of photos from the Leica D-Lux 7 that I took on our recent visit there.  I’ve got a few more batches that I’ll post once I’ve worked out the words to go along with them!

Swan Quarter, North Carolina

More Messin’

Historic Pump Station at Lake Mattamuskeet, NC

Kathy & I are visiting friends in Eastern NC this week, and I am trying out this Leica D-Lux 7 that I rented.  The more time I spend with the camera the more used to it I get, and it is overall pretty comfortable to use.  A few observations so far:

– Just because it is a non-interchangeable lens does not make it impervious to sensor dust.  Dust is quite evident in solid skies at f-stops smaller than f11.

– I’ve been very happy with the files, and pleasantly surprised to find that Lightroom handles the processing of RAW files very well.  In fact, this is the first time that I have consistently imported a bunch of files, added the Adobe Camera Natural Profile, hit the Auto Exposure button and didn’t need to touch them further, other than straightening horizons or cropping slightly.

– While the camera is very light to tote around, it is well built and feels like a “serious” camera in my hands.

– I like having all of the manual controls this camera has – exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed and auto/manual focus are all mechanical.

– The menus are no worse than any other unfamiliar digital camera, and seem like something that would be easy to navigate with a bit more time.

Fishing Boats at Swan Quarter, NC

I’ve got a few more days to mess around with this camera before I box it up and send it back.  I’ve come to no conclusions or purchase decisions yet.  Frankly I’m seriously considering renting the latest Fuji body, which coincidentally is about the same price as this Leica, to see if upgrading my body that uses all of my existing lenses would make a better choice.  We’ll see!

Boats on Far Creek in Englehard, NC
Given Up
Stylin’
Wright Brothers Memorial (with lens flair!)
Promises
Bird Skeleton
M R Ducks
Posts
Tied Up
Porch Swing

Messin’ Around

Mayfly Meetup

Once in a while I get an itch to try out a new camera, just for fun.  Fortunately it is easy to rent cameras and lenses to satisfy that urge.

Held Captive
Construction Project

I’ve always owned some kind of compact, point & shoot camera as a supplement to my main camera gear, and although I’ve taken a lot of good pictures with them, I’ve never been completely happy with the compromises required of the smaller sensors and compact lenses.  My first-ever digital camera was a Canon Powershot G5, which I still have.  I’ve also owned the G9 and G12 plus a Fuji X10.  I currently have an Olympus TG5, which I bought because it is shock resistant and supposedly waterproof, although I have yet to actually that feature!

Gated

As camera technology advances, I’ve had it in my mind that, at some point, the quality of compact cameras might possibly advance to where the results from a small point & shoot camera could – in theory at least – be good enough to be a realistic “only camera.”  We’re not there yet, but we keep edging closer.  I just hope the camera manufacturers don’t give up on the idea before cell phone cameras take over completely!

Empty Lot

My definition of the ideal “only camera” would be one with a compact and lightweight body, a large (4/3 or larger) sensor and a high quality 24-70 equivalent lens.  There are a handful of cameras that meet the size and sensor requirements, but most of them have fixed lenses.  The B&H website shows 21 “advanced compact” point & shoot cameras with 4/3 or larger sensors, but when the box for “zoom lens” is checked, there are only 5, although realistically there are only 3, since two of them are older versions of current cameras.  The choices are: Leica D-Lux 7,  Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II and Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III.  The Leica and Panasonic are essentially the same camera, with the red Leica badge costing a mere $300 (after a $100 rebate on the Panasonic).

Sprinkler Beams

Since it was just for fun, I opted to rent the Leica, because what the heck and why not?  The box came via FedEx on Thursday and I took it out for a little spin on this morning’s walk.  I shot all of these photos in RAW, imported them to Lightroom with the Adobe “Camera Natural v2” profile, hit the “Auto” button and tweaked the white balance.  That’s it.  Pretty impressive so far.

Circles

We’re off on a little road trip to the NC coast this coming week (boy it’s nice to be able to travel during the week!) and plan to use the Leica as my only camera, so I’ll have a chance to put it through the paces.  Hopefully I’ll be able to post a few more shots from the road, and will have more photos and a summary of my impressions once we return home. TGIF!

Trash Day

One Thing Leads to Another

Pan-American Bridge over the Panama Canal

People in our neighborhood have gotten used to the fact that we’re gone a lot.  When we first moved here it was because we worked all day and often traveled on the weekends.  Recently we’ve been off on one adventure or another.  A couple of our neighbors say they can tell when we’re home because our window shades are open.  I guess that’s a reliable indicator, although I’ve thought about leaving them open just to fool ’em!  It is nice to have someone keeping an eye on things, although that has its limits.

Ready for Shuffleboard
Ship’s Lines in Aruba

One of the most asked questions when we talk to our neighbors is “where are you off to next?” When we got back from our recent trip to Ohio and Virginia we didn’t have anything on the books.  But within a few weeks of our return we got to planning, and we now have (I think) 5 trips in various stages of planning.  Kathy says she has finally found her calling – planning vacations!  For us!

Hazy sunshine in Puerto Vallarta
Hats for sale in Puerto Vallarta

One day we were sitting on our porch talking about our upcoming plans and I said, ” you know, when we were younger, one thing would lead to another and we’d end up with a baby.  Now, one thing leads to another and we end up with a vacation!  Life is good!

Huatulco Mexico

A Lucky Shot

Ginger Blossom and Hummingbird

During our visit to Puerto Quepos, Costa Rica, we took an aerial tram tour and nature walk through a tropical rain forest.  I had been taking photos of this ginger blossom when I noticed a hummingbird flying nearby.  Just as I fired off a series of shots of the ginger the hummer flew into my frame!  I got off a burst of just a few shots before he flew away.  While this is the best one, it certainly isn’t “perfect” enough to win any nature photo contests but it works for me.

Cruising The Panama Canal

Transit through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess

Kathy & I recently returned from a 15-night cruise through the Panama Canal on the Pacific Princess.  It was a terrific cruise, and at only 600 +/- passengers this ship was a welcome relief from the 6000+ passenger behemoth we sailed on in February.  But like bottles of wine we’ve never had a bad cruise, so there are always great things to experience regardless!

Morning approach to the entrance of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit of the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess

The highlight of our cruise, which took us from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Los Angeles, CA, was of course a full transit of the Panama Canal.  These photos are just a sample of the ones I took during this event.  I will add more photos and commentary as I get through the 3000+ photos I took!  But we’re leaving soon for another quick trip and I’m planning to leave the computer at home, so they will need to wait until we get back.

Transit through the Pedro Miguel Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess
Transit through the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal during our Panama Canal cruise aboard Pacific Princess

Hot Stuff!

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

Tabasco sauce is one of those condiments that I think everyone has heard of, and that many people always keep on hand.  I’m not particularly a big fan, instead preferring sauces with more flavor and less heat such as Cholula (Mexico) and Pickapeppa (Jamaica, mon).  But when it comes to pepper sauce, I’ve got a bottle and suspect a lot of readers do too.

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

When I realized that the Tabasco plant and museum, located in Avery Island, was just a few miles from where we stayed in Lafayette, Louisiana, going there was a no-brainer.  Adjacent to the grounds of the Tabasco plant is Jungle Gardens, a 170-acre botanical garden and bird sanctuary created by the father of Tabasco, Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny.  Jungle Gardens is a separate story and a separate post.

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

I learned a few things about Tabasco during our visit.  I hadn’t fully realized the time, effort and craft that goes into making hot sauce.  And I didn’t realize that there were so many varieties!  We got to try a number of them in the store after our tour, although I stopped myself before my taste buds got damaged!

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

All in all, the Tabasco story is an important part of Louisiana heritage, and I’m glad we had a chance to pay a visit!

Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana
Tabasco Factory Tour in Avery Island, Louisiana

Cyprus Impressions

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway

While visiting the cyprus swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway, I did a few impressionistic photos of the trees using camera movement to blur the trunks.  These are two of my favorites from that session.  I love how the motion simplifies the composition by making it all about the lines of the trees and removing the distracting details.

Cyprus trees at the Tupelo-Bald Cyprus Swamp on the Natchez Trace Parkway