Henry VIII's body armor, camera: Panasonic Lumix GH1
There are some surprising little piece de resistance at Tower of London Armory, that certainly deserve more of the awe.
This part of the exhibition devoted to medieval body armor mostly attracted my attention because of this little (or should we say, huge) detail. For those who missed unmissable, I snapped the photo. This body armor belonged to no ordinary mortal either, it had been made to measure for Henry VIII, the Tudor version of the modern day Idi Amin.
Although this particular body armor is plastered all over the London Tube, the lengths to which royals went in order to protect their bloodline, seem to be neglected both by historians and advertisers.
When I am traveling, I keep on bumping into those Three Gracias, in various unespected places. I do not know what would be their historic origin, but I've seen them in Dusseldorf Art Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum in London and of course they were part of the Botticelli's masterpiece "Spring".
Three Gracia s, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Las Gracias are a trio of Greek goddesses, daughters of Zeus, who represent joy, charm and beauty. (They are the three women next to Mercury, the only man in the above painting.) Isn’t it great that the Spanish word for “Thank you” is also a reference to three things that make life much nicer?
Three Gracia s, Dusseldorf Art Museum
Now, what is really nice with Panasonic Lumix GH1 is that its large, Micro Four Thirds sensor and Optical Image Stabilization give you the confidence to take hand held photos in low light conditions, like in museums for example. I just can not imagine carrying a tripod with me, not even the smallest one. Usually I go up as far as 400 ISO without getting any noise in the shadows.
Because LUMIX GH1's auto focus is achieved by contrast control on the sensor, it can allow its owner to focus on the moving object while shooting a video. This is a new feature for a prosumer digicam, since neither Canon 5D II nor Nikon D90, the two current video recording SLRs, can do it. Obviously, this all needs to be happening in the 720 mode, if we want to retain good control over the quality of the video picture.
It is important to compare the sizes of the sensors. This is where Lumix GH1 lets us down a bit, because its sensor is only 17.3 x 13mm, while Nikon D90 is in the middle with 23.6 x 15.8mm and Canon 5D is clear winner with 23.6 x 15.8mm. As sensors go, larger is definitely better, since bigger sensors give better low light performance.
Panasonic has given Lumix GH1, not just one, but two high-definition shooting modes: 1,920 x 1,080 at 24 fps and 1,280 x 720 at 60 fps, all inclusive of Dolby stereo sound and stored in a compact AVCHD files. The higher high-definition 1,080 mode is interlaced and is slightly disappointing that this mode is not running at 30 fps, instead of the provided 24 fps. This illustrates the fact that Lumix GH1 can not relay compete with consumer HD camcorders. 24 fps certainly looks more film-like, but 30 fps would give much smoother movement.
Panasonic's own choice of sample videos demonstrates this GH1's disadvantage. Produced sample videos are certainly clear, sharp and colors are vividly saturated when shown on a HDTV set. Sample for 720 mode, on the other hand, was showing a beautiful woman swinging her long hair in a breeze beside waves at the beach and than children playing and dog chasing Frisbee. So, if you want to pull off some nice quality footage with lots of movement, in real life you'll be limited to 720 mode. But 1,080 scenes were only limited to an carefully arranged outdoor scene in which only few blades of grass could be seen moving, while camera slowly panned to one side.
Video is the ultimate feature that Lumix GH1's is first to bring to the prosumer market. While camera was still under the development when we have seen this mode for the first time, at a second opportunity when we were finally shown production model we certainly were not disappointed.
This camera boasts a whole bunch of controls for video, which is certainly a pleasant surprise. One of the things that Panasonic's Lumix GH1 offers, that are not available on a typical HD camcorder is the control over the shutter and aperture for control of the special effects. When one watches a typical family video he would get distracted by the background because everything will be in a full detail, while foreground would be in a focus as well. This is the consequence of camcorders own choice of aperture, over which user usually doesn't have any control. Lumix GH1 wins here, hands down, because vidoegraher has a manual control over the aperture, so one can produce that artistic effect of blurred background while focusing the attention on the person in the foreground.
As you're reading this I am most likely sleeping on the plane, dreaming all the nice things that are awaiting me when we touch down at our destination! I will miss our flat that we just moved in and of course and I have prepared timely posts for my blog, so you won't miss me too much. Above all that, I am crating a mini contest for all the Panasonic Lumix GH1 owners who want to submit their photos.
I have a few simple rules of course so please follow them to be in the running to WIN a prize. I have no idea what prize will be, but it will most likely be something like "Winner of the month"!
Read carefully before you start commenting; hints will be included throughout my post. No-following rules will NOT WIN.
To WIN, all you have to do is publish in this blog an original photograph created with Panasonic Lumix GH1. Before that, let me tell you the reason behind this trip. I am following my darling J, who will be attending the business conference. I am so thrilled for J, because this is great opportunity for his carrier. He's overworked and this is indeed a reward for him. Mind you he will be working during our visit, but we decided that me tagging along would make it a nice holiday for us both!