Sunday, April 29, 2012

To Play Long, In the Sun


I bought a new camera, a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20, which I chose for its 20x Leica optical zoom, HD video, small size, good performance, manual setting abilities, and plenty of strange / odd / intriguing features to try out, including burst rates of 10 shots per second at full resolution, and 40 or 60 per second at reduced resolution, a tilt-shift looking "miniature" mode, 3D (although I lack a 3D display), a super-slow mo 220 fps video mode, and a GPS with geotagging and some limited map display abilities (maps included). There's an HDR mode (or two actually) which I need to spend some time experimenting with. Panorama. An "intelligent mode" that actually seems to work really well. 

And it has facial recognition that identifies specific faces that are entered with a name and a birthday, such that it will display their name and age later when it notices them in the frame. I tested to see if it recognizes cats' faces, to get it to display their name and age. However, it failed to recognize a cat's face. It seems narrowly designed towards humans only. On the other hand, it does a great job with photographs of people's faces, so I have gone ahead and registered Franz Kafka, Charlize Theron, and Salma Hayek, with multiple images along with date of birth, you know, just in case. My facial recognizer camera will pick them out of a crowd (Charlize and Salma, any way) in the airport now. Since DOB only goes back to 1900, though, I will have to remember to add 17 years on to get Franz's age right.

Also, a touch screen that lets you touch on anything in the scene to focus and expose on it (which happens fast), and also to touch the screen to instantly take a photo, or to control the zoom.

It does a bunch of other stuff too, a lot which takes a bit of time to get to in menus, and to select and choose. I will try it all out, and will probably end up using them. But, a lot of my pictures tend to be quick shots where everything is over in five seconds or less, where features like a lot of those which take time to set up are less useful. Except for burst mode, which may actually help catch quick shots better, as well as the optical image stabilization. The zoom and display have a different feel than my other point and shoot camera, but that makes sense since it only did 4x optical at full resolution.

Iron horse, aluminum horse

All the features really just serve to give me reasons to go spend a long time out in the sunshine riding my bike around trying them out. Is the ride about taking pictures, or is taking pictures about the ride? If I didn't blog, would I ride as much? If I didn't ride as much, would I blog? These are not actually questions which I feel a compelling need to answer. I have a digital camera that shoots bursts of 10 photos per second with a 20x optical zoom and recognizes faces! Also a ten speed from the early 70s set up as as a fixed gear flatland commuter bike with a rack! Rather than spending time unraveling questions of motivation, cause and effect, I'd rather just go ride doing things I enjoy. Perhaps doing a bit of unraveling as I go.

In bright sunlight, the camera caught the colors well

The camera has a "toy" mode, but I still want a Diana for real

I paused beneath a fragrant purple tree that was raining blossoms. Lilac? I tend not to fixate on naming the tree, so much as seeing, and in this case smelling, it. More riding, and photos, and blogging, on the way.

Oasis. This water fountain is a key part of many rides, and is nearly always cold.


  1. It's always fun to get a new camera. Daunting too with all the whizmo buttons and menus. I tend to just snap the images, then use Google Picasa magic to alter the mood, or crop to zero in on the part of the picture I like.

    Did you do the ten speed to single speed conversion yourself? I like yellow and orange framed bikes. So cheerful.

    1. anniebikes, I did do the conversion myself. You can see its history in these Flatland commuter posts. Including the post where I took it all apart.

  2. New camera!
    I'm still waiting to fall on mine.

    Why did you have to mention Charlize?
    Now I'll be distracted all day.

  3. Nice, I use my used Iphone that i got. looks good.

  4. Ooooo . . . There's nothing quite as much fun as tinkering with a new toy, in the sun, around bicycles. Bliss! Sounds like there are enough features on your new baby to keep you intrigued for a while. Happy snapping.

  5. Yeah, I'm jealous. I'm just happy my digital Kodak has an automatic flash I can turn OFF!

  6. The Venus FHD image processor onboard apparently has 3 CPUs. We've come a long way from sun prints and pin hole cameras.


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