Friday, August 26, 2011

Wasp stings - and new firmware for the LX5

Today was a warm day, and we decided to get some fast food, namely to go for a walk and eat lingonberries at the Tremanskärr nature reserve in Espoo. It was so warm that I wore light clothes, and that wasn't such a good idea.

In the Tremanskärr forests I stumbled on a wasp or hornet nest, and got a nasty surprise. When I sensed the first sting I ran away fast but not fast enough. Later at home I found one sting in my ankle, two at the knee and one in the arm, all on the left side. So, fours stings in all.

Some years ago I got a wasp sting in the toe, and then it took until the next day for the pain to go away. But that was also a good test that I'm not especially allergic to stings.

Today I got four stings, and the knee is especially painful. But cold compress helps, and having experienced such a thing earlier helps also: this will pass. The pain fluctuates, and it helps if you have something other to think about or something to do.

Well, then some good news. Panasonic will be updating the firmware for the LX5 in September. Version 2.0 of the firmware will have significant improvements. It is a year since the LX5 was introduced, but Panasonic hasn't abandoned the development. Panasonic did the same with the LX3, so this isn't such a great surprise, but a positive thing nevertheless.

For me, the most interesting thing is "extremely fast AF speeds". There is nothing wrong with the speed already, but better is always... well, better. Also, there will be "High ISO Noise Reduction Mode" for shooting at ISO 1600/3200. It remains to be seen how good this is, and I will have opporturnities to test it during the dark winter months here in Finland.

Also, the following are promising things: "improvement of the performance of auto white balance adjustment in low light situations" and "brightness, contrast/saturation and red/blue tint of the LCD monitor and external viewfinder will be adjusted to reproduce color settings which are more true to the subject".

September 13th is the day when the firmware will be available. Can't wait!


Sven W said...

Interesting that Panasonic provides software updates and Canon (for my S95) doesn't.

Either Canon thinks the S95 is perfect or Panasonic have the improvements already mapped out at launch and then drip feed them to customers.

OR maybe I'm just a cynic! ;-)

Juha Haataja said...

@Sven W: Maybe this is a way to prolong the competitiveness of the LX series of cameras. I think they are developing the next model at Panasonic, and having 2.0 firmware allows them to get some benefits in between the models (= new sales). This kind of incremental improvement is rather nice for the photographer, as there hasn't been really anything wrong with the current LX5 firmware.

I suspect Panasonic made rather modest upgrade of the firmware from LX3 to LX5, to be on the conservative side, and now they are probably pushing the envelope by implementing algorithms which wouldn't have been feasible on the less powerful processor of the LX3.

Sven W said...

Are you a convert to Raw? One of my reasons for going with the S95 was its Raw capability and the ability to better edit the colours and tone before the camera messes with it.

The Canon Raw editor is pretty good and I generate a 16 bit TIFF then go to Photoshop (the final output is of course 8 bit JPEG).

Juha Haataja said...

@Sven W: I have so far taken maybe 100 photographs in RAW format, which is about 1% of all LX5 photographs.

Shooting JPEG is more natural, as one doesn't need to wait for the camera to write data to card when taking several photographs in succession.

Also, LX5 makes such a nice job in generating JPEGs that I'm hard put to match that in RAW processing.

Of course there are situations that can only be handled properly in RAW, such as catching highlight detail in high-contrast situations, and when high-ISO shooting is absolutely necessary. (But even here LX5 does rather nicely.)