Posts by Jason Sanders:
It was July 2011 and I had just purchased my awesome Lumix 7-14mm superwide zoom with constant f/4 aperture. For interior shots, it’s an amazing lens that can really expand a small space, but shooting small spaces can only be so much fun. I wanted to get out of the house and put my new tool through its paces.
I decided to grab my daughters and head up to the local car show, The Merchantville Car Show, which happens to be one of the best and largest in the South Jersey area. It was a blistering hot July day with lots of chrome and eye candy. A perfect playground for my GH2 and my new lens.
I started out with the 7-14mm mounted to my GH2 and had a blast experimenting with composition. I couldn’t believe that by placing the camera just inches from the center of the car, I could get the majority of the front clip of the car in the frame! Wow, this lens is wide! The great thing about this lens is that it is rectilinear, meaning it’s not a fisheye. So there’s some distortion especially on the edges of the frame, but with careful framing it won’t distract from the subject of the photo.
After about an hour and a half I decided to switch over to the 14-140mm kit lens to get some sniper shots of the crowd and cars at a distance. If you watch the slideshow below of all the shots from that day, the point where I switched lenses is very obvious. It was a great day and a lot of fun.
Yesterday the Swivl arrived in the mail. My daughter was really excited to open up the new toy and see what it was all about.
I got the unit because I thought it would be great for video conferencing between me and my kids and my Mom, who lives out of state. This is a feature packed product that is really designed to work with Apple mobile devices. I’m sure we’ll get plenty of use out of it that way, but I was also curious to see how it would work with my GH2. Could the swivl help me with my upcoming series of reviews? Since I’ll be pulling double duty as both the camera man and the on camera “talent” I figured it was worth a shot to give it a try.
We pulled it out of the box and two minutes later the GH2 was mounted in the Swivl using the supplied camera adapter. The unit is very easy to set up and sync, but I did have to sneak a peak at the instructions (don’t tell anybody). Both the part the user wears (The Marker) and the unit itself only have 2 buttons on them, so operation is pretty much brainless.
Because the unit is designed for use with a mobile device, by using a camera with it, I’m actually sacrificing some functionality. When hooked up to the iphone and used with the Swivl App, the marker also funcitons as a wireless microphone. It even comes with a lanyard to string it around your neck. Handy! Also, even though the GH2 when paired with a pancake lens is about as small of a package that an enthusiast could ask for, it still is about twice the weight that the Swivl is rated for. In practice, this doesn’t affect the panning function at all, but it does prohibit the use of the vertical adjustment feature. When I tried to get the vertical adjustment to work with the GH2 mounted by assisting it a little with my hand, the camera quickly came to a tipping point and dumped the whole unit forward. That’s why Swivl says it’s best to just use it with a Flip Camera or Go Pro cam. When used within the advertised specs, you can push a button on the marked while moving it up or down to adjust the level of tilt the unit has. For my purposes, I’ll just have to use the tripod to adjust the height of the Swivl with my GH2. Yes the Swivl has a 1/4 20 mounting hole on the bottom that allows the unit to be mounted to a small tripod or magic arm (see below). Go nuts!
Check out the pics below and let me know if you think this is something you might be able to use. Have any unique ideas for how to put the Swivl to work? Can’t wait to read about them in the comments!
Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel for more reviews and examples of my work!
You know that old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”? That was certainly the case for this shoot that I did for the folks at Life at Lourdes. My friend called me with just a shade more than 24 hours notice to ask if I would come and shoot a very special wedding ceremony that was happening for 5 couples. This time, instead of doing my regular videography gig, I was asked to shoot stills.
My response: “Did you say FIVE couples?!?” Life at Lourdes is an elder care facility in South Jersey (Pennsauken, NJ to be exact) and 5 couples had arranged to renew their vows in a group wedding ceremony. How could I say no?
When I explained that I had been focusing more on videos than stills, I was assured that they weren’t looking for perfection. That made me feel better since this was really the first photography assignment I had undertaken with my new workhorse Lumix GH2 camera. At 16 megapixels, and with the option of many fine lenses, the camera is more than capable, but I would have preferred to have prepared more for this special wedding day. Oh well, Carpe Diem!
When I got to the location, the wedding hall ended up being a long rectangular room with windows all along one side. They had set up two rows of chairs. One row was butted up against the windows, then there was a center aisle, another row, and another aisle. The room didn’t allow for much flexibility because the wedding ceremony was being held at one end and literally the entrances to the kitchen facilities were at the other end. This was going to be a challenge, shooting into the bright windows, which were going to be over exposed and my subjects would likely be under exposed.
I ended up just doing the best with the situation I found myself in and I got some good shots. Was I happy with all of them? No. But the people were so happy with the experience on their new wedding day and were so much fun to work with that I had a great time and ended up providing them with some great snapshots to preserve their wedding memories.
It was fun to see what the camera could do with just a couple of lenses and no bounce flash. For those who might be curious, I used three lumix lenses on this project: the 14-140mm, the 20mm, and the 7-14mm. If anything this was a learning experience and my first lesson was that I might want to get some additional equipment if I were to do this kind of job again. More on that in another post.
The main thing is that everyone had a blast, myself included. The local news even showed up and did a piece on the ceremony, and sure enough, there I was in the background behind the camera. It turned out to be a great day, a great opportunity and some great exposure for me. Check out all the shots (good and bad) below as well as the local news story.
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