Just got my hands on the new Panasonic Lumix G7 – Lumix G7 w 14-140mm lens ($1098) or G7 w 14-42 ($798) – and have been putting it through some paces.
There are some beautiful desert plants that my wife has been landscaping the yard with vs having water-sucking plants since we live in the super dry climate of Sedona, Arizona. This is the bloom of the Apache Plume plant.
Apache Plume Bloom
I used the 45mm f2.8 Macro to make the details of the ‘plume’ feathering jump. In order to get the most detail I set the aperture to f8 and used studio flash. Shoot through umbrella to the side and just behind the plant with soft reflector fill opposite. Black background paper lit with flash with snoot and 2 layers of blue gel. Used the Wifi from the camera to allow the Ipad to run the camera changing focus using the free Panasonic Image APP. Never having to touch the camera makes for better, easier blending because there’s no camera shake or movement.
Here’s How to Focus Stack
I captured fifteen exposures with focus through the image and used Photoshop to stack them together and achieve sharpness from front to back. Take the images into Adobe Camera RAW and tweak any color or shadow/highlight settings. From the Tools menu ask Bridge to Load Files into Photoshop Layers. Highlight all Layers in the Layers Palette. Under the Edit Menu > Auto-Align Layers. With all Layers still selected, Edit > Auto-Blend Layers with the Radio Button Stack Images Selected with Seamless Tones and Colors checked. Then go through your image and look for areas that might not have been blended perfectly by Shift clicking on the individual Layer Masks to see if there is a sharp image that might be blended better. **Note – Subjects that contain a lot of white will have more issues with Blending the Sharpness in this process than others with more color and contrast.
Initial Thoughts on the G7 (more to come in future posts)
This camera would make a great back-up to the GH4 if you are a pro on a budget. Controls are slightly different but not so much you would have a problem switching in the middle of a job or if you are doing a two camera shoot. Pros – VERY light weight, super-easy 4K Photo Mode, interchangeable lenses, image quality on par with GH4. Cons – Tripod plate needs to be undone to get to battery and SD card compartment, smaller battery, built on plastic body vs magnesium.
If you are really on a budget two or three of these cameras would make great kit to have pro backup capabilities.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob