This weekend I was mostly playing around with my new camera. It’s a Panasonic Lumix LX7 and it has a gazillion different functions and features. Do you remember the days when most cameras had two functions: Wind and Click? They got rid of the first one, but they replaced it with 15,000 new ones, including “Quick AF”, “Multi-Expo”, “Flash Synchro”, “Wind Cut” and “Debt Cancellation”. (I made the last one up. Would be good, though).

So I took some photos. Don’t ask me to repeat these, since a) the functions are buried somewhere around page 100,334,456 of the manual, and b) I possess the memory faculties of a distracted goldfish.

Macro photos

Coin Macro 1

Here I was trying to experiment with close-up items and a short depth of field. The camera does not need any special lenses. I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.

Toy Effect

BlackRockCastle1

This feature is offered in “Creative Control” mode: an option that gives your photo an Instagram type feel. This picture was taken near Blackrock Castle in Cork. The effect tends to highlight objects in the centre of the photo, dimming them towards the margins.

Astro Photos

Taurus Jupiter Pleiades

This photo was taken using Shutter Speed Priority. Using a tripod, I set the shutter speed to 8 seconds and pointed the camera at one of my favourite parts of the sky. As a complete novice, I’m quite happy with the outcome. The photo, incidentally, was of the Hyades in Taurus, the planet Jupiter in the middle, and the Pleiades to the right.

Time Lapse

This video is a composite of 50 photos taken this morning, while the sun was rising. The time-lapse feature is somewhat limited, in that you can only take 50 photos, and it cannot be converted to video without resorting to video-editing software, such as iMovie. As a result the sequence here finishes somewhat abruptly.

Panorama

PhotoPano1

The Panorama feature is quite impressive. You aim at the start point of the picture and as you move across the scene, the camera takes multiple exposures, quickly stitching them together into a coherent image when you have completed shooting.

Impressive Art

PhotoImpressive1This feature is part of the “Creative Control” mode. It accentuates bright colours while giving the clouds an oppressive shade. The output here is quite striking.

More to learn

I still have a ton to learn – depth of field, exposure, white-balance, ISO, auto-focus and high-speed movies to name but a few. It’s clear that as far as photography goes, this Toto is not in Kansas any more.

The verdict

This camera is compact, lightweight, yet sturdy. It’s packed with more features than I could possibly imagine and it’s pretty daunting learning about it all at the beginning. If I had one gripe, it is the batteries: the camera runs out of juice a good deal faster than I would have expected. A spare battery is a necessity if you are doing any worthwhile photography.

These things considered, I like it a lot. It suits where I am, having slightly outgrown the world of basic point-and-click. Now that I have had it for a few days, I now feel I’m glimpsing the world of grown-up photography. It’s exciting, to say the least.

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