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The XZ-1 And The Wall Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

26 March 2014

We wrote about the Olympus XZ-1 the other day when we researched exposures for our Bouquets to Art story. It was imperfect (which won't surprise you) but we have fond memories of it.

A storm hit today so we stayed inside, scanning the ceiling for wet spots. We have lots of pictures of wet weather, we remembered, and a few were taken with the XZ-1.

This wall is a beauty in color or black and white (see for yourself), but we felt like working on a black and white today.


It was a JPEG capture (the only option on a digicam, typically) but Photoshop CC let us pretend with its Camera Raw filter. We slid the Contrast, Highlight and Shadows sliders around tiny bit before enhancing the Clarity. We wanted to feel that brick texture.

Then we used the filter's black and white conversion to manipulate another set of sliders, particularly the Red and Orange ones (which we wanted a bit lighter), although the Blue was useful for the plaque's border. And Green and Yellow controlled the foliage nicely (which we wanted dark but detailed).

We'd shot the wall in Program mode at f2.0, 1/125 second and ISO 125. And at a 16:9 aspect ratio, too.

No cropping during our edit this time. That was a surprise because we thought we'd have to do some straightening. But those brick posts are not uniformly straight.


Rainy days inspire reflection and we couldn't help but reflect on how digicams have hit the wall. Smartphones are where the action is, with image stabilization coming and dual lenses with dual sensors and who knows what else, inspired by some heated competition.

Reviewing digicams, we were always uncomfortable with their limitations. We worried about sensor size, zoom range, image quality, menu systems, buttons and grips, flash power, battery life. Yawn.

But smartphones seem to revel in their limitations. They give digital zoom a good name and nobody liked flash photography anyway.

But the innovation is unlike anything we ever saw in digicams. Look at the camera apps (compared to digicam firmware upgrades, especially), the accessory lenses (compared to the rare digicam lens converter), the presets and effects (compared to the little-used Scene modes).

Still, what you don't know can hurt you. Like running into a wall with a digicam or a smartphone instead of a dSLR. We could have set the dSLR at f11, 1/30 second and a clean ISO 800 to get more depth of field than the XZ-1 delivered in Program mode.

It's stopped raining. Maybe it's time to revisit that wall with a more capable camera.

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