Hands On Review: Panasonic ZS-7

Last week, the Panasonic folks invited me over for some personal fondling time with their cameras. The ZS-7 stood out the most to me because of the feature set and the types of cameras that the readers of this blog usually use (even more so than the TS2.) Though it isn’t the LX3, it is still quite an advanced camera, quite a beauty and loaded with all sorts of bells and whistles. More on this all after the jump.

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Panasonic Announces New Update to Lumix Line

Today, Panasonic announced an update to their Lumix camera line. Amongst the updates are the TS2 and the ZS-7, which I have had hands-on time with. The cameras have some brand spankin’ new features to the lines such as Intelligence Zoom and others (more on these in the hands on articles.) Target audiences and main specs after the jump.

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Hands-On Review: Panasonic TS2

Panasonic’s new tough camera is seemingly quite the trooper. I got some personal fondling time with the TS2 recently with Panasonic’s invite. The camera seems to be quite impressive from my brief hands-on time with them. Tech specs, handling, etc after the jump.

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Pizza Bread with Polly-O

Pizza Bread with Polly-O, originally uploaded by ChrisGampat.

Continuing with my project to improve my food photography, I photographed my breakfast today.

I took simple Italian bread, put Ragu sauce on it then sprinkled Mozzerella on top. It went into the toaster oven for a while (we have a special one.) When it came out, I put the seasonings on top and it came out of so beautifully.

The two pieces were then placed on a plate and a stick of Polly-O String cheese was placed under them to make a face on the plate.

I’ve learned to play with my food to make great photos.

Tandoori Chicken with Green Beans

Continuing my work to improve my food photography, I bring you Tandoori Chicken with Green Beans.

This was shot while my sister and I were cooking (I was cooking stove top Ziti alongside) with my 5D Mk II and 50mm F1.8 II at F4. I brightened it in photoshop and added two soft light gradients.

It made me think about the caption of this picture a lot. We’re Indian (partially) living in America. American culture has changed fairly rapidly since I was growing up. The place that was so central to the American family used to be the living room. Then the internet changed all that.

These days, I feel it’s the kitchen. It’s basically the family meeting room. It somehow or another brings us all together. We get food here, we cook together here and lots more. It’s the central hub of lots of happenings. The kitchen is family.

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken, originally uploaded by ChrisGampat.

Continuing my work to improve my food photography, I bring you Tandoori Chicken.

This was shot while my sister and I were cooking (I was cooking stove top Ziti alongside) with my 5D Mk II and 50mm F1.8 II at F4. Little to no work was done in photoshop.

Just think about how much we take this for granted these days. We literally just threw the mix in there with the chicken after we cleaned it. But seriously, getting that recipe possibly took thousands of years of work. Someone had to try it first and realized it was terrible so they went back to the drawing board to improve it. Then someone else said that they can make it better. And the process continued. It’s taken thousands and thousands of years of traditional recipes and modifying those traditional recipes to bring it to this point.

And it’s all in just a little packet that you can pick up in Jackson Heights, Queens.

Amazing, huh?

Mac and Cheese in Tostitos Scoopers

I’m working on my food photography skills. As you can see, I need plenty of work.

This was done with my Canon 5D Mk II, 24-105mm F4 L IS lens, and my 430 EX II with Gary Fong Lightsphere on it.

I used natural lights from the kitchen windows, ceiling lights and my flash. Afterwards I processed it in photoshop for colors and soft lighting filters adjusted to specific angles.

Oh, and before I forget: this is Macaroni and Cheese with Basil, Garlic Powder and crushed Red Peppers in Tostitos Scoopers.

Reader Question: Tips To Help a College Newspaper Staff

Photo by Vincent Pastore

Today’s reader question comes from Nicole Balbone, another photographer I know in the NYC area that is still in college. Nicole is the photo editor of her school newspaper and wants to give some pointers to her staff: so she turns to me. I’m a former News Editor of my college newspaper and former Editorial Director (and President) of my college radio station. Hit the jump for the reader’s letter.

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Situations Where Micro Four Thirds is A Better Choice

Olympus's Micro 4/3rd's camera

As a photographer, I’ve run into many situations these days where a small good quality Micro Four Thirds camera may have been much more useful as opposed to my DSLR or my cameraphone. As readers may know, I’m a Canon 5D Mk II DSLR user that came from shooting an Olympus E-510. Olympus and Panasonic are part of the Micro Four Thirds group and they really are onto something useful for photographers that can justify the purchase of one via profits. Here are a couple of situations based on personal experience where Micro Four Thirds may have been better.

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#MusicMonday: Make Collages For The Bands

Irony of Chaos Compilation

Here’s a tip to keep bands constantly coming to you for business even in the recession: make collages for them like this. They’ll be sure to use it all over their Myspace and Facebook page or even for their future concert fliers. Plus it gets you more exposure.

Cheap Photo: 40% Off Large Prints at Bay Photo

If you’re looking to get large prints made for that wedding, model or landscape you’re shooting then consider the fact that Bay Photo has a promo code to get 40% off of large prints. By definition, large prints are 16×16 or larger. The offer only lasts until February 15th, the day after Valentine’s Day.

Great Photography Apps for Android Phones

As Android gains more momentum with the hastily updated OS and new phones like the Nexus One, it’s time to give their photography apps some attention. Lots of Apple iPhone photography apps are talked about across the photo blogs, but no one has talked much about Android. As a T-Mobile G1 user for a year now, I can tell you that photography on the Android platform is fun, social, and versatile. If you’re a photographer considering (or already owning) an Android phone, you’ll probably want to hit the jump right about now.

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The Leica M9 As The Ultimate Travel Camera

Ashwin Rao has his own testimonial of using the Leica M9 as a great travel camera vs a DSLR and many lenses. His main arugment seems to be travelling light. Otherwise though, he does make good arguments for Leica glass/image quality, build quality, etc. You can check it out at Steve Huff Photo. Steve is a great photographer himself and I really like the field reviews he does.

I’ve tested the Leica M9 myself and published a hands-on over at Photography Bay. Shooting with a Leica M9 was quite the experience as it was my first time really using a rangefinder. The build quality is amazing. I hope and aspire to buy one one day. I’ve almost bought the Leica CL many times but I simply can’t justify using film for professional work as everyone these days demands digital. And at around $600 with a nice lens, sure it’s a steal but I can’t afford a toy like that. One day maybe.

Advantages of Using a Gaming Mouse For Photo Editing

A gaming mouse should be considered by photo editors that would like something more versatile than a tablet, an Apple mouse, or a laptop’s touchpad. There are many advantages to editing your photos with a gaming mouse that include programmable buttons, adjustable DPI, adjustable weights, ergonomics, etc. I’ve been using the Logitech G5 for about two years now to do the bulk of my photo editing and there are many reasons why you should consider one as a viable alternative. More after the jump.

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