Last night we were invited to a concert and the only lens that I had available to me at the time was the 14mm pancake (28mm equiv)… completely not ideal for the scenario. There was the option of swinging by the house to replace the lens but time was not on our side as our meeting had finished just around the time the concert was about to start.
I had with me the Panasonic Lumix GF3 and at first it was looking as if I’d be doing severe cropping work that’d ultimately lead to images that are too small to discern any real detail; see below an image taken with the GF3+14mm combo:
That was up until I remembered something in the menus along the line of digital zoom,.. something that came fairly easy to those in the audience using their phones and pads. At the maximum for the GF3 there is an available 4x – boosting the focal length from a measley 28mm to a workable 112mm. Note that I haven’t used this feature before and so I was looking at its mechanics for the very first time:
- In this mode the focus looks to be set to a single area type on the center of the frame.
- Since it’s zoomed in digitally you also wouldn’t see clearly where the focus is at and what you can see on the LCD is something reminiscent of an 8-bit game…
It remains like that while shooting until you get to reviewing the shots taken by the camera!
Here is how I understand the output – in terms of detail you can say that it’s almost just as clear as if you had cropped down to a fourth of what the original shot would have been BUT with a significant number of pixels over the crop(ped version). It is better than if you had simply cropped from a non zoomed capture, having more pixels to work with, even though it was digitally interpolated, made the output discernable and fit enough for a level of today’s web and print standards.
It was a pretty nice experience pushing a kit designed for alternative purposes, to it’s proverbial limit. I had to play with the shutter speed, the ISO, the focus, picture modes, doing my utmost to keep the blur and noise out – giving justice to a truly wonderful performance by Christina Perri and her band.
I daresay you can ask any photographer and not one of them would bring only a “wide” to a concert… barring the possibility of the shot below while she was doing her cover of Coldplay’s “Sky Full of Stars” where she had the audience take out their phones and flash their LEDs emulating actual stars!
Truth be told, I will not miss this practice; had I shot with my 50mm prime this would be a totally different set of images we’d be looking at right now. It is a true reminder however that getting to know your equipment ultimately leads to greater versatility and when there is a will, a way will eventually hit you!
A big congratulations to Christina Perri (@christinaperri) and band for another successful leg of her Head Or Heart Asia Tour as well as to Smart Araneta Center (@thebigdomeofficial) for hosting them!