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An Expensive Friday

The main reason for this article is I hope to help those who might go through this nightmare.

Last week was not a good week for my MacBook Pro. The beginning of the week it was acting flakey and slow. Wednesday, when I shut it down and restarted, it would not boot. The little wheel kept spinning and spinning. Even after more than a half of an hour. I had to use the Recover partition in OSX Lion to get it to boot at all. I decided the best call to action was to reload Lion and did a download.

Licensing with Adobe

Not a good dialog box.

The mac then did boot and I was able to get to the Finder.  It seemed everything was back to normal.  It was able to read email and us the internet.  Then I tried to boot Adobe Photoshop CS4.  NaDa.  I dialog box came up.  “Licensing for this product has stopped working.  If you continue to see this message after restarting you computer, please contact either your IT administrator or Adobe technical support for help, and mention the error code shown at the bottom of your screen.  Error: 150:30”

Now I have a fully licensed Adobe CS4 Production Premium suite.  I had not bother to license CS5 because I primarily use Photoshop, Media Encoder and sometimes Illustrator and AfterEffects.  Well since I am the IT administrator, I called Adobe since I did not know how to fix this.  After navigating their menu system on the phone, I waited a while to talk to a live body about this major problem.  I use Photoshop a lot and have been using it since version 1.0.  I  just wanted to get some work done.

The person came on the phone.  She asked for my name and my contact telephone number.  I explained my problem to her.  In talking to her I realized that the Adobe license is tied to the OS and because I had reloaded the OS the license stopped working.  So anytime you crash and reload this will happen.  Fortunately I have not crashed before where the computer would not boot so this was a new one.  She had me download the Relicensing Tool.  It is a folder with two apps in it.  I tried to launch it and it crashed.  I tried again and it crashed.  We then went into the Terminal to try to launch it from there.  It did not work.  My phone connection to her got dropped.  I waited for her to call me back.  NaDa.

Thursday, I decided to try again with Adobe as I did have work to do.  After the wait, we went through the same procedures with the same results as the day before.  Then the technician suggest to me that I should Uninstalled the suite of software and Reinstall it from the my original download.  That should relicense it.  Because I had already installed the suite on two computers,  I could not install it on a third.  Well my computer was the second and the suite would think that it is a third. The Adobe tech reset the serial number to accept a third install and she gave me a case number if that did not work to conclude our call.  After doing the long install I decided to try to launch Photoshop.  I got the same licensing dialog box as before.  NaDa.  Being late in the day with other things to do I waited till the next day to call back.

Friday was going to be an expensive day.  First thing in the morning I called Adobe again.  After waiting on the phone to talk to a live person I finely got through.  He had me try the Relicense Tool again but this time he wanted me to boot the other app.  It could not boot because it was a Power PC app which don't work on Lion.  The man asked me what OS I was using.  10.7.4  He said for me to wait and he would get back to me.  After the wait, he told me that I could not license CS4 with Lion 10.7.4.  I would have to upgrade to Abobe Production Premium CS6.  I asks how much would that cost.  $900+.

Is there really an alternative to Photoshop and Adobe's crazy licensing scheme?  I my search while deciding what to do, I did not really find any.  I decided for the upgrade because I would be compatible with the outside world, the others that I work with.  They win.  Now I have to complete suite.  It includes Premiere, so I will be trying out the latest version.  After downloading and installing it, Photoshop did open normally and I could work again.

Depth Of Field Explained

Yesterday people were complaining on camera blogs about the lack of shallow depth of field of the New Panasonic 12-35mm lens.  How it does not compare to the Canon or Nikon full frame 35mm equivalent.  What they are thinking of is equivalent focal length not the marked focal length on the lens.  I wrote this response.

If we all wanted only shallow depth of field (DOF), we would be shooting with a large format camera at large apertures.  Even the full frame 35mm sized sensor does not have shallow with a wide angle lens.  What makes low DOF is a longer focal length and a fast aperture.  I used to zoom all the way in and open the aperture with my video camera (that had a lot smaller sensor than m43rds) to get low DOF.  I would have to back up the camera because it was in full telephoto mode.

A 50mm f2.8 has the same DOF on a large format, medium 35mm full frame, APC crop 35mm,  m43rds and a 2/3rds inch broadcast video camera.  What is different is the angle of view.  50mm f2.8 is 50mm f2.8.

The new 12-35 has the same angle of view as a 24-70mm on full frame 35mm camera.  Because it has a f2.8 aperture means it gathers the same amount of light as the full frame lens that has the same f2.8 aperture.  Both cameras can shoot the same subject in the same lighting.  Does a photojournalist care about DOF, not as much as about getting the picture in difficult lighting conditions.  DOF is used for more artful compositions.  At the same distance to the subject the DOF is the same at a given aperture for a given focal length.  Just the angle of view will be different.

What I am excited about in the new Lunix 12-35mm lens is it is smaller, lighter, weathertight, less expensive and most important, it has something that Canon and Nikon branded lenses don't have, O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabization)  This one of the best lenses for handheld work.  If you want less DOF use as faster prime, I have them.  That's why I buy an Interchangeable Lens Camera.  You can change lenses.

I feel the price will settle to be less expensive the the full frame ones.  Think of this lens more like the Canon or Nikon 17-55 f2.8 for crop sensor cameras.  They are much larger, heavier, have I.S. and not weather sealed.  I  also want the other lens the 35-100mm that Panasonic has shown as a prototype.  It will be better for video interviews as I have found the 17-55 on my Canon to be too short.  It too will have the same DOF of lens for other systems at the same focal length and aperture.

This new Panasonic 12-35mm lens is available for pre-order though Amazon and Adorama.

This changes Everything – Updated

(UPDATE – I bought One.  Great!)

For the longest time the micro four thirds format (of which the GH2 is a member) has been considered not professional.  The cameras were not weather sealed.  The new Olympus OM-D EM-5 is.  Yes, there are some great lenses.  The Panasonic 25mm, the Olympus 12mm and 45mm are all wonderful.  All are fast aperture primes.  There are no constant large aperture zooms to speak of.  Nikon, Canon and Sony have such lenses.  Panasonic has one constant aperture zoom lens, the Panasonic 7-14mm which is a game changer on it's right but it is not considered as a large aperture lens which it's aperture at f4.0.

For photojournalists and studio photographers the, 24-70mm f2.8 has been the lens that is considered the default lens for their work.  On a full frame camera the focal length is good for all around shots from wide angle to portrait telephoto.  Most carry this lens on their camera all the time because it is weather sealed, it has good overall sharpness, rugged and has a fast constant aperture.  The problem with all these lenses is that they are large, heavy, expensive and don't have image stabilization.

Well Panasonic is changing all that.  Introducing the Panasonic Lumix Vario GX 12-35 mm f / 2.8 ASPH.  For starters it has a constant f2.8 aperture, rugged and weather sealing like the other lenses.  But it adds to the mix, image stabilization, small size and weight at a price is less than the other lenses.  PhotographyBLOG lists the lens @ $999.00 US, e1100.00 and £999.00.

This zoom lens is going to be great for video because of the IS and the large constant aperture.  Because of the IS and constant aperture, handholding the camera will be wonderful.  Finally being able to shoot indoors with a low ISO.  It has the HD symbol on it meaning it is optimized for video shooting and should be quiet.  One way to think of this lens is that is a variable prime.

I will be buying this lens and will review it as soon as I get it.  It is overdue in my kit.

The big advantage of the micro four thirds system has been smaller size up to this point and now we truly have a professional zoom or should I say tomorrow, the 21st of May when Panasonic unveils the lens.  How do I know about this lens?  It has been shown behind glass as a prototype, we though it would be coming.  But it got confirmed because there is already a review.  You can read the lens review at http://www.Dslrmagazine.com (Click here) and Click here for the google english translation.  This is where most of my information is coming from.  Speaking of the review, this zoom lens looks like to be a stellar performer.  Up there with the “Big Boys.”

Also mentioned in the review is of a weather sealed Panasonic camera this summer.  My guess would be the GH3.

UPDATE: Panasonic has Introduced this lens:

Panasonic’s Premium LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm Lens Offers Exceptional Design, Achieving Increased Functionality for Spectacular Image Quality

SECAUCUS, NJ (May 21, 2012) – Today, Panasonic announced a new digital interchangeable standard zoom lens, the LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. (H-HS12035). The newest addition to the company’s premium lens brand “X,” which is compatible with the Panasonic LUMIX G Series and complies with the Micro Four Thirds™ system standard, this lens offers a versatile zoom range of 12-35mm (35mm camera equivalent: 24-70mm) and features constant F2.8 aperture brightness at entire zoom range. Suitable for professionals and enthusiasts, this new lens captures a wide range of scenes from dynamic landscapes to available light and studio-lit portraits and features superb image rendering for lifelike textures and crisp edge-to-edge contrast.

The LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens incorporates Panasonic’s unique Nano Surface Coating technology which minimizes reflections at entire visual range (380nm-780nm), resulting in a dramatic reduction of ghosts and flare for extremely clear picture quality. The lens’s newly integrated POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) effectively compensates for both small, fast movement and large, slow movement, making it easy to shoot extremely clear photos even in low-lit situations such as at night or indoors.

Boasting outstanding compactness, the LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens is approximately 73.8mm in length and 10.76oz in weight, resulting in extreme mobility. Additionally with a rubber ring on the lens mount, the new lens is designed to stand up against splash and dust making it ideal for outdoor photography enthusiasts. A highly reliable metal mount endures long time use.

The LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens system is comprised of 14 lenses in nine groups. The UED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) lens minimizes chromatic aberration while the UHR (Ultra High Refractive) lens realizes high descriptive performance from corner to corner. Featuring high contrast and resolution from the center to corner at entire zoom range, the new LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. lens has the ability to capture the details of scenery or portrait with rich perspective.

The lens’s superior inner focus system provides for excellent resolution and contrast without changing the overall length from full life-size magnification to infinity. Seven blades give the aperture a rounded shape that produces an attractively smooth defocus effect in out-of-focus areas when shooting at larger aperture settings. Adopting an inner focus system driven by a stepping motor, the lens’s superior design provides smooth and near silent focusing action which is ideal for both picture and video recording. When the lens is mounted on any LUMIX G Micro System camera body, users can take advantage of the high-speed, high-precisions Contrast AF (Autofocus) system.

The Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm/F2.8 ASPH./POWER O.I.S. (H-HS12035) lens will be available in August 2012. For more information about Panasonic LUMIX digital cameras and lenses, please visitwww.panasonic.com/lumix.

DPreview has done a preview of the lens:


PhotographyBLOG has a review as well:


ePhoto has done a review as well:


Here is the Panasonic page:



Here is a YouTube video:

This new Panasonic 12-35mm lens is available for pre-order though Amazon and Adorama.

My Mini-Review of Olympus M. Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 Lens – for Micro Four Thirds System

Originally submitted at Adorama

Olympus Micro Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.8 Lens – for EP Series PEN Digital Cameras


This is a Great Lens.

By halfmac from Sequim, WA on 5/18/2012
5out of 5

Pros: Nice Bokeh, Fast / accurate auto-focus, Easily Interchangeable, Consistent Output, SmallCompact, Lightweight

Best Uses: Sports/Action, Video, Indoors/Low Light, Weddings/Events, Night Photography

Describe Yourself: Pro Photographer

Was this a gift?: No

When I bought this lens, I really did not think that I really needed it. I was wrong. I use this lens a lot. It is small, compact, lightweight and is in my bag always. If i what low depth of field, this is a great lens for this.

The other usage it is getting is video. It is a great interview lens because of the low depth of field. The background blur is wonderful. I use it on my GH2 and AF100.

Thank you Olympus.


GH2 Video Crop Mode

One of the cool features of the GH2 is the video mode called EX Tele Conv (ETC). Basically the camera is only using the center of the camera's CMOS sensor and cropping it to either 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720 pixels depending on the HD mode selected. When shooting in 1920X1080 HD mode and when ETC mode is engaged, the GH2's 4608 x 3456 sensor is “cropped” to 1920X1080. In other words, only the central 2 Megapixels of the sensor's overall 18 Megapixels is recorded. This is a 1 to 1 radio of the pixels on the chip.

It does wonders for my Nikkor *ED 400mm telephoto lens. There are positive implications: no line skipping, binning, or digital interpolation are needed. It's as if the sensor was only 2MP rather than 18MP. As a consequence the image recorded has a crop factor of 2.6X over the full Micro Four Thirds format, a format that already produces a 2X field of view as compared to full frame 35mm. This means that in ETC video mode the focal length marked on the lens is actually 5.2X what it would be in full-frame 35mm terms. So my long lens, the Nikkor 400mm lens has an equivalent a 2,080mm lens in Extra Tele Conv video mode.

As a consequence, any lens I put on the GH2 when shot in ETC video mode has an effective focal length of 2.6X of what's marked on the barrel, with no loss of light and video quality! It's like shooting with a 2.6X teleconverter but without the image quality loss and without the light loss.

The other benefit of this mode is that smaller 16mm lenses can be used with now light fall off. I have not done this.

Here are some birds I found today around Sequim, WA. I shot both 1080p and 720p. The last two shots shows the difference from not using ETC and using ETC.  Edited in FCPX.

Kirk Tuck’s Take on the Olympus OM-D

No, I did not buy an Olympus OMD. (Yes I Did, He bought a NEX7) Here is a great read from Kirk Tuck, a professional still photographer. He use many of the arguments that made me convert from Canon to Panasonic. The new Olympus OMD looks like a very well reviewed great camera but has some what limited video capabilities. I still feel the GH2 is a better video camera.

“The demand for a small camera was clearly there. At least for a huge number of non-professionals who didn't need big bodies to impress clients, giant lenses for sports magazine work, or the safety of the herd mentality. The ones who would embrace a great, small camera system were the same ones who restlessly rotated between Panasonic LX-5's, Canon G12's, Leica X1's and a series of small interchangeable lens cameras from Olympus, Panasonic, Sony and Samsung. They were all looking for the same thing: A cost effective package that, when used well, would create the same kind of results, on paper or on screen, they were getting from a Canon 7D or a Nikon D7000 but in a smaller package with much smaller lenses.”

“The traditional, big DSLR? Quickly becoming the Firebird Trans Am of an older generation. Wearing their Members Only jackets and revving up their engines… While the world drives by in a Prius. Or are you still using your Motorola Brick cellphone instead of an iPhone?” (I also own a Prius)

Using Legacy Lenses on the GH2

One of the best features of the Micro Four Thirds camera format is the short back focus of the lens mount because of the lack of a mirror.  I currently use Nikon F, Olympus OM, Canon FD, Canon EF and Leica M rangefinder lenses on my GH2 with lens mount adapters.  About any lens made can be mounted with the right adapter.  There are no electrical contacts so the lenses are strickly manually mechanical.  Because the GH2 has the zoom feature in the viewfinder for focusing, it helps with focus.  i usually use my camera in manual exposure mode as well as I can see the changes in the viewfinder.

Why do I mention all this?  Because of the Super Moon this weekend. Here are some shots taken with my all manual Nikkor ED 400mm f5.6 from eBay.


THE HOBBIT Underwhelms At 48 Frames Per Second

Word had come down that from people who have seen an advance screening of “The Hobbit” shot by Peter Jackson at 48 frame a second is underwhelming.  Like duh!

I have not liked the new LCD Tvs that have the higher frame rates.  They make Avatar look like a Soap Opera.  Yuck!

I am not surprised by this post.  3D is a gimmick.  48 frames is a gimmick.  When I first heard about the Hobbit using 48fps, I was hoping it would be projected at 24 in some theatres so I could see it.  I will not watch it at 48fps.

The filmmakers excuse is that they need the 48fps for 3D.  What about motion blur.

I saw Doug Trumbull's ShowScan (which had a 60fps) and it looked like ‘Live Film'.  It was not good for dramatic motion pictures.  Neither is this.

I remember a time when we were all trying to make our 60fps video look like film.  The only way to do it was reduce the frame rate to 24p.  Those new cameras were the rage.  Even at 30p they looked better.  Now you have Peter Jackson going the other way because of a gimmick, 3D.  They is no replacing of good story telling.  And 24p does this.

This from Devin Faraci at CinemaCon [reading the full article here is highly recommended]:

“The 48fps footage I saw looked terrible. It looked completely non-cinematic. The sets looked like sets. I’ve been on sets of movies on the scale of The Hobbit, and sets don’t even look like sets when you’re on them live… but these looked like sets. The other comparison I kept coming to, as I was watching the footage, was that it all looked like behind the scenes video. The magical illusion of cinema is stripped away completely.

[The Hobbit] looked like a hi-def version of the 1970s I, Claudius. It is drenched in a TV-like – specifically 70s era BBC – video look. People on Twitter have asked if it has that soap opera look you get from badly calibrated TVs at Best Buy, and the answer is an emphatic YES.”


Jim Vejvoda wrote this at IGN.

“It looked like an old Doctor Who episode, or a videotaped BBC TV production. It was as shocking as when The Twilight Zone made the boneheaded decision to switch from film to tape one season, and where perfectly good stories were ruined by that aesthetic. Here, there were incredibly sharp, realistic images where colors seem more vivid and brighter than on film, but the darker scenes were especially murky (and the 3D only dims that image even more). Frankly, it was jarring to see Gandalf, Bilbo or the dwarves in action against CG-created characters or even to move quickly down a rocky passage. The whipping of a camera pan or the blur of movement was unsettling.”


I hate to say it, but I told you so.

Panasonic Leica 25mm Summilux Review

PanaLeica Summilux 25mm

There comes a time when a lens can define a camera system.  The Panasonic 25mm Leica DG Summilux ƒ/1.4 is one of those lenses.  The other lens that defines greatness in the micro four thirds system is the excellent Panasonic G 7-14mm  f/4.  Micro four thirds has some excellent lenses. In fact as a whole I would put up most of the lenses for micro four thirds against other formats like full frame 35mm and these small lenses would be considered above average.  They are well made, sharp corner to corner, contrasty and cost effective.

PanaLeica Summilux 25mm

PanaLeica Summilux 25mm f/1.4 on my GH2

Back to the Pan Leica 25mm.  Before zoom lenses, when I started in photography 35mm SLRs and rangefinders had a 50mm lens that was considered a “normal”.  The view from it was considered normal perspective.  What the eye sees.  That is what the 25mm is to the four thirds format because the sensor on a four thirds camera is 1/2 the size of a full frame 35mm camera sensor.  The aperture on the lenses ranged from f/0.95 to 3.5, with f/1.4 considered a fast lens.  A good compromise between speed and affordability.  The 1.4 aperture allows low light photography as well as low depth of field.  On most lenses you want as fast aperture because the best sharpness is about 2 stops down from the maximum. I have found this not to be true with this lens.  It is very sharp wide open and has a lovely out of focus look.

Taken with 25mm @ f/1.4 (click for enlarged view)

There have been complaints that the aperture is quite noisy and this is true but I have not had any problems during video.  I usually don't change once I have started shooting.  I use Auto ISO if necessary for exposure changes since most automatic lenses do not change aperture smoothly.  The focus is by the wire like on most four thirds lenses.  This does not bother me because I don't use a follow focus unit and just turn the ring watching the image.  The GH2 viewfinder is sharp enough to see it pop into focus.  I also like the focus by wire because on four thirds cameras as there is an option to focus manually after auto focus like the Full Time manual focus on other camera systems specific individual lenses.  This works on all focus by wire four thirds lenses.  The focus is very quiet.  It has worked very well on the GH2 and an AF100 video camera.

The lens is very light in weight because of the plastic lens barrel, but it seems sturdy enough.  It has a metal lens mount which attaches firmly on the camera.

One of the more strange design items is the included lens shade.  It bayonets on but can not be reversed for storage.  The lens with the shade is not that large so I just put it attached in my Tamrac Velocity 7 sling camera bag.  Panasonic includes a pinch lens cap so I can leave the shade on.

Here is a video edited with FCPX shot with this lens.  The lens was used for the shot in the entrance hallway and the laundry room.  The other lens used is the Panasonic G 7-14mm  f/4.

Here is another review by Kirk Tuck on The Online Photographer, who did an excellent review of the Panasonic 25mm Leica DG Summilux ƒ/1.4.

Kirk's Take: Leica 25mm Summilux Review

GH2 Design Flaw

The GH2 has one major design flaw. The four way controller. The ISO and WB button are way to easy to hit and screw up. I have found a solution. I went to the Menu button and when to the Custom menu. There turn on Direct Focus Area. This allows you to select the focus area with the four way controller. What it does not allow you to do is select the ISO or WB. Problem solved. When I accidentally hit one of the buttons I get the focus area which can be gotten rid of by hitting the Menu button again. I am a happy camper. (Why did Panny assign those button on a small camera?)


DirectFocusArea on GH2