Panasonic AG-AC90 HD Camcorder Time Lapses

Whilst in Tasmania I took my new Panasonic Camera and did some shooting. I really like this little 3 chip HD camera. Its a good size very light and at $2000 very reasonable. It was very easy to take on the plane and shoots really great video. The time Lapse mode is really fun.

When watching the video below make sure you watch it in full 1080pHD to get its full impact

The Fuji XT-1 shooting in Tasmania

A few weeks ago I took delivery of the new Fuji XT-1. For me the camera takes what was fantastic about the XPRO-1 and makes it a lot better. Whilst traveling through Tasmania I got to test a lot of the cameras functionality. Let me tell you folks just about everything that sucked on the Xpro 1 is now fixed on this new camera.

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Firstly the performance of the auto focus in low light is nothing short of fantastic. I never missed a shot. It is a giant leap forward over the XPRO 1. Its accurate its fast and its reliable.

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The above picture was taken in the mole creek caves about an hour out of Sheffield Tasmania. I shot it at 25600 ISO and not only does the shot look incredibly clean I was also able to autofocus with no issues what so ever.

The other huge feature of this camera is the amazing viewfinder. For all those who are wavering because it is an EVF worry not. It is so big and so bright after a while you forget its an EVF and just enjoy shooting with it. It is outstanding..

Mount roland sheffield tasmania

Mount roland sheffield tasmania

 

Low light high ISO, fast accurate auto focus are just a few reason why I love this camera. Another is the way it renders details and colour. The colour is rich , detailed but very accurate . Look at the subtle tonal changes in the picture above. I think its more akin to a warm film look.

Lastly I wanted to touch on the cameras handling. I have the optional battery vertical grip. The put it simply the camera has a lovely balance to it in the hand. The only time I felt it was a bit top heavy was with the 55-200 lens attached. But when I had the 14mm 2.8 attached it was lovely in the hand. The feel of the body is of a premium nature and mostly the camera is an utter joy to shoot with.

I also have to mention I shot mostly with the 14mm 2.8 lens . What a great lens it is to.  It is fast and very sharp . Its very light and is so flexible in the way you can use it.

Cradle mountain Tasmania

Cradle mountain Tasmania

The Fiio X3 24bit Hi res portable music player

Remember music before it became disposable?. Remember music when the album was the rage and you didn’t just buy a song? Remember that experience when you put on a big pair of cans and got lost in the music? Not forgetting a time before the famous white fruit earbuds that made music sound like junk? . Well retro is back again. Welcome to the Fiio X3 player. Now for under $200 you can obtain an audio experience more akin to what I mentioned earlier. Gone is that compressed nasty sound of the modern times. This device is an absolute beauty listing to uncompressed 24bit mater files makes you feel like you were in the mixing studio as these album were being produced. The music has unbelievable depth and tonality. The experience for me has been akin to first listening to HIFI music in my youth. Gone are those whizzy compressed highs and un natural mids , everything sounds so balanced and natural.  What makes this even more remarkable is that the player is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and retails for just over $200 here in Australia.

There are a few issues with it though. Take it from me this is no Apple user experience. You have to download the tracks from sites such as hdtracks.com and then transfer them to the player. This can be done in 2 ways. Either via USB or by plugging in the micro SD card you bought to increase the players storage. The transfer of files is slow and laborious because of the sheer size of the master audio files.  The menu on the player is very 2001 . Don’t get me wrong its not horrible its just dated. A firmware update is promised soon where the user interface will be majority upgraded. Also when you buy a micro SD card for the player it is incredibly picky. The ones I have had success with are the Sandisk class 10 cards.

I haven’t yet bought myself some headphones that really show the device of at its best. I have been using a 10 year old pair of AKG’s which still sound spectacular but with a pair of better cans I expect I will get better audio again.

A few other nice things about the player. It has a line out so you can use it to plug into your car or even a home stereo. It also has a coaxial digital out which can output digital 24bit audio to home receivers for the ultimate in high fidelity.

Lastly a few recommendations of some of the audio in 24bit 96khz or 192khz I have been blown away by.

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde 24bit 96khz

Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 40th anniversary remaster 24bit 96k

Miles Davis Kind of Blue 24bit 192k    This is spectacular especially the detail.

Steven Wilson The Raven that refused to Sing 24bit 96k . In Hi Res this album shines with depths dynamics and texture.

Elvis Costello North 24bit 96k . Spectacular recording the strings sound great in Hi Res.

 

I will post some other recordings as I work through them.

 

For anyone who wants re enjoy the romance and feel of music again I can’t recommend this player more highly. Its a spectacular buy. One last thing to remember also is as its hi res music, the quality and results you encounter are dependant on source material and quality of what your listening through. Anything that has major flaws they will be highlighted 10 fold in this format. Those albums that are fantastic recordings to begin with will shine brighter than you have heard them before.  A case in point Paul McCartney’s New album for me was barely listenable on cd  . It was far to loud lacked dynamics and sounded very brittle and harsh. In Hi Res it regains its musicality and is far warmer and has depth something really lacking on the cd.

A definite buy 5 stars

 

 

Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow one night only on the big screen my review.

Tonight I had the great delight of attending a screening of Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow. This film brings back many great memories. I used the play the live album from this tour all the time as a teenager and drive my parents insane. I have seen Paul many times in person but I was only born the year the film was released so this was particularly special as it wasn’t possible for me to be at this tour. Its especially pleasing that Paul at his very peak can now be viewed in such a fantastic way. The film is great bar a few issues relating to the age of the source material. I also have to say what a band Wings were they were one of the best live acts of the 70’s and here it shows. There material is diverse and there performance as a band are very tight.

Here are my plusses and minuses about the remastered film from a critical point of view.
Paul vocals sounded damm incredible upfront strong bluesy and soulful . His piano was mixed rite up front so I got to admire his piano playing. This is often his overlooked skill , his playing here is sweet and funky where it needs to be.
His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing the different live versions of the material to what I know so well on Wings Over America. The stage patter and in between song stuff just great, it helped give you that intimacy of being there. its funny seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were Linda and Denny especially. Great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak. I  felt like I was there in the arena , it was as if the cinema disappeared and He was playing to me.

A few minor quibbles though . The mix had the backing vocals to low in my opinion , you would cut to denny or linda and there was nothing no audible singing, this was especially prevalent during Maybe Im Amazed. The editing in places is a tad rough especially coming out of the Long and winding road , the cut is very hard and is noticeable . You could definitely tell which was 16mm footage and what was 35mm. The 35mm stuff was so pristine it could of been shot yesterday. Lastly I wanted more horns they were a bit soft in places. Lastly a few times I had the feeling we were listening to some overdubbed songs some felt to dry and not enough reverb from the stadium.

 

His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing different live versions to what I know so well on Wings Over America. In some places the differences were quite a lot in others not so. As this was the last gig of the tour the performances have a lot of energy. In my opinion a lot more than the live album.
The stage patter and in between song stuff just great. Funny moment seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were linda and denny especially. It was also great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak.


Now I look forward to the Bluray of Rockshow and the box set of Wings Over America. Lastly the bad news if you missed it at the cinema its not likely to return.

Superman and Star Trek epics coming very soon

2 epic Trailers Superman and the new Star Trek what a couple of months it will be. Both will be in 3d and large chunks of Star Trek were shot using Imax Cameras a bit like the 2nd and 3rd Batman films.

I have loved Superman since I was a kid, who doesnt want to fly. The disaster that was Superman returns looks to be forgotten by the new Man of Steele film. Its looks great judge for yourself.

These films are pure escapist stuff. For 2 hours forget your troubles and be taken into a great adventure.

Les Miserables (2012) and Life of Pi Blurays my impressions

Les Mis Blu ray

I recently acquired the Blu Ray of Les Miserables. I am not going to go into the film as such as that has been covered elsewhere but what I can say is the transfer is very pretty. It was shot on film but retains that warmth and grain film presents without being soft. The detail is wonderful you can see pours in the actors skin finite hairs in beards. The transfer has a wonderful three dimensional quality to it. I would definitely describe this as a near reference disk . The disc also comes with some great extra material not seen before. These are basically documentaries covering the history of the piece . Life of Victor Hugo and various behind the scenes short features.

Life of Pi blu ray

Life of Pi took out best director and best film at this years Academy awards. Its different ,its deep and highly spiritual. Described as one of the best uses of 3D I was let down when I saw it at the cinema. The picture was flat and lifeless . Fast forward to the Blu Ray and the story is a whole different kettle of fish “excuse the pun” set on ocean moving on. Start the disk and immediately you are struck with a gorgeous 3d menu and from there it only gets better. As the viewer you feel like your in the picture. Gimmickry is rarely used and the effect is wonderful. This film was shot digitally with plenty of CG work in the ocean scenes . I actually feel here that the 3d helps to sell the fact the kid is on a real ocean. Note the whole thing was shot in a tank. The effects have life and depth. I dont know what was going on when I saw it at the cinema . Maybe it was not set up properly. The Blu ray presents an absolute reference quality transfer. As it was shot digitally its absolutely pristine and crisp. Detail is plentiful and black levels are fantastic.
The Disk comes with a documentary which runs over an hour going into innate detail about how it was made the process of casting the boy and the process of preparing him for the role.

Incase anyone was wondering I loved this film. I thought it deserved best picture . I saw all the other nominees and just felt there was a bit of daring in the film which made it stand out. As much as I loved Les Mis life of pi really connected with me. Lincoln was a so so film with a great performance that fact was recognised on Oscars night.