Sort of Frustrated

While Andy was here last month, I edited and posted the first video in my “Great Eats in Bangkok” series.  Since then I’ve shot video for another three segments, but I’m finding myself frustrated with the audio quality.  My camera, a Panasonic Lumix LX-3, takes fantastic looking pictures and video and is especially good in low-light settings.  But like most cameras with video functions, the built-in speakers leave something to be desired.

Most of the great eats in Bangkok are located in noisy places – crowded restaurants, street-side stalls, busy markets – and my camera’s microphone doesn’t distinguish my voice from the ambient noise from the background.

Exploring my options, I found a relatively inexpensive solution.  What I did not want to do is buy a full digital video camera.  That would be too bulky and I’m not willing to leave my Lumix behind because most of my blog content is photos, not video.  After some research, I settled on a Kodak Zi8.


The Zi8 is a handheld high-definition video recorder, a simple point-and-shoot model along the lines of the Flip video camera.  It doesn’t have a lot of functions – zoom, different shooting modes, etc. – but it does have one feature I was most looking for: an external microphone jack.  Which leads me to my next purchase:


A wireless lavalier microphone set from Azden.  This way I’ll be able to mic myself so even in the midst of a crowded environment you should be able to hear my voice distinct from the background noise.  Funnily enough, the microphone set is about half again as expensive ($150 vs. $100) as the camera.  I was initially hesitant to spend that much money, but after talking it over with Tawn he encouraged me to make the purchase as an investment in my blogging.

My cousins in LA will be bringing my purchases to Hawai’i next week where I’ll met them for another cousin’s wedding.  Perhaps the first test of all this will be on some local Kaua’i grinds.  Stay tuned!


I Think I Hurt My Camera’s Feelings

I’ve been really faithful to my camera, a Panasonic Lumix TZ3, which I have had for about two years.  It has been an excellent camera for me and has stood up to the abuse of being carried around everywhere, every single day.  Recently, though, I think I’ve hurt my camera’s feelings.

It shouldn’t surprise me, of course.  Since my trip to Tokyo last April, I started thinking seriously about another camera, this Panasonic Lumix LX3 shown here.

panasonic-lx3 2

Two friends have the same camera, both of whom were in Tokyo shooting with it while I was there.  The LX3 has superb optics from Leica, a very wide 24mm equivalent lens, and ultra-good low-light performance.  It also has full manual focus, one of the few models of digital camera that bridge the gap between amateur and serious shutterbug without getting into the SLR models, which are just too clunky for me to carry around for everyday use.

But even once the attraction between me and the LX3 started, I remained faithful to my TZ3.  It had served me well, was still taking good pictures, and I hate to throw something away just because something newer has caught my fancy.

With this trip back to the US, though, I decided to go ahead and buy an LX3.  I wasn’t going to get rid of my TZ3 – there are plenty of cultures where men have multiple cameras, right?  That’s nothing to frown on.

But I’m afraid my TZ3 must have become suspicious or caught wind of my planned expansion of our photography family, because no sooner had I placed the order for the new camera, then the TZ3 started to throw a fit.


At first it was just minor interference and static, like the subtle horizontal lines running through this otherwise cute picture of a father walking his daughters down a residential soi, or alley, from the kindergarten that sits at the back of the soi.


My camera’s fury increased, though, along with its unpredictability.  Some moments it would take clear shots such as this one of the Singha Beer Fun Fair on the grounds that were previously part of the British Embassy, along Ploenchit Road.


A moment later, though, the tempest would be unleashed and my camera would give me nothing but static, causing misery and not allowing me to get a clear picture of things.  It was terrible.  At this point, every time I turn it on, the TZ3 is just in a blur.

So I’ve made up my mind.  Unless my TZ3 gets a new attitude, sharpens up and snaps right, I may have no choice but to leave it and move on with my life, happily snapping away with my new LX3.




For those of you familiar with Krungthep, here is a reverse shot (obviously taken before my camera started having a fit) showing you where I was shooting from – the top level of the Central Chidlom car park – the area with trees in the white building, just above and to the right of the blue banner.  This is looking down Ploenchit Road towards Chidlom BTS Skytrain Station from the pedestrian walkway linking to Wave Place (Home Pro).