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Which Panasonic camera to try?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Chat' started by Bazarchie, May 17, 2018.

  1. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I am planning to attend a Panasonic trial event at a local National Trust property this weekend. Missing the royal wedding probably means I'll be sent to the Tower, but as I know nothing about Panasonic cameras, what camera should I try? I have no interest in video so looking for a DSLR equivalent full frame or APS-c.
     
  2. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    Er, Panasonics are all micro-4/3rds... They all do video as well.

    Assuming you still decide to go the most likely options to look into are the G80, the G7 and if you're feeling flush the G9. These are principally aimed at the stills photographer though the do have video capability. The GH5 is also SLR styled but is more aimed at the video user and is slightly more expensive than the G9. As well as these they do some rangefinder style cameras of which the GX9 is probably the pick of the bunch.

    My own Panasonics are a couple of oldies (G3 and G10) but I keep having to fight the temptation to upgrade. I like that most of the latest models now offer sensor based stabilisation in addition to the in-lens OIS option which now means it's possible to use Olympus lenses without sacrificing IS...
     
    Bazarchie likes this.
  3. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    You obviously haven't done much research about the cameras they make, so take the chance to handle them all and use the viewfinders... only then consider the specifications and your budget.

    Or go to decent camera shop instead - one that will offer you more than one brand to choose from. If you really want full frame or APS-C, and don't care about video, another brand may be better for you. But first find out what type of camera fits your hands and what size of camera (and lens) you are prepared to carry.
     
  4. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I’m sorry that, as a Nikon user (although I also have a Panasonic LX100 compact), I only found this post after your local event. I took out a Panasonic camera at Waddesdon Manor early in May, and also enjoyed the photography walk, although it was pitched primarily at beginners.

    I currently have an outfit based on a Nikon D800 body, with some full frame lenses for quality and some APS-C lenses for reduced weight. I’m delighted to use my D800 through its OVF for the majority of my shots, which are hand-held. On a tripod I use live view, for more accurate focusing and framing, and then I’m jealous of Sony A7Riii owners, with faster, more advanced live view focusing, and being able to use the EVF with no need to wear glasses or worry about bright external light on the LCD. However, at 68 years old, I fear I might need to switch to a lighter outfit before too long, and MFT seems the obvious choice.

    I chose to try the GX9, because allowing its viewfinder to tilt converts the disadvantage of an EVF’s less direct view into an advantage. I think this would be a great help when using a camera on a tripod, but sadly I didn’t get round to trying that with the GX9 at Waddesdon. (But if I become too old and frail to want to carry a full frame outfit, I doubt whether I’ll want to carry a tripod and the relevant accessories!)

    I didn’t get on with the GX9. I had particular problems positioning the focus point. The Panasonic advisers recommended using the touch screen, which worked well to get it nearly in the right place. But when I replaced my thumb on the screen for final adjustments, the focus point jumped away to match where I had made contact. Even worse, when I tried portrait mode, my nose set the focus point in completely the wrong place. I’ve set my LX100 for the four-way buttons to control only the focus point, although that means the default functions must be accessed by a different route. I expect the GX9 could be set like that, but the one I used wasn’t, leading to my frequently making unintended setting changes. Also, the four-way buttons on my D800 and LX100 are sufficiently textured for me to feel which one I am touching, but that area of the GX9 was so smooth that it was almost pot-luck which way the focus point started moving. I’ve yet to try a joystick, as used on the Nikon D850 and Panasonic G9, but I guess that is the ideal solution.

    Although if I made the switch to MFT it would be to save weight, I’d prefer a larger camera body than the GX9 for my good-sized male hands, and a firm grip and long battery life. I’d also want the best possible camera within a budget of a few thousand pounds. The GX9 seems to have been designed down to a size and price, leaving it inferior to Panasonic’s top-of-the-range G9 in many ways, such as the quality of its viewfinder and image stabilization. If I do downsize in future, I hope Panasonic will then be offering a top-of-the-range camera with the advantage of a tilting viewfinder.

    I’ve long admired the Four Thirds System for increasing its range through compatibility between Panasonic and Olympus products. I’m saddened to read that the latest, amazingly good, hybrid image stabilization systems are incompatible. When I considered the lenses I might want if I converted, I found more from Olympus that tempted me than from Panasonic, which might push me towards an Olympus body despite the lack of a tilting EVF.

    I’ll also take this opportunity to mention that, in my opinion, the longer reach claimed for telephoto lenses on MFT cameras due to their smaller sensors is greatly exaggerated. Olympus and Panasonic claim that a 200mm lens on MFT matches a 400mm lens on full frame. But because of their small sensors, MFT bodies currently top out at 20MPx. A Nikon D850 set to APS-C with a 300mm lens matches the field of view, and level of pixel detail, of 200 mm on a top-of-the-range MFT almost exactly, while offering better dynamic range and low light performance, thanks to its larger photosites, and a wider viewfinder that makes it easier to locate the subject. But the D850 photographer would probably prefer to shoot full frame and crop afterwards. Canon and Sony offer FF models with similar pixel counts. I have experience of using my 150-500mm lens on subjects too distant to fill the frame with both my APS-C 12MPx Nikon D90, and FF 36MPx D800, and the D800 is better in all respects.

    Overall my wife and I enjoyed at day at an NT property we like to visit from time to time, and I also got the benefit of a far more in-depth trial of a camera than would have been possible in a shop, a tutorial, and the gift of an 8GB memory card with my photos. If I didn’t have other commitments, I might have tried a G9 at Stowe, and I have fond memories of most of the other Roadshow properties. So thanks, Panasonic, and I’d recommend the remaining events to anyone interested. I guess the events are expensive for Panasonic to stage, but if I went to one by Nikon, I might no longer be able to resist the temptation of a D850, and a Sony event could really hit our bank balance!


    Chris
     
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  5. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Probably a good thing for your wallet that you didn't.

    I tried one and bought! :( :D :D :D
     
    Done_rundleCams and ChrisNewman like this.
  6. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I now realise I had a memory lapse, and applied a crop ratio the wrong way round; my apologies. What I should have posted is:
    Olympus and Panasonic claim that a 300mm lens on MFT matches a 600mm lens on full frame. But because of their small sensors, MFT bodies currently top out at 20MPx. A Nikon D850 set to APS-C with a 400mm lens matches the field of view, and level of pixel detail, of 300 mm on a top-of-the-range MFT almost exactly…”​

    Chris
     
  7. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Comparing the images from a Canon 1Ds II / 70-200 2.8 L with those from a Pannasonic G9 / 100-400 shows how fast and far design and production has moved on. It's true that the latest Canon / Nikon / Sony sensors and lenses have moved on as well but in terms of cost, bulk and weight I think that M43 provides a very effective alternative to the larger sensors.
     
  8. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    Yes, I’m sure you wouldn’t need to go back many years to find even the best full frame DSLRs were inferior in most respects to the latest M43s (although there’s no genuine substitute for sensor size when it comes to throwing the background out of focus). And although a sensor four times the size will always be able to do better (again, unless plenty of depth of field is a priority), as all sensors improve, the advantage gets less relevant. I’m very impressed at the quality I get, even in fairly poor light, when I pull my LX100 out of my pocket. And of course a 300mm lens is going to be substantially lighter than even 400mm, never mind 600mm. But at present, if I want the versatility of being able to change between lenses, and occasionally the stability of a tripod, I don’t find it much of a hardship to carry my current mixed full frame and APS-C outfit rather than switching to a smaller format. Of course this may change as I continue to age.

    Chris
     
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    That's 13 years... I should hope things have moved on in that time!
     
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  10. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    In my defense that's the last change I made so at least I was talking from personal experience. :)
     
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  11. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the really detailed response. In the end we did not go to Stowe event as my wife and youngest daughter were tired after a late Sat and I thought it may be safer to avoid temptation. Canon is my main system, FF and APS-C and I recently bought a used Fuji X Pro 1 camera. I still prefer the Canon but for something that is light and produces good pictures, I am using it more than expected. I am currently on
    holiday on my own mainly to visit Bempton Cliffs for the gannets but also for some landscape locations. I have brought three cameras, several lenses, two tripods, two heads and a spotting scope. Seems excessive!
     
  12. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I keep meaning to go to Bempton, it being so much mentioned. Let us know how you found it.
     
  13. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I went yesterday afternoon, the weather was great as were the birds. I have been to several RSPB and WWF reserves and Bempton is one of the best. The reserve is at the top of cliffs with several viewing sites and the birds seem to be constantly in flight. The gannets fly up above the cliffs and the other birds are not far below. You can see several birds pearched on the cliffs. I visited two reserves that were further south earlier in the week but the birds were too far away and I was seriously thinking of giving up with BIF.

    Bempton was great and restored my faith in my camera and lens. I used my 7Dii and Sigma 150-600 and Canon 300L is f4. 600mm was not necessary. At times I felt rather inadequate surrounded by high end Canon and Nikon cameras and long lens but needs must.

    The reserve was very busy, with the car parks being completely full early afternoon, but it did not matter. As I left at 5pm some serious looking photographers with lots of gear arrived for the evening light.

    If the weather holds tomorrow I will return to try my tripod and gimbal rather than handheld.

    Highly recommended but you need to get there soon before the birds leave.
     
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Thanks for that! I can't get away for a few days, sadly, so might have to be next year.

    The tripod will make it a lot easier on the arms! Have a nice day out and hope it's not too windy. It is blowing a bit here this morning.
     
  15. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    You’re welcome. Most of it was from a message I sent to Panasonic, in thanks for the experience and hoping to prompt them to offer tilting viewfinder versions of their top-of-the-range cameras in future.

    They’re no use at home when you’re away, and its frustrating to be without something you own and want to use!

    Chris
     
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  16. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    Too true, Chris, and, when using ones mobile when shooting that owl in the tree, just ain't the same ;)

    Cheers,

    Jack
     

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