I recently also bought a new camera, a new piece of hardware able to be thrown into a pocket and carried around. Good enough to sport interchangable and upgradable lenses, offering the full range of settings and dials that I might wish to fiddle with.
My Nexus 4 has always had pretty crap optics, and images from my phones are just never as satisfying as what I could get from my DSLR.
The massive, heavy Nikon D7000 that I never carry.
Enter the Panasonic GX1.
It’s Quite Wee
It’s a tiny piece of machinery; the body feels like rugged metal, and the whole of it has a lovely heft to it. It’s barely noticable, hanging from my shoulder or tucked into my hoodies’ pocket. I’ve forgotten than I’m carrying it.
That’s a great sensation, remembering how my shoulder would ache from carrying my Nikon.
Does What I Bought It For
I only have the kit pancake PZ lens so far; the 20mm f1.7 pancake lens is quite pricey in New Zealand, and I’ll likely grab it later. Turned off, the PZ is small. The entire body is smaller than a single lens on my Nikon. Turned on, and the 14-40mm range is reasonable; not great, but good enough for most of what I need. The image quality is satisfying as well; RAW format and surprisingly vibrant colours on the default settings. The D7000 often has washed out imagery, so the added saturation is lovely.
The f5.6 of the lens zoomed in remains good enough to distinguish foreground and background admirably; this lovely shot shows the birds in excellent focus, the further branches dimmer and grey.
More than that, its size and lack of viewfinder means I push it into more exotic places than I would have. I get closer to a subject without needing to contort myself nearly as much, relying on the live view for everything. With the D7000, I would never say to myself “Hm, maybe I’ll look at the live view.” With the GX1, it’s “of course that’s how I’d compose the frame, what else would I do?”
I mentioned the 20mm f1.7 above; this and the PZ14-40mm are probably the only lenses I’ll have for the GX1. Size and image quality were my only considerations; for big zooms I need to go to my Nikon for the superior control of a larger body. Dreaming of the 70-200mm f2.8 does not hurt the D7000′s place as the body I take for very long shots, either.
20mm is a 40mm-equivalent; it does macro well, and it’ll be brilliantly fast. It would turn my GX1 even more into a go-anywhere camera, letting me hand it to friends for easy capture of evening moments, or the flexibility to chuck it in a tiny cycling bag and Just Go.
Versus the Old
I wrote recently about loving old glass, and the character it brings through its defects. I’m finding that the GX1 has its own character; the glass is sharp and lovely with the character of newness, the brightness of discovery and enjoyment. The saturation is boosted, the distinction of foreground and background superb.
There’s a freshness in it, a glow that I’m really loving to touch and experience.