Nov 20, 2011 at 7:28 pm #1282225
The Lumix ZS7 Point & Shoot has treated me pretty well. It already has a bigger sensor than the average P&S and has an awesome 25mm wide angle lens with 12x zoom but I find myself wishing for something more. My primary interest are wide scenery shots with the occasional wild critter encounters. Quality HD video is also very important. My long term goal would be to have a system to expand on with hopes of creating quality photos and videos of my travels, much as others do on sites such as Vimeo.
With the Micro 4/3 class going strong now, I have debated whether to keep using what I have or upgrade to the Lumix GF2 since it will probably drop in price with the release of the pricey (but cool) GX1. Personally I would prefer to have the manual dial and buttons of the GF1 but loose some of the features I need in the GF2.
When combined with the older EVF and a couple of lenses, a complete GF2 system could be less than $1000. A medium grade DSLR is not out of the question, I would just prefer the compactness and light weight of the 4/3 class.
Since many of you are the outdoor camera pros, what would you do?Nov 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm #1803911
I'm not claiming a pro but a camera otaku perhaps :p
skip the G2 and go straight to G3.
sensor is much better in high iso. also the JPEG engine. this is not feature creep, i found this very helpful if not essential for shooting in the woods / milky way / wildlife.
g3 also has tilt swivel screen, very useful for shooting macro when shooting from very low angle.
its evf also is a must when shooting in bright light.
not to mention better control on g3.
i've seen it as low as 450 body only…Nov 20, 2011 at 10:08 pm #1803923
@umnakLocale: Southeast Alaska
I own the GF1 and it is a great camera. The GF2 and 3 are pimped up versions, which reduce the user's ability to make images manually, though do make it easier to take snap shots. The GX1 is actually a replacement for the GF1 not the GF3. Try to find a used GF1 body.Nov 21, 2011 at 8:41 am #1804007
We own a pretty good m4/3 kit and use it extensively. +1 on the G-3 camera. It has a built-in very high quality EVF and a better sensor than the GF-2, plus more manual controls. It can be had for $650 at Amazon with the kit 14-42mm zoom, which is decent.
The 45-200 is a good telephoto at a very good price, though the 100-300 is better overall (and twice the price.)
Overall we're pleased with the system. Like any camera system, it does compromise in some areas, but the combination of a decently large sensor, small body and lens size, and excellent image quality is a winner for us. (I have pretty high standards, as I use Canon professional cameras at work.) The availability of several excellent small prime lenses is an added bonus.Nov 21, 2011 at 10:43 am #1804044
One of the reasons the GF series interest me is P&S body size with higher quality and swappable lenses. The G3 would give me all the features I need. I like the layout of the GF1 but it does not do 1080p video thus the reason for considering the GF2. Too bad I missed out on the $300 GF2 with 14-42mm Amazon deal.
For lenses, I think the 100-300mm (wildlife), 14-42mm (general use) , and 14mm pancake (landscapes) would cover all my needs.
I see the GH2 does very good movie film quality video with external mic options but I don't know if that justifies the price over a G3. It is bulkier as well.
Mostly I am just pondering my options for when I can better afford a good system or come across a stellar deal. My hope is to get something within the next few months because I may be going back up to Alaska next year.Nov 21, 2011 at 4:14 pm #1804154
well, the difference between G3 and GF2 body is not that big, because G3 is basically GF2 + small VF hump. And GF2 with any lenses aint shirt-pocketable either.
Btw about lenses selection: is 14mm prime redundant?Nov 21, 2011 at 6:54 pm #1804210
delNov 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm #1804265
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
Alas, the GF2 and G3 are completely different–most importantly the G3 has a higher resolution chip and of course, the high-resolution EFV, and articulating display versus touchscreen. Yes, it's larger and more of a mini-dslr physically but a more complete camera all around. I was surprised, handling one, how small it is in person. Outdoors, the EVF would be indispensable.
RickNov 22, 2011 at 5:08 am #1804317
@bufaLocale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
I've got the G3 and really am impressed with it. I stopped carrying my DSLR when hiking years ago and began using compact p&ss, including the great little Canon S90, but the image quality of even the best compacts are fine for emails and posting on-line, but don't meet my semi-pro standards as images can't be printed larger than about 8×10, can't really be cropped, and can't be used for print publication except in a real pinch. I believe that the m4/3 sensor is more than 4 times larger than the high-end compact p&s sensors and it clearly shows.
I bought a G3 in Sept. and have taken it backpacking on 3 5-day hikes this fall. Its amazing to have a camera with three lenses–Oly 9-18 wide zoom, 20 1.7 low light prime, and 45-175 x tele zoom–that I can take up the mountains. I also have the 100-300 and kit 14-42. The 100-300 is too heavy for backpacking, which is why I got the new 45-175.
The G3 only weighs 2 oz more than the gf3 and has evf and articulating screen, which I use much more than I thought I would. It shoots great video, though not with as much control as the GH2 and it doesn't allow you to use an external mic, like the GH2.
Image quality is very good and with the fast primes, low-light photography approaches excellence. That said, the image quality is not as good as my Canon 50D and 600D when printed larger than 13×19, but up to that point, it is hard to see any difference. My biggest complaint, as a fairly serious wildlife photographer, is that there are no prime teles that compare to the Canon 300 f4 IS. The 100-300 is nice, but other than the 70-200 f4 L, I've never met a tele zoom that had the quality of a tele prime even with other Canon L lenses. And the 100-300 is not an L in resolution or color rendition–then again, its 1/3 the price of any tele L. And supposedly we will see Panasonic release a 35-100 high-end lens this winter.Nov 22, 2011 at 11:10 am #1804419
I have the 14/2.5 prime. It's a great little lens, but it's not really necessary if one already has the 14-42 zoom. I got it because I had only the 20mm. I've since added the 45mm Olympus f/1.8 prime, so I have an old fashioned rangefinder kit with 28-40-90 (equivalent) lenses.
Then I blew it by getting the GH2 and the 14-42 from Amazon yesterday for $899. Been waiting for the price to come down a bit. The main differences between the GH2 and the G3 are the multi-aspect sensor (odd but effective), the user interface (more manual controls), and the grip. Is it worth an extra $300? Well, for me it is, but YMMV. I handled a G3 in the store and can still recommend it highly to anyone wanting excellent image quality in a small camera.Nov 22, 2011 at 11:42 am #1804443
I moved from a GF1 to a GH2 and G3 body after frustrations with not having a viewfinder – the plug-in one for the GF1 is low resolution and comes off rather too easily….
The G3 is 2.8oz lighter than the GH2.
I use the 14-140 as my main travel lens (I like having the 140 available instantly) and will probably get the Oly 12mm as a second lens to carry.
(I like the Oly 12mm, Panasonic/Leica 25 and 45 as a set, all with a 46mm filter).
Now it only needs someone to combine the X100 viewfinder with a micro four thirds mount.Nov 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm #1804542
@bufaLocale: Cape Cod and Northern Newfoundland
One of the reasons I went m4/3s rather than NEX or the new Nikon minis or Samsung was the wide array of native lens offerings and the small size and weight of many of the Oly and Pana lenses. There are far more lenses available now for Pens and Gs than for any other system. The 14(28) and 20(40) primes are both very small, light, and relatively cheap. The kit lenses are small and light. The new X zoom lenses are extremely small and light for their focal lengths, and again, not so expensive. It just didn't make sense to go with a very light body and then not have an array of very light lenses.
Also, some of the test sites have found the GH2/G3/GX sensor to have the highest and cleanest resolution, except for the new high end NEX, which is twice the price.Nov 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm #1804664
Well, I think waiting out for the G3 may be worthwhile based on the feedback here, now I just need to find one locally to try out.
Call me crazy but would outfitting a G3 with one of the new smaller G X Vario 14-42mm lenses be worthwhile in an effort to make it more compact?
Not to completely bust the 4/3 bubble, but does anyone have experience with the Lumix FZ150 (or similar) super zoom? Sure, it is heavy for a "P&S" and otherwise similar to my ZS7 but just curious…Nov 23, 2011 at 7:55 am #1804767
Nex looks very promising and I'm betting on it becoming the travel companion for many proffesional photographers. With the larger sensors, better ISO performance and Sony constantly releasing new lenses it seems more appealing.
Video on Nex is simply the best, even so for camera's at twice the price.
I like the size of the 4/3 systems, but the camera's need some updating…Nov 23, 2011 at 9:26 am #1804801
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
"Call me crazy but would outfitting a G3 with one of the new smaller G X Vario 14-42mm lenses be worthwhile in an effort to make it more compact?"
You're crazy! :-)
Actually no, you're not. Because video is one of your priorities the X lenses will enhance your capabilities, especially the variable speed power zoom and real-time silent aperture and autofocus. Optically, the 14-42 is about the same as the cheaper kit lens but holy cow is it tiny!
But first, as you note you'll need to hunt a G3 down to ensure you like the shape, layout, finder and controls. I had dismissed it outright until handling one, which quickly turned me around. It's much smaller than it had seemed in photos, and the finder is crisp and bright (so critical for video and any kind of sunny shooting). (The Nikon V1 finder is even nicer, but there's always something better down the street.)
RickNov 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm #1805240
@gregfLocale: Canadian Rockies
I finally pulled the trigger on the EPM-1 a few weeks ago and have added the 45mm f1.8 as well.
I really like the form factor of the camera and can't wait to use it hiking next year. By then I hope to add the 14 mm. Depending on the trip I might just take the 14mm and the camera.
The big decision factor in making this purchase was the lens selection currently available. Mainly the small, relatively fast primes.
I think any of the u4/3 bodies would work well for your needs.Nov 25, 2011 at 9:24 am #1805396
If you're still looking for the 14 next year, let me know. I'm hoping to add the 7-14 to my kit by then, and my 14 will be redundant.Dec 30, 2011 at 7:34 pm #1817765
> the wide array of native lens offerings and the small size and weight of many of the Oly and Pana lenses.
They're good lenses, too. Olympus has a good reputation for making lenses because they've been doing it for a long time, and most of Panasonic's lenses use Leica glass. The 4/3 consortium started the trend of designing a format oriented around being digital, and then designing lenses specifically for that format, and I think that it's paying off, especially for mobile and travel photographers, both casual and professional.
This is just a theory, but I suspect that the 4/3 format is one of the motivating factors that lead to the Nex's existence. :)
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