05 December, 2014

Peeking over the fence at Panasonic

West End, Brisbane, Queensland

My first Panasonic was a quite capable superzoom, the 5mp, FZ5. That was almost a decade ago, and I remember how files really fell apart when pushed to ISO 400. (We've come a long way.)

But my real involvement with Panasonic began with the LX3. What a charmer. It was my first camera with RAW.

As you can probably tell, I'm a pushover for the rangefinder style, so when the GF1 was introduced, I was ripe for the picking. But after that, things seemed to stall for Panasonic. Their Micro 4/3 partner, Olympus, pulled ahead. And then, Sony trumped that market with the NEX-7.

Despite that, Panasonic still came through with quite a few winning lenses: The 20mm pancake on the GF1 and, later, the 25mm f/1.4 were standouts for me.

If Panasonic had provided cameras like the LX100 and GX7 earlier, I might still be a Panasonic shooter.

There is no question that the 4/3 sensor sits in a "sweet spot," where resolution is great and low light capability is good, but lens sizes are reasonable. But if I was going back to Micro 4/3, it would probably be to an Olympus body. Who could resist that 5-Axis stabilisation?

If I was a videographer, however, then the Panasonic GH4 is probably where I would be.

(There's some speculation at the moment about Sony's newly introduced in-body stabilisation, and whether it will perform as well as the Olympus version. I think this will be another example of the Micro 4/3 sensor size really shining. The M4/3 sensor is less than a third the size of the Sony full frame — much easier to move around quickly with a stabilisation system.)

party (pär’tē) n. Social occasion where a husband
pretends to be the man his wife wants to be seen with.
—Ybnad dictionary


Wolfgang Lonien said...

Wow Bill - she's a beauty!

About Panasonic: the only camera we have from them is some of the "travel zoom" category, with the small sensor. My wife (who I bought it for) never liked the colours, and the output at higher ISOs is also nothing to talk about. But it takes a decent black & white photo if you know what you're doing, and it's indeed very compact. These days, our daughter sometimes uses it for videos. At least it's all metal, and survived quite a lot of abuse.

Bill Danby said...

Thanks Wolfgang,

That was taken with a Panasonic G3 and the Olympus 45mm f/1.8. They were a great combination. I never cared for Panasonic JPEGs. I only shot in RAW. And you're right about the poor high ISO performance.