I ordered a new digital camera and lens for myself on Saturday night—a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and a Lumix G 20mm ƒ/1.7 ASPH.
Isn't that blatantly inconsistent, given that I wrote, just three days ago, "my choice is clear: it's the Olympus E-P1 for me"?
Well, not really. I had both cameras and both lenses here for trial. Free to use what I pleased—and to mix and match—I preferred the Olympus E-P1 because it has body-integral IS, and the Panasonic 20mm lens because it's faster.
But that's with no financial consequences to me.
Making an actual purchase is different. The 20mm ƒ/1.7 lens cost $400, the Olympus E-P1 body, $750. That's $1150, vs. $900 for the GF1/20mm kit. And not only would I have had to pay an extra $250 to get my preferred combo, I imagine it would he harder to resell, too, since some prospective buyers would perceive it as a mismatch. In any event, I think I would be likely to be able to get a higher percentage of the GF1 kit's $900 back than the "mismatched" combo's $1150 if I were to resell either pair after a year or two.
What I did is also logical because I'm lens-centric. I choose cameras based on lenses rather than the other way around. I've always been that way. In fact, when I purchased the very first camera I ever bought for myself, in 1981, I purchased the lens first, then saved up for the body. (The lens was a Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm ƒ/1.4, the body a Contax 139Q.)
I really like the Panasonic 20mm and I could easily see keeping it long-term, using it on a succession of Micro 4/3 camera bodies.
I did say I'd never buy another camera without IS. Oh well. Maybe my next DMD will have it.
Unlike many photographers—and website hosts—and many of you—I don't buy or own many cameras. I've been unemployed since 2000 and I stopped doing freelance work in 2008, so money's been pretty tight for a while. I have to be careful. Or sensible. Or at least try.
I bought the Panasonic with my own money, paid full price (plus Wisconsin State sales tax), and there's not the slightest hint of quid pro quo in place. I don't know anyone at Panasonic and I have no idea if anybody there is even aware of TOP.
Apart from a Fuji point-and-shoot that I used a couple of times and resold, the new GF1, when it gets here, will be the first digital camera I've bought since 2006, and the first new digital camera I've bought since 2004.