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Monday, 14 January 2013


Am I alone in finding your l-plate laziness amusing given your well-known tripodophobia?

By creating a separate product line for the GX, Panasonic has made clear distinctions in its G-series offerings. The GF line is positioned as entry point for compact-camera upgraders. The GH2 is designed for users who shoot a lot of video and the G3 is aimed for (primarily) still shooters who desire a built-in EVF and articulated LCD. The GX1 then is rather sensibly positioned as an enthusiast offering for those who want the highest image quality from a Micro Four Thirds camera, in a form factor that comfortably accommodates a range of zoom lenses and does not skimp on external controls.

And I just took delivery of a GH3, Panasonic's biggest EVIL camera. It's really not very big -- I also have a GH2, and you have to look closely to see the size difference. However, it *feels* like a bigger camera; it *feels* like a small DSLR. I've only been shooting with it for a couple of days, and I have to say, it also feels about like the perfect camera for me. It's light, fast, discreet. I have the Lumix X-Vario f2.8 12-35 on it right now, and for my kind of shooting, it's about all I'd ever need. (Need, not want.) In fact, it's very much like the Pentax K5, but the lens is smaller than any equivalent that you might put on the Pentax, as far as I can tell, and the body is about seven ounces lighter.

I don't know how in depth you've used a Fuji x100(or hopefully the Green Giant will send you an x100s to review); but would like to hear where you would place the wee GX1 vs. the oh-so-fashionable (if a little quirky) x100. I know, I know, fixed vs interchangeable lens, different sized sensors, etc, etc, but golly, they're both going after a very similar market just based on their look and feel(and totally agree - the GX1 feels fantastic, whereas the GF1 was...serviceable.)

Photoshop CS6 is advertised as compatible with AVCHD files from the G3. I found that the video when imported does not have audio. Adobe gave me two different solutions which did not work. On my third call they said "Engineers had identified this as an issue and were looking at it". Just so anyone thinking of buying Panasonic for playing with video knows...

I need to improve my honing and sharpening skills before acquiring the opportunity to ruin a nice knife like that.

At least according to DxO Mark, the Panasonics are now outclassed by the Olympus E-PL5 and E-PM2 which aren't too different price wise and offer sensor stabilisation. I'm surprised you aren't testing one of those instead.

The main reason for not upgrading, no, I should say not changing, my NEX5n is the ARTICULATED viewfinder that comes off when I don't need it. Which is most of the time. But when I need it, then I can use it flipped up or down. Very useful.

A camera without an articulated screen is definitely no go for me.

Probably not a comment that you want, but here goes anyway. Over the several years that I've followed TOP daily, there's been a trend toward more equipment reviews. That niche is well covered by the dpreviews of the world. You're headed down the same road as did Kirk Tuck. You've both got better (unique to you) things to say rather than adding yet-another camera review to an over-crowded space. Just sayin'

I'll keep checking in daily as always, but will skip the review posts - so we're both happy, I guess. Kirk's, on the other hand, got so numerous that I unsubscribed since it began to seem like dpreview-Austin.

[TOP's traffic regularly fluctuates by 5k to 6k pageviews. One pattern is very clear: posts about equipment, the traffic goes up. Posts about photographers and aesthetics and history, the traffic goes down. For instance, visitor count was up 3,596 yesterday because of this post.

Fact of life in my business. Doesn't stop me from writing about whatever I want to write about. --Mike]

You know, the more I use the Lumix G3 I just bought, the more I realize if someone just made a secure, clip on, pop-up hood with a magnifier on it, ala what comes with the Mamiya RB out of the box (and I mean designed as an integral part of the item and not a add-on), I'd be done, that's all I'd need: one of these things with no finder except that. For the portraits I do, it'd be prefect and no different than using any 'blad or Mamiya RB out of the box...

Any camera with a tiltable viewfinder gets extra points from me now. I cannot live without one after having used one on my Olympus Ep3 for the last 18 months. When I pick up one of my Nikon dSLRs with the shut-up-and-look-through-it-the-way-Nikon-says old timey view finder, I feel restricted. In fact, I now feel handicapped.

This, of course, means that these types of movable, tiltable viewfinders will soon be discontinued. I expect the EP-4 (or what every foot long series of numbers it is called) will have one of the frozen in place, frozen in time things like 50 year old cameras did. I suppose I can hope for a tiltable LCD screen at least, but it will a poor second choice.

I'd be curious to hear how you think the camera performs both with and without the external viewfinder.

I'm considering ditching my compact camera and DSLR combo to one EVIL camera with a detachable VF. I like the idea that you can take off the VF and use it like a somewhat large compact or that you can put it on and use it as a somewhat ergonomically-compromised DSLR.

Is this just something in my head, or could you actually do this?

I started my Micro Four Thirds adventure as an early adopter, with the G1. I was expecting the articulated screen to be a gimmick feature, but wound up loving it. It offered incredible versatility for composition and gave a new spark to my on-again, off-again love affair with photography. The EVF was pretty impressive, too. The fit and finish were not great, but adequate.

I wound up switching to a GF1 but found I really missed that articulated screen. So I picked up a G3 in November.

It has taken a while for me to warm up to it, for some of the reasons you state. Like the G1, it feels like an appliance. It's not an object of gadget-lust.

It is a Jetta to a convertible Beetle (do they still make those?). But you know, the Jetta has a big trunk, seats tall people reasonably comfortably, and doesn't have to sit in the garage all winter. "Utilitarian" is not really a dirty word, just a dull one.

I think the G3 is actually a very, very good camera, even though it only whispers "use me" instead of screaming "love me!". For $250, it's a great buy.

On a side note, I don't have confidence that Panasonic will use the GX1's accessory port on more than a handful of models, once again leaving an expensive accessory tied to a particular generation of gear, and shutting that generation out of future accessories. (The is the story of the GF1's accessory port and LVF-1.) For that reason alone, I'm extremely reluctant to consider any Panasonic with an accessory port.

I've had several G cameras, the last was the GX1, an excellent performer and nice package. Until the realization that my XL corn-fed hand was cramped and it hurt to use the damn things. If they only made them in sizes like gloves because they are too darn small!

I'm singing from the same hymn sheet as D. Hufford - after investing in an Olympus E-PL3 system I quickly got to love the tilting live view, the camera's solid feel and quality design. Yes, you can tell just by looking too!

My 'old' Canon DSLR languished, spurned and unused in the kit box for weeks. That Canon and I have been places, shot things, made many, many images together. There's a bond. Fuelled by a sense of guilt I picked it up one evening, with the idea of giving my former photo-mate an outing the following dawn. Uh oh... Mmmm... now, it's so damn big. And ugly (sorry Canon). Re-acquainting my eyeball with the viewfinder just felt claustrophobic. Tunnel vision.

Dawn the following morning and it was the cute little Olympus that was hung around my neck.....

When I bought my first micro four thirds camera last year I narrowed down my choices to the G3 and the GX1. On paper the G3 seemed like the better bet; I loved the articulated screen on my Canon G11 and the included viewfinder and bargain price seemed to make the decision straightforward.

Then I went to a local store and handled them both, and ended up with the GX1. There is something that just feels "right" about it in the hand.

I further rationalised the decision based on size - the GX1 is a little smaller without the viewfinder, and will slip in to a jacket pocket that bit easier when combined with one of the pancake lenses.

Portability was the driver behind my choice of micro four thirds over APS-C and the GX1 seems to hit a sweet spot in the panasonic line up - small without being too small, just enough in the way of physical controls.

I have to say I've been very impressed with the user interface on this camera (common to all the Panasonic G series I believe) - everything seems to work just as you would want it to; functions you need often are easy to get to and quick to select. It smacks of a system that has been driven by some great user feedback, either at the design stage or perhaps on earlier models.

I should also say a word of thanks to the TOP staff for their reviews of micro four thirds kit over the last couple of years, without your excellent coverage I doubt I'd have jumped in. I'm delighted with the pictures I'm able to make with a couple of fast primes and my first "big" sensor camera.

The lens hood makes it.

I like m4/3 as a system and I like both Panasonic and Olympus cameras. I bought a GF1 shortly after it came out, still have it. It is my least used digital camera of any format by a long way. It just didn't gel with me the way the original G1 did, or the Olympus Pen, or the OM-D. The thing I like least about it has to be the useless excrescence of a clip on EVF, quite the worst of its type I have ever used. And use it you must, for the camera (when used with what is still the best m4/3 lens ever, the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7) has no stability system of any kind, save your hands and face. Why keep it? Well, it's not worth anything. Whenever I acquire a new lens (most recently the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4) I snap it onto the GF1 in the forlorn hope that perhaps I have found its perfect match. And then I peer into the tiny EVF and think perhaps not. I guess I keep it to remind myself of the need to consider a purchase carefully before handing over the money.

BTW I use a G3 as a back up body for the OM-D and find it to be excellent. Setting the focus point by touching the screen is just great.

PLEASE don't turn TOP into an equipment review site, not even a little bit. There are lots of gear reviewers but only one TOP

good photos,

You do not need a macro, but you always need lights and you have that.

The first camera I ever had all to myself was an ancient (even then) Exacta with its waist-level finder, and thirty years later I lived a brieft love story I had with the sadly missed (in a cab!) Sony R1. There was a long interlude with Nikon viewfinders, but my next true, longlasting love was the OVF world, film and digital alike.
So, please please Panasonic, give me a tilting screen and the option to stick an external OVF on the top, or I might one day crack for an Olympus EPL5, to stick with MFT primes, or fall prey of a creeping lust for the quirky world of Fuji (they made the Hassy XPan, hats off to that one).
GX1? Agree that it feels good in the hand, but can't bring mself to open my wallet because of the above (plus maybe a GX2 coming in the spring with an answer to all of the above?

One thing is sure: so many choices out there these days, and yet each of us would want to blend our own Frankencamera with just about a bit of this plus a dash of that...
Thanks for contributing to the thought peocess though. Dp Review is far less interesting today than it used to be!

I quite like the camera and gear impressions that you post here on TOP. It seems to me that you strike a good balance among photographic discussions of all types with the result that a strong, interesting community has gathered here that always has insightful comments. Thanks! And your D800 photos of the gear are just fine.

Another for articles like these - less reviews than talking with an informed friend about their latest purchase. Numbers lie - what I'm curious about, even for cameras I don't have and never want to get, is why someone does like them. Or hates them. I think Mike has panned, often in a gentle way, just about every one of my favorite beloved cameras - starting with my EOS A2 and ending with the x100. But for some reason, that make his reviews all the more effective for me:)

FWIW, a handful of photog friends got together last night to talk about photography. Not cameras, photography. We each brought one or more prints and talked about them. Then one friend, Alan, pulled out a couple of stunning 18x24 black & white prints. One was a group portrait of some homeless men and the other was an environmental portrait. They were mesmerizing. I presumed they were taken with his 5DIII, but it turns out that they were taken with the GX1.

Words cannot express how little pixel peeping and DXO matter when a capable photographer has a half capable camera in his hand.

I own the GF1, the X100 and the GX1. I would say I like them in the order listed. The GF1 is just unbeatable. Yes there are issues but its just such a great camera I can't complain about the little stuff. The GX1 is too small. It needs a little more size and heft to feel like a real camera. Even the X100, which is a knock off film rangefinder seems too light and plasticky to me. The GF1 just feels solid. They can all take great pictures but these days camera phones can take great pictures. I guess for me its the tactile that matters. My old time favourites were the Contax Gs, the Konica Hexar and give me an old Canon FTb and I'm happy.

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