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Friday, 16 December 2016


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I, for one, would take Panasonic over Olympus every day, after being exposed once to Panasonic L1 and PanaLeica 25/1.4, "big" FourThirds version.
Now I have GX7 with 14mm and 25mm lenses - 25mm being "small" PanaLeica version. I'm even considering to swap Olympus 45/1.8 for Panasonic 42.5/1.7 lens. Somehow, Panasonic lenses just look much better on Panasonic cameras. :)

I always found Panys to be bargains and I like the way they render color. Their UI is far superior to Olympus (and most others). For under $100 you can find an older GX1 that is still a competitively featured camera... put one of the inexpensive and compact 14 or 20mm lenses on it and you have a great pocket camera that isn't too precious to take out into the gunk. Heck I used the first G1 for a lot of portfolio shots, even the noise looked good.

However your same compliant about the Fuji X100 series holds true here too. They are just too small for XL American hands. I've actually gotten cramps from using them for more than a couple minutes.

Just an aside, most of Terry Richardson's photos have been made with aging GF1 and GF2 Panasonics. Great minds think a like hahaha.

In this context I just have to plug a favorite: Pana 14-140mm.
I have used both Nikon's and Pentax's equivalent lenses, and the Panasonic lens is way superior optically (and of course smaller and lighter). It really is good, and not just "for a super-zoom".

I have both Olympus and Panasonic cameras and lenses in the Micro 4/3 system. I like the Panasonics better. And they are usually great bargains. As I've said before, the GX8 seems to be the perfect digital camera that I've been waiting for.

Mike, you know I'm a Pentax guy. I even have the weird/tiny Pentax Q (not the luxe Leica Q) and a few of their miniature lenses. Recently, I got interested in video. Not "serious-auteur-Herzog-wannabe" intent, but capturing my kids at play, like my father did with the Super 8.

Alas, Pentax doesn't "do" video. Well, they include a mode switch, so sure enough their cameras record a stream of images in HD, but grudgingly; like a bear dancing in a tutu.

Not wanting to get dragged into yet another lensmount (K and Q already!), I went shopping for a fixed-lens compact with some zoom and decent video controls. I tried out Sony (frustrating UI, and pricey to get the good stuff), and Canon (they're like bear cubs in tutus), and finally Panasonic. Sure, they have the GH4 and other amazeballs m43ds stuff that you frequently mention/ feature, but fixey-my-lensey!

Oddly enough, I settled on the FZ1000 and had it for a week before returning it. Too heavy, not weather sealed (my kids like the rain) and the zoom was limiting. Gorgeous colors and controls, though. So what to do next? The FZ300 has a sensor the same size as the Pentax Q (tiny), but a giant, constant 2.8 zoom in front (24-600) and image stabilization, even in video. Same controls as the FZ1000, both software and hardware. Excellent combination for my needs, even if others will say "sensor too small" or "body too big" or "not enough control of video" etc.

I've become a convert for Panasonic video. It makes me look good!

Mike: The thought of a GH5 with 6k photo is almost too good to believe given my nature photography proclivities. 18mp stills? Focus stacking? Selective focus after the shot? The body weighs about 20oz. Then you get two f2.8 zooms for a combined 18oz or so, and a 100-400 that weighs about 2 lbs? Ridiculous. It's making me rethink my Fuji system, as much as I love it.

Up until recently I had a Panasonic G3 and a G5, with the kit lenses and a 45-150mm.

Great cameras, but both now replaced by my Olympus E-M10 (Mk I, ‘cause that’s what I could afford). Why?

Well, whereas, the Panasonics produced good results and they seem to produce marginally better lenses than Olympus (my opinion, based on the sample pictures in ePhotozine reviews), the Olympus is at least as good and not only has in-body stabilisation but I prefer the handling, well once you add on the optional grip. I'm not sure why, but I think it’s partly down to the position of the shutter release on top of the body (as on my old Pentax SLRs) rather than an inch or so forward, on the grip. Funny how something so small makes such a difference.

Coincidentally, I was reading this post while importing to Lightroom my very first photos made with a brand-new LX100.

Bought one to replace a Nikon V1 as my travel and carry-around discreet zoom camera, and from this first experience I think it's a nice upgrade, more than in image-quality. For me the main difference is the superior handling.

It's a joy to shoot with a LX100, almost Fuji-joyful. I'm liking the aspect ratio switch more than I predicted and I suspect it's a feature I will start missing on my other cameras. The only major drawback for me is the powezoom: I would much prefer a mechanical one which would be much more intuitive, fast and one less electronic part to break. Also there are some scary reports that the powerzoom act as a dust-vaccumm leaving the sensor full of dust specks. Don't know how much of this is the typical internet-drama since there are also so much happy LX100 users, but I will be extra careful with mine just in case.

Oddly enough I was posting on many forae (?) for a pairing like 12-35 / 35-100, then I wandered away from m43. I'm planning to revisit soon with GX85 or newer, and some of their lighter lenses; the 12-60 has an indifferent reputation but a good copy would serve 90% of my interests for very few cm³. I could wait for the faster, $$ier Leica model but small and 'sealed' is PGE for me.

-er Plenty Good Enough.

Strange, that in all these years, I have had zero association with Panasonic, except for batteries which have been universally excellent. So it is indeed, for me, a sleeper company. I think the reason I choose Olympus over Panasonic, in my one foray into m4/3, was simply the long pedigree & reputation of the former. But it was a close call.

I see you reference the Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8 from time to time. I think I took some of my best photos (ever!) over a 2-3 year time when it was coupled to a D2X.


I had convinced myself that I would save up my money to buy a Fuji camera when the X-10 goes on clearance for its replacement. I want the ability to shoot square and have portability to shoot what I see while just out and about in nature. I also want small lenses to shoot birds because birds make me happy. People don't. I'm an introvert. :)

Now I think I should really look at Panasonic for the quality to price ratio and your comparison to Mazda. My wife recently got a used Mazda5 and it drives great for a car that is half minivan, half station wagon. I've pretty much decided my next car would be a Mazda 3 based on all the great reviews it continues to get even as newer cars come on the market. And I've been a lifelong Honda guy before. Mazda has just taken over Honda's old ideals of engineering, good gas mileage and fun to drive. No one else seems to be putting in the money to engines and chassis like Mazda with Sky-active. I just hope Mazda can survive in a market where everyone else spends on marketing and economies of scale.

I want to start with a 50mm-equivalent and learn to see with that before buying other lenses. Panasonic seems to have a well-thought out model of offering a lower cost Panasonic lens and a similar Leica version that is even better, but more expensive. I guess I can always try a used LX100 and just leave it at 50mm-e.

I bought the Leica equivalent of the Panasonic LX-100 and love it. Have no idea of what difference there might be between the two makes as I bought the Leica S/H (via Ken Hansen).
But I give Panasonic huge credit for designing a camera where the photographer is given the choice of many different Aspect Ratios and making it so easy to choose.

I fell in the Panasonic trap, too. I was in the market for something small(er) to carry for casual use, and got a Nikon V1, with which I was soon disenchanted. Although the file s were remarkable considering the sensor size, noise free with a slight softness, the controls were impossible. Most of them totally lacked detents, and settings were changed by even a soft breeze, and it often got changed to a setting that when the shutter was pressed, fired off a burst of several dozen frames. I sold it, and again contemplated my navel, where I saw the term micro four thirds. About the same time Amazon had a special on the GF3 with the 14mm pancake and I thought Ill do this and just see what I think about the smaller but not too small sensor. I was amazed,although not up to my D3, I could still take a frame and print it at 17x25 and it would look amazing, really much better than the 800 and 1600 film I had shot back in the day. I was hooked. I soon had a GX7, and still do, and recently got an OMD-EM5ii. Like everyone else that has an olympus camera, I can tell you that they are well made and get great results, but require a PhD in engineer speak to wade through the mind numbing menus, which might as well be printed in hieroglyphics. The Panasonic is quite well made, and the menus are not inscrutable. And the lenses? I have the 10 and the first version of the 20, the 45-200 and the 7-14, along with the little kit lens that came with the GX7. All produce good results, especially the 20 and the 7-14, I don't know how much of the good is because of in camera processing, but they work well on the Olympus too, so who knows?

But I do remember when I was working in television in the seventies, Panasonic was a player in the video business, almost an equal with Sony. So they are not neophytes in the lens and sensor business.

When I first saw the GX7, I got it immediately and still carry it regularly. I'm not one to upgrade every new model, I mean geez, the audio hobby alone takes some $.

100% with you on the Mazdas. The 2017 CX 5 looks to be perfect for a 4 wheel drive wagon, er, I mean SUV. What would be more perfect (is there such a phrase as more perfect) would be the Mazda 6 as a 4 wheel drive wagon.

Mike, I've been quietly enjoying Panasonics since my first LX3. The G1 went to France with me after I took both it and my D7000 to Death Valley earlier that year. The G3 gave me some wonderful photos (and prints) and I shot a pair of G5s for a couple of years. I didn't bond with the G6, but the G7 is my main camera (and my partner loves the remaining G5).

The G5 and G7 in particular just work the way I think photographically and feel like they are part of me. They have their limits, as does anything, but, coupled with the light tripod that accompanies me when I'm shooting, they allow me to focus on taking pictures rather than arguing with the camera.

Now, I only have the Epson R3000, so I don't print larger than 13X19, but at that size, the prints are gorgeous. I've always been grateful that the Panasonics were, IMHO, under-rated. It meant that they could be bought for a more reasonable price.


Panasonic cameras may not take their styling cues from iconic 1960s designs, but, in a way that I find hard to describe, at a level subtler and more abstract than any specific look or signature shape, they sometimes feel more like spiritual heirs to those iconic designs than the stuff now being put out by the brands that gave them to us back in the day.

My L1 could have stood one more firmware update to address a couple of remaining quirks, and Adobe still is unable to convert the raw files without dots, and the viewfinder is somewhere between dreadful and aweful. But I love using the camera. It has 7 megapixels that are as good as any 10 megapixels and it just gets the microcontrast right. My Olympus has 'soul'. My Panasonic has 'soul'. My Canon 6D has the soul of a cargo van.

Funny, a while back when I finally decided to get into an ILC system for the digital age, primarily for casual landscape work while backpacking, I went with Micro 4/3, mostly as a result of reading your blog. Bought a Panasnoic G5 with kit lens on closeout for around $350. With the 20 mm 1.7, an adapted Pentax fast 50 and the 45-150mm zoom I couldn't be happier with the image quality and portability. Less thrilled with the 14 mm 2.5 but all in all wonderful kit.

I also drive a Mazdaspeed3, which besides being wrong wheel drive, has been a great car.

The Panasonic 35-100 on the Olympus EM5 MkII is probably my most used lens/camera combination. The Olympus menus are a pain, but after a year or so you find what you need, and it's OK. The 35-100 is magnificent (the 12-35 is fine, but I just don't use the shorter focal lengths as much).

For adapted MF lenses, I still use the GX7, which while elderly, is just the perfect size and form, and easy to operate. Were Panasonic to make a G85 with a better EVF, I'd upgrade. As it is, each succeeding generation seems to retain one essential flaw from the last, which mandates patience.

I've been shooting Pannys since the GX series began. I also have a Nikon D800 system, but rarely use it anymore -- It's a great system, but heavy, and for the sizes I print, and the style I shoot, I don't see much advantage to the large sensor.

My condensed travel kit, which fits in a Dopp (shaving) kit, includes three f2.8 zooms which cover 7-100 (14-200 equiv), a body, and a charger with an extra battery.

I wish another company -- Ricoh, with its Pentax brand? -- would move into the m4/3 space. A three-member consortium I think would be more stable, and have more industrywide clout, than the present arrangement. The m4/3 aspect ratio is the most flexible for smaller-sensor cameras, I think.

Sony may dominate Zeiss, but I'd hardly consider Leica the senior partner in their relationship with Panasonic. Panasonic is simply using the brand name and maybe some Leica expertise, but in terms of sales and financial clout, Leica wouldn't even be a major division of Panasonic.

I'm with Nigel, I really prefer the two f/2.8 Panny zooms to their Oly counterparts, too. The are optically excellent, too. Here are mine with my OM-D E-M1, as a sweet, fast f/2.8 two lens kit that covers 24-200mm and fits into a Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 bag about the size of a small loaf of bread.

My first mirrorless was a GF1 with the 20/1.7 lens. It was fast and compact, both features which were very welcome. Alas, the image quality wasn't quite up to DSLR levels, which at the time was something that made me prefer DSLRs. Still, it was great to hike on mountains with just the GF1 and two primes.

I think that Panasonic's name only attracts people in the know, having a somewhat low profile, little camera pedigree and not the boundary pushing tech that Sony has. Still, when talking video, Panasonic is one of the big ones.

[I agree, the GF1 sensor could be quite funky. That situation is almost reversed on the GX8 though...I actually prefer its files to those of some "better" cameras. As someone else also mentioned, I even like the high-ISO "grain." --Mike]

Mike, you didn’t mention toasters. Toasters are important electronic devices -- see the role they play in 'Red Dwarf". I remember when "National", in pursuit of recognition as they thrust into the audio market, changed their name to Panasonic. AT least they have stuck with that, no matter how inappropriate it is in connection with so many of their products.

As someone else mentioned, they have a long presence in the video camera market.
But still cameras? As you say, a traditional begun about yesterday.

And yes, they tried to get some traction with the "Lumix" brand, but everyone still calls them Panasonics. LOL.

I was an Olympus bloke back in the OM1 day, so when I finally switched to digital (rather late), I leaned towards Minolta (dying on its feet, but it supported W. Eguene Smith against corporate might and the yakuzi when he needed it) and Olympus. But the Olympus menus?

I saw the G1 in a store in Australia shortly after ti was launched, and said to my daughter, who was with me at the time, that she was looking at the future of photography. She said: "Yes, daddy," very dutifully -- sarky little miss! But a few years later, after I had eBayed myself into a G1 and then decided to move up, it was her introduction to photography.

I had a brief excursion into Olympus -- superior color to the G1 -- but the menus and general handling killed me. I now have a white (I live and work in the tropics) G6 and a GX7, and a range of lenses includes both the Panny 12-35 and its wonderful little bro, the 12-32 (the 12-32 for run and walk around, the 12-35 to impress clients! It actually is just that bit better, but it is very hard to see a lot of the time).

The GX7 is a funny camera. Love the shape of it, fits my hands nicely, control is excellent in the Panasonic tradition. But the EVF is tiny and a bit of a pain. The best thing though, is a glaring oddity. I remember reading somewhere back in the day that you admired a person for their strengths and loved a person for their weaknesses, in particular how they handled the weakness.

The GX7 has a serious weakness -- getting a flash into the hot shoe is a matter of wrestling it past the EVF. But even more -- the EVF really, really needs to accessory rubber eye piece for ease of use. With the accessory eye piece in place, you cannot fit a flash! So you have to take it off. BUT Panny thought of that and rose mightily to the challenge -- the accessory eyepiece comes with a string so you can attach it to strap lug (or strap) and let it dangle when you remove it! Wonderful! Every time I do that, I smile quietly to myself.

A G80/85 is in prospect in the coming year. I regard it as simply the best all round camera in the middle price range that exists today, regardless of format. Pity they don't do it in white or at least silver, here in the tropics your camera can run so hot it is almost painful to hold. Will I get it regardless?

The GH5 is not for me -- more video oriented, which I am not -- nd too expensive, but there is the prospect of the GX9 with the new shutter and IBIS and all…

I might be very tempted to break the bank for that, particularly if it comes in silver.

Cheers, Geoff

oh, and the Panasonic-Leica f2.8~f4 12-60 looks very interesting too. 2017 could be a very bad year for my bank account. :)

Cheers, Geoff

I don't get the Panny vs. Oly thing. Two excellent camera and lens makers working with the same mount - how can that not be good?

For example, if you want to work in the dim with fast lenses, it's a mix of Oly and Panny (and (P)Leica) lenses on Oly bodies. Of 16 primes (20, with Sigma), only the two 42.5 Pannys and the Oly 300 have IS.

I shot extensively with E-M5 and GX7 side by side. Whatever my body frequency and tics, I found no practical difference in their IBISes. The E-M5 II, however is a big step up in IBIS performance and the E-M1 II is supposed to be even better. I believe the GX8/85 is the same IBIS as the GX7.

So, for the most effective use of those speedy lenses in the dark, they should be on a recent OM-D body.

OTOH, for a compact casual/inconspicuous kit, the GM5 with 12-32 and 35-100 is light years ahead of an Oly Pen and awkward add-on VF. As a friend said "If it's going to be slow, it better be good.", and these lenses accomplish that. (BTW, the 12-32 @ 25 mm has higher center rez than the Oly 25/1.8 and 12/100 Pro.)

GM5 with 14-140 is a more attractive, easier to use and superior IQ combo than an E-PL6 with 14-150. In fact, the Panny 14-140 is quite a good lens, better than the Oly 12-50, where they overlap.

For those of us who find Focus Bracketing and HR Mode useful, the E-M1/5 IIs are light years ahead of the GX8/85. And I'm getting great results from those capabilities.
". . . the formidable Panasonic Leica 100–400mm . . . POWER O.I.S., which, with its reach of 800mm-e, must surely be among the very top choices for birders and other critter and sports photographers."

It seems to me that you, unintentionally, malign this lens with faint praise. Sure, I shoot critters, of all sizes and sorts, but that's because it's fun and they are there, but I don't go looking for them. I don't shoot sports.

Yet, I'm in serious LUV with this lens. It's great for people, for anyone not mesmerized by the HC-B model, and makes wonderful landscapes - of different sorts. With appropriate extension or achromatic C-U lens, it's a spectacular C-U/macro lens with huge working distance. I can see where it would not be your cuppa, but it is far from as limited in usefulness as you imply.
". . . whereas Panasonic definitely comes off as the junior partner to Leica. ...When people even remember there is such a collaboration at all, that is. Mainly it consists of Panasonic letting Leica rebadge its consumer cameras while jacking up the jack."

I'm not so sure about that. The SL body includes ay least one small piece of Panny tech. A patent application for a FF zoom in Japan by Panny makes many people think the identically speced Leica 90-280 SL zoom is a Panny design.

Anyone who thinks the Leica name on the Vario-Elmar 1.33-6.4/4.3-129 ASPH on some Panny ZS/TZ models means it was designed by Leica is a likely prospect for purchase of a large bridge. (My Panny ZS50 is a marvelous little travel camera, with a very good lens.)

Is it not possible that the two companies are using the Leica name to maximize sales and profits, with no concern for what you and I think about which is tail and which dog.

Hi Stephen,

Could have been the lens, too, not just GF1.

My 20/1.7 is distinctly softer than my Oly 25.1.8. Nice looking images, if you don't look too close.

But then, that's just two particular samples.


Panasonic also makes awesome "rice cookers".

BTW, I still use my GF1/20 combo ;-) specially like it's superb in-camera black and white mode.

I've owned a couple Panasonics since switching to m43 back in 2012 - first (very briefly) a GH2, then a G5 a couple years later. Neither was a camera that I loved - both felt a bit plasticky, with shutter sounds that didn't inspire confidence, and my preference for Olympus remained pretty strong. Also, I really think they should drop the Lumix brand for their ILC line - it's a name with too much consumer-y history, and keeps the Panasonic name from getting attached to professional equipment in the public's mind.

However, circumstances conspired to push me back in their direction. I got into photography in late 2003, primarily for wildlife (birds, mostly), and it was the one big thing I gave up when moving to m43 for my commercial shooting. I couldn't afford to keep both systems, and m43 lacked serious long glass until very recently. I rented the Olympus 300 F4 this spring, and loved the results, but it is both too pricey and too big and specialized for my needs.

The PanaLeica 100-400 got my attention in a hurry, but we're now in an era of Dual IS systems, where IBIS works with lens IS for better stabilization as long as the brands match, and I wasn't thrilled with any Panny body for much of this year. The GH4 has no IBIS and is still pricey if you don't shoot a lot of video; the GX85 has a problematic EVF (I think that's what The Other Nigel is referring to); the GX8 has the shutter shock problem and a fairly rudimentary IBIS system, etc.

Then the G85 was released right around the time that the E-M1 II's price was announced, and my path became pretty clear. I couldn't justify $2k for what/how I shoot, but $1k for the G85 with 12-60 is a comparative steal. The new metal front plate takes care of the plasticky issue, the EVF is up to E-M1/E-M5 II standards, it now has pretty effective 5-axis IBIS, and the new shutter should cure any lingering shutter shock issues. Plus, it does decent C-AF (with or without tracking) without needing PDAF. It might not have the E-M1 II's fancy full-res Pro Capture mode, but it does have 4K Photo that operates very similarly, and produces decent 8MP files. And it gets along famously with the Leica 100-400, and will get along even better with a firmware update next year.

The G85 now pairs with an E-M5 II in my daily shooting bag (replacing an E-M1), and pairs with a Sony RX-10 II in my "do anything" bag to give me 24-800 coverage in two camera bodies (14-800 if I add the Panny 7-14). It may still not be a camera that I love - like most Panasonics in my experience, it lacks any element of quirkiness necessary to produce strong emotional attachment - but it is a very competent camera in every way.

It bugs me that the M43 zooms are so slow; it's bad enough trying to think of a 24-70/2.8 as "fast", but when they ask me to think of a 12-35/2.8 as fast on a smaller sensor, I blow fuses. [It's the same speed. The size of the sensor makes no difference. f/2.8 is f/2.8 is f/2.8. --Mike] As we learned with 35mm, the point of smaller format includes both portability and faster lenses. A 24-70/2 might be tempting.

Also the 35-100/2.8s are, again, duplicating 35mm specs on the smaller format, rather than taking advantage of the potentials of the smaller sensors to make better lenses. As we learned with APS-C, 70-200/2.8 was standard because we could build them affordably, not because they were long enough; nobody wanted to sacrifice that 200/2.8 end on APS-C, and I don't want to in M43 either. Luckily Olympus makes the 40-150/2.8, which actually makes sense; why would anybody even look at a 35-100/2.8?

[It depends how you see, doesn't it? I once wrote a "review" of a Nikkor 180mm in which I drolly recounted my fruitless search for any subject that would be far away enough to take a picture with using the 180mm. The review concluded that even the moon was not far enough away and that therefore the 180mm was useless.

Of course this was tongue-in-cheek, but traditionally I've had trouble even with 105mm lenses. They're just too damn long; they can't "see." That's why I wrote the post recently about pictures being farther away up here in the Finger Lakes...I think I might actually be able to use a lens as long as the 35-100mm here, for once. It would be fun to try.

Of course, you're different...and this is why they make different lenses. But let me ask in return, why would you ever need a lens longer than the Panasonic-Leica 100-400mm? That lens certainly had no affordable/portable counterpart in 35mm, that I know of anyway. --Mike]

If Olympus decided to get serious about video we would be talking another ballgame. I sometimes miss my LX100 but like all cameras that too was a bit limiting at times. I had both a G5 and G6 but way too plastic for my tastes in the end despite many nice features.

Panasonic/Sony/Fuji and Olympus in my view are the new movers in camera progression. I really can't see myself going back to Cankon with their bulky systems. My new (used) Oly Ep5 is maybe my most favorite camera ever. So favorite I even sold off my Fuji's and it is my only digital camera now.

Despite the menus it is so well made, fast and better than I am that hopefully I will feel no need to upgrade for sometime now.

Must admit, I've never understood the angst over menus. I get the camera set up the way I like and then the only menu item I use much is "format". Is that so atypical?

Anyhow, count me aboard the Panasonic bandwagon. I replaced my many Olympuses with a pair of GX85s. Wonderful cameras, as intuitive and nearly invisible in use as any I've ever owned.

Mike, Have you seen the latest episode of Grand Tour, the new format of the old Top Gear now on Amazon Prime? The Mazda CX-5 is prominently featured - most entertaining.

In response to a comment you wrote:

"...I once wrote a "review" of a Nikkor 180mm in which I drolly recounted my fruitless search for any subject that would be far away enough to take a picture with using the 180mm. The review concluded that even the moon was not far enough away and that therefore the 180mm was useless..."

That's the funniest comment I seen on this site in quite some time! Actually, the Nikkor 180mm f2.8 is highly prized as an astrophotography lens:


What is amazing that Panasonic never made a dud camera. All their cameras are either good or excellent. I had gh2; despite of being a plastic fantastic it never failed and was a joy to use. Panasonic went through several versions of the same lenses fast; it was upsetting. But even first versions still work just fine and produce great results.
I have Oly now because I like 12-40/40-150 lenses and well done IS, but I have no love for em5.2 interface at all.

Panasonic has had that logotype since 1971.


It's Helvetica Black. A good, solid, modern, professional and timeless (and boring?) face.

It's popular face for logotypes shared with quite a few other companies (sometimes with a few tweaks): AGFA, American Airlines, Lufthansa, Microsoft, Blaupunkt, 3M, Scotch, JC Penny, Target, Crate&Barrel, Tupperware, The North Face, ...

and (perhaps) Olympus!


Perhaps the choice (and maintenance) of that classic logotype is a bit like their products: modern, understated, professional and (hopefully) timeless.

Right now the GX8 with the Pancake 20 mm f1.7 II is my go to street shooter. Got the GX8 with the 12-60 deal. That lens is a tour de force. Love the whole rig. Love the weight (came from Nikon), love the ergonomics.

The LC1 was called the "Getto cam" by One of it's users on the fourthirdsphoto Forum at that Time.

I Always felt that Panasonic designs cameras for Photographers by photographers. It's in the details - I have many Olympus cameras, Both 4/3 and m4/3 and they All have the Same lossy hotshoe cap. I never lost that cap of my Panny's


All this Panasonic praise reminds me of the few Lumix models I've used, and how good they were.

I still have an LX5 that I use for stitched panoramas in real estate work, and whenever I need something in between an iPhone and a Fuji XP1, which is very seldom. And the FZ200 I had was the perfect camera for a proud father of a kid in the marching band. Suddenly I had a prime subject who was always located a hundred feet or more away. My plastic, all-in-one camera looked just the same as every other parent's, circa 2013, but it had the advantage of f2.8 to deal with those dark winter nights. That FZ200 gave me images far beyond my expectations, in dim indoor lighting and bad stage lighting, as well.

Too bad -- or was it just perfect? -- that the FZ200 broke down within a few months of my kid's graduation? Come to think of it, my first LX5 became unusable when the rear control dial stopped doing anything. Those two cameras, used but not abused, seemed to die early. That doesn't give me faith in a big investment into Panasonic cameras. But when the price of the LX100 finally comes down (will it ever?), I expect to be tempted again.

Panasonic never made a DSLR. Therefore, they never withheld features from their point and shoot cameras in order get people to buy their DSLRs. They were the first to routinely put wide angle (28mm) lenses and image stabilization on point and shoot cameras.

2005 - Panasonic’s first P&S camera with 28mm, RAW and IS.
2008 - Canon’s first
2010 - Nikon’s first

I think Panasonic’s culture has always been to make everybody who buys one of their cameras happy with that camera. I honestly don’t think that is true of other camera makers in the past. Their goal was to make people buying their cameras want a bigger, more expensive camera.

I saw a new GX7 with the Panasonic 20mm lens advertised for 800 Dollars a couple of years ago. I ordered it on impulse and then made up my mind to return it because it wasn't something I thought I really needed. When the camera and lens arrived, and I picked it up and held it, I was lost. The combination seemed to fit my hand so well. Still love both the camera and the lens.

I own a number of micro four-thirds camera bodies and lenses... split about evenly between Olympus and Panasonic. When digital cameras were making great advances with each generation, my preference for each brand would see-saw as the companies fixed issues with its bodies and added features.

But now that things have calmed down a bit, I find myself with a distinct affection for Panasonics. That doesn't mean that I don't like Olympuses, however.

But I would like to mention something that hasn't been brought up thus far: Anecdotally, it seems that Panasonic camera bodies are generally more reliable than Olympuses. This doesn't mean Olys are lemons, but I see a fair amount of reports of issues with things like control wheels that stop working, LCD screens that crack or delaminate, etc. I'm not counting things like cameras being dropped and other accidents that are the fault of owners.

By comparsion, the only bad thing I've heard about Pansonics recently is that some of their fixed-lens cameras can get dust inside. I don't know if that's an ongoing problem. My LX100 has no issues. I read somewhere (Consumer Reports perhaps?) that Panasonic cameras are statistically the most reliable these days. I don't know if they're better than, say, a Canon 5D in that regard, but they're pretty darn good.

I recently picked up a GX85 and love it. I think it's a bit too small for lenses like the 12-35mm f/2.8, so I primarily use my primes on it. And that's why I'm consodering a G85 for the larger zooms. But, now that I've taken a good look at the GX8 with the 12-35 on it, I'm wondering if that might not be a better idea. Just how much of a problem is shutter shock? I suspect not that much.

It may be relevant to the reliability of Panasonic m43 cameras that they regularly offer 3year warranties with them here in UK. I bought a G1 with 3years and also GX7, never had to use the warranties though. I think it's usually coupled with when the price drops substantially.

A correction:

Jeff: "The sensor in the Leica Q, and likely the Leica SL, is designed by TowerJazz, which is owned by Panasonic."

Mike replies: I know TowerJazz was formed when Jazz Semiconductor was merged with Tower Semiconductor, but as someone who used to shop for jazz at Tower Records that name always startles me!

Kevin responds: The Leica sensor is (probably) made by TPSCo (TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co., Ltd) a joint venture of TowerJazz and Panasonic which is 51% owned by TowerJazz.

Panasonic doesn't own TowerJazz. They're two separate companies. Panasonic essentially sold a bit more than half of their foundry to TowerJazz which holds it in a joint venture company.

To do the deal Panasonic transferred its semiconductor manufacturing processes and capacity tools of 8-inch and 12-inch wafers at its Hokuriku foundaries to the joint venture, committing to buy its products from the TPSCo for a period of at least five years. I suppose it used the money to pay off capital on the plant as part of Panasonic's restructuring.


FWIW, I was the one who originally suggested that Leica was using a TPSCo manufacture custom sensor in the Leica Q on Leica Rumors. They then ran with it the next day as a new "rumor" without crediting me .



Leica are still being coy about naming who is designing/making the new full frame sensor (in the Q, SL and perhaps other recent Leica cameras) even though they disclaimed CMOSIS, Sony and Samsung as the manufacturer. That rather narrows the field.

It probably shares the same pixel design with the Panasonic sensor in the most recent top end Olympus and Panasonic still cameras though there may be some other TJ input too and probably some Leica requested customizations.

Regarding Bruce McL's comment that Panasonic never made DSLRs - they made two - the L1 (and Digilux 3 for Leica) as well as the L10 in the four thirds days.

I cut my digital teeth on a Digilux 3 ( I still use the kit lens on my E-M1) and other Panasonics like the FZ7 bridge/superzoom, the LC1 and the D-Lux 3 - and still marvel at the amazing results those small sensor cameras produce.

Unfortunately, I've had to switch to Olympus bodies because I like to use legacy 4/3rds lenses on m4/3rds bodies, but I do have my eye on possibly an LX100.

Panasonic bodies and lenses are a bargain that punch far above their weight. Sleepers? Yes. Absolutely.

Mike, I also wanted to add that like you, I have come to appreciate Panasonic quite a lot. I am currently shooting mostly with a GM5.

The pleasant surprise to me of Panasonic is that they figured out a modern tech-oriented UI/interface that actually *works for photographers*. Olympus current UI has become extremely messy. Sony's UI is also not quite all that.

The speed at which I can operate the GM5 is amazing. And they have pretty solid AF support along with camera response speed.

I started with Panasonic with the GF2 and the 20mm pancake. Since then, I've owned the GX1, G5, GX7, G6 and went on eBay and purchased the L-1. I loved their cameras, the interface, the looks and the lenses. However, I wasn't too fond of the four thirds sensor. Digital noise was a bit too extreme, But my real fallout with Panasonic was that I felt they were moving more into video, than stills.
In fact, the straw that broke the camels back for me was the GX8. Here, you have a Rangefinder-Styled body, with a Flip-Out screen.

A flip out screen, on a Rangefinder styled body?

I loved the GX7. I feel that that is the blueprint of what a MFT camera should be. To see the system become larger and more video friendly and catering to that type of user did it for me. I'm now a happy user of Fujifilm, but man, how I dream of a Panasonic/Fujifilm partnership, with a GX7 styled camera, with a APS-C sensor.

Until that day, I'll shoot Fujifilm, but I won't let go of my P/L25mm f/1.4 and my 20mm f/1.7.

For Steve Biro ...just to say before buying the GX8 have a try of the G80 it has new shutter, IBIS and feels imho great in the hand with both small and large lenses.
I think the G series is underspestimated but is very comfortable ...I bought the G7 but the G8 with not filter and ibis must be great value even if you dont use video?

Thank heavens those Olympus menus are so awful. Otherwise if the cameras could actually be used I'd be even further up than my neck with my edit backlog...

One of the photoweb's great self-perpetuating myths.

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