Advice on Panasonic cameras please?

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by mmacleodbrown, May 28, 2011.

  1. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown New to Mu-43

    May 22, 2011
    Hi everyone, found myself wandering over here from serious compacts..

    OK, could do with some help clearing things up.
    I was looking at getting a m4/3 camera, but decided to stay with my K20D.
    However, I do think it might be a good idea for my partner as she is new to photography and might appreciate the size and innovative features that the Panny's bring to the table.

    First of all, a viewfinder is a must, so that is the Olys out of the window..
    (I know one fits on the hotshoe)
    Im finding the Panny range confusing to be honest
    The differnces between the G and GH cameras as they seem to be very similar? Im ignoring the GF as no VF
    GH2 = 16MP
    GH1 = no touchscreen
    ISO generally up to 6400 apart from the GH1
    Articulating LCD - that means it is a swivel one that can be moved?
    From people that follow the Panny range, are some models regarded above others, I don't think video will be that important, though a combination of touchscreen and EVF might. Even I was impressed when I read about the 'touch to focus' feature.

    I have been looking at G10, G2, GH1, GH2, I think the G3 will just be out of budget for me..

    Also, can I take Oly m4/3 lenses and use them on Panny cameras with full functionality?

    Thx for any advice
  2. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    cross the G10 off your list. It was so bad compared to the others in the G line Panasonic discontinued it soon after it was released. Unless you can find it for around $200 i don't think its worth the money.
    The GH1 is on sale now, so thats a good choice for the money. if the G2 is much cheaper than the GH1 then i could see you justifying getting that.
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Oly lenses will work fine on a Panny, but do not have built-in image stabilisation because the Olympus cameras have sensor-based IS. The current touchscreen VF options are the G2 and GH2. The GH1 doesn't have touchscreen but is still available new online at great prices direct from Panasonic. There is a current thread somewhere here that tells you how to get them. The GH2 was the first m4/3 model with a noticably upgrade sensor but is the most expensive entry into m4/3.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown New to Mu-43

    May 22, 2011
    OK, that is good to know..

  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Real Name:
    GF series are the most compact. GF2 is a simplified GF1.
    G series are the GF with an integrated viewfinder, sort of. You'll either get a G2 (12mp) or G3 (16mp) when it arrives. They have a fixed aspect sensor and touch screens. The G3 will be cheaper than the GH2.
    The GH series have a multi aspect sensor. So they maintain a higher megapixel count for 3:2, 1:1 and 16:9. They're the "Pro" m4/3 cameras at present. The GH1 is discontinued but still available at bargain prices in the US. Until the G3 arrives the GH2 has the highest megapixel count, best dynamic range, fastest autofocus and handling. But it's bigger than the G series.

    So if you can get your lady a G2 at a good price I think that will be ideal. If you get her a GH2 she'll probably end up with your Pentax... :)

  6. The one camera not mentioned is the G1.These are sort of considered obsolete now, but they are really nice and have the viewfinder and articulated LCD. No touch screen but that's no big deal. I used one for a week and really liked it. In many ways it's a better stills camera than the GH2 I ultimately purchased. It's simpler and more direct to use. It would be a better camera for someone not so experienced with photography.

    These were available on Warehouse Deals @ for $400 with the 18-45 lens, which is alleged to be the sharpest zoom Panasonic makes. However that deal is not available right now but it could return.

    My $0.02.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Between Olympus and Panasonic, they seem to have worked especially hard to make this decision difficult!

    As you mention, Oly no fixed viewfinder (and the accessory one is quite expensive), but better compatibility with four thirds lenses. Built in image stabilization that helps with legacy lenses. Also, Oly seem to have no path of what model is what. Currently, the cheapest model has better controls and image quality than the more expensive ones. WTF?

    As for the Pannymodels, there appears to be more logic to the lineup. GF is the compact, rangefinder style, G is the standard line, and GH is the high end line, with a particular focus on video. Then the numbers generally signify the generation, with "10" being a lower spec version. Note that the GF2 is only considered a "downgrade" on enthusiast forums because the GF1 was so much beloved. Aside from the touchscreen (which is a matter of personal opinion) it is indeed better in just about every way than the -1.

    The -1 models are not very compatible for AF of four thirds lenses:
    Compatibilities of DMC-G1, DMC-GF1 and DMC-GH1 | Compatibility | Digital Camera | Product Support | Support | Panasonic Global

    Generally, all Panny models have faster AF with native lenses than the Oly's do. As you have noticed, models with fixed (and very good) EVFs are available. Many people prefer the UI of the Panny, but have to use lenses with IS if you want it, obviously at extra cost. Panasonic lenses generally score higher than the Oly equivalent though surprisingly enough.
  8. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I think you mean 14-45.
  9. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    I agree with the gist of Boatman's post. Panasonic re-used exactly the same sensor originally included on the G1 with many of its later cameras. The standard 14-45mm kit lens on the G1 was/is extremely good. My understanding is that the GH2 was the first new model to be a genuine improvement, purely as far as taking photographs is concerned. In my opinion if you want a decent viewfinder, your choice ought to be between the G1 and the GH2.

    Regarding adapted four thirds lenses, I'm forced into manual focus when my 11-22mm lens is attached to the G1. However, it's not only slow to autofocus on my E-P1, but the results aren't reliable either. You won't really get fully functional autofocus whatever camera you choose. But it's still possible to produce very good results.
  10. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown New to Mu-43

    May 22, 2011
    Some very helpful comments.
    From the comments earlier, I had sort of decided on the G2, as the GH are too expensive.

    I was looking at ebay, but then saw I can get a G2 for £379 or £361 so that has jumped into the lead pending further research.

    I will look into the G1...

    Thank you for your help so far everyone, you have helped clear up a few things
  11. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown New to Mu-43

    May 22, 2011
    Oh well, that plan backfired slightly..

    Took my missus down to Jessops so she could try some camera's, get a feel for the size, weight etc.

    She wasn't the slightest bit interested in the the Panny's, I had to make her look at them, all she wanted to look at was Canon. so it looks like no m4/3 in our house..

    I was surprised as I thought the size and touchscreen would really swing it, but as she has a Canon P&S, she immediately felt at home with the menu system etc.

    Have to say, I was impressed with the G2, nice size and feel, good control system as well, its just a shame about the sensor size as there is no point me getting one with the K20D, just have to wait for the rumoured K mount 4/3 from Pentax
  12. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    FWIW, I bought a GH2 for video and planned to keep my K20D for stills. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the GH2 matches the K20D's still image quality while having much better AF. I sold the K20D. There's more about this in my blog if you are interested - link in my sig.

    my iPhone sent this
  13. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown New to Mu-43

    May 22, 2011
    An interesting point and in some ways I agree with you with one exception. My 2nd wife is my macro lens, I just couldn't bear to be parted from my 105mm and I don't really see anything around to replace it in the 4/3 world
  14. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Leica 45 f/2.8 macro - with the 2x sensor factor, it's equivalent to a 90 mm macro on full frame. Is the extra 15 mm focal length a big issue for the pictures you do? If so, you can use the exceptional Zuiko 50 f/2 with an adapter.
  15. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    My first wife's second husband is a Tamron 90 F2.8 Macro for her Pentax K-x. I borrowed it and tried on the GH2:

    There is some green in the world by john m flores, on Flickr

    And the vaunted DA35 F.28 Macro Limited does quite well on the GH2 too:

    There is beauty in death by john m flores, on Flickr

    If anything, angling the rear touchscreen to a handy point of view and then setting the focus point and tripping the shutter by tapping the rear screen is so much easier than crouching close to the ground, peering through a tunnel, and then choosing one of only 11 AF points.

    Dont get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of Pentax glass and hope to get a K-5 for them someday. But the GH2 and M43 in general has been a happy revelation...
  16. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown New to Mu-43

    May 22, 2011
    Hi John - please stop!
    Im a known sufferer of Gear Addiction Syndrome, and your comments aren't helping.
    I went out to buy my missus a camera and now I have a nagging desire to buy another body.
    The extra 15mm isn't an issue, but the cost of the lens is!
    Im presuming if I use my Pentax glass, it is MF and Manual apperture. Do I have to take extra steps such as manually stopping down?
    How do you find operating large glass on such small bodies..

    I shall of course ignore all answers as Im really not interested in a capable small backup body such as the G3..

    /Goes off and closes eyes\
  17. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    pssst....hey mmacleodbrown...

    [ame=]Panasonic GH2 EVF demonstration on Vimeo[/ame]
  18. mmacleodbrown

    mmacleodbrown New to Mu-43

    May 22, 2011
    Damn you Sir
    My wallet and I curse you :)
    Very interesting video..
    goes off to read up on the G3 again..
  19. broadway

    broadway Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 27, 2011
    The DA lens don't have an aperture control so can only be used at there smallest aperture.

    I bought a G1 and double lens kit, they go for around £425. I may consider replacing it with the G3 and keeping the 14-45 lens. More than happy with the weight loss compared to the K10D an 16-45.

    You can get the manual 50mm and 100mm pentax f4.0 macros for a lot less than the 45 f2.8. Performance is not that different to my old K10D kit that I am downsizing from. I am also finding that I don't have the exposure problems that I got using my M lens on the K10D.
  20. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    For DA lenses, I've got a Pentax K-M43 adapter with aperture control. The adapter has 5 or 6 stops so I can shoot either wide open or 5 or 6 clicks from wide.