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Boy was I wrong...

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by dixeyk, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I am a G2 owner and if you've read any posts as of late I have been talking about how great it is (and I still feel that way). That said, I just picked up a GF2 and have been...how shall I put this...shocked and surprised (in a good way). I am not here to yak about the GF2 but instead want to share something that has just occurred to me (and it is brand and for the most part model agnostic). Like may of you here I started with film, then digital point and shoots, that took me to advanced compacts, DSLRs and after lugging too much gear around Europe for a month I washed up on the shores of the Isle of mu-43 where I have made my home.

    I have gone through a few mu-4 models and brands and each has something to recommend them (your own preferences will vary). What I have just started to realize is that the much maligned GF2 is a great little camera. I don't mean it to be a cheerleader for Panasonic merely that I think in our rush to have more this and better that we have failed to see something that is right in our midst. The GF2, GF3 and I am sure the E-PM1 will follow the same model are what industry folks love to call "dumbed down". What they are however is very feature rich cameras with a simplified set of controls. I think we are often so caught up in being disappointed in what a new camera is not we often fail to celebrate what it is. If Panasonic had rolled out the GF2 or GF3 as the new LX6 people would be doing handsprings talking about the amazing IQ and interchangeable lenses etc. I have a GF2 sitting on my scanner and I can tell you that it is barely bigger than my LX3 was. I can throw my 14 or 20 on it put it in full auto throw it in my backpack I'm good to go.

    Now...I am someone that would have argued that I NEED to have lots of dials and buttons for manual controls but I realized after shooting with the GF2 that I might be really wrong about that. What I found is that I did a few things that quite a bit...change aperture, exposure compensation and zoom in for manual focus assist (using legacy glass) and to a lesser degree change ISO. Three of those things are attached to the single thumbwheel on the back. After a few days play I have started to realize that a simplified setup can work quite nicely for a lot of situations. I don't plan on giving up my G2 anytime soon but I am quite impressed with what a "dumbed down" camera can do. It is a real joy to use and I am sure the new E-PM1 will be much the same. Sometimes what I want to do is travel light and to have something that can shoot terrific images (and the ability to shoot HD video is a nice bonus). The other thing I have noticed is that I tend to shoot the GF2 in a different manner than I do my more traditional camera. I use it as a way of documenting stuff much like I would use my phone camera. It's been very interesting. Pictor has a terrific thread he started regarding the oft overlooked GF3 (over on SC). Its a great read and really inspired me to think about this stuff.

    Now to be PERFECTLY CLEAR...this does not apply to everyone. It may only apply to a few folks or maybe just me. If a fully blinged out E-P3 is your thing more power to you (it is a truly amazing bit of gear). Each of must decide what they want and what they are comfortable with. FOR ME the small point and shoot simplicity (but with a touch more functionality) is something that I am finding that I like quite a lot. I am not talking about ultimate IQ, shadow noise, moire, OOC JPEGs or anything like that. I am sure there are tons of better options that fulfill every tech prerequisite for a great camera but the small size, simplicity and good enough quality are great for me.

    [​IMG]

    GF2 with 50/1.4

    Not bad for a toy huh?
     
    • Like Like x 17
  2. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    I agree

    I have a Canon 40D with some decent lenses that I use for "serious" shooting. It has a battery grip and I own all the other "must have" goodies - tripods, studio lights, reflectors, massive bounce flash, etc., etc. I love the :43: cameras because I can choose to do lots of manual set-up on the camera OR I can simply set it and forget it in iauto and take photos at the spur of the moment for pure enjoyment. I install the pancake lens and drop it in a pocket and I'm set. The simplicity of the "dumbed down" camera is a huge bonus. I am having a great deal of fun with these cameras. :bravo-009:
     
  3. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi kevin,

    Excellent read, I always enjoy a well expressed opinion. Just one correction, the thread on SC was started by Pictor: The forgotten Panasonic GF3

    For a minute there I thought Gary had snuck a new camera in on us...:cool:

    Alan
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    1) It is nice to be mistaken for such an excellant photographer as Proctor.

    2) But it was so well written that it could have been me. :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Often I shoot in "A" sometimes "T" ... and that seems awfully simple to me. I mean how much simpler can it get (I've never tried iauto.)?
     
  6. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
    Very, very interesting post. I was going to create a thread myself gushing about the GH2 (like you, I was lucky enough to pick up one on sale last week) but I see you've beaten me to it.

    You hit on most of the things that I really like about the GF2. Let me amplify on a couple of them:

    SIZE
    The GF2 is indeed small, but most of all it's thin--which I've come to realize is the most important dimension. It's the thickness that determines how easily the camera can slide in and out of a pocket, and with a thin prime like the Panny 14mm attached the GF2 is about as thin as it gets. (An aside: in this regard, Sony gets it right . . . making the NEX super-thin allows them to attach their gigandous lenses and still keep the camera semi-pocketable. If they ever were to produce a decent pancake prime like the 14mm it would be amazing.)

    SCREEN:
    I was prepared to hate the touchscreen (because, well, I'm an old fart)--but I've been pleasantly surprised at what it can do. In fact, for some operations it's practically been a revelation.

    Touch-and-shoot, for example. After reading thread after thread extolling the virtues of the E-P3's ability to touch the screen and take a picture, along with its super-fast focusing, I was nearly ready to bite the bullet and splurge on this 'game-changing' technology. I completely forgot that the GF2 does this too. So one of the first things I noticed when I charged the battery and powered up my GF2 for the first time was "touch/shoot" icon on the screen, and I gave it a whirl.

    All I can say is: wow. It IS sort of game-changing. Coupled with the 14mm focus is nearly instantaneous, and almost always spot-on. It was loads of fun to sit down in the middle of a group of people and snap candids by just tapping the screen. Focus is definitely slower with the 20mm, but pretty darn quick with the 14-45mm kit zoom and 40-150mm Olympus. Certainly quicker than anything I'd experienced with the E-PL1 or G-1. Like I said, with the 14mm it's blazing.

    But there's more. Because you can view the screen from a pretty steep angle, good enough to see what you want to tap, you can use this feature to snap pictures when the camera is held at odd angles, not simply in front of you. For example, this picture of my dog, taken by holding the camera near her face and tapping. I could barely see the LCD when I took the picture, but good enough to locate her eye:
    Ruby-1010041.

    Now obviuosly a tilting or tilt/rotating screen would be the cat's meow, but this touch/shoot capability gives the fixed screen MUCH more flexibility in taking odd-angle shots, and having confidence they'll be in focus.

    It's not like the camera is without limitations. Compared to my E-PL1 its harder to use with longer, heavier lenses--including the 14-45mm, which is a shame--and the lack of an EVF or even a good add-on EVF means I'll always prefer the E-PL1 for this. And the touch screen sort of sucks for simple navigation, choosing options, etc.--if you're used to the super-slick navigation interface of an iPhone or iPad, for example, you'll be very disappointed at the way the GF2 touchscreen works.

    But all in all it's an amazing camera. Just like you wrote, I find I use it differently than my other m43 gear, and it's been loads of fun. It's definitely a keeper!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Same here, Gary. I'm also a big fan of Av and Tv, although I often shoot in M as well. ;)
     
  8. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Forget about the GF2 (lol) ... is that pooch a Wheaten?

    134911473_sX3vx-XL-1.
     
  9. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Hey Ned, probably 50% M, 45% Av and 5% Tv pour moi.

    G
     
  10. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Tom
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    That's not too far from me, Gary. Maybe switch Av and M around, maybe not. ;)
     
  12. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    LOL ... yeah ... same thing.
     
  13. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    321
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    I like my GF2, too.
     
  14. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Dang it...I realized it was Pictor and not Gary Ayala as soon as I hit the Freeway on my drive to Seattle. Not sure what I was thinking.

    Fixed...love that I can do that on my iPhone
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Interesting!
    I say this because NEX systems are often criticized for lack of manual controls.

    But it works for you :smile: :cool:
     
  16. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I thought the biggest complaint about the NEX was the UI and that getting to the manual controls was not intuitive (although I have no experience with the NEX). Is there anyone with NEX experience care to comment on that? I'd love to hear it from a user. I understand the new "peaking" capability is really something else. The only time I saw a NEX I remember being struck with how nice the LCD was. My experience with the GF1 has made me think that the NEX would be an interesting camera to play with.

    FWIW the GF2 is not lacking in manual controls just the physical buttons. As far as I can tell it has as much control as the G2 does...you just need to use the touch screen to get to some of them. Now up until recently I would have said that the lack of physical control buttons was a real problem but I was wrong.
     
  17. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    I love the portrait of your dog.
     
  18. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    I own a NEX-3. And to be brutally honest, it took me longer to learn my E-PL1 interface than it did with my NEX-3. That being said, the most taxing user interface for me is that which is on my Sigma DP2......:biggrin:
     
  19. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
     
  20. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    827
    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    Cockapoos rule!

    ZoeFace-small.