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few questions about GF1

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by banana101, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Hello! I'm new to the forum - I've been lurking for a little while and the forum seems brilliant so thought I'd join as everyone seems very helpful :redface: Briefly, I'm a photography noobie/beginner, but I've been looking at the GF1 for some time and researching into it a lot and really like it.

    1) Would it be hard to grasp how to use the GF1? Provided I've not used an SLR before - I would get a higher end compact instead but I want something with more scope for progression and I feel like the GF1 provides this.

    2) How sturdy/fragile is the camera? I'm scared I might drop it!

    3) I read somewhere that there's no zoom on it, meaning that you have to literally get close to the subject to have it seem that way on the LCD. Not sure if this was a dodgy source or not but can anyone shed light on this? (this is referring to the camera with toe 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens)


    Thanks on advance!! Oh and, would it be safe to buy the camera off, say, ebay, as opposed to an actual camera shop? I've seen some going for decent/cheaper prices on ebay but I'm not sure if I should buy off there as I'd probably have no warranty/guarantee etc. I feel a bit worried because I've been reading quite a few pages back on this thread and have read about people with issues with like.. a strange 'banding'/'wiring' effect down their camera, and sensors getting dirty etc and if I was to buy off eBay I'd find it harder getting these sort of things seen to :( or at least it feels that way ha.
     
  2. cbrock

    cbrock Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Feb 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Hello and welcome to the forum!


    I'll go through your questions one by one here.
    1. The camera can be as easy to use as a point and shoot if you put it in full auto mode, but at the same time gives you room to grow as a photographer since it does have all of the manual settings you will find in almost any SLR. My recommendation is to start with automatic and move your way through the different modes, learning about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, lighting, ect. Take lots of pictures too! it's digital, so there is no wasted film on bad pictures.

    2. Its built very solid. There are several accounts of members dropping their cameras and them surviving with only cosmetic damage. I would still keep it on a leash though. Make sure you always have either a wrist strap on or the neck strap.

    3. If you only have the 20mm prime lens, then yes, there is no zoom on the camera. However, there are different zoom lenses available. The other kit lens is a 14-45, which I don't have yet (but its on its way) but you could always purchase one lens and buy another later. The prime 20 is a great lens though. Good in low light and a nice multipurpose lens. It is a little strange getting used to not having a zoom all the time, but it takes wonderful pictures.

    4. Ebay can be reliable, but there really isn't any returns on a lot of things. If you buy from a seller with a good rating, you'll likely end up with a good product. I buy and sell stuff all the time online. The amazon marketplace is a good place to find used electronics as well, since they do have a 30 day return policy on everything sold.

    I haven't read about the banding so I can't comment on that. (I don't have this problem with my camera)

    I also have read that the sensor on the :43: cameras does not attract dust like most DSLR sensors do, so this is not as big of an issue, and it can always be cleaned (I would bring it to a camera shop for that though). Always change lenses with the power turned off on the camera to avoid dust on the sensor.


    We're all here to help, so feel free to ask any questions you have
     
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  3. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    A friend of mine bought a GF-1 at the beginning of the year and he is coming off the back of several years of camera phones and he's slowly getting the hang of it. I met up with him after he'd had it a few weeks and he'd been doing alright with it other than he'd taken A LOT of blurred photo's. It was only when I took the camera off him I worked out why.

    He'd left the camera in AV mode, assuming that "A" meant Auto settings! I stuck it back in iA mode and had a quick run down of the mode dial letters and gave him the GF-1 handbook that I'd bought off Amazon so I think he should do fine.

    Other than that blunder, I can't really see any reason that you, or anyone, would struggle to get the hang of the GF-1 :) I had a Canon G10 as my compact camera prior to getting mine and I managed to get my other half using that fairly competently within a few days on holiday and she was a real luddite.

    I agree with cbrock, but I'll pad it out to how I like to explain it. :lol:

    Start shooting in iAuto for when you're taking pictures that might be important/keepers. That way you won't get frustrated at the camera because pictures you really wanted haven't come out.

    When you're at home and have time to kill, set up a little subject (toy cars, salt & pepper shakers, beer bottles... anything) on a table/desk, stick the camera in one of the semi-manual modes ("A" Aperture Priority is probably as good a place as any to start) and start taking photo's of the same thing at different f/aperture settings and take notice of how different the whole picture looks (background, subject and everything in between) and the different settings the camera assists with.

    That's the beauty of shooting digital. You can take 10 photo's of a toy car, setting a different aperture each time, in under 2 minutes. Then load them onto your computer, compare each one and also see/read the different camera settings which were used each time! It's a fantastic learning tool.

    And buy a photography book/magazine to explain what/why things are happening as they are when you're taking these photos or even just ask on here. There's any number of members who will have been there, done it and now have the knowledge to put you on the right track.

    Most of all enjoy it :)
     
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  4. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    Production has been discontinued and that's why they're going cheap. It's a great camera and I bought mine via ebay less than two weeks ago. Many of the ebay sellers get hold of remaining copies and often separate the camera body from its kit lens. Both the 20mm and 14-45mm alternative lenses that were shipped with the camera are truly excellent. There has never been a better time to buy and as cbrock (above) states, an ebay reputation has to be earned in the first place.

    I found the grip on the GF1 to be quite comfortable. I also own an E-P1 and there are so many knobs and buttons on that I've changed settings by accident and only realised afterwards. You should get a padded bag for the camera as a priority, but £30 should cover it. Best of luck.
     
  5. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    How much have you been looking at the cameras for?

    Curry's (so I'd imagine PC World may too) has the GF-1 with 14-45mm lens for £399 currently if you'd feel better receiving it in your hand.

    EDIT: Doesn't seem like they have them online, but my local store has one on the shelf so maybe worth ringing around
     
  6. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Oh! Why has production been discontinued?! Does it shed any light on the quality of the camera or is it just not in demand? I'm not sure why but that's worried me a bit hah!! Thanks for the info! I'll makre sure to get some protection/padded baggage for it :)
     
  7. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Oh that's cool!! I've seen them for between 300-400 ish. Preferably trying to stay closer to the 300 mark but I understand that its a quality camera and that might not be possible! Also I'm wanting it with the 20mm lens but I haven't had a look at curries - though now I will :)
     
  8. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    It has been superseded by a camera that offers full HD. That doesn't matter to me at all. From what I can gather, the GF2 is not otherwise enhanced at all and has been described in some quarters as a dumbed-down version of the GF1. The E-P1 is also a really good camera and the same thing happened to that. A new camera comes out every few months or so. I'd rather lenses took priority, but the industry doesn't work that way.
     
  9. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    As said, it's just been replaced by a newer model. The GF-1 as a model is over a year old now and there's plenty of perfectly good cameras who's product life is a lot shorter than that.

    Not sure if you've used this site, but it's a decent place to do blanket price comparisons Digital SLR, SLR System & Medium Format Cameras at Camera Price Buster - find the cheapest UK photography prices

    If you're certainly keen on the 20mm, it might work out cheaper to buy the camera & 20mm lens then purchase the 14-45mm separately. As a rough guide the 20mm is around £260 and the 14-45mm around £200 on their own.

    EDIT: Also, going in a slightly different direction, have you considered the Sony NEX series? There's some real bargains to be had, especially on the NEX-3 camera.
     
  10. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Thanks for the website! Are all of the stores listed on there safe to buy from? The GF1 body-only costs 199.99£ at 'ABC Digital Cameras' but I'm not sure how safe that store/website is to use! And it also linked 'cameraworld.co.uk'

    I've not had a look at the NEX series - I'll have a look now but I don't think my choice will sway much, I've been looking at the GF1 for quite a while! Thanks again :)!
     
  11. MichaelShea

    MichaelShea Mu-43 Regular

    108
    Jan 27, 2011
    Algarve, Portugal
    I bought a red GF1 body from Park Cameras for the same price recently and was completely satisfied by the service and the camera itself. But it looks as though they've run out of them and confirmed that the model has been "discontinued". So I can only advise you to act fairly quickly, because the same thing will happen elsewhere.
     
  12. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Ok cool I'll keep that in mind thanks! I'm being a bit picky and specifically want a black one, not a red or a silver. It's a shame that eventually they'll be hard to find (unless on ebay etc) when the camera still (at least seems to be) a brilliant one!
     
  13. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    798
    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
    Lisa
    All cameras get replaced sooner or later, seems the product lifecycle for point & shoot is 6 months, m4/3 and lower end DSLR 1 year, high end DSLR 2-3 years. It doesn't mean the older versions stop taking good pictures, it just means the manufacturers have come up with "improvements". It's all good.
     
  14. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Ah fair enough then :) Nice flickr album btw, I like the one of sissinghurst(?) cottage on the first page and now I'm going through the others :tongue:
     
  15. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Thanks for the great info :) I'll take your recommendations into consideration and probably will start in auto mode, then. Would it not give me control over things like depth of field etc if I did that? I know little bits about aperture etc and have been trying to read info about sensors/mm/shutter speed etc but some of it goes right over my head! Maybe if I get the camera and start using it it'll be easier to familiarise myself with the different concepts!

    And yeah there doesn't seem to be any return on the items that I've seen on ebay. I'm slightly worried in case it messes up, would I still be able to take it into a camera shop provided I might not have bought it from one?!
     
  16. m1pui

    m1pui Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Dec 30, 2010
    Sunderland, UK
    AFAIK, they're all safe bets. I don't think any are fly by nights or importers posing as UK stockists. Most of those are also advertised in the popular photography magazines too so they're probably doing something right.

    Again, bare in mind that the body is £199 but then the lens, assuming you buy new, is going to cost you at least £199 again (and thats for the "cheaper" 14-45mm as opposed to the 20mm) so you could end up paying more than just going for a kit. Although prices have changed since, I had a page full of figures and calculations trying to work out which route of buying worked out best value! lol

    IMO, this is the best value package. GF-1 & 20mm £399 - Cameraworld

    I had an internal debate about the GF-1/NEX-5 too. The main sway at the time was Sony's VAT back offer before Christmas, but in the end I just couldn't bring myself to love the NEX with brief plays in various shops, whereas the GF-1 always felt right in my hand
     
  17. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Thanks so much! I've been looking at the cameraworld link and they even have a shop on Oxford Street (near it, at least) so I might pop by in a few days, hopefully they'll still have some remaining considering it says there's limited stock :\
     
  18. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Oh and also!, how quick is it to focus? I mean as in.. if you're walking down a street and see something and quickly want to take a picture but need to change the aperture/focus, can you do this fairly quickly or is it tedious? Only I was using the Canon G7 today and on that all you do is twist the dial and I found that incredibly simple (in a good way of course)!
     
  19. KIT

    KIT New to Mu-43

    7
    Feb 28, 2011
    west sussex....UK
    I got my GF1 from Harrison cameras Tel...08000 484854 (UK) body only £270 and no problems, delivery was 24hrs.Super bit of kit and eeeezy to use having read David Busch's book on the GF1 (Amazon uk).
     
  20. banana101

    banana101 Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Mar 5, 2011
    London
    Hey! Thanks but I already got mine and I agree it is a super bit of kit! I love it, although I'm still getting used to it and haven't exactly learnt how to use all of the settings/features yet :)