GX7 goes to Joshua Tree NP (along with 3 Nikon D800s!)

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by joeyjiang, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. joeyjiang

    joeyjiang Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    Thousand Oaks, California
    Joe Jiang
    My first post here, though I have been reading the m43 forums regularly for quite a while. I've been a nikon dslr shooter for the past 9 years and in the past 5 years I've been using FF nikons, namely the D700, D800 and D800E. I'm not a pro but photography is my biggest hobby and subject wise landscape is what I am most passionate about. I've been looking into m43s since about 6 months ago when a friend asked me for recommendations on upgrading (she shoots a crop canon dslr). I recommended the oly em5 wholeheartedly. From what I have read and seen, I think the em5 will give her much improved portability as well as improved image quality over her canon 350d. She later decided to stay canon as she did not want to deal with the trouble of having to sell her canon lenses. While doing the research on m43 for my friend, the thought of getting an m43 camera myself grew stronger and stronger, and finally about two months ago I bought a GX7 with the 14-42 kit lens, and also a couple of olympus primes (bought a 12mm f/2 from a fellow m43er 'macfish' here- thanks for an awesome lens!)

    The mirrorless/m43 was not totally new to me as I have owned a GH2 about two years ago and I loved the crisp and clean videos from it, though not too impressed with the stills. After I upgraded from d700 to d800e mid 2012, I sold the GH2 thinking with the d800e I no longer need another camera to take videos. The first thing I've found after getting the GX7 was that I love the video footage from it! Nikon D800 takes very nice videos too, but directly out of the camera, the videos from gx7 looks better to me with more pleasing color and sharpness. The auto focus in video is quicker and absolutely quiet (with my d800e, an external hotshoe mounted microphone still picks up a lot of focus hunting noises from the auto focus motor of the lenses - and these are called "silent wave motors":eek:). I've also been shooting stills of my family and the more I use the gx7 the more impressed I got.

    During the Christmas holiday break, we took a short 3-days trip to San Diego and Joshua tree national park with a couple of friends' families. I finally got some chances to put gx7 in action for some serious landscape shots:biggrin: Inspired by some flickr photogs especially this one, in the night we spend at Joshua tree, I and my two friends (two of us use d800e and the third uses a d800) headed out at mid-night to the arches near the White tank campground, planning to take some photos of the milky way. Once we got out of the hotel, we realized seeing the milky way would be impossible with the big, bright moon hanging above our heads:eek: It was close to freezing point after midnight in the middle of desert but it was quite some fun shooting the big rock under the moonlight and my flashlight (for light painting on the rock). I first took some shots with my d800e, and then put the little gx7 in work. To my surprise with the gx7 it was much easier to frame the pictures - even with the constant preview "off" I could see clearly the shape of the arch rock in the lcd, whereas through the d800s, neither the view finder nor the live view lcd showed much more light than total darkness! We had to use the help of the flashlights for framing.

    Shooting with the 12mm wide open, I was able to keep the ISO low at 400 with 25 sec of exposures. Note the yellow light on the rocks was from the moon, and the the reddish light was from my flashlight painting.
    The Arch @ Joshua Tree NP by Joe Y Jiang, on Flickr

    And of course, one with the big bad moon that shattered our dream of seeing the milky way:eek:
    Arch @ Joshua Tree (Big Bad Moon) by Joe Y Jiang, on Flickr

    I shot d800 with 16-35 f/4 lens with ISO2500 and the same exposure time, which yielded 2/3 stop brighter exposures. Here's one from the big camera:
    Joshua Tree NP Arch Rock under rising moon by Joe Y Jiang, on Flickr

    After the trip to Joshua tree, now I feel quite confident in gx7 as a very capable tool for landscape photograhy. As a matter of fact, I shoot gx7 90%+ of the time during the 3-day trip - that's 1300+ pictures vs. 102 pictures with d800e! Following are some more from gx7 around sunset before the night shooting and the day after under broad sunlight. All taken handheld with either the 12mm or the kit zoom.
















    One of the two friends shooting with me that night called and asked for a full resolution picture of those of the arch by my gx7. He said he likes it better than all the others from his and my d800s and he wants to print it out. I guess the tighter composition rendered the rock with a more immense feel:rolleyes:
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  2. Love the photos! One day I'll get to travel to the west coast and see sights like that.
  3. Serhan

    Serhan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 7, 2011
    Welcome tp mu43. Thanks for the post and excellent photos, very good introduction. I used gx7+12mm on our trip to NY in Nov and enjoyed a lot esp w/ silent shutter and quick/accurate af at night. As LL put it it is the best Panasonic camera...
  4. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    Wonderful images. It's a great park, and you've done it justice!
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Ah one of my favorite parks in the country. Great set and welcome to the family. :)
  6. Jaynometry

    Jaynometry Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 13, 2011
    Toronto, Ontario
    Incredible set!
  7. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    great stuff mate
  8. Duncan

    Duncan Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 31, 2013
    Terrific pictures, and welcome to m43.
  9. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    Wonderful pictures! Welcome to m4/3!
  10. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2013
    wonderful photos! I especially like the night shots... stunning!
  11. Web-Betty

    Web-Betty Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jun 16, 2013
    Beautiful shots! Thanks for sharing, and welcome to the forum. :)
  12. F/Stop

    F/Stop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2013
    West Virginia
    Brian Y.
    Welcome! Thank you for you insightful post. I have always had one question about light painting. And that is do you use the flashlight and actually "paint" from left to right or Vice versa? Do you ever re-paint an already painted section during the exposure? Are you faced with overexposing the painted areas of the frame?
  13. joeyjiang

    joeyjiang Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    Thousand Oaks, California
    Joe Jiang
    Thanks guys for all the kind words and the "thanks" (I'm still trying to figure out how to give "thanks" to posts:confused:)
    Happy to join the m43 community and I certainly have learned a lot about the micro 4/3 here!
  14. joeyjiang

    joeyjiang Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    Thousand Oaks, California
    Joe Jiang
    Thanks! Correct I was literally flashing at the arch from left to right. since my flash light (I was using a 200 lumen LED flashlight) does not cover the whole scene I had to go back to lid the piece of rock under the arch. The whole "painting" process took about 3-5 seconds during the 25 sec exposure, and you can do it any time in the middle of the exposure. Of course the actual painting time depends on how bright the flashlight is and how far you are from the object being painted. Just try to keep the left to right (or right to left) painting motion with a steady speed. It definitely sounds trickier than it is. Once you do it with a few tries, I'm sure you will get the hang of it.
    One thing to note is that you don't want a flashlight is too focused, which will more likely to make the painting results uneven if you are trying to cover large objects. An adjustable focus flashlight should help to deal with different situations.
  15. joeyjiang

    joeyjiang Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    Thousand Oaks, California
    Joe Jiang
    It's a great camera for sure! there are so many features that I find very useful coming from shooting dslr, and silent shutter is definitely one of them!

  16. joeyjiang

    joeyjiang Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    Thousand Oaks, California
    Joe Jiang
    it may not be very popular NP among general tourists, but I can't agree more with you and it is a landscape photographer's dream location!
  17. LivingLoud

    LivingLoud Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 8, 2013
    Maxim Guselnikov
    Very good! Thanks for sharing and welcome. )
  18. joeyjiang

    joeyjiang Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 2, 2013
    Thousand Oaks, California
    Joe Jiang
    Thanks Maxim. Always enjoyed your portrait work here:wink:
  19. nickthetasmaniac

    nickthetasmaniac Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 11, 2011
    #5 and #7 are stunning, all are fantastic :smile:
  20. kimo

    kimo Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Joshua Tree NP is a lovely place, as your photos show so well. We just returned from two days of hiking in the park. We slept in and missed sunrise but we were out for sunset. I love how the sunset seems to linger forever around there. Anyhow, nice set. Love the night shots with the arch.
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