Initial Thoughts of G5 for Low Light

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by dhewie84, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. dhewie84

    dhewie84 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    Wow, after just a couple hours, I've got to say I'm very happy with the purchase so far. I'm coming from a Panasonic FZ7, and the decision to upgrade comes from some frustration with indoor photography. The pics were fine, but I never really cared for the look. Faces are too glowing from the flash, and yet the room is dark behind the subject. No possibility of shooting without a flash since even ISO 200 doesn't look very good, and the shutter speed would have to be at about 12 years. And don't get me started on the shutter lag with the flash. Trying to take some pictures at my son's birthday party (at a large building with inflatable slides) was an exercise in futility.

    Admittedly, I only know enough about exposure to be dangerous. I intended to learn how to use all of the manual features, but most of the time I ended up using Auto after the thrill of the new purchase was past. Even though I finally decided on the G5 as apposed to the FZ200, I was nervous. I still got the impression from my research (contrary to all the great pictures I found) that I might not be happy with the camera in low light, at least without investing in more lenses (it came with the 14-42mm and 45-150mm) and possibly an external flash. Well, to other people like myself that are coming from a more simple camera and minimal photography skill that might be concerned that a G5 won't be good enough for low light photography; let me put your fears to rest. If you are coming from something 5+ years old at least, this one is light years better.

    Now I would consider our living room well lit with four canned lights, but with the old FZ7, I'd have to go ISO 200 (400 is worthless), wide open at 2.8 Aperture, and a painfully slow shutter speed of like 1/5 to take a shot without flash. I'd be lucky to keep the camera steady enough, let alone heaven forbid if one of the kids is moving. Once I got the battery charged on the G5, my first task was to see what flash free settings would net me a nice picture. I was tickled to find I could get a nice shot with ISO 1600, 3.5 aperture, and a shutter speed of something like 1/50. Next I tried some shots with flash. Holy crap is this thing fast! I attempted to take a few pics of the cat that didn't want to hold still, and I was actually able to capture like 5 out of 6 with good clarity and framed decent since I didn't have the shutter lag. Next I went to the basement and took pictures at one end where there is just one incandescent light; and took shots all the way to 12800 without the flash. While they are noticeably noisy above 1600 ISO, they are still not bad at all for web viewing, and may even be good enough for 4x6 printing.

    Build on the camera seems good. The lenses attach easily and fit well. It's very similar to the FZ7 in shape and function, so that was nice. The size of the camera is almost the same, save for the extra lens length. I had briefly thought about going with a dslr, but didn't like the weight of my dad's Nikon D80 at all. This camera is just about perfect. It's light enough, but has enough heft to let you know it's there. One minor complaint that I've seen elsewhere, is the lenses seem to stick a bit when zooming out. I installed the included PhotoFun software. The pictures downloaded quickly, but otherwise the software doesn't seem too great. I put it on our laptop, and wanted to be able to open pictures from our other computer through the network, but it seems that is not an option as it will only register folders on the hard drive. If anyone can tell me otherwise, that would be great.

    It's really too soon to give my full opinion, but from what I've seen so far, I have no reason to believe I won't love this camera. So far, it has definitely met my hopes for better low light capabilities. I'll probably add more to this thread later once I've had more time with it. It's finally starting to warm up, so hopefully I can get outside with it soon.
  2. Dalton

    Dalton Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2010
    Portland, Oregon USA
    Dan Ferrall

    I have owned a G5 since the first few days of release. I continue to be very satisfied with what it is capable of.

    Have fun with your new camera and please post some of the fun captures you will be getting with it.

  3. madogvelkor

    madogvelkor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    It's even better with faster lenses, though you'd need to go to one of the fixed lenses for that. Even using old manual lenses with an adapter can be good for indoor photography, if you have enough room. Most of the old 50mm primes can be had cheap around f/1.7 to f/2. A bit more if you want one of the f/1.4 versions. Or you can pick up 28mm f/2.8 manual lenses for a decent price. The cheapest fast lenses are probably CCTV lenses, which can be had for around $30 including adapter for a 35mm f/1.7. The downside of those is that they were designed for a smaller sensor, so you get very soft edges (which some people like).
  4. dhewie84

    dhewie84 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2013
    Thanks for the suggestion! I want to keep the budget down for now, so I'll have to look into those.
  5. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Congrats for your new camera it is a great one and deliver a very fast AF and low light performance.
    Another option for a faster lens is the Panasonic 14mm F/2.5 which is one stop faster then the kit lens. This lens costs about 170$ on Ebay and will enable you to shot at 1/100 sec shutter speed at your living room. The 1/100 will enable you to "freeze" slow moving kids.

    panasonic 14mm in Lenses & Filters | eBay