Panasonics on low light

mike3996

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Thanks to IBIS and a sharp sensor (no OLPF), Panasonic GX80 fared quite well against the Nikon Df when I half-heartedly headed out in darkness to compare the two. I fit both cameras with slow lenses, f/3.5-4.5 for Nikon and f/3.5-5.6 for Panasonic.

Needless to say, Nikon was getting hard to compose in the darkness of that OVF. Panasonic was jerky instead, as EVF feeds tend to get in the diminishing light. The pictures are alright but jerkiness and lag doesn't invite to explore the night scenes as much as I'd like.

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In light as low as this (lens wide open at f/4.2, 1/8 sec, ISO 1600, yellow street light; exposure not particularly pushed in post) do you think G9 does better, EVF fluidness wise?

Of course this is bit of an extreme situation to head out using such a slow lens -- then again, that's the fastest what I currently have.

Please share your experiences.
 

PeeBee

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I've often been frustrated by Panasonic's EVF lag in low light, but they have improved with each generation. My Lumix G2 in 2011 was dreadful, the GX80's is actually a lot better. I have found that wider apertures and shorter focal lengths improve the user experience.

I haven't used a G9 so can't comment on it's EVF, but it makes sense that its faster processor would improve EVF performance. Hopefully someone with a G9 can confirm.
 
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Stanga

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What lag? The one you get when you switch on Live View? There is no lag if you switch it off.
 

Stanga

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Live view shows you the likely image that you will get with the aperture, shutter, and ISO setting. When you move the image that the sensor sees then the camera will update the info on the display. You can't have a real time live view and a lag free display at the same time.
 

PeeBee

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Live view shows you the likely image that you will get with the aperture, shutter, and ISO setting. When you move the image that the sensor sees then the camera will update the info on the display. You can't have a real time live view and a lag free display at the same time.
I think this setting is called Constant Preview on Lumix cameras, but even with it off, the display can get laggy in lower light levels, and I'm talking moderately low light, not pitch black. On my GX80 and G80, I haven't found it too much of an issue, but that might be because I'm used to it now and I'd typically use a faster lens, but it can still be easily induced by selecting a smaller aperture and a longer focal length. I remember taking night shots with my G2 and 20mm f/1.7 wide open and even that was an unpleasant experience. Many camera displays will slow down in low light but I've found Panasonic's to be particularly susceptible. This may be due to the refresh rate of their field sequential panels slowing down.
 

grcolts

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Using my G9 I have not run into any EVF problems. Shooting stars at night is easy as the camera has a means of focusing correctly on stars while using AF which is centered in the screen.
 

mike3996

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Getting back on this subject.

Using this 12-32 at around 18 mm the aperture is f/4.6. So if you for instance report good results shooting f/1.8 lenses keep this in mind.

Indoor light, I'm aiming at shadows under my desk to get a proper dark (but not pitch black) scene.

I am in Aperture priority mode right now. CONSTANT PREVIEW = OFF. EC is 0.

I'm getting a jerky view with scenery that necessitates an exposure of 4 sec, f/4.6, ISO 200 (EC 0).

I flick that CONSTANT PREVIEW to ON and it does not change a thing. Not a thing.

I googled about it and DPR wiseguys tell it only applies to manual mode. Sounds fair actually. I go ahead and verify this assertion. In M mode the picture goes REALLY jerky once I dial in the necessary slow shutter speeds. Yikes. :)

I apply radical EC now, to some -4 stops or so. The image dims appropriately and the refresh rate shoots up to usable levels.

So the jerkiness is not due to some "live view" feature I don't think. It's just Panasonic chooses to cap preview ISO sensitivity to something like 1600 and compensates the rest by slowing the shutter down.
 

mike3996

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I think I figured a way to test this thoroughly lol.

I'll take a 3-stop ND filter and a bunch of stepup rings with me to a camera dealer that should hopefully have G9 and some other contemporary mirrorless cameras on display.

The store isn't very well lit itself (a poor choice for a camera department -- ideally they should have consistent bright daylight lights) but with a little extra dimming I can simulate extreme conditions.

The demo G9 had a P20/1.7 on it the last time I visited, a bright lens like that will pose no challenge for the camera. With an ND it becomes an f/6.3 so definitely a good demonstration of G9's capabilities at that point.

I could of course take my own lens with me to the store, that's another way. Dimmest that I have is the Olympus 75-300ii. But then I can't check out the competition if they're sporting fast lenses.
 
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