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Tandem rangefinder-style camera shooting - which choice of bodies?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by DHart, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. Panasonic GX85

    25.0%
  2. Panasonic GX8

    25.0%
  3. Olympus Pen-F

    50.0%
  1. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I often like to shoot with two bodies, each on a shoulder strap. One body with 7-14 (or 9-18) lens mounted and the other body with 12-35/2.8 or 14-140 lens mounted. Sometimes the lens choice will vary from this, depending on situation.

    Ideally, the two camera bodies would be identical. This makes for a very quick-working, efficient method and reduces (or eliminates) lens swapping, which is time consuming, exposes sensors to dust/dirt, and increases the risk of dropping/damage.

    My camera body preference is for rangefinder-styling with a built-in EVF. I'm considering a pair of GX85s, GX8s, or Pen-Fs as candidates to use.

    The GX85 appears to have much to offer; great IQ, good IBIS, good grip, compact size and light weight. The EVF is good, if not great. The price is very attractive, which may be a significant factor given that this method of shooting is $ x2.

    The GX8 is an awesome camera, though is bit large and bulky. Grip is very good, great IQ, good IBIS, awesome EVF. Price is more than the GX85, though a good bit less than the Pen-F.

    The Pen-F is another awesome choice. Good size/weight, great IQ, great IBIS, awesome EVF. The grip hold is not great without adding an add-on appliance of some sort. Price sucks. In time, the price should improve somewhat.
     
  2. undergrd

    undergrd Mu-43 Regular

    70
    Dec 30, 2012
    Singapore
    Im also considering between Pen-f and GX85. Love to own the Pen-f but the price is holding me back. GX85 seems like a value for money choice.
     
  3. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I have a GX8, GX7, Pen-F, EP-5, and GM5. Don't have a GX85 as yet, but I think that may be my choice for tandem cameras due to modest price, seemingly good grip hold, ideal size/weight, very good IBIS, and excellent IQ.

    My second choice would probably be the Pen-F, IF the grip hold were better and the price were lower. A Franiac finger hold would solve the first issue for me, and the price will soften somewhat over time.

    Much as I love the GX8 for great grip hold, great IQ, great EVF, and good IBIS, I think I would prefer slightly smaller form factor of the GX85 and Pen-F. But the size difference really isn't THAT much.

    This is a tough choice for me, hence my interest in hearing the thoughts of fellow m4/3 forumites!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  4. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    Rick
    "Much as I love the GX8 for great grip hold, great IQ, great EVF, and good IBIS, I think I would prefer slightly smaller form factor of the GX85 and Pen-F. But the size difference really isn't THAT much."

    Don,

    don't know what the GX 7 or 8 even look like size-wise, but I note your comment above. Since you already have a GX8, you'd only need to buy one (granted you could sell GX8 as part of buying two others). If size isn't much different, I'd probably opt for another GX8 for the advantages you note above. I think I'd be more likely to miss those qualities more than I'd regret a slightly larger form factor.

    Hard to lose with any other them though!

    Rick
     
  5. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Don - aren't the GX7 and GX7 pretty close from a menu/usabilty point of view? I think I'd try running with that combo before spending more money.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Wow. With your herd of bodies I'm surprised you're even asking.

    FWIW I agree on identical bodies and have been shooting a pair of GX7s for the past two or three years (from whenever the camera was introduced). These were replacements for a pair of G1s. I found that I really missed the articulated LCD for low-angle vertical-format shots, so I have recently sold one of the GX7s and bought a GX8. I am headed to Tanzania in a couple of months with this pair, a 9-18, 14-140, and 100-300.

    I am both pleased and disappointed with the GX8. Pleased with some of the features like the LCD of course but the 4K pre-burst sounds interesting for animal action too. I am hopeful that the bigger battery will improve shooting time over the GX7. I am major-league displeased with its size. Too big. Same size as a full-frame Leica.

    So, rather than buying a second GX8 and ditching the second GX7, I am going to shoot "mixed" bodies on our next couple of trips and see if that is tenable. In your case, though, if there are no compelling features of the GX85, I'd suggest another GX7. A black one if you have a silver one or vice-versa. To me, the reduced controls and smaller battery make the GX85 immediately uninteresting and for me there are no compelling feature improvements vs the GX7. Plus, used GX7s are selling at very attractive prices.

    Maybe they will shrink the GX8 and offer a GX7.5! I'm a buyer.
     
  7. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Sorry, I meant GX7 and GX8 of course :blush:
     
  8. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Rick... Yes, that make good sense. But you're right, any of them would make a great choice.
     
  9. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    I agree that adding a second GX7 makes a lot of sense. I've considered that often! Then I think about the improved IBIS in the GX8 and GX85, which appeals to me a lot. Same with the Pen-F. It's just been a difficult choice for me!
     
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    This is what I have done. And it is certainly quite workable, especially since I tend to keep mostly with aperture, Exposure Compensation, and ISO changes. This is why I haven't been in any rush to duplicate any of the bodies. I do like them all, each for different reasons. We've got such great choices in the m4/3 camp these days, both bodies and lenses! It's fantastic.

    That said, I am still motivated to duplicate one of the bodies for tandem shooting. Having identical controls is nice.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2016
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Curiosity: How much and what kind of photography do you do where this is an important factor in getting the shots? Personally, I don't do a lot of hand-held, low-light, static-subject stuff so any difference between my GX7 and GX8 is not of great concern to me.
     
  12. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    For the kind of photography where I would be shooting with tandem cameras, IBIS is not an important feature.

    Where I would use this tandem set-up is primarily on junkets, guided tourists tours, vacation expeditions where I don't want to carry "kit", but want to simply have two cameras carried with crisis-cross camera straps - enabling me to capture something at 7mm one moment and then, perhaps, at 35mm to 60mm the next. No lens swapping. No camera bag in tow. This is almost always in daylight, where IBIS is not needed.

    So, you make a good point, IBIS is not a key factor in selecting a pair of identical bodies for typical "tandem body" shooting. Two GX7s would serve this need just fine!

    Where IBIS and body specification does come into play, however, is that either of these two bodies is likely to become a primary body for me at other times, where low light will be encountered. Therefore, it seems to make sense to invest in two of the more advanced bodies, rather than investing in two earlier generation bodies.

    So, in that light, it seems to me that choosing from GX8, GX85, and Pen-F makes good sense, rather than doubling up on GX7s?

    Does that make sense or not so much?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. NY Gadget Guy

    NY Gadget Guy Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Mar 17, 2016
    I'm not a fan of crossing straps. The one on the bottom can make it hard to raise the camera to the eye. Personally, I like this one:
    Amazon.com : OP/TECH USA Dual Harness - Regular : Binocular Straps : Camera & Photo
    Price moves around a lot though:
    OP/TECH USA Dual Harness - Regular (B002IUQ180)

    It uses the strap lugs so the cameras don't spin around. (You can unclip one side for more freedom of movement if you don't mind spinning.) The one linked above has the sternum strap. Somehow they offer one without, but it's easier to remove the one that's there than add one that's not there...
     
  14. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    NYGG... Wow, that dual harness looks like quite the "orthopaedic appliance".

    I agree, you do need to manage the dual straps to keep each from restraining the other. Since mine use the quick clips, I often remove the 'camera of the moment' from the strap with a quick press of the clip release, capture my image(s), then clip it back on the strap after use. Quick and easy to do.