Some time with my Panasonic G6

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Some time with my Panasonic G6

Postby Leen Koper » Fri 14 Feb 2014 23:42

About half a year ago I bought myself a M43 camera, a Panasonic G6, together with the standard zoomlens 14-42 and the 40-150 telelens. In the meantime I added a 2,8/19 mm Sigma lens to it, bought myself a very small bag for only 2 Euro and I never looked back any more.

I still do have one Nikon and several lenses, but I have used these only sparcely. As I have been a professional portrait photographer for forty years and just recently I sold my business, I had the opportunity to use it in the studio.

First I noticed, with my camera on a studio stand, how nice it was to use my live tilting screen in the way I was used to do with Hasselblad, Bronica and my Mamiya 645, only it was mirrored. Quite different from the way live view of a Nikon I bought for the same reason of studio use, that proved to be quite a wrong buy as it hardly functionned in a studio setting. With Nikon it was an extra, an in the studio unworkable extra; with this Panasonic it is an essential thing as the display works like an additional viewfinder. It should, because the "normal" viewfinder, an electronic one, is in no way comparable to the optical viewfinder on a Nikon. And, it is an unknown luxury to see your image, displayed in a large size.

In the studio both the 14-42 the 40-150 (in a traditional way, full frame it is 24-84 and 80-300) proved to be a couple of very good lenses despite both being kitlenses. They were very sharp, left nothing to be desired and with a excellent contrast. A very welcome surprise, especially considered their price that was extremely favourable. Especialy the 40-150 was a very pleasing portrait lens. Usually I shoot at F5,6-8 in the studio and with this lens it was as good as with the 1,8/85 mm I often used with my Nikons.

Outdoors it worked very well too. I bought the G6 instead of the GX6 because I thought I would not be able to work with a camera without a viewfinder. And indeed, I worked with the normal viewfinder in the first months, but the more I got used to using the display, I used it more and more and now, now I use it almost exclusively.

Are there no negative sides to this camera? Yes, there are. It is most annoying to have to switch the camera on before you can see anything. With a "normal" viewfinder you can have a quick look and then you decide to switch it on. With an electronic viewfinder you have to switch it on and then you can have a look. Moreover, the electronic viewfinder shows an image that is much less in quality compared to an optical one. At first it is a source of irritation, but then you realize it is a way the image will be on "film" and the image you see in an optical viewfinder is in no way the way it will be recorded.
The menu is a complete disaster, although Olympus seems to be even worse, the printed short version of the manual is hardly adequate and the extensive manual on disk is total nonsense. Who carries a laptop when out in nature? I bought this camera because of the considerable weight reduction and I am never, never gonna carry a laptop with me on a hike!
Next, it may be the size of my hands, but I always press by accident the wifi button and it suddenly starts making contact when I don't want it. And there is no way to switch it off; at least I haven't discovered it in this lousy manual. Most annoying.
And the battery life: with my Nikons I could make 1000+ shots; the Panasonic battery says no after about 350 shots.

What is very pleasing: it was always a matter of guessing how much compensation of the metering should be dialed in. I guessed mostly about right but now I have an electronic viewfinder it is extremely easy: you see it in the viewfinder. A luxury compared to a DSLr! Moreover, the compensation button is extremely well placed: it is a relatively large button, right next to the release button; exactly where it should be!

And, I won't mention the advantages when you wear bifocals. I did that before. :P

I use it pretty extensively. I have more keepers than with a DSLR, probably due to the display I use now. A keeper is to me an image that I would be able to hang longer than a few months on my walls at home. That is pretty impressive!
Leen Koper
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Re: Some time with my Panasonic G6

Postby FritsDeVries » Sun 16 Feb 2014 09:10

Thank you. Having ordered a GH4, your review is very welcome about Panasonic IQ.
Normally a GH4, due to it's bigger camera body, should not give the button problems you mention.
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Re: Some time with my Panasonic G6

Postby Leen Koper » Sun 16 Feb 2014 12:44

I wonder how the GH4 will be. I suppose the quality of the images will be slightly superior than the G6. But as I 'm not at all interested in video it would offer an useless extra for me I would be more interested in the GX7 that should have the same image quality as the GH4.


Mr. Toshihisa Iida of Fujifilm said in an interview with Dpreview:

"In Japan, 40% of the market is mirrorless, followed by other Asian countries, at around 25%, while the US and Europe are way behind at just over 10% so it’s very varied."

"For example in Asian counties we have more female customers, certainly in Japan, and they tend to take different pictures - more dreamlike, softer focus, lower contrast. That’s something that some western photographers don’t really understand."

Probably the European customer has to get used to the tiny size of these mirrorless cameras. They are looked upon as "female" and the bigger DSLR's are more "manly"; it will take some time before we realise it is not this way.

In my opinion the future will be mirrorless.
Leen Koper
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