Time for an update on my cunning camera plan: how am I getting on with my Panasonic GF1? I think it’s fair to call my old Nikon D50 neglected; I last used it on Christmas Day because I needed the SB25 flashgun that goes with it for some early morning indoor shots (yes, that “Wake up Daddy, it’s CHRISTMAS!” moment around 5am). In fact, I’ve just discovered that I used it a few times in the autumn, mainly with a telephoto lens, and I still haven’t processed and catalogued some of those shots. But on the whole, it gets left at home because the GF1 fits into a small shoulder bag and is less of a burden to carry around in your hands. It’s about the size of a rangefinder, which makes it good to go.
I’ve become slightly more used to the interface, especially having taken it on holiday and used it solidly for a week. Of my previous grouses, only the lack of an immediate delete facility still irritates me. I will say that the monochrome image in the LCD really makes me want to push the button and capture it, which is the same feeling I used to get from my Nikon EM (especially when it had an orange filter on the lens). However, it’s a mistake to judge exposure from the display, since a scene that looks like a whiteout on the LCD may turn out to be perfectly exposed when shot - or sometimes, not. I use the separate AE-Lock button a lot, but the only indication in the display that it is enabled is that the ISO indicator changes from AUTO to a fixed value (obviously, if you don’t use Auto ISO this won’t be true for you). As I said before, it’s great if you’re able to just concentrate on pushing that button, less so if you have to think about using some of the other controls.
The image quality is perfectly fine. I’ve had plenty of well-exposed, sharp images with good colour rendition and tones from the camera. The dynamic range is clearly an improvement on the older generation sensor in the D50, which is the other main reason I tend to reach for the GF1 first.
Since adding the 14mm lens to my kit, I also treated myself to the Olympus 45mm/1.8 lens to round it out and give me a tele option for portraits and compression. Very happy with this one, it’s still only a moderate size and the results are usually top notch.
So given all that, aren’t I supposed to be moving up to the GX1? I’ve dithered and delayed on this for so long, I might as well wait to see what the mooted GX2 does, but truth be told, I’m not currently shooting enough to justify the upgrade. Ideally, I’d trade the GF1 for a GX model with matching EVF (haven’t bought the EVF for the GF1 because the camera was always planned as a stopgap). It’s still the most likely option if circumstances change.
What about my Nikon kit? In the best of all possible worlds, I’d win or inherit a large amount of money and splash on a D600 full-frame DSLR with that lovely 50/1.2 AIS lens I’ve always dreamed about to go with it. I think that’s an amazing camera (for a boat anchor) that would probably fulfill my needs for at least a decade. But to me now, a DSLR is the kind of camera you use when you’re specifically heading out to do only Photography (with the capital ‘P’ denoting Serious). That doesn’t tend to happen much at present, and on the rare occasions it does, it takes months to get round to editing and processing the results. But my current daytime career appears to have seriously run into the sand, so maybe one day I’ll decide to try sucking at something else like Photography instead. If I do, the D600 is the kind of big-league shooter I’d buy. Admittedly, my main interest in it is to revitalise a bunch of older Nikkor lenses that would actually perform fairly indifferently on such a high end device - but I love those old focal lengths and I want to keep them. If I were being realistic, I should probably sell them today and use the money to fund replacement long tele and ultra wide options in m4/3.
Still haven’t bitten that particular bullet, which probably tells you exactly where I am right now. Yeah - enjoying my GF1.