West Virginia in April with a Panasonic G3 Camera

The following are three pictures I made while traveling in West Virginia last week with my brother.  The first one was taken at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and the other two were taken in Braxton County.

I used my Panasonic G3 with the Panasonic 20 mm lens.  I have a love-hate relationship with that camera.  I love the small size, low weight, and picture quality, but hate the handling of the camera.

Those of you who have followed my blog have seen me go from my Pentax DSLR cameras to my Olympus and Panasonic micro 4/3 cameras.  As my physical problems progressed due primarily to arthritis, I found it advantageous to sell my heavy DSLR cameras and switch to lighter micro 4/3 cameras.  As I acquired lighter cameras they also got smaller, and to a point I really like the smaller cameras since it is easier to pack and carry them especially while flying.  The downside is that as they got smaller, the ergonomics became worse.  The buttons and the space for my hand got smaller and I have found that I have been accidentally pushing the buttons on the G3 and thus changing the camera settings.  Sometimes I realized the changes and corrected them before I took the pictures and other times I didn’t realize that there was a problem until after I got home and looked at the pictures on the computer.

Because of the poor ergonomics with the G3 I have investigated other cameras.  Since I take the majority of my pictures with a single prime lens, I have thought about getting something like the Fujifilm X100 or maybe the X-Pro1 with one lens, but that is an expensive route to take and I would be lens-limited if I ever need a different focal length. 

I’m also looking into getting a small light-weight DSLR … maybe the new Nikon D3200 or the D5100.  Both of these DSLRs are lighter than any of my old Pentax DSLRs and they might be suitable for a large percentage of my pictures while using the Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8 DX lens which is quite small and light in weight.

Some other alternatives are to wait and hope that a new micro 4/3 camera will be made that has better ergonomics.  Another alternative is to make-do with what I have and maybe learn to hold the G3 differently.

Whichever alternative I choose, I will probably keep the G3 or another micro 4/3 camera to use with my long zoom lenses since that is the only way to keep the size and weight of the long lenses down to a manageable size.  My problems have driven me to learn that I can use a single prime lens for most of my travel photography and that is what has opened up the possibility of using a larger, but light-weight DSLR camera with a prime lens for the majority of my photography.  The added advantage of a DSLR would be a larger sensor and better low light capability while shooting at high ISOs.

Since I prefer a smaller camera that I can easily always take with me and since I have several lenses for micro 4/3 and since I have expressed a desire to end up with one camera for the majority of my work, it seems that the logical thing is to wait and hope that someone will produce a micro 4/3 camera with a larger hand grip and better ergonomics.  But being realistic, it is unlikely that I will ever find one camera that satisfies all of my desires and I will likely always have more than one camera.

I haven’t decided what to do yet but I’m sure you will be reading about it one of these days.  If anyone has any recommendations relative to a light-weight but large enough camera to easily hold and use and that has good image quality in low-light situations let me know.


  1. personal protection

    First of all I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Cheers!


    • John

      I usually just start and let it flow … and then edit! Often the final piece doesn’t resemble the first one … not even the title and subject. I first write my articles using Microsoft Word since it is easier to edit, slide thoughts around, etc. and then put them into WordPress. But the editing doesn’t stop in Word. It still continues in WordPress for minor tweaks.


    • John

      While the G5 is an improvement, I don’t think that it would work for me. The ergonomics need to be improved by adding a half inch or so to the width.


  2. Dee

    The third picture is especially beautiful, the way the clouds are just hanging in mid air. I like the depth the second one shows and I love the first one, those craggy old trees with the clear blue water and the dregs of winter grass.