I decided to keep the Pentax K-5 and I sold all of my remaining micro 4/3 gear: the Panasonic Lumix G3 along with the Panasonic 100 – 300 mm, 45 – 175 mm, 14 – 42 mm, 14 mm, and 20 mm lenses. I had sold all of my Olympus micro 4/3 cameras & lenses earlier. For a while (I hope a long while) I am going to be using my K-5 and my Fuji X100 cameras. In the final decision, the better ergonomics and speed and IQ of the K-5 trumped the lighter weight of the micro 4/3 system.
I plan to keep and use my X100 for inside buildings, low-light events, walking the street, and lightweight travel by airplane … situations where the equivalent fixed 35 mm focal length is sufficient and/or less weight is necessary. I primarily plan to use my K-5 for wildlife, during bad weather, car trips, and other (haven’t decided) uses. The other uses depend upon which lenses I get and whether I have to carry the camera far or for a long time.
The above picture of the Killdeer was taken last evening at a focal length of 300 (effective 450) mm at an ISO of 1600, f/8, 1/400 sec. I ended up cropping the picture quite a bit and I really could have used the effective 600 mm lens that I sold, but I have decided to stick with the maximum effective 450 mm focal length of the Pentax lens that I have. In addition to the Pentax 55 – 300 mm lens, I also have the weather resistant 18 – 55 mm lens.
I plan on taking some lower light pictures with the 18 – 55 mm lens before I decide on whether I need some additional lenses. One major advantage of the Pentax system is the availability of nice small, lightweight, prime lenses. At the moment I am somewhat conflicted whether I need additional lenses for the K-5. I prefer to use one camera and as few lenses as I can, and the K-5 could serve that desire except for the weight issue. I am still afraid that I will have problems with carrying and holding the K-5 with its heavier lenses, and that is why I have and intend to keep a Fuji X100.
I prefer to use the X100 if I’m walking for a long time. If I didn’t have the X100 I could reduce the weight of the K-5 system by putting a prime lens on it, but it would still be around twice as heavy as the X100. The X100 is also a better system when I’m among people and wish to be a little more discreet … and I just love that camera and the hybrid viewfinder. For now I tend to leave the 55 – 300 mm lens on the K-5 and use the X100 if I need a shorter focal length, unless there is a chance of rain. By working that way, I can grab either camera quickly to shoot. I can carry both in a bag but haven’t so far. I just pick up one or the other camera depending on what I expect to be shooting and go bag-less while walking.
On Memorial Day we had some entertainment from Ray Owen, a Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and national recording artist. He performed by singing and playing songs from the past, many popular during our previous wars going way back to the Revolution & Civil War.
I’m primarily showing this picture of Ray since it was part of an experiment to see if I could use the Panasonic G3 with the 45 – 175 mm, f/4 – f/5.6 lens in the Omni Auditorium. I have often wished for a longer focal length when taking pictures of events there, but have refrained from using this lens since it isn’t very fast. I normally use my 20 mm, f/1.7 lens since the lighting is very poor.
The result of my experiment is that it worked, but barely. The pictures may be suitable for printing in machine copied flyers, etc. but they are awfully noisy and a little soft when reviewed closely. All of the pictures were taken at the widest aperture which depended upon the amount of zoom, and at an ISO of 3200. ISO of 3200 is my working limit with the G3, and only if I take the pictures in raw format and do a lot of “cleaning” in LR4. Since this lens is soft at the largest apertures, especially at the zoom extremes, I doubt that I will be using it much under the above conditions.
As mentioned in the previous posting, I have ordered a Fuji X100 camera. It is due to be delivered today, so I’m now looking forward to trying it out. If I use it to take pictures in the Omni Auditorium, I’ll have to get up close due to the fixed 35 mm (e) focal length, but I’m positive the image quality will be a big improvement. Hopefully, if the ergonomics are suitable, my next series of articles will be showing my trials as I learn how to use the X100 … not an easy process according to what many are saying on the web, but well worth it in the end.
This is an interim report on my sojourn in seeking a better camera … a better camera relative to ergonomics and my problems with holding and carrying it due to arthritis. As I stated earlier, I have gone through a number of ideas and trials relative to different cameras. My latest approach is as follows.
I have found that I can minimize the accidental button pushing on the Panasonic G3 camera, with the resulting change in settings, if I only use it with longer, heavier zoom lenses. What I did was take the neck/shoulder strap off and replace it with a wrist strap on the left side of the camera (facing the back of camera). I then put the strap around my left wrist as a safety measure if I lose my grip. I then hold/carry the camera in my left hand by gripping the lens rather than the camera. This keeps me from hitting the buttons while I carry it and raise it up to my eye when shooting. It doesn’t eliminate the problem since I still occasionally hit the buttons with my right hand while shooting, but I notice it immediately since I have my eye to the view finder and can quickly hit the delete button to cancel the unwanted action.
The above partial solution still leaves me with frequent problems while using the camera with prime pancake lenses since I can’t hold it by the short lenses. Since I primarily experience this problem when using my fast prime lenses indoors under poor lighting conditions, I decided to see if I could find a better camera for those conditions. I’m looking for better in two ways: no accidental button pushing while being easy to hold, and better low light capability. At the moment I think I may have found the solution. I ordered a Fuji X100 camera. It has a range-finder profile … small, thinner, control dials, and not too heavy as well as an APS size sensor along with one of the best view finders available. The APS sensor is larger than the micro 4/3 sensors in the G3 and E-P3 and does better at high ISO settings with less noise. In addition it has a non-zoom, single 35 mm (effective) f/2 lens. I have been using my Olympus E-P3 with either the 14 mm f/2.5 or the 20 mm f/1.7 lenses (effective 28 or 40 mm). The Fuji X100 with its lens is a perfect compromise in focal length, with better low light capability, better image quality, and hopefully with better ergonomics and easier to change dial controls.
I won’t know how well this approach works until after I get my X100 and try it for a while. If it solves my problems, I’ll primarily only use the G3 with my Panasonic 45 – 175 mm and 100 – 300 mm lenses while taking short walks with the primary aim of taking wildlife shots. I’ll use the X100 for my indoor photography and as a walk-about camera while traveling, walking city streets, shooting landscapes, etc. It has a smaller profile, is easier to take with me, and has the advantage of being silent and more discreet when taking pictures in crowds of people.
This morning I took a walk after the rain stopped. I went to the golf course right south of Homewood at Plum Creek. Since it was still misting a little and the light wasn’t great, I decided to try something a little different when I processed some of the pictures. I’m sure that not all will like them but I think this treatment suited the mood this morning.
I visited Bowie to watch my granddaughter play softball. It was also an exercise in using the Panasonic G3 camera with the 45 – 150 mm zoom lens to take pictures of a fast-moving target. The camera did OK … not the greatest and not as well as the K-5 I did have. Click on any picture to see it larger and then use the right arrow to cycle through all of them.
The above pictures of some flowers aren’t spectacular but I’m showing them for another reason.
I have been using my 45 – 175 mm lens on the Panasonic G3 a lot lately …. especially at the 175 mm focal length. That represents an effective 350 mm in 35 mm equivalents. The above shots were taken at the 175 mm focal length in order to get a feel for using the lens up close. It works better at these ranges than at infinity since the pictures aren’t quite as soft as the long range ones; but only for those areas that are in focus.
Look closely. At these ranges and settings the depth-of-field (DoF) is only on the order of +/- a few tenths of an inch, but the bokeh is fair … just something else to consider when using a telephoto lens under these conditions.
The above was taken in my front yard with the Panasonic G3 camera and the Panasonic 45 – 175 mm lens at a focal length of 107 mm.
As mentioned in earlier articles, I have been simplifying my photography gear. My desire has always been to be able to get down to one camera that is small, lightweight and does all I need. My Panasonic G3 almost does it. I have sold my K-5 and all the Pentax lenses as well as my Olympus E-P1 and E-PL2 cameras, and all of my Olympus lenses other than for the 14 – 42 mm kit lens for the E-P3. The only reason I have kept that lens is for when I eventually sell my E-P3. I also plan to sell my Canon S95.
While I initially preferred the Olympus micro 4/3 cameras over the Panasonic ones since the Olympus cameras have in-body image stabilization, I have switched to Panasonic cameras. I did that since 1) Panasonic was quicker to switch to a refined, better sensor, 2) Panasonic had a built-in viewfinder, and 3) the Panasonic cameras were more reasonably priced.
The one shortfall that I experience with the G3 is the ability to carry it in a pocket or a very small bag; therefore, for the near term, I am keeping my Olympus E-P3 to cover that need. Eventually I hope to replace it with a micro 4/3 camera that is easier to carry in a jacket or vest pocket. Until that happens, I will use the E-P3 with either the 14 or 20mm Panasonic lens on it when I don’t think I will need the G3, or at least don’t wish to take it with me.
As of now (I know I keep buying and selling cameras :-)), I plan to use the Panasonic G3 with either the 14, 20, 14 – 42, or 45 – 175 mm lens on it, depending on where I’m going and what I’m photographing. I’m finding that I really like the Panasonic 45 – 175 mm lens for when I’m walking outside in the more open areas, and generally only switch to one of the wider angle, faster lens when I’m in town or inside a building.
The next lens that I’m thinking about getting is the Panasonic 25 mm lens to use on the G3. I’m thinking that I will keep the 20 mm lens to use on the E-P3, and then, hopefully on another micro 4/3 camera … probably a future generation of a small micro 4/3 Panasonic camera. If I proceed with this plan I will then have redundancy between the two cameras and all of the lenses and will be photographing exclusively with micro 4/3 cameras. Eventually I hope to be down to primarily one camera, but it would have to be a small lightweight micro 4/3 camera with a built-in viewfinder.
Now, if only I could reduce the number of my camera bags. I have acquired many bags for many cameras and different uses over the last few years, and while you can never have too many bags :-), I do have some larger ones that I will probably never use again.