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Game Changer | by Gaijin Photographer
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Game Changer

This could be the answer to all of my prayers...for now. Panasonic Lumix G2 Micro 4/3 Mount camera with a Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 lens and a Panasonic Lumix GH2 Micro 4/3 Mount camera with a Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 4/3 Mount (manual focus) lens. I am of the opinion that these cameras have taken off in popularity because of the niche that they fit. They offer former Leica M shooters the ability to mount M-mount lenses on a cheaper body. Now that Panasonic has paid so much attention to developing high quality, auto-focus lenses, at a much more attractive price point than Leica M lenses, I see these bodies as really fulfilling a desire that has yet to be met by the market. Add the collaboration lenses like the Leica DG Macro-Elmarit, and third party 4/3 mount manual-focus lenses of extremely high quality like the Voigtlander Nokton, and I am of the opinion that herds of former Leica shooters will come running back to this type of capability (after converting to DSLRs), which is quite different from DSLRs - as different as traditional film rangefinders were from film SLRs. Whether there will be a confluence between the Panasonic and Olympus communities remains to be seen, as does the direction Panasonic goes with these bodies pictured above. I hope they continue to evolve into professional bodies (at least the GH2) to feed the niche I have just described, while letting the GF series of bodies remain more consumer oriented. In the end, I have never liked the distinction of "professional" vs. "consumer" since there are people who take amazing photos with what are regarded as "consumer" cameras, however, my careful use of the terms relates more to capabilities and options than anything else. I settled on the G1 in the beginning because I like to look through a viewfinder most of the time and I was attracted by the size and quality of the 4/3 lenses. I upgraded to the G2 simply because it is a better camera and has video. I got the GH2 because of the new sensor and its greater capabilities in low light. Now with the expansion of the family of lenses I am hooked. Whereas I became quite accustomed to reaching for a beast like the 1D Mark IV and its heavy glass, I now find myself reaching more and more for one of these bodies. Enough so that the days of the 1D in my arsenal may be numbered. I fully understand they are different weapons systems if you will, but whereas I often think about the bulk and weight of the 1D's and glass when I am out shooting, I never do when using one of these; and that is becoming more of an important issue now that I shoot mostly street shots.

 

I hate when people get too introspective or downright geeky over these things so I will end this little diatribe by simply stating that I have shot with one type of G body or another since the G1 came out, and I have not been disappointed. I will retain at least one DSLR, the Canon EOS 60D, since that allows me to better capture the quirky movements of my 3 year old. The DSLR is also generally better for low light because of the bigger sensor, but I think the majority of my shooting will be with the G2 or GH2 since it is, well, fun!

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Taken on January 3, 2011