March 13, 2012

CAMERA UPDATE: So I noted a while back that I hadn’t bought a new camera in a while, and wanted to try out a new micro four-thirds camera. I wound up buying a Panasonic Lumix GX-1 with the Lumix 7-14mm ultra-wide angle lens.

After playing with it for a while I can report that it’s a great camera. It’s terrific in low light. Here’s a picture from Big Ed’s Pizza, and you can see how it froze the pizza-toss in available light. Pretty well.

The wide-angle lens takes in a very wide angle, and as you can see, the color-rendering in dim uneven light is still quite good.

Pics taken around stately Instapundit Manor suggest that the 7-14 lens is great for making houses look better than they do: If I were a real estate agent I’d order one immediately. The only downsides are (1) While it’s smaller than a full-sized DSLR, it’s still big enough that it won’t fit in a pocket; and (2) It’s kind of expensive. It’s a better and more versatile camera than the Lumix LX-5, but is it enough better to justify the price difference? If you need interchangeable lenses and high quality in a small package, yes.

UPDATE: Reader Kevin Black, who’s a fan of the LX-5 writes:

Hi Glenn,

I was a professional photographer and photo lab owner with my wife for about 25 years. We got out of the lab business just before the digital tsunami hit, and are now employed in geographic information systems. I picked up a Panasonic Lumix LX-5 last summer, and I honestly think it’s the best camera I’ve ever owned (I still have about a dozen film cameras, from Mamiya M645 to Canon A2E and F1′s, none of which will ever see another roll of film). The Leica F:2.0 wide angle zoom on this camera is amazing, and the low light performance you mentioned on your model is evident in this model as well. I’ve always been a bit puzzled by folks enamored of super zoom telephoto lenses. I find the wide angle lens to be far more useful in practical terms (so much so, I also bought the .75 wide angle converter for it, making it an 18mm wide angle). Most of the time, you can move closer to a subject to get the framing you want. But if your back is up against a wall, and you can’t get everything in the image you want, you’re SOL. Below is a link to some of the images I took on our 30th anniversary trip to Chicago last August.

A small sample of some of the 1,000+ images I shot while in Chicago…

Very nice. And I quite agree about the value of a wide angle lens vs. a telephoto, especially for the kinds of photography I tend to do.