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Old Aug 8, 2012, 9:51 PM   #1
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Default New Camera Advice--DMC-G3

Hello,

I have been reading the Panasonic forums for sometime, but in the point and shoot. After getting a Lumix ZS3 I moved to a "bridge"/mega-zoom FZ35. I have had that for a couple years now and love being able to use the manual controls. I have learned a lot and can take what I thing are pretty good photos, however not on par with what I have seen people here post.

I have been bitten by the bug to go with a micro 4/3's and like the pricing I see on the G3, however Panasonic has the FZ200 (Bridge/mega-zoom) coming out soon. I enjoy taking pictures of nature, landscapes, buildings, and basically anything but people. My wife is from the Czech Republic and we spend a month over there every year, so I travel with my camera too. I would like to take my photos to the next level and go micro 4/3's, however... I don't want to have to travel with extra lenses and I don't want to buy more than two additional besides the kit lens based on money.

With all that being said are the micro 4/3's worth the extra price and bulk? I want better photos, but I don't want the extra bulk. The ability to have a blurred (more than I can do w/the FZ35) background appeals to me and the potential for crisper pictures. If you think the difference is big and worth it, what lens would you recommend? There is a fellow here in Nebraska selling a mint 45-200mm for $175 so I am thinking I would buy that for the price. I have heard the "pancake" lens is well advised, but I don't know why, or what makes it so good despite it's small size.

I am sorry for the long winded post/question, but I am really torn between the two and keep going back and forth between them. Any and all advice from those of you who know more than I do would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time, effort, and assistance. It will not fall on deaf ears.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 4:12 AM   #2
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I'm not offering specific advice, but more of an opinion.

I went from an FZ28 to a G1. The difference in image quality is quite noticeable. You would notice the big difference at the much higher ISO capability of the G3. Lower light situations is where you see the biggest difference. Outdoors in daylight, the difference isn't as obvious vs: the FZ. Focus lock is nearly instant.

It would take at least a 14-42 and a 45-200 to get close to the focal length of the FZ. And, don't forget, you lose that close-up/macro with an ILC that you have with the P&S. The 14-42 can only focus down to about 12" and the 45-200 won't focus closer than @36". That takes some getting used to after using an FZ.

The pancake lenses are small and compact, but the two most common are the 20mm f/1.7, which is the preferred low light lens and is equivalent to 40mm in 35mm terms, the same as the FZ at just short of 2x zoom. The 14mm f/2.8 is a sharp lens equivalent to the 28mm wide angle of the FZ.

Everybody wants a 20mm f/1.7, but the 14mm f/2.8 is less expensive and makes a nice compact lens for outdoor use mainly.

I suppose a G3 is @$550 with the 14-42 + the 45-200 at @$200 new = @$750.

For what you are describing, that would be fine for outdoor use. You don't want a lot of background blurr outdoors for landscape/nature. You'll figure that out after you've switched from the P&S. You'll get the necessary depth of field with the 14-42 for those wider shots, and the 45-200 will give you that "bokeh" effect when you zoom in tight for flowers, subjects, etc.

If you decide you really want "bokeh", it's easy enough to just add an old 50mm f/1.4 prime lens and adapter for those types of shots. The 45mm f/1.8 Olympus lens at @$400 might be a good choice for an autofocus lens for good background blurr, but you would still lose the IS.

Neither of the pancake lenses seem particularly well suited for your use initially.
Carrying a micro 4/3 with one lens mounted and a second in a bag or pouch isn't bad. They pack down surprisingly small.

If you don't want to invest in lenses, the FZ is the way to go. If the FZ200 with the constant f/2.8 and larger viewfinder had been available when I made the switch, I'd be hard pressed to make that decision.

I don't doubt that the micro 4/3 with the interchangeable lenses has more potential for specific photography interests. And big sensors always do better in low light.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 10:08 AM   #3
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I follow the Panasonic P&S forum as well as this one and to be hones, I've seen some pretty incredible images taken with the FZ cameras. The FZ150 seems to be a great camera. Although I do agree that the larger m4/3 sensor gives the G3 an advantage, in general the FZs don't fall too far behind. If the FZ200 is indeed what Panasonic claims it to be, then that'd be the way to go, specially if you do a lot of traveling. The G3 price is attractive but then to get the most out of the body, you'll have to invest on lenses and m4/3 lenses can be quite expensive.
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Old Aug 9, 2012, 12:12 PM   #4
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Thank you both for your insights and opinions, they are greatly appreciated. I will consider what has been said and asses my situation further to decide which way to go. Again thank you for your insight.
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Old Aug 23, 2012, 6:44 PM   #5
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I was very interested in the G5 for its silent shooting at full resolution. Beware of the lens cost. The 12-35 f2.8 is listed on B&H for $1,299. The long zoom at at 14-140 is $699. These two would the minimum I would need as newspaper photographer. Not a chance. Keep in mind that you are stuck with Pansonic lens for stabilization of the camera has no in-body stabilization.
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Old Aug 24, 2012, 12:17 PM   #6
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Who knows- with the FZ-200 offering a constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom,maybe even a shallow DOF is possible..!
Can't wait for a decent review...
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Old Aug 28, 2012, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4mula1 View Post
Hello,

I have been reading the Panasonic forums for sometime, but in the point and shoot. After getting a Lumix ZS3 I moved to a "bridge"/mega-zoom FZ35. I have had that for a couple years now and love being able to use the manual controls. I have learned a lot and can take what I thing are pretty good photos, however not on par with what I have seen people here post.

I have been bitten by the bug to go with a micro 4/3's and like the pricing I see on the G3, however Panasonic has the FZ200 (Bridge/mega-zoom) coming out soon. I enjoy taking pictures of nature, landscapes, buildings, and basically anything but people. My wife is from the Czech Republic and we spend a month over there every year, so I travel with my camera too. I would like to take my photos to the next level and go micro 4/3's, however... I don't want to have to travel with extra lenses and I don't want to buy more than two additional besides the kit lens based on money.

With all that being said are the micro 4/3's worth the extra price and bulk? I want better photos, but I don't want the extra bulk. The ability to have a blurred (more than I can do w/the FZ35) background appeals to me and the potential for crisper pictures. If you think the difference is big and worth it, what lens would you recommend? There is a fellow here in Nebraska selling a mint 45-200mm for $175 so I am thinking I would buy that for the price. I have heard the "pancake" lens is well advised, but I don't know why, or what makes it so good despite it's small size.

I am sorry for the long winded post/question, but I am really torn between the two and keep going back and forth between them. Any and all advice from those of you who know more than I do would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time, effort, and assistance. It will not fall on deaf ears.
Hi!

I went from an FZ-35 to an Olympus E-PL2.

The time you notice the difference is not when you're looking at your new shots, but when you go back and see the same ones shot from the FZ, esp at low light as other people had said. The fact that I could bump the ISO down without making the picture look bad was a total eye-opener. That said, I'm not going to "down" the FZ series because it really does a lot for what it is. You're not going to be as versatile without (as you said) having a lot of lenses. And the FZ200 looks pretty dang good.

My current set-up is the 14mm panasonic pancake along with the 45-200 zoom. I wish for a little bit longer reach, but of course there's a trade-off for everything. That said, size-wise it's not that different than carrying a superzoom.

You can get a pretty good deal on previous-generation M43s because most people want the greatest and newest. Keep an eye on "refurbished" deals too. I did a lot of shopping and back-and-forth bargain hunting, and ended up getting the zoom+pancake for about $250 total (not including the body). I have also picked up a few "old" lenses that I've adapted and been a lot of fun.
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