Small Girl, Big Ideas

The Switch to Micro 4/3rds

Panasonic GX7

Well, by now photos from our Canon 60D have been gone from the blog for a few weeks, and photos from our new camera are filling up the posts. I've mentioned the camera issues before, but I was kind of waiting to share details since we made the switch to a non-DSLR. A micro 4/3rds camera, or a DSLM, seemed the way to go for us. I'll explain why, but if you just want a quick summary before the break : we moved to a mirrorless system due to the reduction in size and weight that did not compromise our image quality, at all. Despite a slightly smaller sensor (what really affects image quality other than lenses) than our 60D, the resolution has stayed nearly the same, and the quality of our images has improved. The camera is also much easier to carry around, which is important with a style blog like this where we travel and carry the camera with us so often. You can read on to figure out more about our micro 4/3rds system.



First, let me explain where it started, and why we even let go of our Canon 60D in the first place. Short story - Jason and I were seeing some real auto focus issues with the 60D. On top of two of my three lenses breaking, it felt like it was time for a change.

Repairs Suck
Of course, we considered repair. I actually gave the lenses and camera to a local camera shop to see about an estimate, and it wasn't worth the return. I knew it would be weeks before I could get my camera back in action, and it would cost us more than the camera and lenses were really worth at that point in time. On top of that, Jason hates the 60D and has since day 1. He hates the controls, the size, the fact it's actually a lot slower than his beloved Rebel XTi, and I think the camera decided to hate him back.

i got a new camera!
myself and the 60d. you can truly tell the difference of the size in my hand versus the gx7 above.

Why not another DSLR?
I really loved my 2 DSLRs, but there are some issues. First, I'm not sure I loved the 60d itself as much as I just liked having a camera with interchangeable lenses and manual controls. The Canon 60D was a beastly camera. I was usually toting around a heavy camera, a medium lens (my 30mm or 50mm) and often the giant monstrosity of a lens that was my Tokina 16-28mm lens. Total, this was nearly 10 pounds I was carrying around. Let me tell you - in some of those Disney photos or photos from cities on this blog, my bag has completely DUG into my shoulder and is killing me. I've knocked it into things because it's so large, and am probably panicked about what the hell I just did to my camera/lens (which, is presumably how two of my lenses broke. My bad). Anyhow, I do a lot of photography for this blog that is on-the-go, needs to be discrete (seriously, sometimes the DSLR just gets in the way and is distracting ), and all on the web. I'm not printing my photos out in large formats and sending them to you. I don't even have a camera that would be good for that as the 60D isn't full frame - it has a crop sensor. (If you are wondering about what sensors are - here's a good post. Honestly, I couldn't put it better)

Maybe I had been thinking about it all wrong - wearing my giant camera like a badge of pride of my professional-ish photography. My 60D has proved one thing - the lens matters (if you are a Canon user, go get yourself a 50mm f/1.4 now). One of my favorite images of all time? Taken with the Rebel. Click here - take a look. It printed amazingly at 18" x 24" and was a 12 MP baby camera, and the detail is far better than any recent shot with my 60D (example). It became more apparent to me that the sensor size, or size of my camera, wasn't what is making my photos here look good. It's me - when I try and compose and focus a nice shot.

So, What Next?
I dove into research mode - trying to figure out the vast majority of cameras on the market and place them on a scale of how much I felt they would fit to my needs. This was a lot harder than when I settled on Canon - I picked our first camera by getting the same camera my two friends had (a Rebel XT) only one model up - and our second one based on the fact we'd be with Canon forever. This was a lot harder and more emotional to pick a new brand (as Canon's M series does not appeal to me in any way, shape or form). Ultimately, it came down between two mirrorless cameras : a Fujifilm X-E2 or a Panasonic Lumix GX7.

Minolta SrT101

Mirrorless Style
Personally, I have always hated the large, super molded plastic-y DSLR style. As an industrial designer, I find them to be lacking. I've missed my rangefinder 35mm Minolta's size and style forever - and these cameras offered me a really similar feel. Ultimately I had a choice to make - go with a more expensive Fujifilm X-E2 with less lens offering but a larger APS-C (same size as my 60D) sensor or a Panasonic GX7 with a slightly smaller sensor but much less costly (on a Black Friday sale) and a much wider lens offering. Ultimately, the features in the GX7 won me over - being able to take photos by using my cell phone as a remote has been life changing - for detail shots I can compose the shot with my phone, change the focus point and settings, all from my phone. It can take me longer - I'll admit - but the resulting photos are much easier to control and more of what I want.

What Now?
I'm guessing you haven't noticed much of a difference in my shots from before, at least not in a bad way. We invested in a 50mm equivalent prime off the bat (a 25mm Panasonic Leica) that has proven to be the best lens I have ever owned, even after it was knocked to the ground the first day I used it. The camera has been easier to carry around, performed incredibly well, and makes a lot of shots that were really hard to get before,

5 comments:

  1. This was really interesting! It's a lot smaller, which is great for portability. Thanks for sharing. :)

    Naomi Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups

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  2. I love micro 4/3rds camera. Unfortunately, I don't personally own one. It's going to be my next biggest buy.

    Audrey of www.audreyisms.com

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  3. This will definitely be a great investment especially you've done your research and decided to move away from Canon. I must say 60D is definitely bulky and it gets heavy. Recently our 60D is acting up on a few things as well and after reading your post, I'm wondering if 60D is an issue for many users. Or is it just the bad-luck-me.

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  4. Good one! I completely understand what you mean with size and weight of the dslrs. Since I've switched to Smaller cameras I do not want to go back. It's so much easier and gets much less attention than a bulky dslr.

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  5. A picture of a Minolta SR-T 101, the one pictured is a replacement of my (stolen) 1968 original, handed down to Katherine.
    I assumed it is pictured as an example of old and heavy?

    Brings back old memories ... such as ...
    http://dataton.net/JFK/Various_Images/1979-pics-roadTrip/jfk4.jpg
    http://dataton.net/JFK/Various_Images/1979-pics-roadTrip/jfk5.jpg
    (thanks to my co-traveling friend Ernie Lewallen for these images).

    ReplyDelete

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