Playing with some Panasonic cameras

This weekend my good friend Wes started talking about looking at a mirrorless camera setup. As someone who’s gone through that transition before I was curious about what he was considering. He told me that he was looking at the Panisonice line, specifically the G7 vs the GX85. As luck would have it, I was at a Best Buy for a while, killing time on Sunday night, and decided to see how they stacked up against my Sony.

Originally, my deliberations had been between Olympus and Sony, and I hadn’t really considered Panasonic or Fuji.  I opted for the Sony, after some time with it, comparing it to Olympus. Sunday night, I got to see a bit of what else is out there. I found both of the Panasonic models side-by-side, so I proceeded to see if I could figure them out quickly, and without resorting to Google.

I started with the GX85 and immediately noticed the same issue I had with the Olympus models. Ergonomically, it was just too hard to hold because of the lack of a full size grip for the right hand. I found myself having to contort my hand into a weird shape to not feel like I was going to drop the camera. When I then tried to reach various controls while in shooting stance, it was awkward and uncomfortable. However, the screen on the back was nice and big, and was a touchscreen, which is a nice addition. The EVF was adequate, but not nearly as good as my Sony. I moved around the menus a bit and was able to find most of the settings I was looking for.

I then moved on to the G7, and immediately found it far more comfortable in my hand. It has a nice large grip, and the placement of the controls allows you to quickly reach dials and buttons without feeling like the camera is unstable in your hand. One thing I liked about the Panasonic over my Sony is the placement of the second dial for use in manual mode. I was able to operate both aperture and shutter speed easily with one hand comfortably. The viewfinder was the same in both, and the menus appeared identical.

I messaged my friend Wes and told him my opinion, that the G7 was the way to go if he was going to try the Panasonic line. It was far more comfortable, which can sometimes be a bigger deal that features, when you’re out shooting all day long. Getting a hand cramp in the middle of a photo walk makes you want to leave your camera at home.

Of course, as I was talking to him and comparing it to my Sony, he’s now decided he needs to check them out as well. The downsides to Sony’s (vs. 4:3) is the lack, and expense, of lenses. It’s a slightly more closed system, and so it’s harder to find cheap lenses like you can in the 4:3 world. At the end of the day though, I’m excited to see what he decides to go with, and how much more freedom he finds with a smaller camera body to lug around.

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