My thoughts on the Panasonic G1 w/ manual glass

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by usayit, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I purchased a G1 on a whim as well... no lenses just a body followed by 3 adapters for Leica M-mount, Pentax K-mount and M42. I purchased mainly to have some fun with my Pentax/Takumar collection. I can't comment on the native lenses but I figure they perform quite well...

    I've only had it for a month or so... here are my impressions.

    * The 2x crop factor takes a bit getting used to. Your wide angles become standard, standard become telephoto, and telephotos become almost impossible to handhold for focus. On the other hand, its wonderful to have a 90mm on my rangefinder suddenly become FOV of 180mm when I switch the backup G1. Telephotos are a weakness for rangefinders and the G1 fills in.

    Here's one.... Summarit 90mm f/2.5 usually on my M8. I swapped it over to the G1 for a concert. Not the best of conditions to shoot (terrible light, vantage point and color casts). But hey... what can you do

    [​IMG]

    * The camera works ok with vintage Macro lenses that do not have a stop down feature since you have to manually open up, focus, and then stop down the lens. It works much greater with those that can be easily stopped down. The articulated LCD works in favor. You get a tiny bit more DOF.

    Tamron 90mm f/2.5 Adaptall
    [​IMG]

    SMC Takumar 100mm Macro with Ring light.
    [​IMG]

    * Because of the vintage glass with the 2x crop (digital you tend to pixel peep more too), you are really pushing the limits of the vintage glass. I said in another thread, you really see the incremental improvements of optics over time (Takumar, Super Takumar, SuperMultiCoated Takumars in my case.) Stopped down, some old glass can produce wonderful results.

    * I like the fact that preview and histogram can be examined in EVF. No need to move the camera from your face and the sun is blocked out from view during sunny days.

    * EVF is very good actually. I'd say 80% as good as optics in normal light. It auto brightens when it gets dark but the refresh rates drops dramatically in low light. You have the option of digitally zooming in for focus which is really nice. Critical focus is still relatively slow and I do have a fair amount of misses. I hear AF is pretty darn fast on the Panasonic (faster than Olympus m4/3rd)... I'd probably try it out myself (once they hit the shelves used and cheap).

    * EVF does kinda suck when it comes to continuous mode. While the picture is taken, the image blanks out (longer than SLR mirror) and I haven't figure out how to turn off auto preview (Does anyone know how?). Makes it hard to keep a moving subject framed while in motion.

    * None of the adapters I know will stop down lenses. So you'll need to make sure you can manually stop down the lenses to be used with the m4/3rds or you'll be stuck shooting wide open.

    * Flash TTL does not work with adapted lenses. I get every other shot over exposed and the rest under exposed. I have a Leica 24D flash in auto mode that works and perfectly sized.

    * For me, the Takumars worked best as they have a switch to manually stop down the lenses. Neither rangefinder glass nor my K-mount pentax lenses have this ability.

    * High ISO is not that great compared to other cameras in the market. Here is ISO 1600 put through Noise Ninja with only color noise filtered:

    [​IMG]

    * The details rendered are pretty good but are not up to par with my Leica M8 nor my Canon 1D MII. I took similar tests photos with both the M8 and G1 using the same glass and it is pretty obvious side by side. Looking at some samples online, I get the feeling that there is a fair amount of optimization going on when the G1 is used with native glass.. either in body or by design. I can't quite put my finger on it.... much higher than P&S quality but not quite up to DSLR. I'd probably get a better understanding once I have native glass to shoot. I'm hoping to get my hands on the 14-140mm just to see how well the super zoom works. I hear the 17mm is awesome on the G1.

    * The camera has a nice overall feel to it and it is sized pretty well. It is a light camera and comfortable to carry. Those who wish more compactness will probably be better off with the GF1 or one of the Olympus equivalents. I like having a grip of the G1 body. The rubberized finish is very comfortable.

    * I know that lens based IS is probably better but at this price range and for what I use it for, I REALLY really wished the G1 had in body IS. This would mean all my lenses are stabilized. For this fact alone, I am considering the E-PL from Olympus + EVF.

    I've attached a few more taken with the G1.
    * Red tricycle is with a SMC takumar 135mm
    * Bald Eagle and Falcon taken with an Super Takumar 200mm f/3.5.
    * My Son by the water fountain was taken with the SMC Takumar 50mm f/1.4


    Overall... a good camera and I am pretty satisfied with its value versus performance. It brings lots of fun for those of us with old glass. It slots nicely just above the so called "Bridge cameras". I can only see further improvements to this newish system. I sure hope they improve their selection of glass AND keep the cost down.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Ron Evers

    Ron Evers Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have it turned off (pg 30 in manual). However, that menu item is now grayed out on my camera & I cannot figure out how to get it active again. :(
     
  3. MattxMosh

    MattxMosh TPF Noob!

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    Thats exactly the type of info I was looking for about a 4/3 camera. Even though it seems a G1 might be out my price range, even used.

    Though it seems to be the way to go comparing it to similar models from what I've been reading thus far.

    Some E-Volts are dirt cheap on good old CL though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  4. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yup.. I just checked. When the camera is in continuous mode that feature is grey'd out. I think it is a limitation when the sensor cannot be in both live view AND capture at the same time. The compromise is show the previous picture while the next is being taken. At least for the G1, it is basically unusable for me BUT I don't use it that often. I wonder if the GH1 and later improves on this since video essentially means capture and live view simultaneously.
     
  5. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Surprisingly, these cameras are holding its value even on the used market. Wait a bit.. the G2 and G10 is out and the G1 should drop in price. The G1's hold value probably because improvements of the GH1 and GF1 are more subtile with mostly attraction from those that want video capabilities.

    Yup... because Panasonic improved AF in house and didn't share their technology with Olympus. I might consider a used Olympus EPL in the near future .. I'd like to have antishake capabilities to help with longer lenses.
     
  6. MattxMosh

    MattxMosh TPF Noob!

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    The lovely waiting game. At least I have something to look forward to, ha.

    I may sign up for a photo safari with Olympus next month to try out what they offer while I save up some extra dough.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You did a very good write-up,and hit upon all the areas I'd want to know about. I own a 135/3.5 Super Takumar and a 200/4 Super Takumar,and am familiar with how those look on the Canon 5D, so it was nice to see how they looked on the G1's sensor. Panasonic is a leader in software image optimization to improve lens performance in the camera, so you are almost assuredly right that they are probably tweaking the images produced by "their" lenses, which they obviously cannot do to the same extent when a user mounts a 30- or 40-year old lens of another maker,and so on. As far as the Panasonic's AF speed--I recently demo'd one and was astounded by the AF speed. It was much,much faster than I had been led to believe it might be. I liked the Panny.

    Again, a splendid write-up usayit!
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks! Now you have me really curious... I'm pretty use to manual focus lenses but having such a compact well performing AF lens+body is very tempting.
     
  9. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    The 20 1.7 is THE lens to get for m4/3rds. Is the AF fast on that? eh... it's ok.

    The AF on the 14-45 and the 14-140 though...it outruns my D700 in single shot AF with most lenses, and it was generally more accurate. it's really uncanny, but based on the concept of contrast AF, it will always be more accurate than ANY phase AF camera anyway. It's the SPEED that's crazy.

    Both Oly and Panny M4/3rds cameras do lens corrections in camera, for example the panny lenses such as the 7-14 on a G body will automatically correct for distortion and chromatic aberration. The oly lenses don't do this unless they're on the Pen's.

    I had to sell of my GF1 kit because I got raped with taxes this year, but I liked the camera alot. It was SHARP. a little noisy, but it resolved a ton of detail with the Panasonic lenses.

    If I were to do it again, i'd get an E-P2. The Oly viewfinder is better than the panasonic's when you're panning, it tilts, the resolution i think is the same, I like the pleather grip on the front, the 14-42 is awesome how compact it is, manual video, and most of all..

    ..the color straight out of camera is so pleasant, that i wouldn't even bother shooting RAW with it. The Jpeg color out of my GF1 sucked. the color out of the Pen's is immaculate. Better than Nikon color.

    The E-PL1 might feel a little cheap, and it will for sure feel slow in comparison to the G1, i'd suggest the E-P2 if you want a VF simply becuase at least the E-P2 has a couple dials for adjustments, not just buttons.
     
  10. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    btw...

    I checked out the Olympus E-PL with the EVF attachment. The EVF is the same resolution as the EVF for the GF1. Neither have the outstanding resolution of the G1's EVF. Since I mainly use the m4/3rds camera with manual lenses, it is a show stopper for me. Oh well...

    Sw1tchFX, sorry to hear you had to sell. I've been in that tax situation before when I crossed over into AMT territory prior to the gov't finally rewriting it to take into consideration inflation. (Took a lot of contracts on the side) Not soon enough to save my a$$.. F'n sucks when you loose all your deductions that you had accounted and forced to a take a personal loan (with interest) to cover. It felt like 1 step forward 10 steps back.
     
  11. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    The EVF for the Pen's are definitely higher res than the one for the GF1, the one for the GF1 sucks, go into a store and check out the EP2 with the EVF if you can. It's just as good as the G1's, except without the 'tearing' that the G1 has when you pan. I tried them side by side, it's true!!

    Pretty much!
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I went back to my favorite store today to take another revisit with the m4/3rds cameras. Again, the GF1 was immediately ruled out. You are right about the new EVF for the Olympus. They improved on it a lot. Almost on par with the G1.. maybe a little less viewing area. I also missed the G1's sensor that automatically switched between the LCD and EVF automatically. I do like that the EVF can be swiveled up.

    It was down to the Ep-2 and EP-L1. I was testing both with a 50mm summicron v4 and 75mm Summarit adapted via a novoflex M-mount to M4/3 adapter. I know Sw1tch has high recommendations for the EP-2 over the EPL1. I can see why... Simply pick up the EP-2 and you can feel the difference in build quality. Unfortunately, the EP-2 has a MAJOR show stopper for me. It took 5 key presses to activate the magnified focus assist... 5 KEY presses!!!! that's unacceptable for someone who adapts manual lenses to the system. The G1 required 2 key presses and I found it slightly annoying. The E-PL1 has a button dedicated for the function... 1 key press to activate! Its really strange that they got this feature right on the E-PL1 but totally missed it on the E-P2.

    They also took out the Lumix 45mm Macro. It was one of the few panasonic m4/3rds lenses that bearing the "Leica" Branding. The quality is really nice.. .full time focus ring was smooth .. very Leica-like. I'd definitely consider one in the future.
     

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