Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Panasonic GH3, 35-100mm lens on order, err in my bag

So, I placed my bet on micro Four-Thirds, finally.

There have been multiple iterations since Panasonic and Olympus surprised everyone with the mirror-less announcement and quick release of Panasonic bodies and lenses.  I've been a skeptic, not of the technology, but of the capabilities to replace current equipment.

I have seen Olympus falter regularly and Panasonic has erred on the side of cheap and small, for decades.  However, Panasonic's DMC-GH3 is ready and I believe that the 35-100mm f/2.8 lens is no worse than you'd get from Canon or Nikon.

Mind, I'm not giving up my Four-Thirds equipment, as Olympus has an announcement and hopefully, a new Four-Thirds body in the latter half of 2013, but I want to photograph (successfully) in low(er) light now.  While I regularly shoot basketball photos and get good shots, some gyms are just pathetically bad and I could see Canon and Nikon equipment struggling also.

So, I ordered a Panasonic GH3, extra battery since it seems hungry, and the 35-100mm f/2.8 lens.  They knocked off $100 from the lens, so it came to just under $2800.  If I'd gone with the Nikon D7100, the (not as much Magnesium alloy) body would have been cheaper by $100 and the lens would have been more expensive by about $1100.  Of course, the weight makes a difference and the video capabilities of the GH3 are much better than most any dSLR, comparing favourably to the Canon 5D MkIII.  Also, Best Buy had a sudden price drop on the 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 for $300 off, at $99.   So, suddenly, I have two lenses, and a micro Four-Thirds body, most of which is on the way.

I'll see if all the love on the web is justified, but I'm sure it will take some time to become acclimated to the new equipment.  If it's instantaneous, I'll be the biggest fan.

First impressions: Where is the rest of the equipment?  It's tiny!  It doesn't feel anything like the Olympus equipment I've been using, although it feels like the GH3 was designed to appeal to E-3/E-5 users.

Of course, settings are never easy to use from company to company.  Everyone has their own way to do things.  e.g., there doesn't seem to be a way to delete all of the photos, so you must Format each time.  I'm wondering which reduces the life of the card more quickly.

In any case, the 35-100mm looks a bit toy-like, whereas my Olympus ZD 35-100mm looks and feels like a deadly weapon, as does my E-1 or my E-5.  I've had the E-5 and 35-100mm slip from a poolside seat onto the pool deck and have zero problems (not so much the FL-50 flash) but I don't see this GH3 or its 35-100mm surviving the impact intact.  As the difference of US$400 between the GH3 and the E-5, I would expect a heartier body.

Removing/attaching lenses doesn't seem particularly smooth and neither does releasing the LCD.  There is no significant lip to grasp.  Mind, they went all out with functionality, so I'll adapt.

It seems odd that the GH3 and 35-100mm lens are both labelled "Made in China" but the older, cheaper 45-200mm was made in Japan.

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