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Have you ever been faced with making a decision that will not only result in spending money that you hadn’t budgeted for, but would also have you eating crow? Well, I recently made a monumental (for me) photography decision: I’m switching from big body Canon equipment to Panasonic’s DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) Lumix micro four thirds technology, with 4K video/photo capability.

 

Budget-wise, between selling some equipment and Panasonic’s attractive prices, I’m not really suffering; however, believe me, I am eating some crow, since I’ve been a big proponent of DSLR’s and have been quite vocal in the ongoing, tongue-in-cheek feud between Canon and Nikon users.

 

I bought a Lumix GH4 and a couple of lenses (12-35mm and 35-100mm) 2 years ago, just before leaving on a month-long driving trip to the west coast and back. I packed the new Lumix gear plus my 2 big bodies (5D Mark III and 7D) and all the lenses. Although the shutter releases were split pretty much evenly between the 2 brands, I still had the feeling that, if I wanted to get a ‘serious’ shot, I had to pull out the big guns. I continued in that mind-set for the next year.

 

When I returned from a trip to Italy last fall, I felt that I was at a decision point: commit to this ‘new’ mirrorless technology, with the added benefit of lower weight, or stay with the DSLR’s and just use the GH4 for grab shots. So, I packed everything again for a trip to England’s Lake District, in May 2016. This time the GH4 came out of the bag 90% of the time – I got a much better feel for the camera and I was really happy with the results.

 

The next test came in June, when I lead my ‘2016 Midnight Sun Photo Tour’ to northern Norway’s Lofoten Islands. I packed only my Lumix equipment (by now I had added a 7-14mm lens), but besides the GH4, I had the opportunity to test drive the 20.3 megapixel GX8 and ended up using it for almost half of my shots. I came home from that trip very pleased with the image quality from both cameras.

 

The final step in the decision process was a recent return trip to Norway. Once again, the DSLR’s stayed behind in favour of the GH4 and the GX8. The GX8 was my go-to body for this trip….I was definitely sold!

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of big body cameras, particularly Canon, which I’ve used for over 20 years, so I would never be critical of them; however, there’s no question that I’m hooked on Lumix for my future ‘serious’ photography and now there’s no turning back. In fact, I’ve booked a flight to northern India this fall, for an ‘exploratory’ trip with good friend and fellow photographer B. Dass (www.bdassfineartphotography.com), with the goal of organizing a photo tour next fall. I can’t wait to capture India’s beauty, colour and culture with my Lumix equipment.

 

One of the features I like when working with 2 different bodies is that, regardless which one I pick up, the menus are essentially the same, so there’s no confusion at a critical shooting moment. Lumix’s Dual Image Stabilization means that there’s IS in both the body and the lens at the same time, great for hand-held shots in low light situations. The 49-point focus system is incredibly fast and the noise level with low-light is very impressive. Not only is the 3” display great for viewing, it’s a touch screen so choosing menu items is slick. I could go on about many more features, but suffice it to say, for now, that whether I’m shooting hand held, capturing long exposures on a tripod or shooting a series for panoramics, the image quality is great! So are the quick shots of my granddaughters using the 4K photos modes and it’s fun too!

 

I mentioned the weight issue earlier, but I have to emphasize that it’s played a very important role in my decision. There’s no question that these old shoulders like the weight reduction much better, but the airlines’ increasingly tighter weight restrictions are forcing all of us to look for packing alternatives. The Lumix mirrorless equipment helps me travel much more comfortably, so there’s no doubt about it….I’m packing light!

 

To be honest, my diet of crow is decreasing. More and more photographers that I talk to are considering these new, lighter cameras. Now that I’ve been given the opportunity to become a Lumix ‘Storyteller’, don’t hesitate to let me know if you’re interested in talking mirrorless. Also, be sure to return to this site to check out future images captured with this outstanding equipment.

Leif Petersen

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