Lumix GX1 Test Shoot

First Shots with Lumix GX1

If you saw my last post you will know that I have recently bought a Panasonic Lumix GX1 with the 14-42mm power zoom lens.  I decided that I would take it out for a test run and see how it coped with some street photography.  I have a Canon 5D Mk2 but trying to shoot subtlely with this beast is impossible and so I needed a smaller camera (but couldn’t afford an X-pro1!).

I decided to see how good that camera would be in its iAuto mode – it looks at each scene and chooses an appropriate shooting mode based on what it thinks it is taking.   All of the images shown have been tweaked in Lightroom 4.1 to try and get the best from them.  All the shots have been converted to JPEG and compressed to save web space and so the level of detail is less than the original images.  The levels of noise also appear higher.

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The shot of the cyclist was taken with me standing stationary and panning as the cyclist shot past.  The image seems dark overall but this is because the clouds were gathering and it was about to rain.

For group of guys image I was walking towards them and gave the camera about a second to focus before pressing the shutter all the way down.  There is a little bit of blur at the feet but the shot is definitely usable and prints well at 8×10 size.  The conversion to black and white was done by simply desaturating the image in Lightroom so more work would be needed if I was using this image properly.

The camera handled all the colours of the bright shelves in the indoor shot really well and only some very minor tweaking was required to get this to an acceptable level.

The black and white conversions were done with the excellent Silver Efex Pro 2.

Summary

I love this little gem of a camera.  I took 102 photos during the two hours I was walking through the streets and after importing them into Lightroom was delighted to discover that 80 were usable.  A similar test with my G9 last year gave me about 10 usable shots out of 100!  Although it was initially hard for me to trust the camera in iAuto mode it actually works very well.  Since taking these shots I’ve discovered an iAuto+ mode that does all the hard work but allows some additional control over depth of field, focus point, exposure and white balance.

The power zoom kit lens worked well and was fast and responsive.  It is possible to set the zoom into a faster mode but the level of fine control is lost so I stuck with ‘standard’ speed.  A lot of the images appeared to have problems when bright reds were captured.  This problem was less obvious when looking at the same shots on an iPhone and MacBook Air, so it may be time to buy a calibrator for my monitor (although none of my G9/5D shots have this issue).

I had the camera in my pocket without a strap attached and it definitely cost me a second or two to get the camera out.  I would recommend a neck or wrist strap if you were trying to capture street candids but the benefit of keeping the camera in my pocket is that it wasn’t on display and so didn’t alert my subjects.

The camera is not weather sealed and there are warnings all through the documentation about this.  I was shooting in drizzle for some of the time and this caused me some concern.  When the camera is powered down the telephoto lens retracts and this drags any rain droplets on the lens into the lens housing so use with caution!

The battery is still showing a full three bars after the shoot and I’m using a genuine Lumix battery pack.  I have ordered a third party battery as an emergency back up and I’ll report on that later.

 

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