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Lenses, Such Interesting Toys!

I have the Lumix G6 in my hands. I’ve had it in my hands for about week. Regrettably, it didn’t turn up the following day in the store so I had to wait a full week to get my hands on it due to being away due to work. I have it. It’s very nice.

At the minute I am wondering snapping shots on intelligent auto, so I’m not doing anything that special, but it’s still more fun. Not sure why. I think it’s the feel of the camera. It’s larger, but not too heavy. It has the articulated LCD screen which I’m always keen on but I’m also finding I’m snapping shots with the gorgeous EVF. It’s a very nice EVF. Even while just doing this the photos have an obvious upgrade in quality due to the sensor being better than what is in a typical point and shoot.

I took the camera away with me this week and we went on a walk up to the Ulverston Lighthouse. It was a good walk, even if I did have to stop twice to get all the way to the top. It afforded me some time to start getting used to the 14 – 42mm lens and how zooming it restricts the aperture. Not sure I’m going to be a big zoom person…

Anyway, I said the camera was nice? I did go through my usual post-purchase shock. I’m over it now. It comes down to adjusting to this multiple lens thing.

When I purchased the G6 I was the quintessential customer straddling the ease of use, point and shoot world and the DSLR world. I wanted to be more towards the convenience and price of point and shoot, but I was getting sick of the restrictions. I wasn’t convinced I was going to get into the multiple lens thing much, which I was aware would also make buying a multi-lens camera a bit odd.

Hence the panic: why didn’t I just buy the much cheaper Lumix FZ200 bridge camera with its funky zoom lens that maintains a 2.8 aperture? I got over that and after using the G6 a bit I’m slowly coming around to the lenses thing. I might even say I’ve moved from casting a wary eye at buying multiple lenses and slowly shifting to eyeing up the damned things.

You see there is something you understand about cameras, but only sort of abstractly until you have the power to change it: the settings you have to play with are largely decided by the lens! Yes, I’ve always know that, but having the flexibility to change something is power and that results in you thinking about it a bit more. This then turns into you thinking about the types of photographs you are going to take and in turn the equipment to do them a bit better and easier.

A simple example first, in the form of a typical holiday situation. You go and see a show at a theme park, doesn’t matter what it is, you’ll be in an open stadium a bit back from events. You can just snap away, but what happens if you want the shot of that dolphin, the water spraying of it’s back, etc? Time to pull out the longer range lens, just get that bit closer? Rather than staying with the smaller lens that is capable of wider shots, which has landscape advantages. This comes up with just the two lenses that come with the camera.

I also like taking night shots. In fact, if there is one single thing that fascinates me it is shots in low light. This is probably the single, biggest frustration with the cameras I have had as I’ve tried to take some of the bueatiful images you see at, say, theme parks at night? Currently the camera isn’t great at night, but I have the power to change that! I’ve been looking at fast, low light prime lenses, which seem to be an interesting option. Ridiculously low apertures and they don’t zoom. I’d have never considered something that didn’t zoom, but now I am looking at the options. A fast, low light lens, and since it is a prime it is very small, would be perfect for wondering around Vegas in the evening since it’s invariably (a) at night and (b) inside lighting.

It’s early days with the camera, but I am enjoying it. I’m quite surprised I am coming around to the lens thing, but I can now see how, as long as you managed the baggage factor (hence the Lumix and not a DSLR as the lenses are much smaller) it is empowering rather than annoying.

About Ian O'Rourke

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