In praise of the old G cameras

Started Apr 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
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In praise of the old G cameras
Apr 24, 2012

While looking at the GX1 to use with my PL 25/1.4, and somehow not managing to pull the trigger, I made a last minute bid for a used GF1 on ebay and won it for the princely sum of £128. I posted asking if people thought I was nuts - thanks to all who were reassuring.

I've had the camera a few days now (never had one of these before), and I am bowled over by the way it is in my hands. I'm sure the GX1 has lower noise above ISO800 and I know the interface developments as I also have a G3. I handled the GX1 enough times as local Jessops and Jacobs to annoy the guys there, but I didn't get this feeling of straight satisfaction from it.

There's a tightness to the handling and presentation of the GF1 that seems lost in newer models. The controls and customisation paths are just right, the button spacing and positioning could hardly be improved, the size and weight have a just-right quality, the screen seems brighter and crisper than the G3's, and the lack of touch screen options actually makes my handling faster and more efficient than the touch/button alternatives on the G3. It feels like it was signed off by curmudgeonly old vets of travel/reportage with no tolerance for the non-essential.

But this just-rightness difference also applies between the G1 and it's followers, I feel. I did have use of a G1 briefly before I bought the G3. Clearly, the G3 has more features and better high ISO capability, etc., but it has lost some design values that characterised the G1. The hand wrapped much better around that grip, the eye detecter made it smoother to change between LCD and VF, the build and suface texture were better, and the interface, I think, was more efficient. Even the kit lens, the 14-45mm seemed to have been better made. If nothing else, it had an external OIS switch for people who use tripods.

So, I bid for a G1+14-45mm kit this morning and won it for another princely sum of £150. Now, I may well sell on my G3+14-42mm kit while it's still worth anything.

Any other ex-film using, ex-DSLR toting, Lightroom using, raw processing, non-video using, people looking into mFT - there may be things you'd value in the first round of G series bodies that are getting lost as a bigger, wider customer base is targeted. G1 and GF1 bodies are going for a song in nearly new condition. With the fast primes now available, upcoming fast zooms, sophisticated NR in Lightroom, and the greater DoF of the format at larger apertures, ISO 800 is enough for most uses most of the time.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1
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