Advice for first foray into a more serious camera

Started Jul 22, 2014 | Questions thread
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EL Pistoffo
EL Pistoffo Contributing Member • Posts: 786
Advice for first foray into a more serious camera

Please excuse the length of this post but I want to be concise.

I've been following the forums here for several weeks now soaking in what I can (while wading through endless fanboy, equipment bickering posts ) to help me decide on my next move. I spent some time in the Nikon Dxxxx forum to get a feel of the DSLR's, then some more time in the Panasonic Compact thread concerning bridge cameras. My last stop, I hope, is this MFT forum.

Now for a little background.

I own a Panny LX7, , ZS20 and Canon ELPH 300HS running CHDK. I have spent the last few months developing my technical knowledge of photography and am at a point where I'm ready for an enthusiasts leap into better gear.

I started out doing underwater video over a year ago since I'm an avid diver. I started with a GoPro but quickly found its limitations frustrating so I purchased the LX7, housing etc. to give me the versatility I wanted for filming while still keeping my gear relatively compact and not too expensive. The ELPH 300 with CHDK was a project to try out highly customize-able time-lapse inexpensively and I find it very enjoyable with lots of possibilities. My ZS20 was an attempt to have a small, affordable camera that could literally fit into my pocket and yet have long reach which the LX7 lacks.

I have no set style of photography yet, I'm trying it all out and frankly I like photographing anything I find interesting. I like landscape, some telephoto wildlife, architectural, a little macro and your typical walking around touristy stuff. My composition and visualization still needs a lot of work. Video is also a must, I like shooting video.

So, in looking for a new good setup I wanted decent portability, quality, versatility and something that would grow with me while being travel friendly. My first thought was a DSLR, it has quality, versatility and can grow but its bulky. I already carry lots of scuba gear and UW camera equipment, so I don't have the space or desire for a large body and larger lenses.

The bridge camera concept intrigued me, particularly the FZ-1000, I like the all in one package with pretty good IQ and great video specs (4k). The camera itself may not be all that small but it really doesn't need much else, no additional bulk from lenses. Problem is, knowing myself, I will eventually start reaching its limits and find myself wanting more so the bridge camera may not be the answer.

This brings me to the m4/3. It's got a certain level of compactness compared to DSLR's. It's got much more flexibility, potential and better IQ than a bridge. It seems to me at this point that it may be the best choice.

I need some guidance on m4/3 equipment. From what I have gathered thus far, considering my budget ($1000 but a bit flexible if warranted) for a body and 1st lens, plus the need for good video, the Panny GX7 looks like it might be a good fit. I'ts going for just over $600 leaving me some $ for a lens or lenses. I am familiar with the Panasonic menus but I'm no die hard fanboy and I go where the value and practicality takes me. I'd like to get some pretty good glass but some of it gets pretty darn expensive. I can build a lens collection overtime to lessen the blow to my pockets. Camera bodies come and go but lenses can last a lifetime. I have little experience with interchangeable lens cameras so I'm noo expert in lenses. This is a hobby for me. Trying get nice images and video while traveling which I find very enjoyable. Pro-level gear isn't a requirement, yet.

What are your thoughts on the GX7 or other possibilities? Choice of lens or lenses within the budget to start off with.


 EL Pistoffo's gear list:EL Pistoffo's gear list
Canon ELPH 300 HS Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Nikon D7000 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G +7 more
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