Panasonic GX with lower MP?

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
Cyvan Regular Member • Posts: 125
Re: Panasonic GX with lower MP?

kravemir wrote:

Looking at GH5S, and having GX80, and taking lots of shoots indoors in low light,... I thought, that GX camera with lower resolution, might be a great family camera. It would be a good tool to capture photos in any conditions... And, I really hate to use flash, because it produces bright people with dark backgrounds, very unnatural look.

A camera with GX9-like body, sensor capable of shooting a bit larger images than 4k, Dual-IS, low high-ISO noise,... Would be the camera of my dreams.

In my opinion I think you have the wrong priorities. No M43 camera, not even the venerable GH5S is so good in lowlight that it would invalidate the need to learn how to use flash properly. Low light is the achilles heel of the system. If you want great lowlight performance without flash then buy a Sony A7III or A7SII, which are considered the current low light kings.

However , before doing that I think you'll be MUCH better served by learning how to use flash properly to light your subject in less than ideal conditions. Looking at your gear list , if you're just using the GX80's on-camera flash and your 12-32mm kit lens to take pictures in lowlight then believe me, there's a LOT you can do to improve things that would give you even better results than spending $2500 on a GH5S body. That's not the answer.

BTW, I say this from personal experience because I was exactly where you are now. But a few experiences in the field made me realise the real problem was lighting and since then most of my money has been spent buying lighting eq not camera bodies.

The FIRST thing you need is faster glass. A f/1.7 f/1.8 prime would allow you to let in more than 2 stops = FOUR TIMES as much light as your 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. A good walk around prime is the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 or Olympus 25mm f1.8. They can be had for $180-$250 USD used.

So for example, lets say you're trying to shoot an image with your kit lens at f/3.5-f/4 and the camera chooses ISO 1600 to get a good exposure, which is just about the iso limit before it gets grainy. With a prime lens capable of f/1.7 in the same situation , the extra light coming in allows the camera to shoot at iso 400 which is MUCH cleaner output.

Eventually however you're going to need to add light by using a flash. As you saw , the problem with direct on camera flash is that , because it's in the same axis as the lens it tends to make subjects look flat and washed out. The trick to using the flash is to get the light coming from a different direction than the lens axis so that it looks like you had more light than there really was and you just happen to take a picture. There are a number of ways to accomplish this.

a) bounce the on-camera flash off a wall or ceiling so that the light hits the subject from a different angle. Your GX80 flash can do this. If you're indoors , use your finger to pull the flash back and bounce the light off the ceiling and look at the huge difference that will make to your shot. See below for an early example I took last year that really showed me the power of the technique. The room was dark.

Bounced on-camera flash off ceiling instead of pointing directly.

That white light you see on their faces etc is actually the reflection of my flash off the white ceiling above them. The effect makes it look like they were standing under a large light.

b) Take the flash off-camera using a wireless trigger system, that way you can hold the flash away from the camera and have it light from a different angle.

You can cheaply do b) with a Godox TT350O ($85) and Godox X1T-O trigger ($49) .

To avoid the bright subject / dark background problem takes experience and know how. You need to learn how aperture, shutter speed and iso affect flash brightness and overall exposure then use that knowledge to balance how much background light u allow into your shot vs how much flash you use to evenly light your subject within the background. For the best results you want to use its settings to take the brightest photo you can as if there was no flash but w/o going too high with ISO or slow with shutter and then use just enough flash to nicely light up the subjects.

This example below was one of the first shots I took at an event where I think I got the balance juuust right. The Flash had a Flash Disc attached and was in my left hand held way above my head and to the left. It was taken outside so there was no ceiling to bounce off.

GX8 P12-35mm f2.8 @f3.5, iso 800, 1/40th, flash @1/16th power

When you're ready to go further you can go into multi-flash setups where you can use the same trigger + additional flashes, modifiers etc to get even better results. Like lighting up an entire room at once so you get a well lit shot no matter the angle etc.

There's a whole lot to learn when it comes to lighting. Your current camera is a lot more capable than you think, you just need to make some minimal investments to exploit it. This knowledge would also serve you well even if you got a more capable lowlight camera.

BTW , these examples are not necessarily great examples of what can be done with flash, they're just a part of my own personal journey into flash photography. There are much more skilled photogs than me out there. Check the net for the vast knowledge on the topic.

 Cyvan's gear list:Cyvan's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro +6 more
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