I bought a GX8 and Summilux 25mm f1.4 instead of the 32mm f1.4 for my Canon M6 - hard considerations

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Adielle Contributing Member • Posts: 719
I bought a GX8 and Summilux 25mm f1.4 instead of the 32mm f1.4 for my Canon M6 - hard considerations

I found a good deal on a 25mm f1.4 and a GX8, and decided to buy both of them instead of a new Canon 32mm f1.4 lens.

There are several important factors that made me decide to do this:

Canon doesn't and is not going to have in-body image stabilization in its cameras any time in the foreseeable future. The fact that with a 52mm (~51.84) equivalent lens, hand shake is much more pronounced than with a 36mm (~35.64) equivalent lens, means that the lens has to be significantly "faster" to reduce blurring due to shaking, mainly in low light.

The 32mm Canon lens is indeed pretty much fast enough that blurring in low light could be at a level similar to the 22mm lens when it's at f1.4. But that's all - like the 22mm lens, it would only be "decent enough", when you try hard to keep your hands stable, mostly with a 1/60 shutter. I'm fine with that, when it comes to the 22mm lens, but when it comes to a higher quality, more expensive lens that's much sharper at high and maximum aperture, which I'll be using for stuff like portraits or objects with lots of small details that have to be sharp, I want to be able to take those shots more reliably, and that would be impossible with the combination of a camera that has no stabilization and a 52mm-equivalent lens that also has no stabilization.

The GX8's IBIS with the 25mm f1.4 is about 2.5 to 3 stops better than with IBIS disabled. It means that compared to a Canon M5 or M50 with a 52mm-equivalent lens, I'll be getting about 2 stops advantage, shake-wise, That's a very, very big deal to me. It's significant enough that I'm willing to ignore things like the not great in-camera JPEG processing (I won't use it anyway), the pretty undesirable size of the camera to my taste (it's a bit past the edge of what I was willing to use, but I'll cope), the 20% more weight (at least the lens is lighter), the fact that it's more than 3 years old and lacking in processing power compared to some newer cameras, the lower resolution, the worse ISO performance due to the sensor format (at least it's only somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 stop actual difference) and so on.

The main things I'm gaining with the GX8 and 25mm f1.4 compared to, for example, an M50 with 32mm f1.4, are very good IBIS which greatly reduces blurring during hand-held operation (which is really the way I use the camera 99.9% of the time), a very good, TILTABLE EVF (great for portability as far as I'm concerned), much faster focusing in low light and in general. a weather-sealed and especially strudy camera body, a sturdier (but not sealed) lens (which obviously has outstanding image quality, but apparently so does the 32mm), and all at a similar camera + lens depth and a not too terrible overall weight (just 62g heavier).

An Olympus M1 Mark II would have given me about 1.5 to 1.7 times better IBIS with this lens (yes, not more than that, and I'm aware of the mostly unmerited GX8 IBIS hate going on around here), but I absolutely would not have been willing to ignore the shortcoming of lack of an anti-aliasing filter. I find the aliasing artifacts (most usually manifested as "moire") to be by far worse than anything else in a camera. I've had terrible experiences with AA-filterless cameras and I've seen that others here have had similar experiences. I have no intention to resort to horrible, destructive post-processing to try to wash it off when it happens. Also, comparing GX8 test images to the M1 Mark II images, there is never less actual detail in any of them. See all the sections with text, for example. It's all nonsense. As always, a properly-designed and implemented anti-aliasing filter never removes any perceivable detail. Notice that I'm comparing cameras that are about a year apart, not a much newer, high-end camera like DC-G9 which has very slightly more detail not because of its lack of AA, but because it's a much newer implementation in a comparably huge camera which allows for all kinds of signal quality benefits.

I like my Canon M6 + 22mm f2, which is a compact, cheap setup that gives me very good image quality in the right conditions. There's still no 35mm-equivalent, bright prime AF lens in MFT. There's the nice, very small 40mm-equivalent 20mm f1.7, but that's quite different and I don't see myself switching between it and the 25mm f1.4. I'll keep using both cameras for different things, and taking both of them with me in some occasions will be great, I could quickly switch between them for different kinds of shots, and I won't have to mess with switching lenses and risk getting the sensors dirty when I'm in a far from ideal place to switch a lens. That's an excellent example of an advantage that small and light camera / lens setups allow, compared to much heavier and bigger setups.

You see? Some people can have a good use for products from total competitors at the same time. My main takeaways are:

Canon APS-C - Within my needs (small and light camera with 35 or 50 mm-equivalent lens) - very good quality and comparably cheap, but the two things that can easily ruin everything are the lack of IBIS and the inherently slower auto-focus which is especially unreliable in low light, in comparison.

MFT - Cameras that avoid horrible artifacts due to improper sampling which totally goes against all sampling theory, and have decent modern features and high quality sensors with enough resolution don't exist except for the GX8. Ignoring the AA issue (although I absolutely wouldn't), the good ones are expensive and almost all of them are far from compact (GX8 is an exception sitting right at the edge, and M1 mark II is kind of OK too). Lenses with high quality specs (bright, sharp, low vignetting and distortion, etc.) are significantly more expensive. No serious 35mm-equivalent, bright prime lens, and an expensive 40mm-equivalent which could be nice, but it's too bad that there's no proper, more compact and much cheaper camera to go along with it.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts, my opinions, my words, nothing more. Agree with me, disagree with me, chase me with torches, whatever I hope someone finds this post useful. Have a nice weekend.

Canon EOS M50 (EOS Kiss M) Canon EOS M6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
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