Saturday, February 15, 2014

Still on the Edge with Micro 4/3 and Lumix DMC-GX7

Ice, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, 14-42mm Series II Kit Lens at 32mm
iso 200, f5.4, 1/400 sec.
I have been buying a few cameras lately. Also, I currently have four cameras out for service or cleaning: my Leica M9 (which deserved it after a year of Whole Lotta Leica), my beloved Leica M3 double stroke (which locked up and went to Youxin for a minor adjustment), a IIIC wartime camera (these just keep popping up for good prices, and usually need a CLA), and my M6 Titan (which started making a squealing sound at 1/15 sec and went for what I hope is a simple lubrication).
If you read my blog much, you probably also know that I've been going through somewhat of a renaissance with film and film cameras, falling back in love with old Nikon SLRs like the F2 and my very first Leica, the M4-2.
Well, all of this has me wondering where Micro 4/3 fits in my photography. It was my strong focus for the first year of DMC-365. Currently, I have a DMC-GX7 and DMC-GX1 as a backup. I also have an amazing set of Lumix, Olympus, and Pana-Leica lenses. Yesterday, I was tallying up all of my Micro 4/3 gear, with a mind to selling and reducing my camera gear by one format. Simplifying can be good. However, as soon as I was done listing, I started thinking about what I'd be giving up - first to mind was the 100-300mm zoom with OIS - this is simply the most amazing handheld birding lens I've ever seen.
Barred Owl (Strix varia), by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 OIS Lens
iso 400, f6.3, 1/800 sec

And there are many others. The Summilux 25mm f1.4 is a gorgeous lens. The Lumix 20mm f1.7 is a true miniature wonder. The Olympus 75mm f1.8 is simply amazing. So, I just have not yet reached the point of giving up on the format.

One thing's for sure - before I sell off my Micro 4/3 kit, I need to make sure I'm out for good. Getting into and out of formats can be very expensive. New bodies (like the GH4) keep coming, and Micro 4/3 will only improve from here.
I did read a post by David Taylor Hughes, another GX7 owner, who's sort of in the same frame of mind as me.
(Click Here) to read David's post on SoundImagePlus.
Maybe this is just me doing some hand-wringing with the funds I've been spending on Leica gear lately.
I simply have not fallen for the GX7 yet. Maybe it's the form factor, as I do prefer the feel of the G3 (SLR-emulating) body to that of the GX7. The GX7 makes me feel like I'm shooting a pocket camera - all plastic and electronics. So, I think my current issues may be more related to form than function.

So, here's what I'm going to do. I have a trip to New Mexico coming up next month. It will be my concentrated effort to fall in love with the GX7, and Micro 4/3 again. I will not take any other gear with me, and will treat my Micro 4/3 kit as I intended when I started it - as a travel kit. Hopefully, I'll come back once again in love with Micro 4/3. If not, I may have to trade the GX7 for something else, like a GH3, or get out of Micro 4/3 altogether.

One telling fact, though. I have another trip planned in May, a pure photography trip to New Orleans. I am already 95% sure that will be a Leica trip, and not Micro 4/3. I think that may say where my true love lies.