And you, my fellow camera nerds: walk this way.
I got a new camera which I'm enjoying a great deal. The Panasonic Lumix GF-1 with the 20mm f 1.7 lens. It is currently rocking my world, inhabiting in that big void that exists between my iPhone and my Nikon d700.
Like every other professional photographer on the planet, ever since I picked up my first digital camera in 1999 (Check out my first digital photography gallery and my crazy predictions about what digital was going to do to imaging) I'd been waiting for Leica Camera to make one. Leica's sort of the Rolls Royce of camera manufacturers -- their cameras are eccentric, at times difficult to use, but cultish and wonderful and beautiful in ways it's difficult to explain. I don't know if Leica thought digital was a fad or if they just didn't have the expertise, but they took their own sweet time in coming out with one. Eventually disgorging few attempts that were, for the most part: exceedingly ugly, two timesas expensive as a high end Canon or Nikon dslr and about two years behind in technology. Nobody was making anything like a digital Leica, not even Leica. Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and all the others for the most part didn't care to try and make anything like that -- the market was too small and most people would probably rather have "sports" and "baby" modes on their Point and Shoot than full manual control. Lamentably, I stopped using my Leicas because of the convenience of digital and they took up a position as bookends, but I was always looking for the experience again.
Well, that all changed when Panasonic came out with the GF-1, a micro 4:3 format camera. It's got interchangeable lenses, the option of full manual control, and, like the Leica -- it's really small. I picked one up a few weeks back and it feels wonderful. It also shoots 1080i high definition video.
Years ago I read this sagacious truth on some photographer's web page: Camera collectors take pictures of their cameras. Photographers take pictures with their cameras.
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It's pricy and, at the moment, out of stock in a lot of places. I paid $799 for mine, and the price went up a hundred dollars about two days after I bought mine and I see it's on amazon for $1100 now -- which I suppose makes some sense if supply is limited and demand is high. But I'm loving mine. I got the external viewfinder which snaps on the top so that you don't have to compose via the LCD on the back -- I never could stand trying to take a photo with the camera held a foot from my face.
I really like leaving the house with a camera that fits into my pocket and so far, the images from it have been very impressive.
trillian_stars from a movie that only exists in your mind.
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Here's a portrait of John Ennis the portrait artist. (Is this like metaportraiture?)
Having one camera and one lens seems to be getting back to simple basics -- and the lens, at f 1.7 is fast enough and sharp enough to be useful. A lot more useful for me, I think, than a slow midrange zoom on a DSLR.
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Camera geek party in the comments.
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