A Brief Introduction with the GF2 + 14

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by matthewm, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    Hey guys,
    I've been in and out of these forums for a while. I've got a Ricoh GR Digital III (for the second time) and I use it a good bit. I also use a Konica Big Mini, Nikon Lite Touch AF and an Olympus Mju 1. I like small cameras for my personal work as they're unobtrusive and I can just sort of throw them wherever. I tried the Olympus Digital Pen series and didn't care for them but I've always had a soft spot for Panasonic cameras. I think their image quality is top-notch and I've always been a fan of their build quality. I've had different Panasonic P+S cameras over the years and wanted to look at the GF-Series for a larger-sensor option to my GRD3. I was using a 5D with the 28 f/2.8 on it, but it was bulky and I didn't love that lens. So, I sold the lens and added a little spare change to it and picked up a brand new GF2 + 14 f/2.5 combo from eBay last week. Got it today and took a few images with it. I'm not crazy about the touch screen, but it doesn't require a lot of use on my part. I'm an Av mode shooter so I just need the thumb wheel for the most part. I do like the touch-to-focus feature but I can also focus and recompose just as easily...

    I'm headed to disney in a couple weeks so we'll see how it does down there. Planning on shooting a little video while I'm at it.

    Anyway, enough rambling. I just wanted to kind of introduce myself and post a photo of my mug using my new GF2. Feel free to add your thoughts or photos to this thread as you see fit. I'd love to see what some of you are doing with similar combinations. I'm guessing the 20/1.7 is in my very near future if I can get some money in the bank. Until then, the 14 is just the ticket for my wide angle needs (Read: Watch out little Ricoh, there's a new kid in town!).

    [​IMG]
    1/160, f/5.6, ISO 400, Forced Flash
    Over-cooked in Nik Silver Efex Pro
     
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  2. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    A few images from my morning commute today. Caught these just after sunrise. I'm really starting to like this little camera. It's extremely responsive and the image quality seems to be top-notch. I also really appreciate the build quality. It feels sturdy, doesn't creak or bend. All of the joints and connections are solid. All-in-all, this seems to be a really great little machine.

    Enjoy the photos. Shot in RAW, edited in LR3.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Manual Focus:
    [​IMG]

    And one that I cropped to get rid of some of the sky and foreground:
    [​IMG]

    Feedback appreciated. Also, let me see your images guys!!!
     
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  3. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    Real Name:
    bart
    despite the GF1 getting a lot more love from many enthusiasts, the GF2 and 3 seem to make perfect sense when coupled to a small pancake lens, and you're proving it! Great shots :smile: love the summery feel of your shots, too!
     
  4. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    Thank you for your response! It really is ideal for snapshots with the pancake lenses.
    I think I'm going to enjoy carrying it around this summer.
     
  5. Julien

    Julien SC Top Veteran

    749
    Jan 6, 2012
    Paris, France
    Real Name:
    Julien
    It seems to behave reasonably well against direct sunlight.
     
  6. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    It definitely does...
    Images 2, 4 and 5 were shot directly into the sun. I bumped up the recovery and used a gradient on the sky to give it some color, but it didn't do too badly. The first shot had great color throughout with very minor tweaking. The sun was to my immediate right and still fairly low on the horizon.

    The only thing I've noticed that I don't like is the lens flare that is produced by the 14/2.5. It's sort of chunky. You get one big spot of flare (like in the barn photo) and then you get this giant blob (there was one in the barn photo, but I cloned it out in Lightroom). However, seeing the sharpness and color from this lens makes me think the flare problem is a small one that I'm willing to deal with.

    Also, the shot of the single flower was manually focused into direct sunlight and the magnified focus on the screen made it incredibly easy to do. A BIG plus there for Panasonic.

    Now if we could just get peaking. :D
     
  7. Julien

    Julien SC Top Veteran

    749
    Jan 6, 2012
    Paris, France
    Real Name:
    Julien
    Yes, I think peaking would be a useful feature to introduce on m4/3. People have been asking this for a while.

    Nice PP.
     
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Nic
    Glad to see you're having fun with your GF2, and the 14mm is about as small as a lens as you could ever want. MIcro 4/3 is a great system to get into, so many more lenses and bodies to spend money on...:rolleyes:

    Love the colours and light in your images.
     
  9. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    Thank you for the compliment on my images.

    The 14 is definitely nice and small. But it's built extremely well. I was sitting down on a bench yesterday and had it with me and I was just sort of fiddling with it and I couldn't help but notice how nice and smooth the focus ring was. There's no play in it and the whole camera just feels solid. I can't say that about some of my Canon gear, especially my 50/1.4 which feels much more "flimsy" in build. The only thing I don't love about the GF2 physically, is the grip. The metal is nice and the grip protrusion for your finger is easy to grip, but it's a little slick. I'm going to try and get a leather kit to stick on the front I think to try and get some extra grip on it.

    My wife won't let me spend any more money on cameras until we get caught up on bills. But I do want that 20/1.7 at some point. Maybe she'll let me get it this summer. :)
     
  10. Booka

    Booka SC Regular

    83
    Jul 5, 2011
    Sweden
    Interesting writeup/topic. I still haven't tested a m43 camera yet but have been pondering my next camera choices. Maybe after a bit more use you could give us an opinion on where this puts m43 against the Ricoh GRD.
    I'm currently using the GRD and a nikon D90 Aps-C. I love the ricoh for it's size,snap focus and photographer focused interface, but it does lack in IQ against a dslr. I was debating the Oly OMD with a full set of lenses to replace both cameras but the price and added size over the GRD has scared me off for time being.(no IQ improvement over D90).
    -Is the Gf2 a step up from a GRD or a side step as a photographic experience.
    I'm Debating D700with manual primes and compact vs OMD with a full setup. Ofcourse your opinion depends on your experience with the 5D2 and the RicohGRD, you obviously felt a place for m43, can you ever see M43 replacing both compact and DSLR or does it only fit inbetween.
    Sorry for the ramble, just looking for some more thoughts.
     
  11. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    No worries on the ramble. I tend to do the same from time to time. :biggrin: And, they're all great questions/concerns.

    For me, my Canon DSLR setup (5DII, 5D, 17-40, 24-70, 70-200, 35, 50, 85, 580EXII Flashes) could never be replaced by a m4/3 camera professionally. My wife and I shoot weddings together and she shoots family and bridal portraits. I shoot architecture, food and lifestyle. I can't see a m4/3 camera ever being a possible replacement for a high quality DSLR. They just don't have the fast focusing, bright viewfinders and interface that I rely on for professional shooting. I MIGHT be able to use a m4/3 setup for architectural photography as long as it had a hot shoe so I could trigger lights, etc. But for weddings, lifestyle and food, I need something that focuses faster and has better image quality. I can't rely on a touch-screen interface for that kind of photography. I need to be able to quickly make adjustments and have a viewfinder that is bright and accurate. EVFs don't offer the quality I'm looking for in that department at this point. Also, in my opinion, the lenses for m4/3 are cost-prohibitive. For instance, the Panasonic 7-14mm is $1000. I can get the Canon 17-40L for about $700. I get a wider angle of view and faster aperture (not that I use my 17-40 at f/4 a lot) for less money. I realize that the combination of a 5DII and a 17-40 is far more money than a Panasonic GH2 and 7-14, but I feel that the usability, interface, image quality and expand-ability of the Canon system is a better value for the money.

    All of that being said (see, I told you I ramble :smile:), I think the m4/3 cameras are a definite replacement for DSLRs (APS-C or otherwise) as far as travel photography is concerned. I can carry my GF2 and 14mm on a wrist strap and it doesn't get in the way or weigh me down at all. It's small enough that my wife can stick it in her purse if I need her to. I can't do this with a Canon 5DII and 28 f/1.8. I could easily carry a GF2/20/14 combo in my messenger bag (or the pouch in my backpack, which is what I'm planning to do at Disney World in a couple of weeks). I'd never be able to do that with a full-frame DSLR. An APS-C DSLR might squeeze in there, but not with a lens mounted. I could probably just shove the GF2/14 in a cargo pocket of some shorts for walking around, although it might be awkward for walking. Either way, the portability makes it a no-brainer for me in terms of what camera I'll take to a theme park or for a walk on the beach with my wife.

    As for replacing the GRD3, I don't think the GF2 can. While I think the GF2 has better image quality, especially at higher ISOs, it's a different image quality. Yes, at 100% viewing, pixel-for-pixel, the GF2 can produce better overall image quality than the GRD3. However, I rarely look at images at 100%. I'm not a pixel-peeper. And the GRD3, for me, produces a grittiness and a quality all its own. In my opinion, there are very few cameras that can create the images that a GRD-Series camera creates. They, in my opinion, have some of the best processing engines you're likely to find in any digital compact camera anywhere.

    So, for me, the m4/3 cameras are not substitutes for my full-frame DSLR kit for professional work. However, the GF2 is slowly becoming my go-to camera for travel and walking around, riding bikes, etc. The GRD3 will also accompany me on trips and what not. It will go places the GF2 won't. I can easily squeeze it in a shorts pocket or the back pocket of my jeans. I can't do that with the GF2. So, yes, I need all three systems for very different reasons. The GRD and GF2 definitely overlap a bit, but once I get an additional lens or two for the m4/3 system (looking hard at the 20 f/1.7 at this point), that overlap will be gone and the GRD will return to it's previous status of fitting a very specific niche for me. The GF2 will be mostly for travel and the Canon system will remain my go-to professional kit for commissioned photo and video work.

    I hope all of this helps and makes sense. I'll try and update this thread regularly as I use the camera and compare it to my other cameras and workflow. I really love it so far and I don't anticipate a drastic change in my feelings towards it at this point.
     
  12. Booka

    Booka SC Regular

    83
    Jul 5, 2011
    Sweden
    wow, Thanks for the extra comments. That's pretty much the similar conclusions I've made about the different systems and how I would use the cameras. With pre/snap focus and large DOF the ricoh can overcome some of the slow focus problems of CDAF when fast operation is needed. None of the m43 models really have fast enough controls/focus of a DSLR but the OMD may be getting there but the size seems to be a little to big as a jacket camera.

    I think I may be waiting awhile for my dream camera, Ricoh m43mount with SonyNEX7 style built-in viewfinder.(why not a B&W sensor while we're wishing)

    Thanks again for the response, really good to know what i've been thinking about an exclusive m43 system makes some sense. Any updates from your shooting experience as they relate to other systems would be much appreciated.
     
  13. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    You're very welcome Booka. Glad I could help. If I can answer any more questions or you want to know anything about the camera specifically, just let me know and I'll try and respond as quickly as I can.
     
  14. matthewm

    matthewm SC Regular Subscribing Member

    102
    Jun 23, 2011
    Sumter/Charleston, SC
    Real Name:
    Matthew Morse
    I was laying on the floor messing with the touch focus on the rug by our back door and my dog spotted a squirrel and came and stood right over the camera. I really like the way this photo came out. I think the 28mm FOV really helped to exaggerate the perspective. I did a little processing in Lightroom and that's it. This was at f/2.8, 1/13, ISO 400. The cleanliness of the files out of this camera is incredible. And even at f/2.8, the lens is just razor sharp. I'm really, really happy with it so far.
    [​IMG]

    And this was Jack (my dog) out in the back yard just a few minutes before. I was trying to photograph his ball in some lovely green grass and he came and took it from me... This one was at f/2.8, 1/125, ISO 100. I processed the photo in Lightroom and then used Silver Efex Pro for the conversion. I added a little grain to it in SE also.
    [​IMG]