A couple things have convinced me that I need a better camera than the one on my iPhone. I mean, I love it, and “the best camera is the one you have with you” and all that, but:
- Marco Arment got a retina Macbook Pro and discovered that almost nothing he’s shot since 2010 is usable as a desktop wallpaper.
- I visited with a buddy of mine who is an excellent amateur photographer, and he told me all about the advantages of shooting in RAW, showed me his Lightroom workflow, showed me the absolutely stunning archival-grade prints that are possible on a pigment-based printer, and more (wow, the technology we can have in our homes, magical times).
Anyway, so now I’m thoroughly overwhelmed, so thought I’d stumble through a few links for the next person who comes along similarly overwhelmed. If you want to read something by somebody that actually knows what they are talking about, you’ve come to the wrong place.
First, my knowledgable buddy recommended the Panasonic DMC-FZ150K, which looks great, but I know from past experience that if there’s any chance I will carry a camera with me, it will have to be smaller than that. He also had a Panasonic Lumix GF1 with the pancake lens, and I have to admit the size alone is awfully tempting. That, and I remember when the camera first came out and there were these glowing (and beautiful) testimonials like Panasonic Lumix GF1 Field Test – 16 Days in the Himalayas and my experience with a micro-4/3rds camera.
Since the the GF1 Panasonic has released the GF2 and GF3, and now the GX1. Whether or not the GF2 and GF3 are worthy upgrades seems to be up for debate (I get the sense they are almost for different audiences), but various forum threads (like this one or this one) seem to suggest that the GX1 makes some worthwhile improvements.
So the Micro 4/3 form factor and performance look great, but is that the right Micro 4/3 camera? There’s also the Samsung NX200. They are in a dead heat at dpreview.com (here’s their GX1 review and their NX200 review). In one of the threads above somebody mentioned, “But the price. GX1 too high. At that price, OM-D is attractive :D with more performance, build quality!” So I had to look that up, and indeed the Olympus OM-D E-M5 gets a great review, but it is also significantly more expensive, and I already feel like I’d be buying more camera than I have any right to as a newbie.
(This just in: the always-great Wirecutter has a new piece up, Best Mirrorless Camera Over $1000, and it’s about the Olympus.)
Along the lines of not buying too much camera, I’m not sure how I found it, but somewhere somebody mentioned the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 (actually, my buddy also owns a point-and-shoot, maybe this one?). It sounds like a helluva point-and-shoot. It gets lots of love from dprreview, is a LOT cheaper than the GX1 with pancake lens would be, and shoots in RAW. There are a bunch of helpful Amazon reviews, with this one titled ultimate serious photographer’s point & shoot summing up nicely.
I also wonder if shooting in RAW is biting off more than I will chew. I recognize that it’s the right way to go, but there will be a learning curve. Without post-processing, photos will look worse to the eye. So part of this decision rests in trying to predict how much time I will realistically put into this. Will I invest the time necessary to get good? I would like to think so…
Anyway, I thought these summed up the RAW thing pretty well:
Anyway, no answers here, but this is what I’ve found so far. The question is, do I buy for who I am now, or for the dream of who I will become?