Wednesday, November 6, 2013

what camera do you use?

photo by luisa brimble - shot in surry hills' cat alley

Without doubt the question I'm asked most by readers is: "What camera do you use?" It seems a good time to talk about my little (yes, it's very little) camera, considering I've got a new found love for it - it is the ultimate travel camera. 

I have been taking photos with the Panasonic gf1 with 20mm 1.7 (pancake) lens for three years now. I could have upgraded many a time but I can never justify it. Why do I love it? Let me count the ways:
  • it's a really affordable camera. We bought the body and lens new for $600. Whilst you can't buy the gf1 brand new anymore, I've seen a lot of listings on Gumtree and ebay. Expect to pay under $500 for a pre-loved body and lens. 
  • if there was an ideal camera for parenthood this would be it. It fits into my bag (even this little satchel), it's not overly precious so I don't have a problem taking it to the beach etc and because of its size I can easily wear it around my neck and carry Poet in the sling at the same time. I take it with me everywhere which means I take photos every day - I definitely wouldn't do that with a heavier and more expensive model.
  • it only weighs 500grams! - I just weighed it on my kitchen scales. Unlike some weighty cameras on the market this little gem ensures I'm not struggling to hold it up (my wrists are weak after years of breastfeeding). Ultimately, its size and weight has a huge affect on the way I take photos - I can easily walk, jump, squat and crouch with it and take better photos as a result.
  • the subject isn't intimated by it. This is debatable as the energy of the photographer has a big impact on the comfort of his/her subject. But generally, because the gf1 is so small you don't feel as if you're impinging on the subject's personal space when your shooting; the subject isn't daunted by a big camera and an intimidating lens. 
  • it's easy to find your way around the manual settings. This, of course, takes practice and lots of it. But I'm proud to say that I can now take photos without having to pay attention to the settings; my fingers make the adjustments and I can focus on the subject and composition.
  • it's all about the lens. Yes, it really is. I've only ever used the pancake lens and have never wanted (or felt the need for) any other. I like to engage with my subject as I'm taking photos so zoom lenses have never really made sense for me. 
  • it takes good photos. Generally, yes, it does take good photos so regardless of your photography skills, you can rest assured that you'll be happy with the results. But at the end of the day, a beautiful photo is the work of the photographer, not the camera.
As for cons, it's not great in low light (it goes up to iso 3200 but the grain is definitely evident - fine for the web but not great for print). There's a few other bloggers who shoot with the gf1 including Gaby and Imogen and I know they share my love of it. 

If you have any camera/photography/editing questions I'm happy to answer them in the comments section. 

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