As you may or may not know, I've been getting into the Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless camera format for the last year or so. It started right after I lugged around a giant gripped dSLR, a 24-105mm lens and a 100-400mm lens all over the Alaskan Panhandle. Upon returning to 75Central HQ in Dallas, I swore I'd never do that again. Impressed by mirrorless cameras, especially the work (and influence) of Giulio Sciorio over at Small Camera, Big Picture, I picked up a Lumix G6 and a couple of lenses. The G6 appealed to me in that it felt like a dSLR, but tiny...it fit my hands and my shooting style. Since then, I've taken it to such places as San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Chicago. Below are some of the great shots I've gotten with this little camera.
So, as you can see, it's a pretty capable camera and system. Lately, however, I'd been wanting a decent wide prime lens and so had been perusing the forums at mu-43.com and came across the well-regarded Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 "pancake" lens. Impressed with the sample images that users had posted to the forum, I found a used one in "Ex+" condition at KEH.com, the well-regarded purveyors of used photo gear. Having never bought from them before, I took a chance and bought it. I got it yesterday, so I needed to thoroughly test it out, which is where the second outlay of money comes in this story.
I've been wanting a second camera body for a while...another micro four-thirds camera to carry around so I wouldn't have to switch lenses as often as well as something that my lovely wife, Laura, could take with her on occasion as she travels. Having read several excellent reviews, I decided I wanted to take a good look at the tiny Panasonic GM1.
Unfortunately, the only camera store in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that's worth going to is the excellent Arlington Camera. The unfortunate part of that statement comes from the fact that I live in Addison, on the north side of Dallas, so the drive to the camera store is roughly 40 minutes. (This actually might be a good thing, as it prevents me from casually dropping in to spend money). So, I decided I'd drive out to Arlington this morning, see if they had a GM1 I could look at, then go to the University of Texas at Arlington campus to walk around a bit to test out the new lens I bought.
So I got to Arlington Camera, held this incredibly-small interchangeable lens camera in my hand and immediately laid down my credit card to make it mine (seriously, that photo above doesn't do it justice in illustrating its smallness). Much to my chagrin, however, was that the battery was nearly dead, so I wouldn't be able to test it out properly until I got home, leaving the Lumix G6 to do the testing of the new lens.
As for that lens testing, it went extremely well and I'm very pleased with my purchase from KEH (and would do it again if they'd get a Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 II in). I'll be slowly posting a few photos from the test photowalk over on the photoblog.
Bonus: The GPS track from today's quick test walk: