Sunday, April 16, 2017

OT: Downsizing, con't.

Our trip to southern Africa is behind us (and if you've never been there, and have the slightest inclination, go). As discussed in the previous post, I bought a used Lumix GX7 with a 20mm kit lens and a new Lumix 45-150mm zoom to shrink my traveling gear. Here's how it went.

We spent eleven days on safari in three countries (Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and several more days sightseeing in Cape Town and Johannesburg. On this trip "safari" meant several hours each day in four-wheel-drive vehicles on dirt roads, looking for and viewing wildlife. Had we been on foot, the lighter camera gear would have been essential. But the tours wisely do not allow tourists to wander on foot: wildlife is wild, and can be dangerous. But still, I enjoyed having the lightweight pack, and strolling around the cities it was much appreciated.

I've gone through the images and for the most part I'm happy with them. They do look "different" than images from my Nikon D750, but it's not easy to describe. Part of the difference is likely due to vibration control. On one hand, the Lumix stabilization seems less effective than the Nikon's; on the other hand, the Lumix spent a lot of time in bouncing vehicles. On the third hand, most of my images were taken when the vehicle was stopped. And somehow the color rendering looks different, at least until post-processing has been applied.

The autofocus on the Lumix didn't always do the job. Part of the problem, I know, is trying to shoot animals lurking in bush or high grass: it's hard for the autofocus to know what the subject is. And I'm at fault for not learning how to use the different autofocus modes correctly. The manual focus mode is easy to engage and provides a magnified view of the center of the image. It was useful for careful work but annoying when I couldn't figure out how to turn off the magnifier.

As I feared, battery life was nothing like my Nikon. You need only heft the Lumix battery to know that its capacity is smaller. Two batteries were essential, and I often turned off the back-of-camera display to conserve power. I usually preferred the viewfinder anyway. Faster battery charging would be nice, too--why should such a dinky battery take three hours to charge?

Gripes aside, I think I'll keep the Lumix. I'd like to have a wide-angle lens (one traveler I chatted with likes her Olympus wide-ish zoom). Meanwhile I should retrieve the Nikon from the closet so I don't forget how to use it, AND keep using the Lumix so I DO learn it. Wish I weren't such a lazy photographer.

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