Since you mention video as being important, nobody does video in a hybrid still/video camera better than Sony and Panasonic. The two models already mentioned are fairly top of the range for relatively compact models. There are almost equally capable cheaper models available from both brands but they will miss out on things like viewfinders, tilty and/or touchscreens, focus peaking, that kind of thing.
Originally Posted by Turbo124
Standard lens for such cameras is a 3 times zoom which is good for general street, landscape and just about portraits. It will not be the best of lenses for low light or for achieving a shallow depth of field but, to put it into perspective, it will be very significantly better than a travel zoom in these areas and for focus speed and tracking. It will be sufficient to get you going and until you decide to spend on another lens or two. If you do buy a Panasonic, I suggest you add the Olympus 45 portrait lens and if a Sony, either a 35 or 50mm Sony lens. These are reasonably priced bright prime lenses that offer the most bang for your buck. Perhaps more zoom is more important to you? Do consider those primes first though as the picture quality is likely to be so good that you could crop it substantially to isolate many subjects.
As always though I have to say that what suits me might not be to your liking and nobody can ultimately take responsibility for your choices except yourself. If you are really interested in learning and using a proper camera, please don't buy a point and shoot tiny_sensor compact. The minimum I would go for in that case would be from a class called 'advanced compact'. Some of those are excellent and I love mine, a Fuji X20 which is certainly a sophisticated 'enthusiast's' camera. Not brilliant for video but adequate in undemanding situations.
Check out the differences between the Sony a6000 and Panasonic. Apart from the obvious, Panasonic have a very good touchscreen, precisely placeable focus point and excellent WiFi functionality while nobody does HDR/DRO and focus peaking better than Sony IMO.
There are almost too many choices.
Last edited by Huw Williams; 21-07-14 at 09:53 PM.
Thanks Huw - I've read quite a few reviews today and think I prefer the GX7 over the A6000 (touchscreen, shutter speed, start-up time and apparently the menu system is a lot more user friendly). I've found the GX7 for £599 (with a free 45-150mm lens too) which seems reasonable.
I think I just still need convincing that the quality of the GX7 outweighs the portability benefit of the TX100M3, TZ60, or even the Nikon J4 - as I've only ever gone for ultra portable cameras in the past so I can fit them in my pocket!
I'm sure you would be absolutely amazed and delighted by a GX7. I have a pair of G6 cameras that have just about the same functionality as the GX7 but in a more DSLR style.
For portability you need two things in my opinion. A snug top-loader/holster bag that will take it nose down with the bigger lens complete with its hood attached. Plus a bigger oblong bag or backpack for carrying and storing everything tidily for the car and home, including the second lens and any future purchases of polariser filters, spare batteries, the charger and cord, spare sd cards and so on, including the camera itself, ideally while still inside its holster bag. None of which is essential for a while apart from the holster bag which makes the camera effortless and discrete to carry for a long day. It's light enough, so the bag over your shoulder, by your side or more to the back, will protect it from bumps and the weather and will soon be forgotten until you see a photo opportunity, and bang, the camera will be there ready to go. With this kind of camera you will soon be making the opportunities rather than hoping for them to leap out at you.
It will, if you decide to get it, a real eye opener I'm sure. Although you can use intelligent auto mode to start with, the amount of sophistication allowed by this camera, should you choose to explore its potential, will probably take your breath away compared to your previous experience. Take it steady and one step at a time so you don't get overwhelmed by different control options and do bare in mind that very few people indeed shoot in full manual mode these days. Don't even get confused by shooting RAW for a good while unless you are already into editing every image on a computer [I seldom bother with RAW files, although I do have a few hundred wedding photos to process by this time next week.]
Best of luck with your choice and have fun whatever you eventually decide.
Last edited by Huw Williams; 22-07-14 at 08:11 PM.
Hi Huw... me again! I will make a decision soon I promise... but I can't decide between the GX7 and A6000. I read one review that recommends the Panasonic and then one that recommends the Sony! At this point you probably say it doesn't matter because both are more advanced than I'll probably make use of, but I'd appreciate your opinion nonetheless.
GX7 - can get for £599 with 14-42mm lense plus free 45-150mm telephoto lense.
A6000 - can get for £650 with 16-50mm lense
Many thanks (again)
Some people will argue that there is far more choice of lenses for the M4/3 format or system that the Panasonic belongs to. However, I think that is not really relevant, because you only need two or three lenses that suit you, if that many, so the shear number is pretty irrelevant.
Originally Posted by Turbo124
Perhaps more relevant to a decision is that the Panasonic/Olympus lenses are far lighter and more compact than the APS-C format lenses that the Sony uses. This becomes an issue because of the 'rangefinder' style of body, that has a shallow depth of body, becomes rather unbalanced with heavier lenses on the front. They can even look a bit odd.
From a technical merit point of view, you won't get cameras that are closer to being the best of their type on the market today. Both have lightening fast focus and both can track focus very accurately, not that very many people even use that feature much. Both will give superb image quality. Both will have prime lenses that can provide a very much shallower depth of field than the kit lens. Both have wi-fi capability, including remote control and picture transfer in the field. Both have superbly comprehensive and customisable controls and features. Both very well built and have a reputation for quality products and cameras. Both do video particularly well.
There are some features that one will do better than the other and visa versa. I can't see you going wrong with either in all honesty. Anyone who vehemently favours one of these against the other is being pernickety and quite silly. Whichever you decide on, you can be sure that it is one of the very best cameras available at this price point, indeed at any price point up to double what these cost, that are available today.
The most important thing you need to get the best out of either of these is to learn how to use them. There are plenty of books and videos on general photography that are worth studying and the advanced manual for the camera is also essential. You will find advanced user manuals on their respective websites under 'support' which is well worth downloading into a tablet computer/iPad if you have one. You could also download it into a Kindle Reader. Anything for quick reference in the field. I find that the manuals make more sense after a year of getting to know the camera, if you see what I mean. At first it takes a conscious effort to find features, but as time goes on I know that the features are there and roughly where to find them on the camera and in the manual, but I just need that little refresher to jog my memory sometimes.
Above all, get out there and press some buttons and explore the environment for creative images and learn from the many mistakes you will make. It is getting it right and learning while making lovely images that gives me the pleasure, not so much the actual equipment, although there's something very satisfying in getting stylish equipment that you know is amongst the best.
Sorry to rant on, but I'm rather passionate about my hobby and can get boring if I'm not careful.
Thanks Huw - I don't consider it a rant! It really is useful to get the view of somebody experienced and genuinely passionate about the subject. I was erring towards the GX7 but then read somewhere that a benefit of the A6000 is "Being able to adjust both the shutter speed and aperture independently is a great strength of the Alpha 6000, and will appeal to anyone keen to have DSLR-like control over settings." - which appealed as I like the idea of having as much manual control as a DSLR.
I think from everything that you've said though that either will be more than sufficient so I might just buy the GX7 as it's slightly cheaper and comes with an extra lense - and then start reading up on how to make the most of it!
Not sure what they mean about the A6000 there. The vast majority of users of all cameras use either Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority, where either one or the other is manually controlled while the exposure, and hence the other parameter is automatically controlled by the camera. Very few people use fully manual mode these days as there is no advantage apart for very advanced users who wish for a very particular effect. Using A mode or even P [program] mode where both aperture and shutter are automatically set while sensitivity [ISO] and white balance and a few other things can be independently changed.
Originally Posted by Turbo124
You will find, should you wish to shoot in P or M modes, that both aperture and shutter can be independently controlled by pushing the control wheel, which is effectively a 'jog dial' to toggle between one and the other.
Personally I do not see any advantage to having two separate control dials for this, especially as I doubt you will wish to actually use Manual mode if you are like the vast majority of good photographers. Nevertheless, I can assure you that both cameras do give you that level of control and much more.
As you can see from my gear list below, I have both Sony and a couple of Panasonic cameras and have no bias either way. The G6, despite being a different physical style of camera to the GX7, is remarkably similar in its control system and menus. The A6000 is nearer the A57 in its menu system than to previous NEX models. If I was pushed into a corner I would say that I marginally prefer the menu of the Sony but, on the other hand, the Panasonic has a far better touchscreen which is more useful than you might imagine. I could go back and forth all night about one feature being better on one or the other but in all honesty it all balances out as far as I'm concerned.
What is all important is learning how to use and be comfortable with the actual tool that you have got. Getting the best out of whatever you have bought. That takes a bit of effort, at least initially, and a willingness to keep on learning and doing better next time.
Don't ever be shy of using the fully automatic mode either. There are two on the Panasonic and probably two on the Sony as well, there certainly are on mine. One gives some control on colour and exposure, which is sometimes useful.
Don't worry about shooting RAW for a while. A good while. Get to know your camera, even using the many scene and art filter modes first. Have fun with it.
Here's a fun out-of-camera shot I took a few days ago using an Olympus 9mm fisheye lens [£85] and one of the art filters, 'expressive' I think.Kiss.jpgcow3.jpgred arrows.jpg
The second is to show a reasonably shallow depth of field using the Olympus 45mm lens. All of these happen to be using the G6, but don't read anything into that.
The third is a quick shot of the Red Arrows taken at the Festival of Speed last month using my everyday 14/140 lens.
The only post processing I've done to these is to very slightly crop each. The second one could do with a bit extra contrast dialled in to the post-process in order to get the black hair and shadows slightly blacker. Could have achieved that in the camera by dialling in a slightly negative EV [exposure value] which is one of the main controls on any advanced camera
Hi Huw - I took the plunge two weeks ago and went for the GX7... and have to say I'm very happy with it, so thank you for all the advice! I'm still reading up and learning how to make best use of it, but it's clear that the potential is so much greater than offered by the compact cameras I've used in the past.
I've enjoyed experimenting with aperture and shutter priority modes to learn how changing these values impacts the resulting image - and take pleasure in taking a photo in IA mode and then trying to create a better one in A,S,P or even M mode by changing one variable at a time until I end up with something I prefer to the IA offering.
Have followed your advice and ignored RAW mode for the time being - that will come later.
My 45-150mm telephoto lense should arrive soon (free offer from Panasonic) and I've been looking at a prime lense to use instead of my 14-42mm kit lense - something like the lumix 20mm f1.7, so I think I've caught the bug!
Congratulations on your purchase decision. Take it one step at a time. No hurry. Use it as much as possible as it doesn't cost anything unless you decide to print. Experiment and have fun.
Download the advanced user manual and have it on a tablet [if you have one] for quick and easy reference. You will likely still be learning in two year's time. Just today I had to refer to the manual because I wanted to use digital zoom or the digital teleconverter but couldn't get the digital teleconverter to work. It turns out that it doesn't work if large files are selected and I had to select 'medium' file size. Problem solved quickly due to having the manual on my Nexus 7 tablet, actually in the Kindle app which I find convenient.