Monday, March 9, 2015

I've Got A New Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6

UPDATE: Panasonic has announced an update of this camera.  DMC-G7
The G7 has many new and improved features, including 4K video capability.  I'm considering returning my G6 and waiting release of the new model

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6

It's gotten more and more affordable to own a quality video camera!  Several years ago, Canon gave DSLR owners the capability to capture video files.  Suddenly the Canon's still lenses enabled remarkable compositions for cinematographers on a budget.  Saturday Night Live director Alex Buono began using Canon DSLRs for its "Film Unit".   Vincent LaForet, Shane Hurlbut, and others put Canon DSRL footage on the big screen.

A new style of camera also became popular.  These are interchangeable lens camera without mirrors.  Though they may have electronic viewfinders in addition to LED monitor displays, they lack the characteristic penthouse hump you see on a mirrored reflex camera.  Some of these cameras utilize a sensor that, while huge compared to a point n' shoot, is smaller than the sensors found in most DSLRs.  I've been intrigued by the class of mirror less interchangeable lens cameras called "Micro-Four-Thirds (MFT)".

Panasonic's GH2 camera is in this class and won a now-famous shoot-out conducted by Zacuto in 2012.  That camera and its successors have remained a bit out of my price range (~$1,500 + lenses).  A year ago Panasonic introduced the GH2's cousin, the G6.  It's got the same sensor and many of the same capabilities, winning praise from many video enthusiasts.  Of course there are compromises -- for instance the GH2, GH3, and GH4 have magnesium housings and resist mechanical and weather abuse.  The G6 has a good sturdy feel, but it's case is plastic.

I'm Now the "Proud Owner" of a Panasonic G6

Anyway, I just bought the DMC-G6K kit from ($480 as of the date of this post.)  It came with a fair-quality 14mm-42mm kit zoom lens that produces the equivalent of 28mm-84mm medium zoom lens on a standard rig.  I also picked up a used 45mm-150mm used from Amazon.

This beast arrived last week and I've been trying to figure out all the buttons since then.  It's 350-page manual comes on a CD that I printed and placed into a binder.  (Plenty of room for lots of red-ink notes and Post-Its.)  So far I'm impressed with the camera.  If my skills and knowledge grow they way I hope, I'll reward myself with a new fast wide-angle prime lens.

I wish you Happy shooting & Happy editing!

Coming up … we take a look at vacation video that I edited in 2012.

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