camera shopping

I bought a new camera this week.  I’d been wanting to replace my GF1 for a while because the video only works about 50% of the time, and you don’t discover it’s failed until you attempt to end the video.  Anyway, I debated a few options, starting with the tiny GM1:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-gm1/panasonic-gm1A.HTM

image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1

It’s about the size of compact camera.  However, it takes the same size lenses as the GF1, so I’m not sure how much value that would really provide, and many people apparently find controller the camera hard because it’s so small.  I prefer to shoot in aperture-priority mode which means I want to be able to control the aperture and exposure compensation easily.  This camera runs about $570.

I also looked at the GX7:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-gx7/panasonic-gx7A.HTM

image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7

This is a larger, heavier camera than my GF1.  With this one, I was concerned that it might be too big.  Some of the space is for things I don’t care about, like a pop-up flash and a built in electronic viewfinder.  If I want to do flash photography, I use my Canon.  Maybe I should look into Panasonic’s flash photography capabilities, but the cameras are so little, attaching a giant flash on top has never made sense to me.  As for the viewfinder, I bought a viewfinder for my GF1 and ended up selling it because I never used it.  With mirrorless camears, I find the image preview works too well to mess around with a viewfinder.  (On the Canons, on the other hand, the image preview drives me crazy and I never use it -always the viewfinder.)  The other major problem with this camera is that it is currently selling for $720, which is more than I wanted to pay.  Heck, $570 was also more than I wanted to pay.

The other problem is that it’s very difficult to find a place to hold and look at these cameras.  They’re not carried by places like BestBuy.  (They sell them but don’t stock them.)  I hate going into my local photography store because they know or suspect that I’m using them only as a showroom.  The irony is that if they were nicer and less snobby to me, I’d consider buying cameras from them.  As it is, the last time I went in, I felt like the salesguy was snatching cameras out of my hands before I’d had a chance to look at them properly, and they didn’t have any cameras out.  I had to ask to look at anything I wanted to see.  I considered buying both cameras off Amazon and just sending one or both of them back – big cash layout, but low risk.

In the end, though, I decided to purchase a Panasonic GX1:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/GX1/GX1A.HTM

image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

The GX1 is very, very similar to my GF1, except with an updated sensor and a few other minor updates.  It came out in 2011, a little over 2 years after the GF1.  Now, I have loved using my GF1.  I have a few complaints about it, most notably its performance in low light.  But the major reason I was looking to replace it was simply that it was broken (the video issue), not because I disliked the camera.  Therefore, buying the GX1 which is so similar suited me well.  I decided to buy a used copy off Amazon in “like new” condition for about $200.  I’ll sell my GF1 (clearly advertising the video issue, obviously) and probably get a few bucks for it.  All in all, a relatively inexpensive camera upgrade.  So far, I’ve been quite pleased with the GX1.  It’s not the excitement of a brand new camera because (a) it’s not new and (b) it’s so incredibly similar to my current camera.  I’m pleased, though, to have reliable video.  The catalyst for buying it now is that I don’t want to miss my new baby’s first moments due to camera malfunction.

My first “real” camera was my Canon 20D.  That was really an incredible camera.  I abused it like you wouldn’t believe.  I faceplanted in the snow while snowshoeing with it around my neck, took it out in all manner of rain, sleet, and snow many, many times, took it to the beach, often in windy conditions.  In short, I abused it horribly – and got great use out of it in the process.  The on/off button eventually failed, but B was able to fix it without much trouble.  Other than that, I had no issues with it, which is rather incredible considering that I actually bought it used.

When finally I decided that it was worth replacing it, simply because camera technology has progressed so far since 2005 when I bought it, I bought a Canon Rebel T3i.  Now, I bought it this winter (January) when I was in the throes of morning sickness, and I was really just too sick to use it.  As a result, I didn’t really try it out properly during the period in which I could have returned it.  I have discovered that I really don’t like it that much.  It’s hard to say why, but it is not my 20D.  The handling, menus, video operation – all annoy me, and so I don’t use it that often.  Therefore, I’m planning to sell it.  I think I’ll probably replace it with a used Canon from the X0D line, maybe the 50D which runs about the same price as this one used.   When I was buying this camera, I felt I couldn’t justify buying from the X0D line because it was so much more expensive.  The 50D doesn’t have as good of a sensor, for example, and probably image quality, as the T3i.  However, when a camera drives you crazy and you never really use it, it doesn’t matter what kind of image quality it has.  So we’ll see.  Lots of camera buying and selling in my near future planned, since I want to have all this wrapped up before the baby comes.

Canon T3i:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T3I/T3IA.HTM

image of Canon EOS Rebel T3i (EOS 600D)

Canon 50D:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/E50D/E50DA.HTM

image of Canon EOS 50D

4 thoughts on “camera shopping

  1. Sarah

    I need to upgrade my 20D for the same reason — it’s just so outdated at this point. Still haven’t decided what to get though.

  2. Daniel

    I have avoided the Rebel series because the interface looked and felt so bad. I have been happy with the 40D and 60D.

  3. Jennifer

    Sarah – well, my recommendation right now is not a Rebel. Or at least rent one or something to try it out.

    Daniel – I’ll probably end up getting a used 60D. Though I’m tempted to also consider a used 7D. We’ll see. I just listed my Panasonic GF1 on eBay, so I’ll get through selling that first. 🙂

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