And My Decision Is…

Last week I shared my desire for a new camera. At that time, I had two choices in mind. A Panasonic G9 micro 43 camera and a Sony A7R MkII full frame. If you’re wondering why I came up with this short list and didn’t include the latest full frame offerings or DSLRs, please see my previous post.

The post received a lot of great feedback with some excellent suggestions. I also received a similar number of emails with suggestions. Rather than try to answer all the suggestions and comments directly I thought it best to wait for this week and share my decision.

I bought a Panasonic G9.

What helped to make up my mind was spending a day out in the hills of the Lake District last Saturday. After 12 hours (and almost as many miles) of carrying my Fuji kit with a full-sized tripod, accessories, food, and outdoor gear I was tired. It was hard work. If I had been carrying a full frame kit, I would have been past enjoying the experience around midday. It would probably also have impacted my photography.

View from Holm Fell in the Lake District. Fuji XT3 with Fuji 55-200 lens. Kase 3 stop soft ND Grad filter.

After this experience I knew that I wanted a lighter camera and lenses. Kit that I could easily carry all day in the hills but one which would still produce quality images that a stock library would accept. That’s why I picked the G9 with Leica 12-60 lens. The two Fuji lenses that I traded in paid for the new equipment with a little left over.

So far, I’ve only taken this camera and three lenses on a short walk (5 miles), but it fits in a small shoulder bag and is easy to carry. Its easy to work with and allowed me to catch this rare wildlife shot (rare for me).

Whilst out walking with the Panasonic G9 and Panasonic 45-150 lens.

It’s also great fun to use and the image quality is very impressive.

Panasonic G9 and 12-60 lens. The image quality and colours are very impressive.

I won’t go into the full details of my decision making now but it currently feels like the right one. So, thank you to everyone who offered suggestions and advice. I appreciate it greatly.

My Fuji Problem

The final point I want to clarify is that no, I’m not dumping Fuji. The “quality” problem with my Fuji images isn’t I believe the camera or lenses. I believe it’s a software problem and therefore can be solved. With the right software and processing, the Fuji RAW files produce amazing photos.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020

Incidentally, did anyone see the winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2020? If you didn’t you can see the image here (https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/news/2020/october/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-2020-winning-images.html).

Please do look at this image because I would bet money that it’s from a Fuji with an XTrans sensor. It’s showing the tell-tale sensor pattern that I call the wiggly worm effect. You see this most clearly in the tree trunks and leaves on the ground. Normally you don’t see the effect so clearly as in this image so it’s possible there could be some cropping going on.

What a lovely shot though.

I hope you have a great weekend.

25 thoughts on “And My Decision Is…

  1. Robin, have you tried running your Fuji files through the Enhance Details filter in Lightroom? I find it eliminates the wiggly worms.

    Regards
    Mike

    1. Thanks Mike. Yes, I have and in fact, the image in this post was done using Enhanced Details. It does fix the wormy pattern but it leaves the images with a course feel to them. I also have and use XTransformer which is very good and my main software for the Fuji is Capture One. All give good results but I’m not entirely happy with any of them.

  2. Well it certainly appears that you made the right decision! You’ve achieved your goal of a more manageable carry, and the image quality leaves nothing to be desired, to put it mildly. I have a Sony A7R I and am happy with it, but I tend to buy cameras to work with lenses that I want to use (Loxia and Voightlander), and I also have a Pentax K1 ii so I can use the Pentax 43mm and 77mm Limited lenses, but that body (although wonderful) is a heavy beast. I’m looking forward to seeing more from your new gear!

  3. Hi, Robin, great images! I have a Fuji xe3 and an Oly omd em10 ii. Both are excellent cameras. I use either in my excursions and I must say that the weight of the two kits is similar. One important point is to avoid “pro” lenses, especially pro f:2.8 zooms. Their quality may be excellent but their weight is significant. I think that the quality of amatorial lenses is good and surely sufficient for me (I rarely enlarge to more than a3 though).

  4. The WPOY says he took it with a motion sensor camera (possibly a Bushnell or similar), so unlikely to be a Fuji, despite the artefacts.

  5. RE WPOY winner, there is a shot of him preparing his cameras on the BBC article and they are either Nikon Z6 or Z7 in a waterproof case (Peli case style) set up with motion sensor for activation, he had about 6 set up in the shot so obviously not short of a bob or two, still a great shot.

    RE the G9, I considered it when i moved to Fuji but the actual camera size put me off as it seemed bigger than the fuji. presumably the difference is the lenses? and i confess i looked at the OLY e-m1mk3 very seriously when it came out especially with the inbuilt ND function, did you consider going back to OLY?

    1. The G9 is about the same weight as the Fuji and slightly bigger. It’s the lenses that are a lot smaller and lighter as well as the accessories. I can also use small 75mm filters which is quite a weight saving as is a smaller and lighter tripod.

    1. Thanks for sharing the details of the camera. Guess I just lost money. Seeing this does make me question the Z7 though. The texture in those trees just doesn’t look natural.
      I wouldn’t worry about leaving your camera in a Siberian Forest in the middle of nowhere. I can’t imagine too many people passing by.

  6. I am in exactly the same position . Currently XT3. All about the weight ( age 67) . Did you reject the Oly OMD EM1 iii if yes ..why please .

    I have had my XT3 since first released . Way back then saw worms in Adobe on my raw . These days absolutely no sign of them whatsoever. I use LR / Photoshop ..upon ‘import’ all sharpening and noise sliders set to zero . Early part of the workflow includes Topaz Denoise Ai if iso warrants it . Then plain sailing .

    1. Yes, I did consider the Olympus EM1 II and III. Great cameras but the RAW files reminded me of the EM5 RAW files too much. They have a kind of crunchy feel to them (hard to describe) where I found the G9 RAW files were smoother.

      1. Hi Robin, you may wish to check the firmware revision of your 45-150 as you’ve had it for quite a while. I updated mine to v1.2 which implements Dual IS functionality.

  7. Welcome to the m43 universe Robin, I hope you’re as happy with your choice as I am with my Olympus cameras. Looking forward to seeing where this takes you.

    1. Thank you. It’s not quite a welcome as I still own two Olympus EM5 kits (one converted to Infrared) but just haven’t used them in the past couple of years. I have to say that the G9 feels like a great upgrade to the old micro 43 kit.

  8. I’m beginning to regret selling off my Panasonic lenses…! which I admit were surprisingly good on an old LX2 that I used as a second camera a while back. I will be interested to follow how you get on with the Panasonic kit.

  9. Hello,
    Since you’ve owned both Olympus and Panasonic, can you tell me how they compare in color rendition?

    Thanks, Roger

    1. Not really. Most of the Micro 43 cameras I’ve used are quite old models. Up until the G9 the latest model I owned was the EM5 MKi. Colour handling tends to differ between models and versions of the same model. That said you should be able to make any model match the colour handling of another if you use something like PhotoLab or Capture One where you can pick the camera rendering to use.

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