Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ideal Travel Camera for Old Moi

In our younger days, we were all guilty of NOT travelling light. In my younger days, travel usually meant work; as a photographer for a newspaper. I recall fondly the time I was with a fashion team to India, shooting for a Singapore paper; travelling with me were 30 KG of photo gear.

I was amazed how I managed to lug all those gears around! But then I was much younger...

In 2010 I concluded that...

A good travel camera should have the following quality:

1) It must be relatively light weight.
2) Able to take interchangeable lenses.
3) Digital, with video.
4) Larger sensor than a point and shoot.
5) Able to shoot RAW.

Come 2017, I decided that another two features are also a "must have" in my travel camera.

6) Able to shoot panoramic scene.
7) In camera image stabiliser.

After returning from a long 5 weeks stays in Penang, Hong Kong and Taipei recently, I was asked what make me decide to take what I took for our travel...

There were two cameras fighting to be my travel camera of choice...

The really tiny, my all time favourite LUMIX GM1 and the slightly larger and heavier LUMIX GX85.

The GM1 ticked the 1) to 5) on my travel must have list, but the bigger GX85 passed all seven! It also have one of the most advanced IMAGE STABILIZER in the camera body for rock steady "run and gun" snaps!

So the Lumix GX85 it is!

What about lenses?

Apart from the supplied 12-32 kit lens, all I need for my expansive travel scenery is my Lumix 7-14 ultra-wide zoom.

With these two lenses, I have a coverage from 14mm to 64mm! 

When you are a SENIOR and depends on a WALKING STICK, you do not want to lug more than necessary!

The LUMIX GX85 with the 7-14 Ultra-wide zoom
I find the Lumix GX85 with 7-14 is a ideal RUN and GUN lens where you just virtually point and shoot, even from a moving bus! 

These were shot from a moving bus in Penang, Malaysia.

The GX85 + 7-14 as a perfect walk about combo!

I can even pass the GX85+7-14 to my wife who just point n shoot!
These were grab by her with my pre-set "A" setting. Notice how sharp (no camera shake) from someone who seldom use a camera.
Chew Jetty, Penang, Malaysia.

Our travel was also to attend my Chung Ling High School 

(钟灵中学) 100 years centenary dinner and reconnect with old friends.

The Lumix GX85 help preserved some fond memories.

Panoramic pictures of our CLHS 100 year dinner taken with the GX85

I shot some pictures during our short visit to Hong Kong, when we were back in our hotel and trying to view what I shot, they were not there!

No point to panic, I put that SD card away, making sure I will not use it till I recover my lost pictures. When I got back to Wellington I use the Lexar Image Rescue 5 to recover all my Hong Kong shots, JPEGs only, mind you, wish they can recover my RAW files too.

What happened?

Most likely I was deleting some "bad shots" and I accidentally deleted all of them. Not possible? Believe me it is possible!  ;)

The Hong Kong pictures that I "lost"

I reckon there is advantage if your camera is "stranger friendly", surely you have the experience of handing your camera to a stranger and let him/her to take a shot of you and your love one?

A big, heavy, complicated DSLR do nothing towards a nice shot by someone totally unfamiliar with your gear!

Before I hand over my GX85, I make sure it is on "A"  (aperture priority), at F4.5 or 5.6; ISO 400 or 800 if indoor.  Only the 12-32 kit lens is use, the big ultra-wide will scare your snapper.  The lens is always set at 12mm (24 eqv) for wide enough coverage.

So far, all our pictures taken by "strangers" are sharp, thanks to the wonderful anti-shake stabilizer in the GX85. I even watched in horror when one of the helpful snapper virtually jabbed the shutter button shaking the camera! Somehow the GX85 came out winning!

Some nice family portrait taken by "stranger" in Taipei, Taiwan.

Pictures taken at the Taipei 101 with my GX85

"But I am able to shoot all my travel pictures with my iPhone!"

Not 100%, you don't get a real optical ultra-wide lens on an iPhone, do you?

But I DO carry my preloved iPhone during my travel and when I am too lazy to take my GX85 out and when I can get away with just a "small JPEG", I use my phone ;)

I call Vince Wong from Penang the Chronometer Man, he serviced my GMT-Master, I took his pictures with my iPhone 5S.

These shots below were also taken with my 5S during our travel, 
nothing wrong with them, until...

I notice the large amount of DISTORTION on the left and right sides of the picture, see how BIG SIZE my two friends became?

Ladies beware!

Famous Last Words...

May be soon or may be one day, mobile phones will come with a larger sensor, optical zoom with ultra-wide coverage; look like I still have to carry my GX85.

Until the day Panasonic produce a GM1 size camera with GX85's features, look like I still have to carry the heavier brother!  


SpacemanSpiff said...

I am interested in this setup (GX85 & 7-14) and would like to ask if this lens would block the built-in flash on the GX85. Would be useful to have the flash for emergency purposes even if it only covers 14mm focal length which is good enough

Many Thanks.

cy.leow said...

Hi SpacemanSpiff,
The little flash of GX85 have no trouble covering the 14mm of the super wide.
I have use it at 7mm as a fill-in and it works wonder!
Regards CY