Some non technical thoughts on the Panasonic G6

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by grebeman, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    In a recent thread I started I made mention of the fact that I had just started to take photographs with a Panasonic G6 camera and one respondant asked for my thoughts on the handling and ergonomics of the camera, so here are a few initial thoughts.

    I won't offer any on the image quality, dynamic range and the like, technical reviewers are better placed to make such observations, nor will I discuss the jpeg output. I started into digital photography many years ago and vowed that as soon as I could I'd get a camera that enabled me to shoot in raw, and so I haven't taken a jpeg image since then (a secondhand Olympus E-10 was my entry into the world of raw with raw shooter essentials as my software).

    I've come to the G6 via a G1 and a GH2, both of which I still have.

    The grip on the G6 is a little broader than that on the G1 or GH2, so it's a little more comfortable to hold with my big hands and long fingers.

    I seem to be able to inadvertantly activate some of the function buttons on the rear of the G6, more so than on either the G1 or GH2. I've noted that the folded LCD screen is virtually flush with the rear of the G6 body whereas it stands rather prouder of the body on either the G1 or GH2 and can't help but wonder if that holds my thumb and hence the ball of the hand just that tiny bit further away from the body and sufficiently clear of the various buttons to lessen the chance of operating them from the action of holding the camera.

    The positions of the quick menu and playback buttons have been reversed on the G6 compared to the GH2 which is rather annoying.

    There is no “my menu” screen in the menu of the G6 which I regret although each individual menu, i.e “custom”, “set up” etc when called up remembers the last action which might lessen the need to scroll through the menus to find a frequently used one.

    I find the menu interface slightly more consumer orientated than on the GH2 which looks a little more professional, but that is just a personal thing really.

    There are more function buttons on the G6 and their assignments can be altered although they tend to be engraved with the default assignment so when they are altered that becomes meaningless and might be slightly misleading. The first I reassigned was the WiFi button Fn4. I have no use whatsoever for WiFi and assigned it to focus mode, much more useful than being on the touch screen where it is by default. Likewise I assigned Fn3 to the spirit level, again more useful here than on the touch screen. With my liking for maritime and seascape photographs I can see the spirit level being very useful

    I find that being able to assign EV compensation to the zoom rocker switch located just behind the shutter release very convenient, then the f stop can remain on the control wheel full time and there is no need to push in that wheel to change between f stop and EV compensation, it often seems to be the case that the wrong one is selected when you want to alter it.

    The G6 also switches automatically to manual focus mode when an adapted lens is fitted.

    One thing I was keen on was the provision of focus peaking as an aid to focus adapted manual focus lenses. So far I've found it to be rather variable in its effectiveness, it needs contrasting edges in the subject for the blue shimmering edges to show up well in the viewfinder. Therefore I'm not sure how useful it will be for macro photography where some subjects lack those contrasting edges.

    I do wonder if however it might be useful as a means of judging depth of field of a stopped down lens in landscape photography and the like since there is a peak of shimmering at the point of actual focus distance and then a tapering off of its effect either side of that, so for example in a landscape it seems to be possible with the lens focus set so that the distant object contrast edge is just shimmering, somewhere closer to the camera is shimmering fully and then something closer is again just faintly shimmering should be an indication of depth of field. I need to try this out further to determine if it has some value.

    I stress that these are my very initial and totally non technical observations made with just a short association with the G6, I hope they might be judged as some value to forum members. This is a totally new venture for me to pass comments of this nature, I usually keep such observations to myself and get on and use what is presented to me, not wishing to influence others in any way whatsoever, so buyer beware.

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  2. snkenai

    snkenai All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    My main questions are, could you compare the build quality (subjective), to the G1, and the EVF to the G3, both of which, I have owned.

  3. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    The G6 feels, and probably is very slightly heavier than the G1, but it's only by a few grams. Likewise the G6 has a textured finish rather than the smooth finish of the G1, making it a little more non slip than the G1. Otherwise the build quality seems comparable between the two cameras. As for the viewfinder I can't detect any difference in the resolution of the image between the G1 and the G6. At factory default settings the G1 viewfinder image appears brighter but less saturated than that in the G6, but of course both feature the ability to adjust that to suit the user.

    As stated in my original post my experience is with the G1 and the GH2, I've never even seen a G3, but given the marginal differences between the G1 and the G6 I doubt there is much detectable difference with the G3.

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  4. porchard

    porchard Veteran

    Feb 3, 2013
    Devon, UK
    Barrie, Many thanks - interesting initial comments, and I hope that we'll hear more as you familiarise yourself with the G6.

    I still have a G1 and various lenses (both m4/3rds and adapted m39), and I have wondered whether an upgrade would be worthwhile. I keep the G1 mainly because I occasionally like using the adapted rangefinder lenses, but in truth, it really doesn't get used a great deal.

    I detect (or I think that I detect:wink:) from your comments that the differences between G1 and G6 are not too great. Knowing what you now know - and if you were mainly interested in using adapted RF lenses - would you bother to upgrade from G1 to a G6?
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  5. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group

    I started off in the fairly early days of m4/3 with a GF1 and 20mm f/1.7 lens, quickly adding a G1 for the viewfinder using it with both a Sigma 18-50mm macro and Sigma 105mm macro in 4/3 fitting. I soon began a growing collection of Leica screw Voigtlander rangefinder lenses for more general photography.

    My first ever camera in the early 1970's was even then old, a folding rollfilm Voigtlander Bessa 1 where the DoF scale on the lens was a vital tool, so I was keen to use adapted lenses on m4/3 since these were the type of lenses that "spoke" to me and I do enjoy the ability to preset focus or use the hyperfocal technique.

    It was not until some time later, and after the introduction of the Panasonic 14-42mm zoom that I bit the bullet and bought the Panasonic 14-45mm zoom since people began to sing its praises when compared to the 14-42mm zoom. Since using that lens and adding to my collection of m4/3 lenses I've reached the conclusion that the m4/3 lenses seriously outdo adapted lenses in image quality terms and have begun to question using adapted lenses for most of my photography, though I still miss the feedback from such lenses. The results from older SLR type Nikon lenses is in my mind better than those from the rangefinder style lens, presumably the light rays are a little more at right angles to the plane of the sensor. They still need much more sharpening at the editing stage than images obtained using m4/3 lenses and still tend to fall short on image quality.

    I experimented yesterday (confined to the house due to the rain) with manual focussing of both the Panasonic 14mm and 20mm lenses using focus peaking on the G6 with auto focus and I have to say that auto focus won every time, trying to judge the point of focus with focus peaking on short focal length lenses left something to be desired. I'm hopeful that things will be different with longer focal length lenses in macro mode which was a strong motivation for adding a G6 to my camera collection, although as observed in my original post the subject does have to have strong edge contrast for the focus peaking highlights to show up.

    So to your question (sorry for the long winded approach to it). In terms of upgrading from a G1 to a G6 there are benefits to be gained, not least I think in the better sensor whereby it is much easier to control highlights and not have them burn out, much less EV adjustment being required to control them. For me with a GH2 as well, the purchase of a G6 is much more questionable, and perhaps not justified in that context.

    Having said that at the moment in the UK Panasonic are offering £100.00 cash back on the purchase of a G6 which I bought with the new model of the 14-140mm zoom. Considering the price of the zoom alone where no cash back applies, I've added a versatile zoom lens to my collection with an additional cheap camera body, so I felt justified in the purchase.

    N.B. I've just downsized my property so have some spare cash, that won't apply to many of you :smile:

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  6. porchard

    porchard Veteran

    Feb 3, 2013
    Devon, UK

    Barrie, thanks - your comments are more-or-less in line with my expectations. I readily appreciate your comment regarding the relatively small difference between the GH2 and G6.

    I must say that your comments about the Dynamic Range of the G1 strike something of a chord with me... however, while I struggled initially with the DR of the G1, once I had adjusted my thinking with regard to exposure, I have found the G1 to be (generally) quite good.

    Hmmmm... in contrast, we haven't just downsized, so I don't have a ready source of spare cash for camera purchases! Perhaps I'll stick with the G1 - I don't need an upgrade, after all...:wink::biggrin:
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