It has been said the camera is and should be an extension of the photographer’s eye, capturing the light and beauty as the photographer sees it. Well, that is why I am upgrading my camera eye. It has become time.
A few years ago, I took a giant leap of faith and gave up DSLR’s for mirrorless when I upgraded from an aging Nikon D200 to a Panasonic Lumix GH3. The smaller sensor was hard to justify but I wanted smaller, lighter camera for hiking and travel. The lower cost of the camera and lenses was also an attractive quality.
That leap was an adjustment in mindset which told me I needed to either shoot Canon or Nikon to get best results. After a year, I had learned that this camera even with the smaller sensor was shooting better photos than my D200 and it made it easier and more enjoyable. It was funny showing up to fashion workshops with models and having all the Nikon and Canon shooters look at me strangely. It was all redeemed when I posted my images, however.
So, after a few years with lots of use and travel, my GH3 was starting to show signs of wear. I had broken the label on the exposure dial while hiking and it was starting to occasionally do some odd things electronically. I figured it was about time for an upgrade.
I honestly was looking at getting a Sony Alpha 7RII for my next camera. I liked the idea of a full frame mirrorless to get a more shallow depth of field on portraits and better light sensitivity for night photography (where the full frame has an advantage) but couldn’t justify the cost of the camera and new lenses at this point.
Recently, however, a price drop on the Panasonic Lumix GH4 caught my eye. It was the successor to my beloved GH3 and would work with most of my current gear including battery grip, shotgun microphone, and current lenses. Perfect!
The Panasonic GH4 has some additional features missing from my current camera too. The GH3 was known for its great high-definition 1080p video but the GH4 ups the ante with 4K video. It also allows the user to capture 8.8 megapixel still images from 4K video which is a great option.
The video aspect of the Panasonic camera has always been an attractive feature for me. While Olympus has some great micro four-third camera options, Panasonic has always been slightly better for video and the Olympus has normally favored better for still photography.
Another feature I am going to appreciate is the increase in flash sync speed. The GH3 was limited to 1⁄160 of a second. There were times when doing outdoor portraits I wanted to mute my background more but felt a bit limited here. The GH4 improves upon that with 1⁄250 flash sync speed and it also boosts shutter speeds without flash as well.
So, the order has been made and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new camera. I was relying on my old D200 for a backup but I believe my GH3 will become the backup camera and the D200 will be for those times I need a Nikon to work with another photographer.