The GX1 is a real contender for best street photographer’s camera of 2011/2012. One of the keys to good street shooting is to find a lens that works with your style. So when I got my hands on the GX1 at a launch event I ran it through a couple of lenses that you might be interested in for street photography.
14-42mm X Lens
I tried the GX1 first with the 14-42mm X lens (available at a kit in Dec/Jan). The X lens is nicer than you’d expect. It feels a bit like a point and shoot but it’s so easy and nice to use that after a moment you let go and just enjoy the toggle-to-zoom power steering. The GX1 and 14-42mm are well proportioned and the focus is fast.
As for how the toggle zoom performs on the street, it is fast enough to let you frame the shot, even when things are moving fast. For a prime shooter like myself, it still feels a bit like cheating. I also don’t like the point and shoot aesthetic. Yet somehow it all seems to come together and using the GX1 with the 14-42mm on the street is effortlessly cool.
45-175mm X Lens
The GX1 and 45-175mm X lens feel like a great combination. The lens doesn’t overpower the camera and the weight balance makes for easy shooting. The 45-175mm X lens is the unsung hero of micro four thirds. I predict big things for this lens. It has semi-manual zoom-by-wire and focus-by-wire (twist controls on the barrel) giving you the feel of a good manual control lens. Like the touch screen on the GX1, the toggle to zoom on the X lens is only there if you want it. If you want to run manual, you can.
The X 45-175mm gets you up close and personal with your subject (from a distance). It’s a bit over powered for street shooting but I think you’d get used to it. The quality at the long end isn’t perfect but it packs so much into a small space that you’ll forgive it alot. I didn’t encounter the focus hunting or incurable softness that some have complained of. For street shooting the small size of the 45-175mm means that you can reach out and touch your subject.
1. Small, light, subtle for use on the street
2. Good manual controls
3. Image quality
1. Sensor seems like it hasn’t caught up with competitors
2. No EVF or tilty-swivelly LCD
3. Can wash out highlights
The GF1 reborn as a modern street shooter.
Ps. Panasonic UK are running more demo events in London. I wrote a separate mini-post on the GX1 Launch Event Review. The Lumix GX1 is a camera you have to try in person to appreciate.