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Small Camera, Big Change

Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA

We’re not yet through January but 2015 has already brought a few significant changes. I celebrated a milestone birthday and, most importantly, I have joined Rocky Nook as Associate Publisher! I am really excited to be here. This tight-knit and talented team is well on its way to having a great year publishing fantastic books, and I am thrilled at the idea of working with everyone to help in those efforts.

One other change I’ve made is much…smaller. While I truly love my Canon 70D, I have—like many others, it seems—been hankering for something a little more nimble. While it feels a bit absurd to complain about the size of a DSLR, the truth is that I do leave it at home more often than not. This results in the obvious: no pictures.

Having a big birthday and a career change offered the perfect excuse to justify the purchase of a Panasonic LX100. After discussing the LX100 with photographer and author Rob Knight, I was sold on it. This little camera sports a modern-yet-retro look, a Micro 4/3” sensor, and a fast Leica lens that offers focal-length equivalents of 24–75mm (the largest aperture is f/1.7 at its widest, with f/2.8 covering the rest of the range from around 30mm onward).

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Big Sur, CA

Big Sur, CA

Henry Coe State Park, Morgan Hill, CA

Henry Coe State Park, Morgan Hill, CA

I’ve only had the camera for a few weeks but have been carrying it around pretty much everywhere, including on hikes and bike rides around the San Francisco Bay Area (where I live), as well as to the Rocky Nook office in Santa Barbara. Except for the image of the LX100 shown next to the 70D, all the images here have been taken with the LX100 in the past few weeks. As is the case with getting familiar with any new piece of hardware, there is a bit of a learning curve. I’m still figuring out what the best settings are for me—as well as challenges around exposure and focus—but most of the camera’s features are intuitive and easy to use. It’s been a lot of fun playing with it so far.

The Panasonic LX100 next to the Canon 70D (with a 50mm lens)

The Panasonic LX100 next to the Canon 70D (with a 50mm lens)

The Rocky Nook office, Santa Barbara, CA

The Rocky Nook office, Santa Barbara, CA

What’s been most interesting about using the LX100 as compared to the 70D is not just that its smaller form factor means I carry it around more, but that the actual process of thinking and shooting seems a bit different for each camera. This may seem obvious to some, and I have heard others talk about this experience—especially with older film cameras, but also with cameras such as Fuji’s X100 series—but I didn’t give it too much thought until now.

Giant Camera Obscura, San Francisco, CA

Giant Camera Obscura, San Francisco, CA

Giant Camera Obscura, San Francisco, CA

Giant Camera Obscura, San Francisco, CA

Lands End, San Francisco, CA

Lands End, San Francisco, CA

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, CA

I have only taken a couple hundred shots with the LX100 so far, and I am eager to get out and shoot more with it to further explore this different kind of shooting. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts about the different approaches that you take with different cameras, from camera phones to mirrorless to DSLR to large-format film cameras. Do you find yourself making different kinds of photographs depending on your chosen camera? Or is it more a matter of simply choosing the right tool for the job?

Ted Waitt, Associate Publisher

3 Responses to Small Camera, Big Change

  1. Nick Greza - Reply

    January 22, 2015 at 5:56 am

    I also have 3 dslr (Nikon) with loads of lenses. Recently I brought into mft (Pany GX7). What a change. A lot like my Leica M2R. I wanted to use the 5 Leica lens but didn’t want to spend $$$$ on a digital leica. With this mft I can use all my lens, i.e. Nikon, Olympus, Mamiya 645, Minolta, and of course Leica. Going back to my film days where everything is familiar. Yes, have no auto anything ‘cept shutter speed-I use A mode. Did I say I love the GX7. Many of my photo friends are amazed in what this lil jewel can do. Like you said, the results are obvious, pictures. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Keep shooting with your new found camera. It seems life has just begun.
    I’ve been using cameras since 1957 when my mother brought me an Ansco roll film camera. Still have it!

  2. Steve - Reply

    January 22, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    For some time I was looking to have a smaller camera to go with my Nikon D7100. I agree for travelling you can’t beat something that is lighter and less bulky. I was not going to make the purchase until I thought the IQ was as good or close to a DSLR. Initially I made the leap to an Olympus OM-D which is great camera and I have been very please with the images and I love the touch screen. Recently I bought the Sony A6000 and it was a steal for less than $400 and I am just starting to play with it. I think Sony has a lot going for it right now and I almost pulled the trigger on a Nikon D800 but felt my money would be better spent on a smaller camera.

  3. Gerhard Rossbach - Reply

    January 25, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Ted,

    It seems that many of us are making this decision right now. The image quality and versatility of these small cameras are superb, I gave up a full frame Nikon for a Fuji X-Pro1 and a few lenses. It is not just the body, it is the lenses that make a difference — one in your left pocket, one in your right. So much easier to travel and shoot.

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