Panasonic G6 14-140mm kit - Part 1 - First impressions

Firstly why did I buy this kit? I should point out that it was this kit I was interested in, the new version of the 14-140mm superzoom was an important element in my decision. Having got down to two cameras, the Leica X Vario and Fuji X-E1, both with standard zoom lenses and a collection of Nikon and Sigma lenses that I was going to sell but not now, I spent a lot of time thinking about what else I wanted to use. I thought about expanding my Fuji X lens collection from the one I currently have, but as yet Fuji don't have what I want. The 55-200mm I'm sure is a great lens but its heavier than the entire outfit pictured above. I looked around at lots of other stuff and couldn't make up my mind.

Basically what I wanted ideally was the following:-

  • OLED Viewfinder for the polarised sunglasses
  • Electronic shutter
  • Better video implementation than I have now with good stabilisation for hand holding and external microphone socket for my Rode
  • An all-in-one lens solution that avoids changing lenses
  • Good reliable Autofocus - fast and accurate
  • Image quality capable of producing (or upsizing to) 24MP
  • Focus Peaking for use with my Nikon lenses
  • As light as possible
  • Capable of being set up for simple operation

It suddenly occurred to me that the G6 had all of the above, particularly since the new 14-140mm is lighter, smaller and marginally faster than the previous one. I can't remember how many reviews I read and videos I watched, but it was a lot. It did seem to have everything I was looking for, and of course I have a lot of good experiences with m4/3. So thats what I decided to try. I also ordered a Metabones Speed Booster for my Nikon G lenses. This to give me approximately the same field of view as I get from those lenses on APS-C cameras and to get that extra stop of speed. 

The camera and lens kit arrived this morning.

So First Impressions.

There is one overwhelming impression I got when I picked it up. It is incredibly light for a camera and a superzoom. This actually makes it feel quite small, which its not particularly as you will see from the comparison pictures below.

There is one thing that I knew I wasn't getting. Any kind of metallic, classy retro feel and that is certainly the case. This is total polycarbonate through and through. This doesn't mean that its cheap feeling by the way, it isn't. The lens in particular is beautifully made and has sublime focusing and zooming rings, which are beautifully weighted and as good as anything I've used. Its a trade-off I'm happy with. A camera lens combination this light and this versatile and at this price (Whole kit for not much more than the GX7 body only.) Panasonic can't do retro anyway as far as I'm concerned. There is always something not quite right about their attempts. They should leave it to Fuji and Olympus and concentrate on what they are good at. Incidentally I did consider a GX7, but it doesn't have an OLED viewfinder and I do like the fully tiltable viewfinder for video and tripod work. 

Her's the G6 fitted with Rode microphone for video. Note the mic. socket is now on the front of the camera.

Taking a few shots was very encouraging. Like all m4/3 these days it seems, the AF is lightning. I've been used to the Leica and Fuji for a while and this is FAST. Panasonic have this point focusing option which I've always liked, very useful for single flower heads in the distance for example. 

In terms of menus, no surprises really. I'm very used to Panasonic menus, so I was able to set the camera up as I wanted it really quickly. If you want details of how the touchscreen works then I suggest you read another review. I've turned it off on the G6. What the attraction is of rubbing sweaty fingers over pieces of plastic is beyond me. I'd rather look at the world and what it can offer me in terms of pictures when I'm out taking photographs than spend my time looking at some screen. But then I'm not young, hip, cool and happening am I? (Well not that young at least!) 

So first impressions are positive. I researched the camera thoroughly so I'm not surprised by what I have, apart from the lack of weight, which I must say is not what I was expecting but very welcome. Thats always mattered to me more than size anyway. If I was picky I would have liked the camera to be bigger and less buttons to accidentally press would have more to my taste. Oh and by the way, the focus peaking works and the images from the lens are very good indeed. But then you probably know that already and I will be going into more detail in future posts.

More later.

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