The 'hybridographer' - My Panasonic GX7 m4/3 stills / video location outfit.

This is my extremely small, extremely light, extremely versatile and extremely high quality portable hybrid stills / video outfit for location shooting. That portability is very important for me, since for the most part I'm working alone and have to carry this around. 

Panasonic GX7 body. Panasonic 12-32mm, 14-42mm and 45-175mm X zooms, Olympus 17mm and 45mm f/1.8 primes, Carry Speed viewfinder loupe, four spare batteries and a fast 32GB SD card. Plus of course one of my three tripods and if I want to take it, my iPad.

This gives me three zooms, two with power zoom capability, focal lengths from 12-175mm in m4/3 terms (24-350mm 35mm film camera approximation) and two fast primes. I chose the GX7 over the lighter and smaller GM1 because of this.

I can access the battery / card compartment without removing the camera from the tripod or detaching the loupe. A handy advantage from the GX7's design and as anyone who has done this will realise a time saving feature. 

The loupe stays attached, firstly because I can just release the camera from the tripod if I want to do some hand holding and secondly because it works as a sunshade letting me see the cameras screen clearly outdoors. This is important so I can use the cameras virtual spirit level.

Regular readers will know that I've been doing a lot a testing to see what works best for me and this outfit wins hands down. It's the lightest, the easiest to work with and produces the best quality video footage. The Panasonic image app is by far the best I've used for controlling the camera via my iPad and the combinations take pretty good stills as well, especially with the camera mounted on a tripod. 

Now what a client would make of this if I turned up for a pro assignment, who knows. However, I've done those with a GH1, GH2 and even a GF1 so there probably isn't a problem. No mic. or headphone sockets on the camera, but if sound was important to me then I'd take a separate recorder anyway.

So below is a sample of the footage quality this outfit can produce.

As you can see it's very good indeed. Shot as MP4 files, 1920 x 1080 at 50p and edited in iMovie which knocked it down to 25pfs. None of the lenses is particularly expensive and none have particularly high 'bragging rights' in the m4/3 range. However, all of them produce excellent quality footage and the zooms are particularly useful. I do of course have the option of using the EX TELE CONV setting to extend the range of the lenses.

Now I'm really pleased with this and it suits what I do just fine. I have no need for 'exotic' and ultra-fast lenses and I have a system that is superb for both tripod work and hand-holding, the GX7 having IBIS for the Olympus lenses as well as the OIS in the zooms. It is of course amazing that something this small can produce such good results. I might still buy a GH4 but I can't see that I'm really going to need much more than this, unless some seriously well-paid work somehow appears. 

Video is more difficult, requires more planning and takes more time than shooting stills, but this outfit makes it as painless I can make it. (or probably just less painful!) As a working photographer I need to be able to offer video as an option and while I have little demand for that at the moment it's as well to be prepared. 

The video posts will certainly lessen from now on (Means I'll certainly get a lot more page hits!!) as this is the culmination of a lot of testing and if I do shoot more video then it will be more purposeful and not just test shots in the garden. 

Finally, I made a comment a few posts ago that my GX7 was probably a more 'professional' camera than either my Sony A7 or A7r. And I stand by that. 

Now the A7 outfit pictured above sure looks impressive, but the GX7 outfit beats it in almost every way for video. And it's not that far away in terms of low ISO stills either. And you can imagine what that Sony outfit would be like to carry, particularly when you add some more lenses to the load. Panasonic have managed to combine the advantages of small light bodies with internal electronics that perform way above what uniformed observers (i.e. the general public) would imagine would be the case looking at the comparative sizes. And while that doesn't do a lot for photographic 'posing' it sure makes getting the job done a lot easier. 

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Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 
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N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.