So what on earth is this? Well, it's my Panasonic G7 plus a 'butchered' Meike Sony A7 II grip, fitted with my Nikon 18-35mm zoom via an adapter. And very good it is too.
Like with a lot a small cameras, I always want to improve the grip and since there is nothing on the horizon I did what I usually do, look around at what I have already and see if I can 'adapt' something. In this case it involved removing (i.e. breaking off!) the section of the A7 II grip that fits in the battery compartment and a bit of filing. And it actually fits rather well. No extra battery power or connection with the camera of course, but since it only weighs a few grams, it adds better handling to the camera while still retaining the same light weight. As I've often written before, I'm no fan of the DSLRisation of mirrorless cameras, but with the Panasonic G series I don't have a choice, so needs must. And I'm particularly interested in using 3rd. party manually focused lenses on the G7 because firstly it's really easy to work with them (much simpler than with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II) and secondly because of this.
This is the new Metabones speed booster for Nikon G > m4/3. It's wider. As an example, if I had one of these my Nikon 20mm f/1.8 would behave in a similar fashion to a 26mm f/1.3 lens on my G7. Much better than the 2x factor normally involved with using 3rd. party lenses on m4/3 cameras. This makes a lot of my Nikon lenses appear very appealing for the G7.
And the reason for this is how Panasonic deal with MF lenses. I attached the Nikon zoom pictured above, flipped out the live view screen, selected my point of focus as indicated in my previous post and the magnified view pops up in the EVF automatically. I then focused the lens using focus peaking (though to be fair the EVF is so good that isn't really necessary) and when I lightly press the shutter button, I'm back to full view mode. It's simple, it's quick, it's reliable. Plus considering the Nikon zoom is one of the best I've used the results are incredibly sharp. Even wide open.
So far so good. But then there is this to take into consideration as well.
So finally Panasonic break the 16MP barrier. Now 4 extra MP won't make a lot of difference, but psychologically it will matter to lot's of photographers. 16MP is just below A3 print reproduction size (at 300 ppi) but 20MP is bigger than A3 with a bit of 'wiggle room.' And the file size goes from 45MP to 57MP. Will the same level of high ISO performance be present? Well we'll have to see, but I imagine it will be close.
The GX8 also appears to have a fully articulated live view screen and is weather sealed to some extent. So is this Panasonic going 'upmarket' with the GX8? Certainly the shutter on the expanded grip looks good and the camera looks somewhat 'chunkier'. That's a 12-35mm f/2.8 on the front of it and it looks quite small. However all will be revealed early tomorrow morning here in the UK.
This, to me, is another example of how m4/3 is expanding in terms of it's possibilities and options. We already have the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II with it's remarkably good stabilisation and high-res mode and the Panasonic G7 with it's 4K video. There is also a video pro spec. formware update coming for the GH4.
Now it's a personal choice I know, but for me m4/3 is a much more attractive proposition these days than either Fuji X or Sony FE. I do like the smaller footprint from m4/3 and I also like the way both Olympus and Panasonic are progressing and the direction they are going in. Sure it's that copycat DSLR look again (apart from the delightful rangefinder look of that GX8) but in terms of using this stuff I get better results from stills and video than the Fuji gear I owned and much better handling than the Sony FE cameras I used. As I said this is personal preference and to make sure I don't get my usual batch of fanboy / troll / shill comments I will state quite catergorically that I don't hate / despise / have gone off / seen the light about / taken the one true path away from either Fuji or Sony. For my current endeavours it's simply the case that m4/3 suits me better than those other two systems
So I'm looking forward to tomorrow morning to see just what the GX8 offers. If it lives up to expectations then I will certainly get a pre-order in, because it looks very much like my kind of camera. I'll set my alarm now!!