Guest Post-Fred Kurtz Evolving From DSLR’s to Micro Four Thirds
Guest Post- Fred Kurtz Evolving From DSLR’s to Micro Four Thirds. Every now and again I reach out to one of our NE Explorers to share an experience or information I feel others might be interested in. One of our most traveled Explorers, Fred Kurtz, is a dear friend and I’ve watched Fred grow immensely as a photographer. Recently Fred made the decision to follow my lead by jumping in to the Panasonic, Lumix, Micro Four Thirds, mirrorless camera system with both feet. I was hopeful he would see the many benefits I’ve experienced but one never knows. After our Italy trip, that Fred was a part of, I asked him if he would do this guest post regarding his experience and growth in to the Micro Four Thirds world. Fred agreed and below, are his thoughts, in his own words. Take it away Fred.
Daniel J. Cox
Since the Nikon D100 was introduced I have been a Nikon shooter. The D200 and D300 quickly followed the D100 in my camera bag as they became available. In 2012 I decided to switch from the DX format to the FX format. I purchased the Nikon D4 and the D800. All my DX lenses were replaced by full frame Nikkor professional lenses: 16-35 f.4, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 VRII f2.8, 200-400 f4 and the new 80-400VR f4.5 – f5.6. For every trip I would pack two Nikons and an array of lenses. I loved my Nikon systems and figured I would be shooting them forever.
In 2012, on a Natural Exposures trip to Costa Rica, Dan introduced me to the new Panasonic Lumix GX1. – a Micro 4/3 mirrorless camera. I thought it was a neat fun little play camera for when you were just getting snapshots without the need to carry the big DSLR’s. When I got home I purchased one with the kit lens and started playing around with it.
Then when the Panasonic Lumix GX7 came out, I got one of those too. By then, Panasonic developed two professional lenses, the 12-35 f2.8 (24-70 equivalent) and the 35-70 f2.8 (70-200 equivalent) so I got those lenses to go with my GX1 and GX7.
At first I started keeping the images separated between Micro 4/3’s and DSLR cameras. Then I decided they would have to hold their own and I began to put all images in the same folder regardless of camera and I would select the best images for my books and website regardless of camera. Unless I specifically remembered which camera shot a particular image, I could not tell a difference as long as I was within the parameters the system was designed to achieve.
I took the Nikon D4 and Panasonic GX7 and GX1 to a trip in New Zealand this past January. The cover of my book was made with the GX7 – not the D4. In Cuba I took the D800 and the GX7 and GX1. I used the GX7 extensively and used it to try my hand at panning. So my standard trip went from carrying two DSLR’s to one DSLR and one or two Micro 4/3’s.
Then the brand new Panasonic GH4 was introduced. I was able to snag one of the first ones just prior to going on the Natural Explorers Italy trip. For this trip I decided to leave both DSLR’s home and just bring the Panasonic cameras. This was a big leap of faith leaving both DSLR’s home. The images from the GH4 have been incredible and I have comfortably shot up to ISO 3200. The decision to leave the DSLR’s home proved to be a good one.
To emphasize the quality of the Micro 4/3 cameras and lenses, here is a comparison between the D800 and the GH4. The photo of the old woman was taken in Cuba with my D800 and the 24-70 f2.8 professional lens (55mm, f6.3, ISO200 at 1/160 sec).
The photo of the old man was taken in Italy with the GH4 and the 12-35 f2.8 professional lens (24-70 equivalent, 44mm equivalent, f4.0, ISO 200 at 1/200 sec). I cannot tell a difference in quality even when zoomed in 1-1.
The only thing missing from the Panasonic lineup is a longer professional zoom lens. I think they should offer a 200-400 or 80-400 professional lens to complete the system.
It has been such a joy to carry one or two small cameras around instead of one or two DSLR’s. For the first time, I suffered no fatigue in carrying camera equipment in Italy and I cannot tell you how nice that was. So now when I visit Europe I will bring only Micro 4/3 cameras. They are that good.
After Italy, I decided to purchase a second GH4. I have never shot two of the same cameras before but this will allow me to setup both cameras identically and leave the 12-35 on one camera and the 35-100 on the other. Then my 7-14 wide angle will be on my GX7 and I will never have to change lenses. I am looking forward to that.
When I first started going on Natural Exposures Invitational Photo Tours, most of the explorers shot Nikons and Canons. This has now changed to where I see only one or two Nikons or Canons with most people opting for Panasonic / Olympus / Sony Micro 4/3 systems. The writing is on the wall.
For now the Nikons will still have their place with me. I will still use them on Safari’s and for sports and for hand held low light situations. However, I have no doubt the Micro 4/3 cameras will soon reach the level the current DSLR’s offer.
To put a period on my evolution to the Micro 4/3 camera systems and the smaller size and lesser weight, this photo shows the GX7 with the 35-100 (70-200), the GH4 with the 12-35 (24-70), the D800 with the 24-70 and the D4 with the 70-200. The difference is amazing.