Panasonic’s GH3. Why Are Photographers Wanting Smaller and Lighter?

Posted Nov. 18th, 2012 by Daniel J. Cox

Tonight I wanted to share with you a recent video produced by the relatively new web show known as Camera Diner. I stumbled upon this video they produced by accident. It’s a great preview of the upcoming Panasonic Lumix GH3. The camera has been expected for awhile but just recently officially announced. For those of you who follow this blog you know of my appreciation for the fledgling Lumix Micro 4/3’s camera system and the new GH3 may finally be the camera that awakens Nikon and Canon. We shall see.


I have a theory why the mirrorless system cameras are gaining steam, and it relates to people finally getting tired of carrying such heavy camera equipment. Here’s how I see it. As people became interested in photography, many photo enthusiasts wanted  the same quality pictures as the professionals they looked up to. They knew that traveling to the same places as the pros that they too could get spectacular images, as long as they had the right gear. That’s what we do with Natural Exposures Invitational Photo Tours. These photo entusiasts read all the magazines, websites etc. and found that many professionals used huge, heavy lenses and camera bodies. Big lenses and big cameras are the professional’s tools of the trade. Something similar would be the tool box a professional truck mechanic might have such as the big, red, monster made by Snap-on. Its size relates to the size and amount of the tools inside, making it big and heavy.

So the photo enthusiast bought in to all those large, heavy tools. The 300mm F/2.8, 500mm F/4, 600mm F/4 and other lenses such as the 70-200mm F/2.8, 14-24mm F/2.8, 24-70mm F/2.8, not to mention the big heavy camera bodies. All of it crammed in a rolling camera bag or backpack and causing many to rethink what they were doing in the name of having fun. And that’s what I think is happening. Millions of new photo enthusiasts are rethinking how much fun, or lack thereof,  it really is, to schlep all that gear around as they travel the globe taking pictures. The professional has always accepted the weight and bulk since big and heavy was just the norm for the tools of their trade. They accepted it so they could put food on the table for themselves and their family. But for the photo enthusiast it’s not about earning a living; it’s about having a good time and carrying that heavy equipment does not fall into the category of pleasure. So that’s it. All these newly found photo enthusiasts shooting the big Nikon and Canon glass and massive  industrial bodies are starting to rebel by searching for lighter, smaller alternatives. Alternatives such as the mirrorless systems being developed by Panasonic, Sony and Olympus. Only time will tell if this trend will continue or not, but I think the writing is on the wall and all camera manufacturers will be adding smaller, lighter professional, grade equipment to their line of photography products. For me the sooner the better. My back is killing me.

What do you think? Share your thoughts on where this is all going by adding your voice to this blog. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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There are 3 comments on this post…
  1. Fred KurtzOn Nov. 18th, 2012

    Don’t worry Dan. I will always keep my eye open for what comes down the road. I just did some looking at the GH3 and it is quite impressive. And for the record, my back usually starts hurting part way through a trek hauling all that gear so lighter works for me too. The payoff though is seeing the images taken during the day when getting back to the hotel and once in a while saying “Wow, I really like that shot”.

    Going with pros like you does make me want to get the equipment like you so I can try to take a few photographs like you. I take your advice very seriously. You pros are amazing and inspiring and make this a fun but serious hobby!

  2. Fred KurtzOn Nov. 18th, 2012

    Dan, here is my take on your excellent article.

    As you know, I now have all the big bodies and big lenses and have about everything I need related to photography gear. I am exactly the person you described about wanting the best and same gear the pros have to improve my photography. After every trip, I would buy something.

    It took me five years to finally get everything. I have so much gear it is hard to decide what to take, pack and lug around and I even had to empty it all in the Paris airport to get through security.

    Now where I deviate from the article (not disagree)is I am glad I have all this stuff because I am getting unbelievable shots that I could not get with the smaller equipment. My last three photo trips with the D4 and D800 have resulted in spectacular photos I could not have gotten otherwise. My son was so impressed with the Croatia trips he thought they were my best yet.

    If you remember in Costa Rica, I missed a lot of shots for the early morning monkey shoot with my D300. If I would have had the D4, I would have gotten the shots.

    My Panasonic GX1 does a great job when it is within the parameters it is designed for. Now if the smaller gear could match the D800 and D4, I would gladly go for the lighter weight.

    Excellent article and Happy Thanksgiving.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Nov. 18th, 2012


      Thanks for your input. I agree with the amazing results you are getting with the new Nikon gear. I too have the D4, D800 and now the D600 and I’m equally impressed. That said, the GX1 is not meant to compete with these Nikon cameras. The GF3 is a different story. It is meant to compete with the Nikon’s were currently shooting. Whether it can nor not only time will tell. Where Panasonic can’t compete is in the lens department. However, time will help change that as well. My only reason for bringing this new equipment to people’s attention is to encourage the companies we love (Nikon & Canon) to understand the benefits for developing there own version of this technology. I can only imagine what Nikon could do if they set their mind to it. In summary, it’s great to be impressed and happy with the gear you have but don’t close your mind to what comes down the road in the future. The goal is to have even more opportunities to shoot and record great pictures. If smaller and lighter helps us accomplish that, then more power to those who give us what we need.

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