It was a summer day in 2012 when I decided I would get my first serious camera. I wanted to use it to start a YouTube channel which would feature video’s of myself playing guitar and singing. It was an easy choice deciding between a Nikon or Canon DSLR. I had a few friends with Canon camera’s, some of them even pursuing photography professionally, so I chose to buy a Canon DSLR knowing I would be able borrow and use their lenses on my own camera before eventually investing in my own. So I went out and bought a second-hand Canon 600D body.
I found it for a steal at a second-hand store in Geneva. It was one of those serendipitous moments because after weeks of research, I walked into the store knowing exactly what camera I wanted but not really expecting the store which sold random second-hand products to have it. But they did! And it was in excellent condition, it looked practically brand new. Because I only bought the camera body and I bought it second-hand, I had to go hunting for all the accessories that typically come when buying a brand new camera. I ordered a battery and battery charger online. I then found a camera strap and camera bag from another store. Now all I needed was a lens. I borrowed one of my friends old lenses (I can’t remember which lens) until I eventually bought my first lens, a brand new 50mm F1.8 prime lens- a great first lens that sells for around $100 and delivers incredible results for the price.
Though it was a great lens and it produced amazing portrait shots with impressive background blur because of that f1.8 aperture, it wasn’t ideal for my YouTube needs because of the fixed focal distance and the crop on my camera’s APS-C sensor. 50mm was simply not wide enough. It made everything really zoomed in, and to get the framing of the shot I wanted, I would have to keep the camera several feet away from me which was impossible when shooting in smaller rooms. So a couple of years later I was shopping for a new lens. I settled on the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8. It was quite a bit pricier, around 300 GBP-I bought it while on holiday in London, but after a few years, I was ready to make the investment in this all-around versatile, and sharp lens.
And this is what I used for all of my videos and work photos…until now that is.
Back in 2012 it was common knowledge that if you wanted a serious camera you needed a DSLR. But technology has advanced so much that there are now different options. Even though in terms of sensor-size, mega-pixels and overall image quality, most DSLRs will reign supreme, today, mirrorless cameras and even tiny compact (point-and-shoot) cameras, in spite of their smaller sensors produce images and videos with enough quality to rival some DSLRs.
A few months ago I began to find my camera a bit bulky and unwieldy, I also felt I was due an upgrade after having owned it for five years. So I began the hunt for a new camera that took into account all of the technology that 2017 had to offer. What exactly was I looking for in the new camera? A nice compact, portable size, 4K video, In Body Image Stabilization for super smooth video without any shake, good low light capabilities and simply a gorgeous looking body. This time my research took months and I went back and forth before settling on a Panasonic Lumix GX85 with the 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens. I later bought a 25mm F1.7 lens. I found the camera on Amazon (also second-hand in great condition) for $500.
It is simply such a beautiful camera and I couldn’t be happier. It ticked (almost) all of my boxes. The size was a real game changer. I could throw it in my backpack and it easily fit. It looked really stylish strapped around my neck. The videos were smooth and crispy, almost as though I was using a steady-cam. It opened my eyes to the world of 4K video, which is just a different ball game in terms of video quality (although the file sizes are just so large that my small laptop struggles when editing the footage). The only things it didn’t have that I would have liked, were a fully articulating touch screen (selfie screen) , so that I could see my self while recording myself to make sure that I was in frame and in focus for my YouTube videos, and a microphone port for an external microphone. But I really have no complaints. There is an app that allows me to use my phone to check whether I am in frame/focus so that hasn’t really been too much of a problem and I can live without an external microphone since I record my audio separately using a studio mic and my laptop.
The best thing about this camera is that it has made me passionate about photography in a way I haven’t been in years. I’m now inspired to step out of my house and rediscover my city through a new lens. I live in Dakar, a city surrounded by the ocean and I’m rediscovering just how gorgeous it is through my photography. I’ve also been using it for work and my colleagues are downright shocked that I’ve been able to get some of these results from such a tiny camera.
You can expect a lot of photos and videos on this blog taken from this camera from here on out. I hope you will enjoy them!