Playing with cameras

I’ve been meaning to write up a little more about my experiences on holiday, using a Panasonic DMC-G2 kindly loaned by their press office, alongside my ancient and venerable Nikon FG-20. I’ve got a couple of articles lined up, looking more specifically at my experiences using the Nikon lenses with the Panasonic camera and a Nikon to Micro 4/3 adaptor.

But first, I thought I’d mention a couple of general points. I took both cameras on my holiday to Sicily, shooting with black and white film on the Nikon and in colour on the Panasonic.

For the Nikon, I have three lenses; a Nikon Series E 50mm f1.8 prime, a Tokina 28-70mm f3.5 and a Sigma 70-210mm f4, which between them give me a pretty good range of coverage.

The Panasonic was supplied with its own kit lens, which covers the range 14-42mm; that’s equivalent (thanks to the crop factor) to a 28-84mm lens on a 35mm film. It also means that with the adaptor, the Sigma lens behaves as if it were a 140-420mm zoom when placed on the Panasonic. I’ll be writing more about that in a separate article.

Framing the shot

If you spend most of your life looking through a lens, you’re very probably a much better judge than I am of which would be the best lens to pop on your SLR for a given shot. Sometimes, it can be a matter of deciding what’s going to look the most pleasing – both a wide or a close-up of the same scene could be interesting, in different ways.

After a while, I found that I was tending to use the Panasonic not solely as a camera in its own right, but as a useful accessory or guide for the Nikon; with a single lens covering the widest field available on the Nikon, up to the lower reaches of my zoom lens, it was useful to be able to look through the viewfinder, and sometimes take a couple of test shots; a quick glance at where I’d set the zoom on the Panasonic made it simple to work out which lens to pop on the Nikon to get a similar shot.

So, while I wouldn’t go as far as to say having the Panasonic made my photos better, I found that it did help me decide which lens to use much faster, in unfamiliar surroundings.

You can see some of the results from my trip on Flickr; all the black and white photos were taken on the Nikon, and most of the colour one the Panasonic, with the exception of a couple taken using a phone camera.

I’d be interested to hear from other people if they use digital and film side by side.

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