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Thread: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

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    Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    I got my GM5 as a complement to my Nikon D810 (and D700) system, so my comments should be seen in that perspective.

    GM5:
    Surprisingly small, surprisingly competent. IQ (especially high ISO) of course not comparable to my FF Nikons, but that was not to be expected.
    Body is slippery as a soap, but some gun tape right front and back fixed that. Gun tape is an adhesive rubber tape with a very coarse surface, see guntape.com, recommended.
    Electronic shutter was a little bit of a learning experience.
    EVF is a nice complement especially in a dark setting with no reading glasses. In bright sunlight the EVF and the screen are both largely inadequate, at least compared to a good Nikon finder.
    Battery life is, as is well known, tiny. 2-4 extra batteries seems to be the norm.
    With my Nikons I weed out bad shots by protecting the good ones and then using the Delete All function. On the GM5, Protect is quite cumbersome to the point of being unusable, and Delete All is massively slow. So the solution is more and bigger memcards, and do the weeding on computer.
    Wifi is a fun little complement but not well thought out, implementation seems to be along the lines of what is easiest to implement rather than what the photographer needs or wants.
    The tiny format makes it all but impossible to use defocus to isolate subject from background if you are using a zoom.

    Lumix 12-32 f/3.5-5.6 stabilized kit lens:
    Impressive little bugger - performs well across the board. There is no focusing ring. Defocus is nice in a neutral way. I use a metal hood rather than a lens cap. Longer reach would be nice but primary differentiator is size so that compromise is acceptable.

    Lumix 42.5 f/1.7 stabilized:
    Good performer. The relatively large aperture makes it possible to isolate foreground from background.
    Good bokeh. Transition from focus to rear defocus goes to blur without softness in between. Front and rear defocus is and evenly lit disc so no artefacts to expect. Wide open there is a slight internal vignetting towards sides and corners but nothing dramatic.
    Comes with a plastic bayonet hood.

    Lumix 35-100 f/4-5.6 stabilized:
    Very good super-compact telezoom, though the small aperture makes it less attractive for isolating subjects. Don't expect this to be a sports action shooter, if subject is 10-20 meters away then there is no isolation from foreground whatsoever. Yesterday I used this lens to shoot action sports (freestyle Frisbee) in parallel with my Nikon D810 and 80-200/2.8 - the GM5 was pretty much useless for stills but a bit handy for video.
    This lens seems to be a decent macro setup if used with s 10 mm extension ring - zoom lets you choose scale over a broad spectrum, and at least on the 100 mm end subject distance is away from the lens rather than inside the lens hood.
    Plastic bayonet hood included.

    Lumix 30 f/2.8 Macro stabilized:
    Impressive resolving power, as with most macros. Focuses all the way down to 1:1 which is 17 mm width on MFT. Good background defocus, slight softness in transition from focal plane. This would be the lens to take on a nature stroll, perhaps complemented with a wide and a telezoom. No hood included - a deep screw-in hood should be mandatory.

    Leica 15 f/1.7 (no stabilizer):
    As expected quite a performer. With about a 30 mm equivalent field of view, it's quite versatile. Transition from focal plane to rear defocus showcases quite a bit of softness in between, which makes for beautiful close-ups. Performance wide open is great all the way to the corners, with little or no coma tendency, so it should be a great night-time city lens. Metal CNC-milled bayonet hood included, solidly made but not very effective and inside of hood reflects a bit of light. I got a slotted metal screw-in hood instead.

    Lumix 25 f/1.7 (not stabilized):
    Quite decent normal lens, not a stellar performer wide open but if you can find it cheap like I did ($115) then it's well worth the money. I probably won't use it so much as it's right in between the 15 and 42.5 without bringing any unique rendering skills to the table. It's also slightly larger in diameter compared to the lenses listed above so it feels a bit bulky in comparison. Plastic bayonet hood included.

    In summary:
    GM5 is so tiny and slippery that something has not be done about that. I used gun tape on the body, as well as on the grip I got.
    For me a GM5 with 2-4 lenses is a great travel kit, especially on business trip with carry-on luggage only.
    It's not pocketable, but today's phones have quite decent cameras to satisfy the snapshooter need.
    I would also bring a grip with dovetail plate, and a metal table-top tripod, for time lapse fun.
    I tried this setup for action photography - works in a pinch but an FF DSLR with a 70-200 f/2.8 (or f/4) or a 200-500 would be massively superior.
    Time lapse is fun - I'm still learning at the novice level.
    Panasonic seems to know video well - not really my field of expertise.

    All in all a great super-compact complement system (the body is even smaller than my old Minox).
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Any pics taken with the said gear, Lars?
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Any pics taken with the said gear, Lars?
    We'll get to that.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Vinberg View Post
    We'll get to that.
    How many of you are there?

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    I also recently purchased the GM5 (great deal at Adorama for $469, including the 12-32 mm lens), and love it. My perspective is that I have a couple of Sigma DP Merrills, and a full Oly EM1 system. I have in the past had a Canon full frame system and before digital used a view camera almost exclusively with slide film for several years.

    The GM5 is a beautifully engineered and designed camera. The image quality is fantastic for a camera this size. I am able to print up to at least 17" x 22" on my Epson P800 using the kit lens for what I consider to be portfolio quality prints.

    You really want/need stabilized lenses for this camera when you get above about 20mm (40mm equivalent) in focal length. Because it's so small and light it's otherwise very difficult to hold the camera steady.

    I don't find it as slippery as the first reviewed but maybe I just have sticky hands.

    The kit lens is good for its size; I find the Panasonic 35-100mm f4-f5.6 lens to be a bit better thus far; it is a very high quality for a lens this size.

    Now I just to keep myself from buying a second one!
    Last edited by httivals; 5th December 2015 at 00:34.

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    Just got my GM5 yesterday and it's the camera....

    I should have bought a year ago. Stopped myself from buying the Sony RX1RMKII on my tracks due to my wants/needs and a different approach to reach this decision.

    - Ricardo

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    I am finding that the original Panasonic kit zoom, the 14-45mm with IS, works great with the GM5. Quite a bit larger than the 12-32mm, but I prefer the longer range to 45mm on the telephoto end, and overall I think it's probably a bit better quality - more even sharpness across the frame.

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    things I have discovered with the GM5:

    - Shooting Raw only gives low quality image view in camera, not a good idea.
    - The Handheld Night Shot scene mode is actually useful - it takes six shots in sequence, then keeps the sharpest one. No Raw though.
    - It's possible to use the panorama mode to make decent in-camera panos (cylindrical projection). Good technique and good light is required though.
    - Panasonic/Leica have made some impressive lenses. It would be interesting to push them on a higher res sensor.
    - f/1.7 rules (in lack of wider aperture lenses). In my photography I like to sometimes isolate subject from background, and given the small sensor size it helps that Panasonic glass is so good wide open. There are of course some f/0.95 Voigtlanders and others, but then you lose the compact size advantage as well as AF.
    - You cannot use silent mode when using the panorama function, so to make it silent you have to turn off sound effects. Panoramic mode seems to always use electronic shutter.
    - For overnight time lapses an external power source is necessary - you get 2-3 hours out of a battery at most, given long exposure times.
    - The mechanical shutter is different than a normal shutter - it's driven by a stepping motor rather than a spring. This makes it slow, max flash sync is 1/50 sec. The camera only use a mechanical second shutter - first shutter is always electronic. One reason for not using a mechanical first shutter is to avoid shutter shock vibration. Another reason is shutter size.
    - Panasonic does not sell lens hoods separately, so for those lenses that come with bayonet hoods it might be a good idea to, well, not lose the hood. I prefer metal screw-in hoods so I got a bunch in 46 and 37 mm sizes.
    - The GM5 body can use some more grip. There are multiple aftermarket grips available, as well as grip tape.

    Lars
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Hi Lars, hope you don't mind I post my Lumix GM5 impressions here. I thought about starting another thread, but I don't want to seem like I am trying to compete thread wise and everyone can find all the info here. Please let me know if you rather have this in a separate thread.

    These impressions also include some reference from using an OMD EM5 MKII for several months.

    -----------
    So as I mentioned got a GM5 last Friday and I am very very happy with it already.



    I wanted to start a rolling review but first I wanted to mention a few things that jumped to my attention particularly having and used an OMD EM5 MKII that I also own quite a bit.

    Some Background

    I have finally converged to M43rds and sticking with it. The Gm5 is not to replace the OMD, I will keep the OMD for a lot of paid work but most of my personal photography will probably be done with the GM5.

    I have gone a bit around and the last check was the Fuji X-T10. I love love Fuji and their image quality to me is definitively a step up from M43rds but I wasn't thrilled with the size of some of their lenses at some focals I use, size being important to me so decided to head this way.

    Realizing the camera I have enjoyed the most for my photography has been the Pentax Q, and after, the Nikon 1 J4, I decided to look at the logical conclusion of what's in m43rds that is the smallest, while I have grown to appreciate the OMD EM5 MKII more and more.

    -

    Impressions / surprises on the GM5

    - Panasonic put several features I thought were a bit overboard but they are actually photographically useful.

    1 - Pinch focus- works pretty great for precise focusing even if slower

    2 - Take a shot on half shutter press- this is the kind of thing it shows Panasonic has photographers in their staff. I have never seen this and it works great at avoiding camera shake particularly on such a small camera, as an option.

    3 - Almost every review laments that the dial on top is a Focus mode dial instead of exposure compensation. I have to say Panasonic got this right. For street life at least- it's more common to switch focus modes to me than exposure compensation. And it's not like EV compensation is hard to dial with the back dial.

    4 Big Surprise- this camera focuses my Olympus primes faster than my OMD. Less hunting, more accuracy, better AF-C and faster to "get to action." This I didn't expect at all. If I had to come up with a number I would say like 20-30% faster. It's absurd. I was able to get shots of people walking and moving with the 75mm F1.8 at night no less in difficult light.

    If this is the tiny GM5, then the GX8 must surely be thunder-fast at AF. I think I have heard before the GH4 focused faster than the EM1 but I wondered about that. Now I wouldn't be surprised it's true.

    The GM7 should have depth from focus tech also, and should be even faster, but seriously, this is pretty darn fast as it is.

    5 - Special "monochrome live view" that makes manual focus peaking stand out in color vs the rest of the shot in B&W. This again, shows that Panasonic has photographers in their staff. Pretty surprising.

    6 - Well thought out interface/UI- again, surprised that they got this right. Maybe not super surprised- the LX5 was pretty sorted out. But this is even better. Runs rings around Olympus complexity and yet it has a lot of features too.

    For example- face detection- face detection has eye detection. It will focus on the eye it can find the easiest. Want to focus on the other eye? Touch inside the face detection square the other eye. You can see at all times which eye it is picking.

    Oh, don't want the other eye detected? Touch the AF off on the screen that only shows up when focusing in a face. Statistically more often than not you will want eye detection.

    This makes which eye/any eye far more accessible and with less clutter than either Olympus or Fuji do which requires to select a menu option or icon option.

    7 - Battery life- as commonly known, CIPA ratings are using flash. Without firing Flash I have been able to make the battery last ballpark of what I would expect a single battery charge of my OMD to last. Maybe a tad less but not bad. I was expecting a rather quicker drainage like what I remember with my Pentax Q.

    I certainly still recommend you go out with a spare battery.

    8 - mechanical shutter is pretty darn quiet. I find myself leaving the camera in auto- shutter so everything under 1/500 is mechanical. On the streets I use regularly 1/80-1/250 so it's all mechanical and avoids any light shadow banding by flicker.

    -

    Things I don't quite like

    - I wish there was a menu option to turn off the power on led permanently. Or better yet- just get rid of it. The camera has an on/off mechanical switch after all.

    - As I expected, the color JPEG engine of Panasonic up to this model while some improvement has been made, still is not to my liking. Olympus JPEG color is still better, and ditto for Fuji. I also find Sony's current JPEG engine better.

    The B&W Jpeg engine of Panasonic though is pretty darn good. The opposite experience.

    - No in-camera RAW development. Panasonic finally introduced this with the LX100 and GX8.. I wish this camera had that but it doesn't. I guess this will happen with the GM7.

    I find it useful to play with a RAW file to see how malleable it is, what I will do when I get home or to share a photo from the camera directly. I would use it for B&W, again, not super fond of Panny color.

    From what I have seen the GX8 JPEG color looks promising, so the GM7 should carry on that.

    - Ricardo
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Not at all, Ricardo - on the contrary, thanks for contributing. You bring a different perspective with past experience from M43 as well as using it as your only system. And you are using some Olympus (and other?) lenses.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars View Post
    Not at all, Ricardo - on the contrary, thanks for contributing. You bring a different perspective with past experience from M43 as well as using it as your only system. And you are using some Olympus (and other?) lenses.
    Cool & ThanksTM :-)

    I am using Olympus lenses along with Panasonic ones. And also on occasion, the older Olympus 4/3rd lenses (not quite yet but have done with the OMD) and the old Panny-Leica 25mm 4/3rds. I can say the old Panny-Leica 25mm f/43rds is better than the m43rds version. It's like near or about Nocticron class.

    - Ricardo
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    I got two more batteries with a different branding - both these, branded DOT 01, seem to exceed my OEM battery in capacity by about 5-10%.
    I had less luck with the DSTE brand, where one of two batteries matched the OEM battery whereas the other has about 65% of OEM capacity.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Alright - my GM5 gets some serious use. Eastern Sierras in moonlight, under starry skies. Last night, 8PM. GM5 at ISO 100, daylight WB,, Rokinon 12/2.0 at f/2.0, 10 sec.

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Trying out the Lumix 30/2.8 Macro...
    With 1:1 - which is 13x17 mm - and IS it's quite a versatile little macro, especially when your subject matter isn't a little critter that runs off when you get too close.

    Come to think of it - these close-ups would require much more of an effort with a FF system due to 1:1 limited to 24x36 mm, as well as DOF limitations.



    Last edited by Lars; 12th January 2016 at 00:27.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Just picked up my GM5 earlier today. My plan is to use it with legacy glass only. Let's see how long that will last



    This camera seriously needs a grip. I'm considering the one from J.B. Camera Designs. Has anybody tried it?

    http://www.jbcameradesigns.com/home
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    And a test shot. Some property developer decided that painting all new buildings orange is a good idea. Maybe death penalty is a good idea after all...

    GM5 with Nikkor 50mm f/1.2

    Things I sell: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/epixx?language=en
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Yep it needs grip. I built this grip on the camera body using a few layers of grip tape. Of course you could stick anything under the grip tape to shape it more.



    Also a piece of grip tape on the thumb rest:



    External grips - this is the Neewer GM1 grip, with grip tape added. It's actually an L dovetail plate - the vertical dovetail is remved here. The base plate needed a slight modification as the back corners on the base of the GM5 are slightly less rounded than on the GM5. A few minures with a round file or a Dremel takes care of that. This is a heavy plate, about 90 grams compared to the camera at about 220 grams(?).









    Here is the Sunwayfoto grip, with grip tape added. It's very light and slim but provides much less grip. It has a dovetail plate that attaches to the bottom (removed here), but there is no 1/4-20 thread. I'm thinking of adding one.





    Photos of camera taken with Lumia 1520, other photos taken with the camera - GM5 + 30/2.8 macro. Apologies for the limited DOF - I should have stopped down the aperture 2-3 stops more.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Jorgen,
    Yeah legacy glass means a fairly clunky system - in my view that misses the point with the GM5 a bit. It can be a pocket shooter as well. Either I only bring the GM5 - for portability - or it's a complement to the Nikon or LF gear. Of course, that's just my use case.
    -Lars
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars View Post
    Jorgen,
    Yeah legacy glass means a fairly clunky system - in my view that misses the point with the GM5 a bit. It can be a pocket shooter as well. Either I only bring the GM5 - for portability - or it's a complement to the Nikon or LF gear. Of course, that's just my use case.
    -Lars
    I see two uses:

    - In my camera bag when I carry the D810, it will only add the size/weight of the body and that of the adapter. Typical usage will be video, occasions when I'd rather leave heavy stuff in the hotel safe when travelling, and when disaster strikes and I need an extra camera. If image quality proves to be as good as I hope, I plan to invest in a Speed Booster or similar, to get closer to the nominal focal lengths of the lenses. The GM5 might also come in handy when extreme telephoto reach is required, but only when light is sufficient. That has to be tested first.

    - General walk-around camera, probably with an OM Zuiko 28mm f/2.8 mounted. That lens has proven to perform very well and is rather small and lightweight.

    I guess it's only a question of time before I acquire the 12-32/35-100mm combo as well. Both are excellent lenses and tiny, tiny, tiny. Another lens that I look forward to using with this camera is the OM Zuiko 35mm f/2, which performed extremely well with the GH1. The peaking of the GM5 will obviously make the usage of such a lens much easier.

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Looked at your grip photos, Lars. I think I'll go for the J.B. grip for now. It's relatively lightweight (they claim less than 3 ounces/85 grams) and seems to give a superior grip. It does add bulk though and is not particularly cheap at $85. Here's a couple of their promotional photos:





    Then, I need a nice, little strap for this. The Nokia strap that I use now isn't very comfortable.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    How are all the GM5 users here finding the EVF?
    For those that have used others like the EM5, EM5II, A7, A7rII or any other you can think of etc EVFs how does it compare?

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    How are all the GM5 users here finding the EVF?
    For those that have used others like the EM5, EM5II, A7, A7rII or any other you can think of etc EVFs how does it compare?
    It's relatively small, but very sharp, bright and clear.

    Edit: I see from dpr that the viewfinder magnification is only 0.92x while it's 1.34x for the GH3 that I used to have and 1.48x for the E-M1. Quite a difference.
    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 13th January 2016 at 04:03.

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Here are a couple of test shots at ISO 6400, both with the OM Zuiko 28mm f/2.8 wide open. This is a rather tiny lens and very suitable for m4/3. Very sharp, and with a nice rendering. Easy to focus too, since the peaking responds nicely to the sharpness of the lens. Unfortunately, my OM adapter focuses past infinity and is generally of bad quality, so I have to concentrate when using it.



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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    This is a rather tiny lens and very suitable for m4/3.
    Size notwithstanding, the native m43 lenses are much better than this and all the OM lenses (and pen F as well). YMMV.

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Size notwithstanding, the native m43 lenses are much better than this and all the OM lenses (and pen F as well). YMMV.
    For all the native m4/3 lenses, I would need to pay money. This and other OM lenses would bring in very small amounts if I sold them, so most of them are basically free. Some of my most sold stock photos are taken with OM lenses on various m4/3 cameras. That's good enough for me
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Exactly why I added "YMMV".

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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Looked at your grip photos, Lars. I think I'll go for the J.B. grip for now. It's relatively lightweight (they claim less than 3 ounces/85 grams) and seems to give a superior grip. It does add bulk though and is not particularly cheap at $85. Here's a couple of their promotional photos:





    Then, I need a nice, little strap for this. The Nokia strap that I use now isn't very comfortable.
    That grip looks great. A dovetail plate was a priority for me - and cost. I think my grips were about $28 and $25. Add another $10 for much more grip tape than I need.
    Either way consider getting that grip tape - it's really versatile.
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    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    I sent the watch pics above to the Italian designer who made the watch - he liked them and asked for more.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Lars View Post
    That grip looks great. A dovetail plate was a priority for me - and cost. I think my grips were about $28 and $25. Add another $10 for much more grip tape than I need.
    Either way consider getting that grip tape - it's really versatile.
    Cost is important to me too, but I'm an expert convincing myself about ways to increase the budget
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    How are all the GM5 users here finding the EVF?
    For those that have used others like the EM5, EM5II, A7, A7rII or any other you can think of etc EVFs how does it compare?
    It is tiny but it's usable still. I have used it from time to time. I think the ideal EVF in this compact size though belongs to the Sony RX100 series. But still, it's fine.

    - Ricardo
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    I haven't used other EVFs much so my point of reference is a bit muddled. I find the EVF usable and useful, although I'm pretty sure I have seen better optics in finders for disposable cameras.

    For me, the major upside is that looking through the viewfinder I can see the image (and menus) sharply even without reading glasses. This is a real issue at night.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    An alternative for grip - of you are OK with something more permanent - is to get one of those glue-on/adhesive grips, or just make your own using some really sticky tape and a cut of wiring (like a 5cm piece of coaxial cable). Or perhaps a piece of door insulation foam strip to make a cushy grip.

    I was thinking of doing this but a more built-up grip would be incompatible with either of the dovetail grips I have.
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression

    Rainy night



    - Ricardo
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    Re: Lumix GM5 and lenses first impression



    - Ricardo
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