Up until recently, I’ve never been terribly interested in photography. I grew up waiting around on family outings for my old man to get the perfect shot, who, in turn, was waiting for the sun to creep out from behind the cloud, so I’ve always been around cameras, but was never fussed about using one.
But since I started blogging about being a dad, and having children, taking photo’s has become an integral part of my life. Having a smart phone means I’m never without a camera, but more often than not, I want a tool designed for the job rather than a do-it-all phone.
On top of this, now I’ve started vlogging, my camera needs have changed further.
So now, I’m building quite a collection of cameras. My camera bag is bulging already but when Panasonic invited me to a small event to meet pro photographer Emma Drabble and test out the new LUMIX GX80, of course I was going to say yes.
Best Camera for Blogging?
Bloggers need a camera that is going to deliver and the LUMIX GX80, certainly does exactly that. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that this camera should (and probably will be) the bloggers camera of choice. And here’s why:
This function enables anyone behind the camera, regardless of skill and experience, to get a fabulous photo. In short, by switching into 4K photo mode, when you hold down the shutter it begins to record what you’re pointing at. When you then release the shutter, it stops and let’s you move through what you have just shot frame by frame (all in 4K). That means you can select the moment when everyone is smiling or when the water is splashing or the moment your child wins the race. Once you have chosen the best frame, you can save it as a photo. It means that if you only have one chance at getting the photo you want, you are guaranteed not to miss it. It means that your shutter timing isn’t as crucial as it once was.
The body of the GX80 is small and neat. With an excellent kit lens that comes with it, it really is a small camera to put in your change bag, over your shoulder or in the bottom of the pushchair.
It is a mirrorless camera that is smaller than a dslr, it has an electronic viewfinder (class leader), excellent autofocus performance (also class leader) and delivers same quality as a dslr. You won’t find a better camera, of this small size, to have on you, all the time.
Post Focus is another helpful function that allows you play around with your images, using the touchscreen LCD display on the back. In essence, you can take 1 photo but once you have taken the photo, you can go back into the camera and choose where to focus within the picture; the foreground, mid ground or background.
You can see here that I am in focus, right in the background of the image. Both Jen & Ted are blurred and out of focus.
This image shows Jen, in the mid ground, in focus and both Ted and I out of focus and blurred.
This photo shows Ted in focus in the foreground and both Jen and I blurred and out of focus.
This however, is just 1 photo. Using the post focus feature, I was able to select who I wanted in focus after the image was taken.
Unless you’re a photography blogger, you aren’t necessarily going to be a camera buff. For this reason you need to have a camera that is easy to use. The GX80 has all functions available within 1 or 2 clicks. I’ve used cameras where you have to go deep into the menu to find what you’re trying to do. This camera is the opposite. Nearly everything you could want, is controlled from the buttons on the back.
We’ve been taken photo’s of Ted since the first day he was with us, and he has now learnt the sound of the shutter. That means that when I now want to capture a natural moment, he knows I’m doing it. Which then makes it either not as natural, or he plays up shouts ‘no’ at me and the moment is ruined. With this silent shutter feature, he doesn’t know I’m snapping away and he can carry on with his business. Super useful!
It’s probably best to let some of my photo’s do the talking now, so have a flick through some of the shots I took when testing out the GX80.
I’m not a photographer, nor would I even suggest that I have any skill when it comes to photography, yet (I think) that these photo’s aren’t too bad at all. I’m not ashamed to say that it really is 80% camera and 20% me!
In all honesty, I could sit here and type for hours on the cool features that this camera has:
- USB charging
- Easy switching between view finder & LCD display
- Autofocus point by tapping an area on the screen
- Excellent in body stabilisation
- Speedy autofocus
- Compatible with high end Leica lenses, as well as a good range of LUMIX lenses.
- Wireless functions allowing you to upload to social media and connect to the Panasonic APP via your phone – you can take a photo remotely using your phone!
This is the ideal camera for bloggers. But the 5 points above also go a long way to making the GX80 a really decent camera for families who are on the hunt for an easy to use camera that will give them stunning pictures.
However, those bloggers who also vlog, may want to consider these 2 points:
- The display, although has some movement / tilt, doesn’t flip round to the front which makes vlogging trickier when you’re filming yourself.
- There is no external MIC input – which isn’t a massive issue because the in-built MIC still gives an OK sound, but if you want the best results, you should be using a separate sound recording MIC, which you wouldn’t be able to plug in.
All in all, this is one of the best cameras I’ve had the pleasure of using. If you’re looking for a camera to blog with, this is the one for you.