The Reason I Ditched my Nikon D700 and Switched to the Lumix GH4 Mirrorless Camera System

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Panasonic Lumix GH4 vs Nikon D700


My love for Nikon:

The Nikon D50 was my first Digital SLR camera. My husband bought it for my birthday, and then my amazing photographer friend Sara suggested starting with a standard 35mm 1.8 (and ditch the 17-55 kit lens.) I shot a few portrait sessions with it (for friends and family) and was soon pushing that little camera to its limits. I found a used D200 from someone on OpenSourcePhoto.net (which has now been shut down for years!) and paired it with a 50mm 1.4d – which I still have today, to go with my Nikon F2 film camera. I shot a few weddings with the D200 and rented lenses, and I started pushing that camera to its limits. When I began booking more and more weddings, I saved up all my money and upgraded to the D700. I saved up even more money and was able to purchase the Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 VRII, and then after a few more weddings, I was able to purchase the Nikon 24-70 mm 2.8. With planning and patience, I grew my small photography business debt free, and encourage others to do the same. Kraft & Jute was born during this time, but that’s another story.  🙂

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This was shot with the Lumix GH4 and an adapter on the Nikon 50mm 1.4

Pain Points:

I fell in love with the D700 and 70-200. For the past few years, I have been shooting portraits and loved all the images I was getting out of the pair. I couldn’t imagine shooting with anything else. But then I wanted to push my camera even more. I wanted to add video. I bought a Nikon D7000, and honestly, I hated that little piece of crap. Maybe it was just ME, but the colors were off, and the video wasn’t really that great quality. The functionality of it was clunky, and it was not easy to take a photo and then switch right to video, achieving the same picture and color quality as the still image. The process was not seamless. 

I’m sure you Canon lovers could step in here and tell me all about the 5D Mark Whatever It Is – but another problem I had with my Nikon system was that it was HUGE, and HEAVY, and EXPENSIVE. (I also recommend a PPA membership which includes $15,000 insurance coverage on your equipment.) I’m sure the Canon system is not much lighter… or cheaper!

I never thought my Nikon system was too heavy until I recently discovered muscle pain in my right forearm and up through my elbow. It always flares up after portrait shoots. In fact, last weekend I shot a wedding with my friend Rachel, and now, a week later, I’m still massaging my forearm and elbow for relief!

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Shot with the Lumix GH4, Zeikos Extension Tube, Big-IS lens adapter and Nikon 50mm 1.4

The Times Are Changing:

We welcomed our third child to the family last April, and it was a great time to take a break from all the weddings and busy scheduling to spend more time with family and Kraft & Jute. It was a nice break from the professional use of my camera. I’ve always used my D700 for family photos but have always felt it’s pretty big and clunky… and a bit overkill for family gatherings. I never took it on vacation. What’s the point of having a nice camera and interchangeable lenses if you don’t use them!?

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This is the only photo in this blog article that was taken with my Nikon D700 and 24-70mm 2.8
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With an adapter, you can attach your Nikon lenses to the Lumix GH4. BEWARE: it’s all manual focus, but still takes great photos!

It was time to find a solution.

One of my favorite podcasts is This Week in Photo. I listen to it when I run, when I fold laundry, take long trips in the car, or stitch print sleeves for Kraft & Jute. I love keeping up with the latest in photography and technology. The host, Frederick, is always talking about this new mirrorless camera system, and how great it is. And how small it is. And how light it is. And how relatively inexpensive it is. And how it takes great videos and photos, seamlessly. This sounded like a great solution to all my Nikon pain points! (Literally.)

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Comparable lenses: LEFT: Panasonic Lumix GH4 with 12-35mm 2.8. RIGHT: Nikon D700 with 24-70 2.8.

 

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on the LEFT: Lumix GH4 and on the RIGHT: Nikon D700

Then I got serious. I started researching mirrorless cameras. At WPPI in Phoenix, I drug Melisa (my cousin and Kraft & Jute co-creator) over to the Panasonic booth and began asking a million questions. I got to meet Bob Coates and William Innes, both Lumix Luminaries. I asked each one of them a million questions. In fact, William gave me his card and said to call anytime. So I did. And I asked more questions!

The Panasonic Lumix GH4 seemed to be the right camera for me. I was hoping to find a system that I could use for both photography and videography. Not only does it do that seamlessly, and not only is it smaller, lighter, and less expensive… but it’s the latest technology and shoots 4K video. It can send the images wirelessly to my iPhone so I can post them immediately. Here’s a #selfie shot: I’m actually controlling the camera with my iPhone. That’s me touching my phone and taking a picture.

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late night shameless #selfie


Of course, one of my main questions was, “Will I be able to get the same images out of the Lumix GH4 as I get out of the D700?” I found that yes, I do. You can see my blog post about that here: “Can You Notice Any Difference?”  Once I sold a few more Nikon lenses, I was able to purchase the Panasonic Vario 35-100mm 2.8 – and it brought me back to the images I was used to getting from the 70-200 2.8. I’m over the moon happy with it. And if you are thinking of switching, but just aren’t sure, then ask questions. Ask a million of them. I would be happy to help answer any of your questions. Just shoot me an email: jessica@kraftandjute.com. I began a blog to journal my switch From Nikon To Lumix. And if you’re looking for more resources, here’s one of many videos talking about the GH4: All About The Gear. Also, check out Small Camera Big Picture; Giulio Sciorio’s reviews were extremely helpful to me.

Take a look and see for yourself….

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Panasonic GH4 with 35-100mm 2.8 (comparable to the 70-200mm 2.8) – works great for my senior portraits!

 

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