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For the last few months we have been publishing tutorials to help you better understand your DSLR camera, or to convince you to buy one, by showing you that mastering even a complicated camera just takes patience and a good teacher, like Daily Mom.
However, we realize that being a “photographer with a big camera“, even an amateur one, isn’t for everyone. There are a myriad of reasons why a large DLSR is not a good option for everyone and up until recently that usually spelled the end of beautiful photography for whoever decides against owning one. Not too long ago, if you wanted to produce gorgeous, sharp, noiseless photos with soft blurry background that makes your subject look amazing, your only option was to buy or borrow an expensive DSLR and a good lens. If you wanted something compact, you were out of luck, since point and shoot cameras generally produce photos of the same quality as some of the better cell phone cameras. When it comes to motherhood, however, capturing life, recording every milestone and every smile becomes important enough to look for a better solution. Who wants to have grainy photos to look back on?
We would like to introduce you to a newer concept in photography. It has been around for a few years, but only recently became affordable and comparable to the quality of DSLRs.
Behold MIRROLESS CAMERAS
“The mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (MILC) is a class of digital system cameras. This type of camera provides an interchangeable lens mount. They do not have a mirror reflex optical viewfinder.”
What that means is that without the mirror, the cameras can be made MUCH smaller while still producing similar quality photographs, and the systems allow you to purchase different lenses to create the effect needed for whatever situation you’re shooting. This last part is of particular importance since lenses are crucial when it comes to photo quality. The majority of varied quality photographs from the background blur and noise standpoint are due to differences in lenses more than camera bodies.
The mirroless camera we have had a chance to try that we would like to spotlight today is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1. This beautiful little camera packs a real punch when it comes to quality, size, weight and looks. Beautiful retro textured orange (comes in black, silver, and white, too) is exactly what a stylish mom needs in her camera, while a small body with compact lenses ensure that you always have your camera with you to capture those unexpected moments to look back at.
As mothers and parents we want to make sure that we are present with our children, while at the same time struggling to capture those precious moments for the future. It’s a fine balance. A compact, portable, light camera like Lumix makes it just a little bit easier by allowing us to have our little “photo friend” in our purse without the pressure of capturing every moment that you feel when you bring your larger DSLR with you. There is also something to be said about appearances. We have all seen those moms who bring their “big girl camera” to every playdate, every playground trip and snap away. Lumix will allow you to look relaxed and care-free while spending time with your children and at the same time taking the occasional photo here and there with the same amazing quality that DLSRs offer.
Is there a situation where you would want a DSLR over a mirrorless camera?
The answer here varies depending on your needs and preferences. DSLRs outfitted with the right lenses can offer unsurpassed image quality that no other camera can reproduce. This image quality is usually excessive in most situations, but you might want to use a DSLR for special occasions, staged photoshoots, special trips (like first Disneyworld visit). However, lenses for DSLRs are usually very heavy and bulky, as well as expensive which becomes prohibitive for most recreational use. Now that you understand the difference between the two types of cameras and the benefits one offers over another, let’s discuss the features that make Panasonic Lumix so amazing.
Reinforced Metallic Alloy Body
The camera is designed to last. The body and sensitive electronics are wrapped in metallic alloy that is both strong and lightweight. The retro textured finish is really pleasant to both touch and sight and certainly stands out in the sea of camera and draws comments from friends and passer-bies.
That’s where the image quality comes in. Reduced noise due to the large sensor and beautiful pictures are a result of being able to pack a large sensor into such a small body.
This is amazing! Imagine you’re out and about snapping pictures. You get in the car and embark on your long drive home. Using wi-fi technology, you can easily hook the camera up to your iPhone and share the photos you just took with friends, family or social media.
Variety of Modes
This is very professional photographers will be tickled pink about. Unlike most compact cameras, Lumix offers a lot of options when it comes to shooting modes. Those who are used to setting their exposure manually with a DSLR, can still do that with Lumix. If you like to shoot fast in quickly changing conditions, you can always choose Av, aperture priority mode; or if fast blurry motion is your thing, shutter speed priority is available as well.
For those less versed in camera settings, you can simply select scenes, enough for any type of situation, and the camera will adjust the setting accordingly: Clear Portrait / Silky Skin / Backlit Softness / Relaxing Tone / Sweet Child’s Face / Distinct Scenery / Bright Blue Sky / Romantic Sunset Glow / Vivid Sunset Glow / / Glistening Water / Clear Nightscape / Cool Night Sky / Warm Glowing Nightscape / Artistic Nightscape / Glittering Illuminations / Handheld Night Shot / Clear Night Portrait / / Soft Image of a Flower / Appetizing Food / Cute Dessert / Freeze Animal Motion / Clear Sports Shot / Monochrome
Excellent Quality Video Capture
Here is where Lumix really shines compared to a DSLR. It’s our favorite feature of the camera. Taking gorgeous HD quality videos is a breeze with touch focus and easy exposure adjustment. It takes great videos on AUTO and can produce fabulous results with more manual controls.
Oh where do we start? You want beautiful pictures? Buy a new lens. The kit lens that it comes in with is great! It is a fabulous wide angle zoom lens that is perfect for all situations. But if you’re looking for even more professional look to your photos, consider adding a Lumix 20mm f/1.7 (equivalent of 40mm lens). With an aperture like that it’s a dream. This lens produces a gorgeous bokeh (background blur), especially when used on manual or Av modes and this where your camera will really shine. In fact, we don’t take it off our Lumix camera ever. It is GORGEOUS! Don’t believe us? Take a look!
We took a trip to California and tried out our lens on beautiful west coast landscapes. Let your eyes be the judge!
See the full gallery
Who is this camera for?
- photography enthusiasts as a DSLR companion
- families looking for great quality photos in a small package
- travelers who like to pack light
- mothers with multiple kids (the last thing you want to do is carry around 4 pounds on your neck while wrangling 2 or 3 kids.)
- anyone who hasn’t gotten into photography yet- Lumix is an unbelievable introduction to the art of photography without the pressure of a DSLR
So, if you’re in the market for a camera that takes professional quality photos without having to purchase and learn how to use a cumbersome DSLR, then a mirrorless camera may be just what you need. Easy to use, compact, beautiful photography – what more could you want in a camera?