There has been a lot of excitement surround a variety of “mirrorless” digital camera systems for good reason. The fundamental design change away from re-creating SLR type bodies came about more or less after the industry realized how popular “live view” is on DSLR bodies. Why re-create the optical viewfinder when so many would prefer live view? The gain in design is realized by offering significantly smaller camera bodies that house high quality sensors. (I love the idea myself, being a fan of small cameras – though I still like to use a viewfinder, see below). Olumpus, Panasonic Lumix, Samsung, and now Fujifilm have all come out with models that try to fill this niche.
So, a carry around digital camera that produces high quality images is indeed available. This alone is reason to be happy with the mirrorless system(s). But the thing that really makes these cameras exciting to me is that the camera bodies work with all of my EOS lenses (albeit with an adapter).
I do love the Lumix 20mm 1.7 lens that I bought along with the GF1 body shown above. It remains the best combination when I want to have the camera as portable and available as possible. But having fallen in love with the Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f2.0 lens over the summer (using on Canon DSLRs), I was thrilled to find how well it fits mounted onto the GF1.
This lens is so well built and so smooth to operate; its just really delightful to use on the GF1. Its weight (7oz/200g) is similar to that of the camera body itself (10oz/285g) so they balance each other out. I end up holding the camera by the lens, though, since it offers a better grip.
I got used to using this lens as manual focus only when using it with Canon DSLR so being restricted to manual focus on the GF1 is not a problem. (In fact, I’d say that I’m getting consistently better results with regard to focus since I started to use manual focus nearly all of the time). The one drawback of the Lumix 20mm lens is that has no marking for corresponding focal lengths. Voigtlander also makes a 20mm manual focus lens that can be mounted to the GF1 with an adapter – but it is much slower than the Lumix 20mm and a little bit “vignette-y”.
Another combination I like is the Canon 135mm f2.0 “magic prime” mounted onto the GF1. In this case, the balance is way off – the lens being so much larger than the body… But, the combination creates the equivalent of a very fast 270mm lens. Not bad.
I’d been using a Ricoh GX100 as a carry around prior to getting the GF1. As a carry around camera it is such an improvement in IQ; the fact that I can use the GF1 with ‘legacy lenses’ makes it that much more fun.