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A New Tool in the Tool Bag

February 4, 2022
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As long time readers know, I am not a Camera of the Month club sort of person. I bought my Canon 7D Mark II in early 2015. I bought my Canon 60D in 2011. I haven’t bought a new lens since I picked up my Tamron 150-600mm about 5 years ago. I don’t buy a new tool unless the old tool is not working. I tend to be very, very deliberate about purchases. Sometimes I wait a year or more before I execute on a deal.

When I visited Rocky Mountain National Park in 2020, I found that I was missing a tool for my tool bag. I did not have a good, walk-around camera that I could do landscape work with. I ran into the same problem on my visit to Cheyenne Mountain State Park and my two trips to Walden Ponds. I wanted to do some landscape shots, but the bulk of the Canon 300mm f/4 L IS made it difficult to successfully carry a second lens without adding a backpack to my hiking gear. But a good, smaller, walk-around camera might get the job done that my iPhone was not getting done.

Later, as I started to spend more time in the city of Denver, I realized that maybe some street photography was in my future as well. And I was sadly disappointed with the quality of image that my phone was providing. I pretty much just stopped trying. It was time for something new. But what?

I ask questions when it comes to things like this. And indirectly I had already asked this question once.

A good friend of mine, a gentleman named Bruce Foreman, was a resource that I often relied upon when it came to the purchase of camera equipment. Bruce spent most of his life with a camera in his hand. He bought lots of gear. He sold lots of gear. But before he sold it, he got to know every centimeter of that equipment. We lost Bruce this past fall, but his words and philosophy continue to live on.

One of my children was looking for a camera. The primary objective was to do HD (1920×1080) video but also wanted to have a camera that could do stills. I had suggested something from the Canon line of dSLRs, but I knew Bruce had pivoted into video and I figured he would have a good answer. His answer was the Panasonic Lumix G85. Inexpensive, but not cheap. Small. Capable of doing 4K video. 16 Megapixels on the sensor. Solid, durable camera.

As I was bouncing around the idea of a walk-around camera, Bruce’s words came back to mind. I kept it on my radar. And then Black Friday at Amazon happened and there it was. The deal, with both the kit lens and a second longer zoom lens, was too good to pass up.

And then life happened.

A trip to do some training. An unexpected trip for a family emergency on my way home from the training. Winter holidays. Life got busy.

The camera arrived while I was out at my training class. The camera came out of the box a day or two after returning from my family emergency journey. And it sat there through the Christmas holidays and well into January.

I read pieces of the manual a time or two. Learned the things I really needed to know in the short term. Charged the batteries, formatted the cards, bought a small camera bag, and then set it down for an expected trip.

I hope you’ll enjoy the journey with me as I try out this new tool.

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