Smart Snappers – testing the 2013 Lumix G6 and GF6 in Bali

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The image quality on smartphones is now so good that most consumers are happy to snap candid pics with them day and night. I’m not immune to the charms of a smartphone camera, I even took the picture above on a phablet.

However, there are plenty of times when the camera on a phone just won’t cut the mustard.  Vacations, graduations, wedding celebrations – these, and many more events, call for a “real” camera.

To illustrate this point, Panasonic recently held a digital imaging seminar on the beautiful Indonesian island of Bali.  As one of the attending media I got to try out the 2013 range of compact system cameras for myself.

Handling the 2013 Lumix G6 and GF6 I was reminded why you need a good camera with a decent set of lenses.  Over the course of a day, our group was shuttled around the island and given the opportunity to photograph some extraordinary special events.

We captured the excitement of the Water Blow at Nusa Dua, the ritual of a fruit offering ceremony by Balinese women at Batu Bolong Temple, the fiery sunset at the W Hotel’s WooBar and the dramatic danger of a traditional fire dance on the beach after dark.

Without the quality of the camera’s large sensors, and the ability to swap between wide angle and zoom lenses, most of the opportunities to take memorable photos would have passed me by.

You can read more about the cameras below, but first, here is a sample of some of the images I took of the amazing island.

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Tourists get drenched at the Nusa Dua Water Blow while the press pack snap away. This image was taken with a Lumix GF6 using a 14-40mm lens.

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Men in traditional Balinese dress prepare to lead tourists to Tanah Lot Temple. Taken with Lumix G6.

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A procession of Balinese women carry fruit offerings to the Batu Bolong Temple.

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Balinese women pose at the entrance to the Batu Bolong Temple.

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The Kecak & Fire Dance performed under sunset on the beach. Taken with Lumix G6.

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Batu Bolong Temple photographed using one of the in-camera creative effects settings.

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Our host at the event, Digital Camera Product Manager, Andrew Reid and fellow traveler, F11 magazine publisher Tim Steele.

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Traditional setting meets modern design at the W Hotel, Bali.

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The Panasonic SUV convoy with police escort – the only way to get round the island in a hurry, other than on a moped of course.

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The author of the post, toting each of the new Lumix Cameras.  Photo by Tim Steele (copyrighted).

About the 2013 Lumix G6 and GF6 Compact System Cameras:

Compact system cameras have small bodies, similar in size to compact cameras, but they are also able to use larger, interchangeable lenses, similar to those commonly found on full size digital SLR cameras.

Compact system cameras are designed to satisfy the appetite of consumers with higher quality photographic needs, such as parents, intrepid travellers and hobbyists. With this in mind Panasonic used the Bali event to announce the launch in New Zealand of new compact system cameras with an array of smartphone compatible features.

The Lumix GF6 is a light, interchangeable lens camera which is designed to appeal to people stepping up from compact cameras or smartphones. It has a range of creative control settings which mimic the filters from popular photographic apps, allowing the user to easily create monochrome or bleach-effect pictures for example.

Connectivity is another major issue and the new GF6 and the more advanced G6 – a digital single lens mirrorless camera – have Near Field Communication or NFC and wireless built in. This means that images shot on the camera can be transferred to an NFC capable smartphone with little more than a “tap and an app”.

Once transferred to the phone, the user can then share the image to their social network of choice.

More advanced users can also use the app to control the camera remotely via a direct wifi connection. In this mode, the image from the camera is streamed to a smartphone or tablet and the user can simply tap that screen to take pictures from the remote device.

Also on show at the forum, and signalling Panasonic’s desire to evolve smartly, were a wearable, over-the-ear camera for recording sports adventures and a digital video camera with the ability to live stream to the internet.