This post has taken a really long time appear here; I never seemed to get around to it, or something else took priority. Anyway, better late than never. Before I begin I would just like to mention that throughout 2016 my Panasonic GM5 cameras have seen a tremendous amount of use. I was quite surprised when I realised that all major holidays/breaks/visits this year were done with the Panasonic GM5 cameras. I think this shows how good this camera is when coupled with the tiny Panasonic 12-32 f3.5-5.6 and the 35-100 f4.0-5.6. My other systems have really been ignored, especially my beloved Olympus system. So without further babble.......
London, a great metropolitan city with so much to see and so much to do. Greater London has a population of 8.5 million with the London Metropolitan Area nearly doubling that with its 15 million people. That's a lot of people.
Our planned stay was going to be a week so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that seeing everything in a week was just not doable. So we planned the week in advance crossing our fingers that it wouldn't rain. We had luck; it didn't although it was actually freezing. The wind was really cold throughout the week. I thought April was supposed to be warmer than what we experienced. Global warming? Hmmm...
Knowing we would be walking a lot and wanting to see as much as possible, a tripod was out of the question although I did see a lot of enthusiasts out there using one. Most of them were alone and obviously there just for the photography. When the family is with you....well, just forget the tripod. You'll be lucky to be able to stand still for 2 minutes let alone for the time required for tripod shooting.
I had a small shoulder bag with me containing 2 x GM5 cameras, spare batteries and cards, a map of the London Underground, a small paper notebook for our planned visits etc, and a small water bottle in the side pocket. I wasn't allowed any money as the boss was present and she took care of that side of things . Also in the bag was the 12-32 lens on one camera and the 35-100 (not the f2.8 version) on the other. I was certain there would be times when I needed a fast lens so I also packed the Panasonic 25 f1.4 and the Olympus 12 f2 in the bag too. And that was it. Worked out really well as it wasn't really heavy and the extra two primes didn't take up much room either.
Seems to be made for a couple of GM5 cameras.
It has enough room for 2 x GM5 cameras and an additional couple of small lenses.
At the front there's a zipped compartment for extra batteries SD cards etc.
Perfect bag for this type of holiday.
All this worked out so well that a backpack will never be seen with me again. I don't need it anymore as my M43 equipment is so small and light that a shoulder bag will always suffice. The shoulder bag might grow in size at times as I change equipment but it won't be so much that I will need a backpack. Never again! Those days are over and I'm pretty sure the amount of equipment I took with me in my youth didn't help my back any either. It's probably why I now go to the gym three times a week because I notice the aches and pains a bad back can cause. Yes, it seems I'm getting older, just like all of us.
I had no problems whatsoever with either camera. Both worked superbly. Battery consumption wasn't a problem as I tended to switch the camera off when the camera wasn't in use. The most I used was two batteries a day with power left in the second battery at the end of the evening. I took multiple shots of everything to ensure that at least one was in focus. I don't know when I'll be able to return to London so I wanted all of my efforts to count (i.e. In focus and sharp). I always had one camera in my hand at all times being a very small body with a very small lens attached I really couldn't complain about the size or weight. It fits nicely into your palm.
Both the 12-32 f3.5-5.6 and the 35-100 f4.0-5.6 were made for the GM cameras and both have Mega OIS built in which is a great help - to me anyway. My 35-100 seems to be a tad sharper than my 12-32 but I'm not saying that the latter is bad, just the former is sharper. I got some really nice images from both lenses. The Olympus 12 f2 got to a lot use in the museums we visited and London has a lot of those.It's a really good performer and worked well on the Panasonic bodies. Sometimes I wished for something a little wider but I don't have anything in my arsenal that is wider and as fast as the 12 f2. Perhaps the Olympus 7-14 f2.8 should be considered here, being only a stop short of the 12 f2 but much, much wider. The Panasonic 25 f1.4 only got used once during the entire week. But, I must admit, it also produced the goods. I have no complaints about that lens at all; not on Panasonic bodies anyway.
Because I was talking about the Olympus 7-14 f2.8 in the above paragraph I thought I would chime in here with some thoughts about the new Olympus Pro series lenses. There's not a lot to say except that I am seriously impressed with everything about these lenses. Construction, sharpness, micro contrast, rendition etc etc. I personally have only tested two of these namely the 12-40 f2.8 and the new 25 f1.2. The images from these two lenses just blow me away. Both are fantastic lenses. There are now 5 lenses in total from this series and I'm seriously considering the 7-14 f2.8 and the 40-150 f2.8. The images I have seem from both those lenses have all been crisp, clear and I like the rendition. The 300 f4 is too specialised a lens for me and that will not see the inside of any of my shoulder bags. If I purchase those two lenses all my needs would be covered and GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) would be history (except maybe for the Panasonic 100-400).
Moving Around London.
I was really apprehensive about going from one location to another in London but I could have saved myself the stress. I found it easier to use public transport in London than in my own home town. Everything is well laid out and signposted. It was really easy. Kudos London Transport. One Tip: If you are planning to visit London get yourself an Oyster Card and load it up with around £30. You can order on-line (We ordered ours from Germany) and it will be sent to you immediately so you have it with you when you get there. If using buses just swipe the card when you get on, if using the Underground, swipe the card when you get on AND when you get off. An excellent system. I wish they would introduce that in Germany. The big advantage I see in the system is you only spend money when you use the transportation. Here in Germany I have to buy a monthly ticket which costs me a certain amount whether I use the transportation or not.
With so much to see in London I'll only mention the very few we visited during our week long break.
One of the must see sights when visiting London. The buildings themselves are magnificent with The Painted Room being one of the highlights. I believe this was built originally as a hospital for wounded sailors. After being inspected when it ws finished by those who had something to say, it was deemed to magnificent to house wounded sailors and was never used in it's original capacity, namely, a hospital.
While you are there don't forget to walk up the hill through the park to the Observatory. The view looking back across London is one of the best there is. A must see.
Only two palaces remain standing from Henry VIII's many palaces, Hampton Court and St James's Palace. Hampton Court is definitely a full day out if you decide to visit, so plan accordingly.
The man himself.
It's well worth walking down the embankments on the River Thames. I actually did the South Embankment visiting a lot of buildings along the way.
There is no way you are going to visit all the museums in London in one visit. There's just too many of them and quite a few are really big. Personally I love to visit these places and photographing all I can (when allowed). We did a couple only as time was short but I thought I'd include some of the images taken below.
One I can in particularly recommend, and that is The Wallace Collection situated in Manchester Square. Simply exquisit.
I wish I could have visited some museums when I was a kid.
Lucky children, although I don't know how many appreciate it.
My new favourite painter: Horace Vernet.
If you get a chance to see some of his work, go for it. Simply stunning stuff.
The Victoria and Albert Museum.
Again some school children on the right.
The wife being accosted by Churchill.
The Rayal Albert Hall
Walking the streets of London is a real treat. There's something new to see at every corner. The following architecture images are just a few of the many hundreds I took during the week. Just to give you a taste.
Taken from the Barbican
Again at the Barbican
The OXO Building
The Observatory, Greenwich
Panasonic GM5 Conclusion.
The Panasonic GM5s did an excellent job as can be seen from the images posted. If you think an image is bad, that's my fault not the cameras. They cannot be blamed for bad composition.
One problem I did encounter during my stay was light entering from the side when I had my eye to the EVF. I had to screen it with my other hand while also trying to hold the lens. Not a deal breaker but it was annoying at times. It's one of the worst EVFs out there (and I don't think we'll see it again) but when the you have cloud cover or the sun is coming at a certain angle, you won't see this problem at all.
Panasonic have now introduced the GX80 and the G80 (G81 here in Germany) and these two interest me immensely. However, before I let my GM5s go I'm going to wait for some more reviews and user experience reports before I start thinking about purchasing either one. The GM% is still a good camera and I enjoy using it very much.
I also have the Olympus E-M10 and E-M10II which are nearly as small as the GM5, and I might just try these two cameras on my next holiday or two.
I believe Panasonic have stopped the GM5 production so all you can purchase nowadays are old stock, or you could buy used on ebay. I can still recommend this camera to all who wish to carry something very small and unobtrusive. Highly recommended as are the two small lenses made for it namely the 12-32 f3.5-5.6 and the 35-100 f4.0-5.6.
If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you.
My summer residence
The Canadian Memorial
Not the nicest hotel in town
National History Museum
The Albert Memorial
This woman had a camera in the her hand wondering how to take an image of the wall.
So I took one of her with the wall as background.
That's what I call an office.
Yes, they're everywhere you go.