William Porter William Porter


Photographing Iceland

September 23rd, 2019

Before we left for Iceland, I agonized over what equipment to bring. The basic choice was between the Sony RX 10 Mark IV that I’d taken with me to Yosemite; and the Panasonic G9 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Pros and cons:

  • Sony RX 10 Mark IV is fantastically versatile, fairly lightweight, very usable. It’s a fixed-lens camera so I wouldn’t need to take anything else and I would not be worrying about changing lenses.
  • The Panasonic G9 on the other hand has a larger sensor (micro four-thirds vs the Sony’s 1" sensor), and it is weather-sealed. My understanding was that I should expect rain, possibly a lot of it. And cold, but mostly rain.

I decided to go with the Panasonic G9. Good decision? I can’t say. Probably. Maybe. We didn’t have as much rain as I was expecting, so the Sony RX 10 Mark IV would, as it turned out, have been fine. But with the G9, I never had to worry about the weather.

Nevertheless I did make a big mistake as a consequence of thinking about my options in the wrong way. Instead of thinking as much as I did about bodies and sensors, I should have thought more about lenses. I decided to take just two lenses with the Panasonic G9: the Leica f2.8 14-60, and the Olympus 7-14 Pro ultra-wide. Sigh. I thought I’d only be shooting landscapes. Wrong.

On our second day there, we had the thrill of staring down a steep cliff side to see puffins – scads of them. The experience was great and I’ll remember it for a long time. But if I’d had the RX10 with me or my excellent 70-300 lens for MFT, I’d have been able to take puffin photos that I’d cherish. And although we didn’t do a lot of bird watching after that, there were some shots of houses, waterfalls, sheep or horses, and other subjects that I would have liked to have a longer lens for. Next time, I take a long lens instead of the ultra wide. Or I take the RX 10 Mark IV.

As for the difference in the sensor size, it’s not nothing, but it’s not usually a big deal, either. Perhaps it mattered for this trip because although we had more bright and clear weather than we expected, we had our share of dark days too. The G9 probably did a little better on those gloomy days than the RX10 would have.


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