Photographing Cars & Coffee with the Lumix G9

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

If you’ve been following my new camera search/purchase exploits on my main photography how-to blog starting with my post What’s New: A New Camera for Me? and followed up with The Death of Micro Four-thirds? Not so fast… you know that I recently bought a Panasonic Lumix G9 from Glazer’s Camera in Seattle. For it’s first outing I took it to the Vehicle Vault’s August ’20 Cars & Coffee.

I also purchased a third party battery grip to use with the camera, mainly for photographing models. The grip makes shooting vertical images easier and more conformable and echoes many of the camera’s controls including a shutter release and a joystick for moving the focus point. And while the G9’s shutter release is delightfully light to the touch (maybe too much so) the grip’s shutter release is slightly heavier (maybe too much so.) In fact, so much so that if I bring the Lumix G9 to another Cars & Coffee it will be sans grip. Even with the grip, the Lumix G9 was a delight to shoot under the semi-crowded conditions you typically find at Cars & Coffee events

How I made this shot: I photographed this 1949 Chevrolet Fleetline “Bomb Style” using a Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 at 23mm or (according to EXIF) a 47mm equivalent. Program mode exposure was 1/500 sec at f/10 and ISO 320. Love the tidy whities.

And it was characteristically difficult, even though I waited patiently, to photograph the cars without someone walking into the frame—as you can see in these shots. But, and I’ve often said this, you don’t go to Cars & Coffee to make great photos of cars. And while sometimes you can do that, I don’t think that’s what the event is about. I prefer to look at C&C is a local celebration of automobile style and it’s why I enjoy talking with the cars’ owners, like the original owner of a 1967 Cougar XR7 with 130,000 mile on the odometer that was daily driven for 20 years.

How I made this shot: I photographed this Chevrolet pickup truck that looks a lot like Mater’s cousin (from Disney’s Cars) with a Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 at 19mm or (according to EXIF) a 39mm equivalent. Program mode exposure was 1/500 sec at f/10 and ISO 320.

To make the shot of the pickup truck, I used the Lumix G9’s flippy screen to get a low angle on the truck and while that Reverse Hail Mary typically minimizes background clutter, it didn’t stop people from walking into the shot. The G9’s fully articulated three-inch, 1,040,000 dot screen not only looks good but features the best and smoothest articulation of any screen that I’ve used on a camera—DSLR or mirrorless. The screen has a great design with mechanical flawless execution.

Image quality from the G9’s 20.3 megapixel sensor was impressive and the photographs looked noticeable better than ones created with my previous go-to Panasonic Micro Four-thirds camera, the Lumix GH4. I am looking forward to making lots more images with the camera and this first taste of shooting the Lumix G9 was a success both from an operational point-of-view and the quality of the images it produced.