These two have gone toe to toe, and we’re all tired. If you’re not, believe me you will be, this final round is a long one, and really the reason I needed to break this into three parts. Now it’s time to see which, if either can really pull itself ahead and prove to be a better choice. I use the word choice because, it will come down to a personal preference, or needed feature for any given shooter because both are great cameras. I’m finding that it is a decision based more on what each camera doesn’t have as opposed to the qualities that they do. Both are great, but what can you live without? Here’s round three, the round to end all others…at least for me and my decision making process.
The first round produced a bit of a shocker with the GX7 pulling out a surprise partial victory in the IBIS battle (read round 1 here). The higher res EVF and LCD also fell in favor to the Panasonic. Now, let’s look at the physical build and ergonomic qualities of these two cameras… ROUND 2!
In this corner, Panasonic’s new, compact, fully featured camera weighing in at around a grand, the DMC GX7! And his opponent, the current system champion in this price range, with many of the same features and weighing in at a cool grand as well, the Olympus OM-D E-M5!
I’ve had the GX7 for about a month now and feel that I’ve been able to give it a proper run through in a variety of shooting scenarios and have been comparing it to my OMD EM5 just about every step of the way. I tried originally to compare these two cameras against each other in all ways I find them to differ, but the article has gotten ridiculously long, so we will break this into 3 rounds… So, how do these two, high end pro-sumer micro 4/3 models compare to one another? C’mon in and I’ll give you my opinion on where each of these cameras wins against the other starting with the in body image stabilization, electronic viewfinders and LCD screens. Round 1, FIGHT:
In part 1, I gave you my opinion and rundown on the physical, ergonomic changes along with a couple of the key, new features to the GX lineup. Now, we can take a look at how this camera has evolved from a performance point of view compared to the GF1 and GX1. C’mon in for some videos and comparisons…
In this review, I want to focus on and outline my favorite additions that the GX7 has introduced to micro 4/3 shooters or those who have been shooting other Panasonic m4/3 cameras from a features standpoint. I’d also like to look at how the GX7 has progressed physically from the GF1 and GX1. Many of the features on the GX7 are not unique, but may be new for micro 4/3, or at least Panasonic system users, and I’ve been curious to shoot with this camera since the rumors started circulating. In this first part, I want to go over how this camera feels in the hand, how it interacts with the shooter, and what the new bells and whistles have provided vs the previous cameras. The next part will focus on the performance of the camera, actual image quality, et al (click here to read Part 2). I will also be comparing this camera to my Olympus OM-D E-M5 in a future article, but for now, we’ll focus on the GX7 and the advancements it has made compared to it’s predecessors.
When Panasonic started to leak the GX7 micro 4/3 camera, I, along with many micro 4/3 fans started to pine for what seemed on paper to be one of the best offerings for the system yet. Compact, nice grip, IBIS, focus peaking, a step forward in IQ, good video options, integrated EVF, WiFi, rugged chassis… I’m no fanboy, but I will admit to feeling that Panasonic has done a better job at the interface side of things, compared to Olympus in my experience with cameras from both manufacturers. If I could gain access to what I saw as Oly’s two benefits in IBIS and newer sensor tech in a Pana body with it’s more streamlined, yet still customizable interface, I had to see if it could live up to the hype. I’ve long felt that if Oly could re-engineer it’s interface and remove some of the frustrating quirks that plagued the EM5, or, if Panasonic could take a step forward in sensor performance and integrate a decent IBIS system, either could have a quintessential micro 4/3 juggernaut on their hands. Is the GX7 the answer to those desires?
A couple super deals have popped up. Please excuse the quick break from the normally scheduled programing… For my fellow micro 4/3 shooters, the above lens is temporarily on sale, and for all my fellow post processing enthusiasts, Topaz Re-Style is 50% off for just 4 more days.
The Bower (Rokinon/Samyang/whoever else they sell this lens under) micro 4/3, 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye, is now on sale for $
199 at B&H HERE (price is now fluctuating between $200-250 or so), and also includes the 4% reward and Free Shipping! If you’ve been on the fence, this is an amazing deal on a great lens (Normally about $300). You can read my opinions on the Rokinon version (same lens) HERE. Oddly, it is only the Bower version that is on sale, but it is the same lens as the Rokinon that I own, use and love.
Also, Topaz Re-Style is about to wrap up it’s introductory sale this Saturday, at which point it will go up to “full” price ($59.99). Right now, through Saturday, you can get Re-Style for 50% off HERE for $29.99 when using the code “restyleit”, enter the discount code at checkout. I recently reviewed Re-Style HERE. Also, you can get the $30 discount off of the full collection of Topaz plugins by using that same “restyleit” discount code.
Thank you, happy shooting and carry on…
PART 3: Processing your shots
After applauding your choice to invest in featherweight cameras and optics that have the image quality to rival top end digital SLR’s (well, in many scenarios anyway), it all comes down to processing, and turning those files into the beautiful images you knew they’d become. While weight is no longer a huge part of the equation, it is now time to see if we’ve compromised our ability to document our travels for posterity in all their pixel rich glory…
PART 2: Shooting your trip
You’ve already suffered through my long winded gear explanation in the previous post about gear weight in part 1. Here are some of the images and techniques I use with the gear being utilized for each shot, laid out. The above panorama shot was a handheld series of 5 frames, shot in portrait orientation using the Canon EOS-M and 22mm f/2 lens. The third and final part in this series will focus on the actual processing of the shots and won’t really have much to do with backpacking per se, nor the weight saved, but hopefully can show that with these small cameras, image quality is not compromised.
PART 1: Preparing for a trip
Have you ever had to pack for a trip, a hike, climb, vacation or another adventure where you’d be carrying everything on your back or slung over your shoulder? Gear laid out on the floor the night before leaving for the trip after having unpacked and repacked to see if you could fit everything in less space getting rid of everything you can to save weight. For those that saw their toothbrushes in half to shave off a few grams, or anyone that could stand to lose a little weight in the camera bag, this series of articles may be useful. Now, the question is, can we do this, and still carry quality photographic gear with us?
This will be the first part in a three part article focused on capturing images while backpacking and wanting to keep weight down while not compromising image quality. It is also potentially useful for any travel situation where gear weight may become cumbersome.
I’d like to thank Yukon Trading Company, Marmot, JetBoil, LEKI Trekking Poles, 43rumors.com, Expert Shield screen protectors, and B&H Photo for the continued support, and particularly for much of the stuff provided for me during this trip. Losing weight isn’t always fast and cheap, but they’ve helped make it sexy. Throughout these articles, I’ll be mentioning and linking to various products that I use(d) and highly suggest looking into. Fortunately for me, we got hooked up with companies that put quality at the top of their list. It doesn’t hurt that they also engineer some of the best, lightest and highest performing gear on the market, so, thanks guys!
Never has weight been more a factor for me than when trying to stuff all my gear into a pack with the realization that I’m going to have to carry all this stuff on my back for days on end, all while climbing, hiking and sliding around in the snow. I will start by disclosing that I am far closer to resembling a photographer than a back country, mountaineering aficionado. I’ve certainly been adventurous throughout my life, spending many nights in the elements, climbing and hiking my way to the next spot so that I may eat dried fruit, ramen and nuts for dinner, or do my best to create aches in areas I was previously unaware my body had by forgoing any type of sleeping pad or pillow. Most of the time, when I travel, or set out on any type of adventure, photography is a very large part of it, and I’ve tended to sacrifice other comforts to enable the room for my camera gear. Since adopting a mirrorless setup, I’ve not had to sacrifice at all…