*The Panasonic GX7, an Evolution, part 1

an evolution GX7

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.

GFX

Every camera now-a-days is going to be fully capable of a quality image file in favorable shooting conditions.  What a $180 compact camera is capable of today compared to a camera 10x that price even 7 or 8 years ago is kind of nuts.  So, why would we still be willing to shell out a thousand (two or three, or ten!) for a camera when technology has grown so much, allowing for our phones to take better pictures now than a “pro” camera from a decade ago?

While the rising tide has indeed continued, larger sensors still allow for advantages, and the biggest question is how large is large enough?  Couple any tradeoffs with price and we start to see where the dust settles.  Depending on the application, I think the biggest choice between a camera or system comes down to operability and photographer-centric features that suit a photographer’s style, or offer the right tools for the job.

With this review I’m going to run through and compare the physical aspects, and ins and outs of some of the GX7’s more noteworthy, new features that may justify this camera as an upgrade to an existing micro 4/3 shooter, or someone looking to weigh the potential of upgrading from a compact or possibly downsizing from a larger system camera.  I’ll be posting a second part soon looking at the functional, performance side of things.

tea time!

ERGONOMICS

The pronounced grip on the GX7 is hard to miss.  Cameras this small have been struggling to balance size reduction with a functional ability to be held onto.  Sony has done well with the NEX cameras (in my opinion) even if they do look silly.  The GF1 didn’t have a “grip” so much as a bump, and the GX1 added a very handy and well designed finger hump, but slimmed the body down so that your fingers would hit the barrel of the lens attached leaving very little room.  The GX7 has remedied this, and done very well.  It has a very similar approach to the GX1 in that the contour is designed to allow the middle finger to wrap over and down, putting your wrist in a more vertically oriented position which is far more comfortable than pinching a camera with your fingertips while sticking your elbow out to your side.  Keeping your wrist and grip vertical, it allows you to tuck your upper arm and elbow to the side of your body, further stabilizing your grip and overall technique.  Because the body dimensions have grown just a little bit, the grip has as well.  It allows you to get the camera snug in your palm with your middle and ring finger wrapped around the top freeing up your index/shutter finger to operate.  The pinky can fold underneath the body or go tea time and conceitedly point to the heavens to amuse your friends and fellow humans.

rear grip

All the switches and buttons are easy to access and well laid out with one exception in my opinion.  The DISP (display button) falls directly underneath my thumb and is constantly, and inadvertently being pressed which changes the LCD screen.  Annoying and the same design flaw as the GX1.  As with the GX1, I’ll get used to it and adjust my grip, but this seems to be a pretty large flaw as there would be plenty of room in the new layout to move this button slightly.

GX7 menus

MENUS and INTERFACE

For anyone who’s read my blog for any period of time, you will probably know that I’m no fan of the Olympus menus and interface.  I will save the comparison between the OMD EM5 and the GX7 for later (head to head competition coming soon!), but that said  the Panasonic menus and interface, while not perfect, are so much more photographer friendly and logical.  With the GX7, I’ve not needed to refer to the manual (printed and included in the box by the way) once.  They are just more logical, I can’t explain it better than that.  If you need to access anything relating to the operation of the camera settings?  The “camera” menu.  If you need to access anything pertaining to video?  The “video” menu.  Customization?  “Custom” menu.  So on and so forth.  No cryptic enabling or disabling to re-enable or open new sub menus, it’s just simple.  People liked Oly’s SCP or whatever it was called.  I didn’t even know it existed, or know how to enable it at first when I heard about it, and when I did it was nice, but still not a replacement for real, external controls because you had to pull your eye away from the viewfinder, or at the very least stop composing to access it.  Panasonic’s “Q menu” is similar in function and aside from being slightly different in its layout, serves the same purpose.  Because I’m now fairly familiar with both Oly and Pana’s basic setup and approach, I prefer Panasonic’s.  I know which button controls ISO, which controls WB, where the AF/AE lock button lives and don’t have to take my eye away from the viewfinder or screen to change anything while I’m shooting.  That isn’t the case with my EM5, and while I have gotten used to it, and can normally find what I’m searching for, it is still muddled and the buttons are far less responsive and harder to find.

The physical interface is also superior without needing to add any more buttons or dials which would further crowd the limited real estate on this small camera.  Direct access buttons to all major functions and perameters (ISO, WB, Frame Rate, AF style, Drive mode, AF/AE lock, etc and 4 custom/assignable function buttons, etc) as well as some very handy “hard” controls like the wonderfully cool AF/MF toggle switch, dual wheel control (the rear dial also acts as a button like previous models) for both shutter speed and aperture value while in manual, 3 user customized settings (actually 5 because C3 has 1, 2 and 3 sub settings) that can be saved and accessed directly on the dial.  The only gripe I’ve got so far, is the placement of that damn pesky DISP button which I keep depressing with my thumb every time I hold the camera one handed…  I still wish that we could assign one of the custom buttons on one of these cameras to toggle between a disabling and enabling of the buttons on the back of the camera which would avoid any unintentional bumps or errant presses.

Other than that, the touch screen tilts, and while I vastly prefer the tilt and swivel style, it is part and parcel to the OMD EM5’s style screen.  The touch sensitivity is great and seems much better than any other camera with touch screen I’ve used, certainly miles better than the GX1.

Now, on to some of the fun, new features and the reason I felt this camera was worth buying.

focus peaking

FOCUS PEAKING

Simply put?  This is a feature that should be included in every single digital camera.  One thing that I’ve been somewhat annoyed with over the years with the micro 4/3 cameras has been trying to get consistent results when using legacy lenses, or just having a good implementation of manual focus.  Not a great visual example, but click the image above to see a larger version.  The teal blue areas on the bottle cap and label are the peaking, and show where the image is “in focus” when manually focusing.  While I’m happy that I no longer have the Oly 60mm macro lens (review here), those that do would do well to use focus peaking, (the Panasonic GF6 apparently and Oly EP-5 have introduced this feature earlier this year, thanks Peter/Lostfunzone and leendert for the heads up!).  When using ANY lens, and wanting to manually focus, this single feature can really revolutionize the accuracy and speed with which you can achieve results.  Knowing where your focus plane is can be extremely handy.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t know how handy until I started using this, and combined with the AF/MF switch on the GX7, allowing for immediate and instant access to switch between the two modes, makes for a dream of a combo for a scenario where a more manual approach is called for.

GX7 wifi

WI-FI

Initially, I was having a hard time getting the Wi-Fi to work on the GX7.  First, I realized that I was trying to use an outdated app called Lumix Link which was developed primarily for the GH3 if I remember correctly.  Instead, for the GX7, you’ll need to download “Panasonic Image App” and from there, the steps are very self explanatory.  One issue I had, which when I figured it out seemed to immediately shift my fortunes, was to change my “Quality” to either Jpeg or RAW.  I’d had RAW+Fine Jpeg selected and I had no luck with the connection.  Once changed, the connection was made and the app launched.

To connect your camera to your phone or tablet, you’ll need to have Panasonic Image App downloaded and installed on your device;

  • first hold the Wi-Fi button at the bottom right on the back panel of the camera which will launch the Wi-Fi connection.
  • next, on your phone/tablet, get into your Wi-Fi settings and select the GX7 network and enter the password displayed on the camera’s LCD.
  • finally, launch the Panasonic Image App on your device and you’re good to go.
  • to terminate the connection, either hold the Wi-Fi button on the camera and select “terminate connection” or shut the camera off.

If the connection is not happening, (and you’ve correctly selected the network and entered the correct password) try switching modes (P A S M) and see that you have your “Quality” selected to either a Jpeg setting, or RAW.  I’ve since gotten the app and Wi-Fi to work when the RAW+Fine setting is selected, so I’m not sure why selecting solely the Fine Jpeg setting helped initially, but it seemed to.

IN BODY IMAGE STABILIZATION

This single feature was what got me excited to buy the OMD EM5 over all else, and the 5 axis IBIS in the OMD is stellar.  Can the GX7 hold a flame to it?  Well, I’ve only been shooting with the GX7 for about a week now, but in my experience, yes… almost.  The Olympus 5 axis IBIS is amazing, not only for the final shot, but for the view through the viewfinder.  The GX7, while technically within a stop, perhaps half a stop of effectiveness, it isn’t as apparent by sight, to my eye (on the LCD or in the EVF).  As for the results?  I find that it is definitely a suitable alternative to the Oly system, and provides Panasonic with a near leveling of the field on that feature.  Here’s to hoping we see it in every future Panasonic micro 4/3 camera body, and an improvement along the way.

Oddly, if you are using a Lumix lens that also has OIS, the GX7 will disable the In Body Image Stabilization and as far as I can figure out, you cannot use it.  This also follows a very odd omission of the lack of IBIS for video requiring optical stabilization for video shooters.  Silly.  I certainly hope this is remedied in a near future firmware update.  The only arguments I’ve heard against the IBIS in video is either noise, or heat accumulation.  Many, many other manufacturers (Panasonic included on various compact cams) have it figured out and I find it bizarre if either of those were the deciding factor for Panasonic.  Olympus added support for third party lenses in video through firmware on the OMD EM5, so I feel it is a possibility for Panasonic to issue a firmware update allowing for IBIS in video with non optically stabilized lenses.  Sure, for video work, a “real” videographer will have a solid rig which would negate much of the need, but it has become, or is at least becoming standard, handy you may say, for those of us not trying to become Francis Ford Coppola with our consumer cams.  I’d like to be able to view my family videos in the distant future without barfing from motion sickness, so Panasonic, please remedy this… Thanks.

You can see the unboxing video in this post HERE.

Up next, I’ll take a look at, and pick apart the files to see how the newer camera compares to previous Panasonic sensors.  (click here to read Part 2)  I’m also working on a head to head between the GX7 and the OMD EM5, focusing on both the overall interaction with and actual image quality between the two.  Follow along via Email notification by entering your email at the top right of this page, or connect via Facebook or Twitter to be alerted when the articles go live.

The GX7 is available in the US in the silver option only, which is just weird.  It’s as if Panasonic has taken a page out of Olympus’ book and decided to potentially offer a black alternative later, and possibly at a higher price🙂  Regardless, the camera looks slick in either iteration.  Hit the links below to see them at B&H.

Panasonic LX7 silver body only $999

Panasonic LX7 w/14-42 silver kit $1099

Thanks for the read and happy shooting!

Tyson

67 thoughts on “*The Panasonic GX7, an Evolution, part 1

  1. Great job, Tyson! I really enjoy this kind of real lfe reports and I am curiously looking forward to the next part. Regarding the menues, well yes, I admit! I am still using a pair of G2 and GF2 and every time when I am having a newer model in my hand it seems so familiar.
    Best regards, Klaus

    Like

    • Thank you Klaus,

      Out of curiosity, have you ever shot with an Oly m4/3 body? I think for me, coming from Canon and with the Pana GF1 introducing me to the micro 4/3 realm, it was a logical bridge, but the Oly system is certainly a different approach from either of the manufacturers that I’ve become most familiar with.

      I’ll get to work on part 2😉

      t

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  2. great review, tyson! looking forward to your comparison post. i like that you featured the fantastic grip of the gx-7 so prominently😉
    and may i point out slight mistake: the gx-7 is not the only m43 camera with focus peaking at the moment. the e-p5 does have it, too. and it works reasonably well.

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    • Thank you! I wasn’t aware that the EP5 had introduced peaking. I really wonder why they haven’t updated all other current cameras via firmware. Seems like it would be easy enough to do, and does offer a handy tool for any situations where manual focusing is used.

      Much appreciated,
      t

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      • firmware updates are still way to rare these days. i guess this will/has to/must change in the next two years if stuff like the sony q100 will take over and all firmware is actually just an app…
        i had one really great firmware update in the fall of 2009 for my lx-3😉
        all the best,
        peter

        Like

      • Totally agree, although I wish that they’d learn more from prior models and just get stuff figured out before releasing, or at least have a laundry list of things to test vigorously before going to market. I’m sure that they do all this, and we’re just a hard bunch to please, but there are a few things and a few cameras that were very obviously not tested thoroughly enough over the last few years…

        Ah well, we will see. Panasonic has already issued one fw update for the GX7 and it isn’t even out yet in a few major countries, so that can be seen as proactive, or hopefully not just damage control🙂

        I used to have the LX3 and do remember the update being nice. Great little camera.

        t

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      • I like that the peaking is a stand-alone feature in the GX7. What I mean by that, is that the E-P5 applies it as an art filter, which has the unfortunate side effect of reducing the display frame rate by one half (not to mention the disabling of other art filters).

        Also good to see the peaking can be used in video (unlike the Olys), while you can also choose the color it displays as (blue, yellow, green).

        Nice review btw!

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      • Thanks! It is a great feature and in the custom menu you can in fact change the color as well as set the sensitivity to high (less area highlighted) or low (more area highlighted). It says that the “high” sensitivity is available for a more precise manual focus being able to really key in on an area. Personally, I’ve not found the low setting to be less accurate, yet anyway, and it provides a slightly wider range of area within your acceptable focus to see, which can help in close focusing situations. In those same situations, the “high” setting is almost difficult to determine if and what is peaking sometimes. My experience was shooting the PL25 f/1.4, and 20mm f/1.7 wide open at their respective minimum focusing distances. Having the option, and having that option easy to find and implement is pretty sweet.

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  3. Good break down and very interesting to see the new features outlined well. I’m sure Panasonic will rectify the Video mode issue at some point as its going to be a major failing for some in this youtube generation. I think the 2 axis stabilization is a great idea and using legacy lenses will be a dream to use. Focus peaking looks fantastic!

    looking forward to the rest of the review!

    Quality and in depth as usual Tyson!

    Cheers

    Like

      • You did mention that in preview mode, the stabilization was not as pleasing as the Olympus 5-axis implementation. Maybe they prefer for people to rely on lenses that have OIS only.

        If on the other hand they omitted it for marketing reasons, it would be disappointing. If I’m taking pictures with a prime lens without OIS and I want to make a quick family movie, I too would prefer not to have motion sickness when watching it!!!

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      • I certainly feel that there is a bit behind Panasonic wanting to further justify their OIS and it’s their choice to add or withhold any features they choose, for whatever reason, but when competitors offer a feature that they’ve held off from, it will come down to consumer choice. I do think that they’re hoping it will sell more Panasonic lenses with OIS, and I’m sure it will. This camera is great, and for those who will use it for video will have the choice to invest in lenses with or without OIS if they buy lenses, and I’d guess more will go toward the Panasonic version with OIS if there is one to gain the stabilization. Hopefully there is a better justification than that, but I wouldn’t be surprised nor feel that hardly done by it. I think if the griping starts to affect sales, they’ll add it, but otherwise I doubt it will show up. Fingers crossed though.

        I do think that, to my eye at least, the Oly 5axis in the live view image does a better job at steadying movement for composition than either the GX7 in body, or the OIS I’ve used, but whether that translates to a sharper image is a different story. For example, the 100-300 shows a shakier live view feed than turning off the OIS and using the 5axis IBIS, but that doesn’t directly translate to the moment the exposure is made. They both move around quite a bit, but the Oly IBIS is better at smoothing the live view in my experience when both are used on the same camera, one and then the other.

        Thanks for the comment!

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    • The AF assist light works well, or as well as it has it past models as far as I can tell. It did get switched back to the shutter side (The GF1 had it on the shutter side, while the GX1 has it on the opposite side which I think makes more sense). That said, I haven’t noticed my finger or lens hoods getting in the way. I’ll go into more depth in the next part, but the GX7 can focus in near darkness too which is awesome! I think I remember reading that it could AF down to a -4EV rating which is nuts if actually true. -1 or -2EV is like the light from a single candle, so I don’t even really know what -4EV is…😀

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  4. Pingback: *Ladies and Gentlemen, The Panasonic GX7: A first look. | Tyson Robichaud Photo-blography

  5. Nice article Tyson, I’m looking forward for the next

    It is the first time I see a picture of the GX7 and the Pana/Leica 25mm, a mouthwatering couple for me considering the High ISO performance + IBIS.
    Any thoughts regarding that match?

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    • Thanks Nando,

      I’ll try and get a better shot of the two together for you. So far, it is a great combo, although my RAW workflow is off a little bit because the files aren’t yet supported by Ap or LR4. ACR can convert them though, I’m just not used to doing so through it, so my standard way of going about things has to be retooled so to speak.

      Great balance between the two though, and makes for a surprisingly light weight combo as both lens and camera are lighter than they look, or at least to me🙂

      Cheers,
      Tyson

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      • Tyson,
        LR 4 will never support GX7 files, it has always been LR’s policy to close off the new camera list when a new version comes along, However, LR 5.2 (which is out now), will handle GX7 files.
        Kevin

        Like

      • Thanks Kevin,

        Yeah, I remember that now about LR. I don’t use it much, but have had a license through v4 and don’t plan on upgrading at this point. I can convert through ACR, so I’m good there (at least a valid CS6 license still carries a little weight through Adobe, but not sure how long that will last). Apple is notoriously slow from the RAW support side, but I just prefer the file management style.

        Cheers and thanks for the clarification,

        T

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      • Finally I got it

        My first pic ever with it
        la primer palabra de la GX7

        Thank you Tyson for sharing your knowledge and enhancing it listen to others.

        Like

  6. I’m going to be curious as to how the focus peeking compares to the Sony (I shoot Sony NEX and Oly EM5). It is such a valuable feature, I’m glad Oly and Pany have added it to recent cams.

    I agree with you on the UI of Pany v. Oly. I love the Oly customization but I tell people it took 2 days to learn the UI of my first Oly but only 2 hours with my first Pany.

    One of the biggest pluses with Pany (and I assume it is on this new model) is “C” on the mode dial. Oly presets are helpful but are a bit different in function.

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    • I wish that I could give you a first hand report, but I’ve not shot with any of the NEX cams that have since included the peaking function. I can say that with the adjustment in both color (3 different settings) and sensitivity (high or low) it does provide a pretty nice customizability and I’ve found it to be a pleasure to use. I’d hope the Panasonic at least performs up to the same level, but regardless, I’d say it is very well implemented.

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  7. Looking forward to the next installment. Could you test the EVF with someone who wears glasses? I’ve seen a couple of reviews that hint it may not work so well for eyeglass wearers. Thanks.

    Like

    • Okay Duncan,

      Just threw the wife’s glasses on and had a go with the GX7’s viewfinder. I need to clarify that I don’t wear glasses, so in a regular shooting scenario, I’m not sure what kind of quirks I may encounter, but I didn’t have a problem when the lens was pressed against the rubberized gasket. I did need to center my eye and by physically moving the camera, I could certainly get the corners to disappear, but the nice thing about the screen inside the EVF is that it is a 3:2, and when using the full sensor at 4:3, the right and left side of the screen are dead space and the only info is semi-pertinent numerical overlays like the amount of frames remaining on the card, or the battery life, or shooting mode, stuff that isn’t crucial frame by frame info. I could get the bottom or top edge to become obscured by moving the camera around in relation to my eye/glasses, but there is a little wiggle room there too. By pulling my eye/glasses away from the gasket, it began to make life a little more difficult as one would assume. I think that it would be entirely workable, perhaps not perfect, but certainly good enough and seems to have been designed to take into account a little bit of space between the eye and VF. Also, when taking into account that the LCD is as nice a screen as I’ve personally shot with and provides a great alternative, it can also make a less than perfect EVF easier to forgive. The harder part for me was getting used to her prescription…

      I hope this helps a little bit.
      t

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  8. Tyson…you were the dissenter with the Oly Macro (valid criticism BTW)…I will be the only dissenter here. I have an E-P5 w/VF4….and I would not trade it for a GX7 (I would trade menu systems LOL…but I am well-versed with the Oly menus now, as I own an E-M5. I have also owned GF1, G3, G5 &GX1). I find holding the E-P5 physically to be a more fluid experience. I have held a GX7 and find for me it is less so. I could not live with the constantly-pushing-the-display-button “feature”🙂, while simply holding the GX7. The raised thumb pad on the E-P5 alleviates any such issue. Also the quality of the buttons and the layout on the E-P5 is a step forward to the E-M5. I think the dual wheels and new toggle is physically a better set-up on the E-P5 and less prone to error that the Pansonic click-wheel, even though Panasonic has added the other wheel. The VF4 is State-of-the-Art as is the 5-Axis IBIS on the E-P5. Both are superior to the GX7. I don’t mind the centrally located removable VF on the E-P5 …but I know for many that is a deal breaker. As is the added cost.
    I think you would do better to compare the GX7 to the E-P5 (instead of the E-M5) as it is a more current camera with more up-to-date features and the form factor is more appropriate in my opinion (although some will argue that as well).
    I think that the GX-7 is a great camera, I am splitting hairs here and it will be the “right” camera for many…but I believe I have a current camera that is more right for this photographer.
    Just my 2 cents.

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    • Thank you Bob.

      Always appreciate the dialogue. I do not doubt that the EP5 and GX7 would be a better comparison, but unfortunately I don’t have, nor have access to one. I’m merely comparing cameras I’ve decided to purchase and the EM5 is what I have on hand. Much like the EM5, I’m sure the EP5’s raised thumb rest helps out and is a really well thought out addition. The Oly IBIS is better, definitely and I’m just happy to see Panasonic get into the game. Sure OIS can be designed to be more focal length specific, but for the non stabilized lenses (which are a majority) it is nice to have some sort of in body stabilization. I also really prefer the stabilized view throughou the EVF with the Oly. The 5axis is just a treat to use.

      Menu wise, while I got used to the EM5, that I had to was more the issue for me. It is very customizable, which can be nice, but it seemed just too thrown together with a few features not assignable to certain custom function buttons, etc. I got my cam set up more or less the way I liked to shoot with it most of the time, but it then became a pain when I needed to shoot with it set up differently which had me giving up on it. Dedicating the time to really learning the camera could certainly pay off, but to me, it was just too much work. I’d hope that Oly would work to further streamline the menu cache and system, but then it might require upgrades to have to relearn the Oly system on a new camera, which might be seen as a break in the approach. What I’ve appreciated with the Pana cams is that from one model to the next, and over multiple generations, the interaction is largely the same and they seem to have a defined way of doing it. It is simpler and in my opinion more logical, but never have I felt that it lacked any customization or feature implementation in comparison.

      Really, what I see with the GX7 from a broader view is further competition and an attempt to level the playing field as far as features. Much like Panasonic starting up the relationship with Fuji, like Oly and Sony, it’s just good to see the whole system getting better. I like that each couple years, there are some significant upgrades, and different approaches. No two people are going to interact with a camera the same way, and there certainly is no universal way to skin the proverbial cat, and for that I am thankful. These are exciting times, and I love to see the competition!

      Thanks as always Bob. I hope all is going well.

      Tyson

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      • Funny…I read somewhere that “it takes 2 hours to learn the Panasonic menu system and two days to learn the Olympus menu system.”. That is about correct! I NEVER would have known about the Super Control Panel if I hadn’t read an article online written by someone merciful enough figure out the system and pass on some helpful pointers. To say that the Oly menu system is quirky is an understatement….
        I agree with everything you say and the GX7 does offer a new take on the MFT frontier… which is better for everyone. It also shows how each photograper has different tastes and needs.
        What keeps me in Oly land is the quality of the raw files and the mechanical build and layout of their cameras…speaking of…I will be putting my M5 and Oly Grip on sale shortly and will be picking Upanishads M1 and new Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8….I think Oly has turned up the quality a notch for the MFT system with both of those offerings!
        Enjoy your GX7… And keep taking those great shots that you are so capable of capturing.

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      • Thanks Bob. That 12-40 looks the business, and the E-M1 has also placed the crosshairs right between the eyes of the pro-sumer APS-C DSLRs and for that, I am excited. The system as a whole really offers some pretty killer choices.

        I think that someone willing to dedicate the time to learning an Oly camera inside and out can be rewarded with a very customized and personalized setup. For those (like myself) that shoot with various systems and camera bodies for different jobs, or scenarios, the Oly system can be counter productive in ways, or at least has been challenging for me because it is somewhat unique. By that I just mean it can be difficult to kick the brain back into the Oly way of camera interaction, which is a different approach compared to the other systems I’ve used. I also think that this may explain part of the defensiveness we encounter from some Oly fans, and by those that may only shoot Olympus cameras, having the ability to dedicate all their photo centric energy on learning and using the system perhaps.

        The E-M5 produces killer files certainly and I’m looking forward to really being able to dig into the GX7 RAW files in a more comfortable way (waiting for Aperture support). My initial feeling is that the Sony sensors still have an edge on the Panasonics, but I can’t back that up yet. Of course, IQ isn’t the whole enchilada, and while the edge may go one way or another, the gap is pretty minimal, and there are other factors that can play into an individual’s image making. All things said and done, the more progressive and innovative each camera release is, the better the entire landscape is for everyone. No company can rest on their laurels and no matter which name is on the front, there is no universally “best” camera. If there were, we’d all be shooting with it🙂

        Bob, I look forward to hearing about the E-M1 and pro zoom combo and continue to enjoy our interactions.

        All the best,

        Tyson

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      • Funny…that was one of the reasons I got rid of my GX1 and bought the EP5 kit…I also own an extensive Canon 5D Mark III kit…and I just could not handle THREE Menu systems…so I went for the better IQ and more pro spec with Olympus…and accept the inferior user interface. I am excited about owning an EM1 …but I may wait until a pro Kit is released with the new zoom to save a few shekels as this is getting kind of pricey for MFT!!! We shall see how well my willpower holds out! LOL!
        Good conversation.

        Like

      • I guess I’ve seen the Panasonic UI to be very similar, (and very logically comparative) to the Canon menus. The customization is linear, and I’ve always felt at ease quickly and consistently finding what I need. On top of that, a good balance of tactile, external direct access and menu based customization. With the Oly, it is a far different approach than anything I’ve used, aside from Oly, so that’s where I felt that if someone could dedicate and learn to speak Oly, they could be rewarded, but for me, shooting and switching between Canon, Panasonic and Oly, Oly quickly became the problem child for me unfortunately as it was too jumbled trying to remember where bracketing lived, or needing to switch to spot metering, flash white balance, ISO 200, f/8 at 1/125sec (which requires far too many button presses and menu diving, even in the SCP for my taste), because I do feel the quality is there. Because it was my walk around/travel cam, I put up with needing to relearn where a lot of stuff lived when I’d get the chance to shoot with it, and wasn’t under the pressure of a paid shoot scenario. I see the Olympus cameras as the perfect camera system for photographers that enjoy tinkering with, and wanting to customize their cameras to the n’th degree. Not that they can’t be set up for a more streamlined approach, but they do not do well for me in scenarios where I need to change the parameters often and considerably between setups which is very common for the things I tend to shoot. Different strokes as it were🙂

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    • I think the EM5 is a better comparison than E-P5.

      Both are pretty much flagship models, both pro-sumer, and most obvious of all they both have EVF. The 2 sizes are therefore equivalent.

      The fact Oly had to stick a massive hump on the camera doesn’t mean that the two are incomparable; the GX7 is very similar to the OM-D under the hood; just that Panasonic have managed to fit the internals into a different style body to Oly.

      The E-P5 is a more similar shape of course, but it is missing an EVF, which you can’t overlook.

      If you stick on an EVF and it’s shape is then totally different to the GX7, more so than the OM-D.

      So actually I think it’s a poor comparison in terms of form factor.

      Like

      • Whether it’s better or not, it will have to do because I don’t own an EP5🙂

        The EM5 is almost a year and a half old while the EP5 is closer in the uptick cycle so I do think it is a more fair comparison on tech anyway. The features are largely unchanged from the EM5, but the form factor is closer to the GX7. I see the GX7 as a Panasonic version of a hybrid between these two cameras essentially, and is unique to the micro 4/3 system in form, so if we were going just by that, we’d have to look at the NEX-6 or NEX-7, or possibly one of the smaller Fuji cams.

        I’ve never been bothered by the Oly hump, and while I did state that the “retro” styling never factored into my choice to buy it back when I reviewed it, I’ve also never worried too much about it. I’m more concerned with how a camera functions and interacts with me specifically, than how it looks or the name on the front of it. I try to look at, and compare the cameras as if there were no brand connected to it at all. That I happen to jive with one or another is down more to how a particular company seems to develop and design a particular machine.

        That I own an EM5 and now the GX7, it is what I’ll test against each other, and for all intents and purposes, I think it will be a fair look at what either company is currently offering in the price range with the current sensors, et al.

        Thanks for the comment,
        t

        Like

      • Can’t reply to your comment for some reason?

        I think the style of a camera is often overlooked, personally I find people act differently to a large SLR than they do to a small rangefinder style – the OMD ticks the boxes in the size stakes (just) but it does look like a DSLR.

        All things being equal, personally I’d grab the GX7 with both hands for the above reason, but it depends what you are shooting.

        The opposite can be said for taking a rangefinder styled camera to a shoot with clients in situ – they will think you’ve brought your wife’s camera!

        For a lot of people bigger is still better – and that harms m43 to a degree. These are the guys lugging around massive full frame cameras & lenses to their kids birthday parties for no real reason or benefit.

        Like

      • While I’d like to think that clients would universally accept quality of past work as the sole deciding factor, perception and situational judgement is still a real thing in various paid shooting scenarios. I know, you know, but the person paying for the shoot may not, and if you have a camera that looks like his/hers, or seems less than “professional” in appearance, it can be a detriment. Sad, but true…situationally anyway. One reason that I like holding onto my Hasselblad 501. If ever the need arose, I could plant that thing on my tripod, and shoot with whatever I wanted🙂.

        The actual gap in quality is shrinking in many ways between formats and systems, which is great, but there are still things that I need from some of my other cameras, or things that my other cameras do a better job at. Could I fit a full frame and 50mm f/1.4 lens in my pocket? Probably not in any pockets I have, so there are drawbacks on either side certainly.

        Here’s to hoping that the technology continues to advance at this frenetic pace across the board. Regardless of the format used, the leaps in quality over the last 5 years have been amazing.

        Cheers,
        t

        Like

  9. I just received mine yesterday and haven’t had a chance to go outside. I am in love, if you could ever say that about a man made artifact. Having owned the gh2, I think this is way better for me. Furthermore, I still have my L1 and, as part of a Legion who wanted Panasonic to bear this fruit, I can’t wait to take a picture of both side by side.

    Like

  10. OM-D user here too, looking to switch to the GX7 also because I prefer the form factor and video bitrate, however my fear is the lack of stabalisation and whether I will really miss it. unstabalised footage looks pretty terrible and there’s no way I will be using a tripod for off the cuff video work of family etc.

    Can’t wait for the IQ tests!!!!

    Like

    • While the exclusion of IBIS for video is odd, I do think (hope) they address that in a firm ware update. If IBIS for video is an important feature, I couldn’t suggest the GX7 until it does in fact include it. The EM5 IBIS is great, no doubt about that, and that it works for video is a boon. I think it’s fair to say that Panasonic does video better than Oly, but if the needed features aren’t there, it kind of makes the decision for us. That said, I do hope to see enough pressure put on Pana to address what is really the only major gripe I’ve had so far, and largely heard from other users, so fingers crossed.

      IQ tests are in the works, and I’ll probably first finish up the GX7 review with the comparison to follow shortly after.

      Thanks and cheers!

      t

      Like

  11. Pingback: Olympus OM-D E-M1, Lumix GX7 und Fuji X-A1: Aktuelle Tests und Reviews - Systemkamera Blog

  12. Pingback: *The Panasonic GX7, an Evolution, part 1 | Mirr...

  13. GX7 shooting in RAW only …. accidently touched WB button all photos came out very blue on my computer…. how is this possible… I thought RAW was RAW and never to be fiddled with by the camera.

    Like

    • The temperature is a set level and regardless of RAW or JPEG, it will translate the light temp into whatever you’ve set it to. The beauty of RAW is you can change it after the fact with a TON more latitude. In the RAW converter, just adjust the temperature (up to a higher number) until it looks right, then, you can copy and stamp that onto all other RAW files that were recorded at the same light temp, and shot under the same (incorrect) light temp and viola!

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      • I agree, although this is hardly an issue with solely the GX7, but more a “problem” with all of these small, mirrorless bodies in that they have such limited real estate. The potential alternative approach is what Sony has done with it’s “soft” buttons on screen (eliminating the physical, tactile buttons), but that drove me nuts having to dive sometimes 10 button presses into menus to change simple parameters. I’ve been hoping (and asking) for a button or custom function option to “disable” all buttons on the back panel of these cameras for years. It would be awesome to have one CFn button, perhaps near the shutter button, that could be assigned to basically turn on/off the buttons on the back while shooting. For me, it would eliminate this issue entirely.

        Thanks for the comment!

        Cheers,
        t

        Like

  14. Pingback: *The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 1 – IBIS, EVF’s & LCD’s | Tyson Robichaud Photo-blography

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  20. Hi Tyson, how are you?🙂

    My 4 1/2 year old Pana GF2 had to be repaired and I recently bought a Panasonic GX7 to go with my 20 mm f1.7 pancake.

    I would like to know if you have some preferred settings for the camera? My first adjustment was setting the in camera NR to its low (-5). Do you fiddle with contrast, saturation, etc? What about ISO, do you set the lowest ISO it to 125 or do you keep it in 200?

    Any more settings you may share?

    Thanks!

    Ricardo

    Like

    • Hi Ricardo,

      I think you will love the GX7. I shoot RAW, so I’m not the best to ask about in camera adjustments, but the little that I have played with JPEG settings, I’ve felt the files were better out of the camera than the other Pana cams I’ve had. The RAW files have a good amount of latitude, and do really well to recover highlight info compared to shadow info without muddying the upper end of the image file’s tonality. The silent mode is great, but sucks for moving subjects. The IBIS is under rated, and I’ve had very good results. It does not work in live view nor video which is a shame, but otherwise I feel it is better than the Oly 5 axis for hand held results at slower shutter speeds.

      It should be a pretty easy transition from the GF2, and I’m sure you will enjoy it.

      I hope you are doing well!

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

  21. Many thanks

    I also shoot raw but like to keep the jpegs and try to get them +/- right from the camera if possible.

    – the weather in Porto today was amazing🙂 –

    Regards, Ricardo

    Like

  22. Pingback: *Might be close to the last chance to grab a GX7 kit on super sale @adorama | Tyson Robichaud Photo-blography

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