*The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 1 – IBIS, EVF’s & LCD’s

Battle

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:

GX7vsEM5The Olympus OMD-EM5 (We’ll stick with simply the EM5 from here on out) is a feature rich, hi-spec camera.  Boasting 9fps, and at it’s announcement,  the “fastest” AF on the planet according to Olympus, environmental sealing and an amazing in body image stabilization mechanism, on paper, it is pretty much the quintessential shooter’s tool.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 (or simply the GX7) has brought a bit to the table as well.  Boasting a tilting, integrated EVF, in body image stabilization (a Panasonic m4/3 first), Wi-Fi and more streamlined set of external controls, it has certainly begged the question, can Panasonic challenge Olympus for the best body under $1000?  Again, on paper, the GX7 seems to tick all the right boxes.  It lacks the EM5’s environmental sealing and blistering frame rate, but does it make up for it with other features?

In this first round, I wanted to look at the effectiveness of the IBIS systems and the visual, compositional interaction in the way of the Electronic Viewfinders (EVF’s) and the rear LCD screens.  These three elements provide the walls around the foundation which is the sensor (which we’ll get to later).  Both cameras utilize the same system, lenses, accessories, etc and provide two differing approaches to capturing images.  While some of the features and interface differences may be subtle, they still add up to two different interaction styles.   Let round one begin…

IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) – ***UPDATE – I’ve added two more tests to further clarify the IBIS battle below🙂

2 axis vs 5 axis.  More is better right?  There is no denying that the Olympus 5 axis IBIS is amazing for both stills and video, and I love it.  Panasonic choosing to not include the IBIS in video mode for the GX7 is just silly, seriously Panasonic, fix this.  The argument between IBIS and In Lens Stabilization aside, many of the system lenses do not have OIS, not to mention the multitude of adaptable optics that many use for both stills and video, so Panasonic shouldn’t pansy out on customers when they like to consider themselves the video hybrid go to.  One area that I have found the Oly IBIS to be superior to the Panasonic lens based OIS in the past is in the stabilized live view image, especially through the viewfinder.  Immediately apparent when using longer focal lengths, the 5 axis IBIS does a better job than the Pana IBIS or OIS at steadying the live view image period.  It doesn’t necessarily translate directly to the final image, but if you’re working with a fast enough shutter speed, it doesn’t need to, all while allowing a much steadier live view image which greatly helps in composing, following and tracking a subject through the EVF.  On the GX7, if you use a micro 4/3 lens with optical image stabilization, it disables the ability to use the in body image stabilization, so I cannot test out the effectiveness of the new Panasonic IBIS vs their OIS directly on the GX7.

Okay, now here’s the kicker.  Contrary to my assumption prior to testing this out, I’ve found the Panasonic IBIS to be BETTER than the Olympus 5 axis IBIS for handheld still shots at very slow shutter speeds, at least in more than one scenario with the EM5 yet to trump the GX7 in the tests I’ve done. Seriously, you didn’t misread that, and not by a small margin.  The new Panasonic 2 axis IBIS bested the 5 axis IBIS  in a vast majority of my handheld tests.  Below are shots, handheld and shot as listed with both cameras set to ISO 200 and adjusted to the same exact aperture and shutter speeds, shot hand held from a fixed distance and framed as closely as possible (they are handheld after all).  While this may be refuted and will certainly be challenged, this is merely my finding when testing these two cameras using the same exact lenses, same exact shutter speeds, apertures and ISO settings while utilizing an identical shooting technique (the way I choose to brace my arms against my body, or use my left eye with the EVF, etc).  While your milage may vary, and I was personally surprised, this was my experience.

All the following shots were captured as Blog intended them, without any processing other than to convert a RAW file through ACR, then imported into Aperture for filing purposes, then exported to the blog as a JPEG for space sake.  On the GX7, I captured RAW+JPEG (because Aperture doesn’t yet support the RAW files, hence ACR) and compared the two after RAW conversion through ACR.  No noticeable differences at the pixel level at these settings.  On the EM5, I shot only RAW files.  The only alteration is the addition of the text to each shot.  Settings are labeled on each individual frame, and I shot multiple frames at each setting and chose the absolute sharpest one from each camera at each setting.  Click any following image to see a larger version, or feel free to download these and check the EXIF if you don’t believe me🙂

First, shots using the LCD, both elbows pinned against my body with both hands on the camera to steady as well as I am physically able, with auto focus engaged and AF point placed on the “7” with the cams held in front of me, subject at about 3′ away:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7f1613

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7f226

While I’ll no doubt be challenged by those assuming the 5 Axis IBIS to be superior in all ways, (and I totally thought it would be that way also), or by those crying foul somehow trying to paint me as a Panasonic fanboy, when shooting in IS1 mode on the OMD EM5 with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens (150mm e-fov), it struggled to steady the shot with the same effectiveness as the GX7 with the Oly 75mm lens at slow shutter speeds.

Wanting to use the EVF for another point of contact to further stabilize the camera, I shot the following, otherwise captured and processed the exact same way, I shot these from about 8 feet away:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7f814

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7f115

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7f161

I’m truly amazed.

Just to be sure, I adapted the longest lens I have in my collection to each camera, the FD 400mm f/4.5 SSC super tele which plays up to an 800mm equivalent field of view.  I shot it on both cameras set to ISO 200 and 1/125 second, with the lens set to f/11 and what would certainly be considered a very slow shutter speed for an 800mm equivalent, both cameras did a great job at stabilizing the final image.  I manually adjusted the focal length in each camera’s IS menu to 400mm.  The sign was roughly 50 feet away and the point of focus was the word “HOOD” on said sign.  The Oly IBIS provided a smoother live view which was nicer for composition, while the focus peaking in the GX7 made for a better manual focusing experience.  I shot 10 shots with the GX7 and 12 with the EM5 at the aforementioned settings to make sure I had a decent sample set to choose from (and shot more on the EM5 because I wanted to make sure I got it as well as I could).   The following are the best of the bunch (again, click any to see larger versions).

omd em5 at 400mm

gx7 at 400mm

em5 at 100%

GX7 at 100%

***UPDATE***

Alright, I know I’ve stirred the pot a bit on this here, and have spent a good part of the last couple days doing various other tests.  Below are two more setups, one with the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 version 2 (shooting the Hasselblad) and then a setup of myself in a mirror to see how I’m bracing myself, using the Pana-Leica 25mm f/1.4.  

One thing I want to clarify, as I’ve seen (as I’d assume I would) plenty of trackbacks to forums and the like with comments claiming I don’t know what I’m doing, or there must be something wrong with my EM5, or that I’m intentionally trying to get these results, is that I don’t know what I can say other than you’ll have to trust me.  Guys, I have no vested interest in either of these cameras succeeding over the other.  I own, enjoy and shoot with both of them.  I have a lot of cameras, so I’ve explained to all of them not to take it personally when I’m done with them and the EM5, while not without its quirks, has served me well for the last 18 months or so. 

The below commentary may read as defensive, and to a point it is.  I find it funny how often I read forum posts from the “CANONFAN2000” or “NIKONBOY69” posters who berate anyone who challenges the equipment they’ve bought.  If you want to discredit my findings, by all means, buy both cameras and do an objective test, take a bunch of time and start your own blog.  I enjoy doing these tests and have no reason to pump up one brand or the other… Unless Panasonic or Olympus want to sponsor me and send me boatloads of money.  If I can retire early and spend the rest of my days with my family while traveling and shooting, I’ll happily become a biased mouthpiece for the highest bidder😉  I use a lot of different cameras and a lot of different equipment.  While I do find certain pieces of said equipment to be better than others, and have no problem saying so, it has nothing to do with the name printed on that equipment, so just know I’m doing these comparisons because I’m honestly interested in seeing how these cameras compete against each other and like sharing this with others that may be on the fence, or interested in the same stuff.

To all others, and the majority of sane people in the photographic world, I apologize for the diatribe and thank you very much for the continued conversation and support. I enjoy doing this, and getting to interact with you guys and gals is a huge part of it, so thank you.

Okay, onto the update.  The first setup is handheld, standing up, using the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 II and shooting through the EVF with it pressed firmly against my brow.  You’ll see in the final setup how I brace my elbows, support the camera and lens, etc.  You’ll have to trust me that I’m not doing this solely for the GX7 shots while swinging the EM5 around by a string and a two second timer.  I’m truly interested in getting the absolute best results out of these tests as possible, and for the Oly fans, you’ll be happy to see that I got better overall results with the 20mm on the EM5, so there!  The first setup below used the Auto Focus set to the front of the lens barrel.  Click any to see a larger version.

GX71.740

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX72.220

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX73.210

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX74.55

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX76.3.4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX79.8

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7101

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At 1/40, I feel the GX7 shot is sharper, at 1/20 the EM5 wins, at 1/10 and 1/5 the EM5 shots look really nice, at 0.4 it gets closer but the EM5 still has the advantage while below that, they both start to deteriorate into unusable shots with the GX7 doing a better job at 0.8 and the EM5 better at 1 second.  This is the first of the 10 or so setups where I A) used the Lumix 20mm and B) saw the EM5 best the GX7 anywhere under 1/10 of a second.  

This next setup is done with my same still shooting technique which is more physically evident in that I’m shooting into a mirror, Steve Huff style! (I love ya Stevie)  For those questioning my zen like ability to stabilize myself, here is my secret for the world to see… Bracing both my elbows firmly to my body, and with my left foot in front of me, in line with my left shoulder, my right leg is behind and to the side, I’d say if my left foot were at noon, my right would be at 4 o’clock or so, with my legs spread decently wide and knees very slightly bent.  I press the camera into my brow and even in these cases get my face against the back of the screen too.  More contact isn’t bad I’ve found, even if I need to clean the grease off my screen afterward.  Exhale, inhale and hold… Depress the shutter and hold through the actuation, viola!  Point of focus is the rim of the lens hood, on the right side as you view it.  Again, click any to see larger, and as the aperture gets smaller, you can use the wrist strap to see finer detail between the shots for comparison’s sake.

GX7251.450

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX725225

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7252.813

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX72546

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7255.6.3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

GX7258.6

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know that the framing is off.  I blame the screen overlay grid on the OMD EM5 as it’s “third” lines are so pinched into the center, when I put that AF point on that intersection, it is far more centered than when on an actual third line.  Anyhoo, doesn’t change the nuts and bolts as both cameras were shot from the same distance and focused on the same point, so back to what I’ve seen consistently with these IBIS tests… The EM5 does well and is arguably sharper at 1/50 sec.  The GX7 shot is not out of focus though, it just doesn’t have the same sensor characteristics.  I’ve spoken at some length in the past about how oversharpened the default file is from these Sony sensors, and while it is nice most of the time, not having to do as much post sharpening, it does introduce other problems in post when working with these files.  Anyway, ht EM5 looks great through 1/13 sec to my eye, but the GX7 doesn’t look any worse.  Softer perhaps, but still in focus.  When the shutter speeds get back down below 1/13, the EM5 files get noticeably blurrier and defocused where the GX7 does an amazing job keeping it in focus all the way through to 0.8 seconds with the PL25.  

I’m serious guys, it’s amazing.  Even if my EM5 has “something wrong with it” which I absolutely doubt, the fact that I can get a sharp image at 0.8 seconds or 1 full second handheld with ANY camera is amazing to me.  The EM5 does great, and the 5 axis IBIS is a wonderful IBIS system.  As I’ve already mentioned, and mention again below, I feel it is a better OVERALL IBIS system in that it is more useful for composition as it keeps the live view much more stable, and of course it works in video mode, but I cannot discredit the GX7 for having what I’ve found to be a better end result at these slow shutter speeds and I think it is important to recognize this.  Panasonic have done a great job with their first IBIS for the micro 4/3 system and I only hope that it gets better from here.

I’m also curious to see tests that are disproving this as I’ve heard people cite.  Even if I’m intentionally submarining the EM5, please explain to me how I’ve gotten an unaltered, sharp exposure with the GX7 at 0.8 seconds where you can see me and my camera in the mirror ;D  I’m really amazed at the GX7’s ability, even if it’s situational.  I find myself shooting in those situations, so I’m stoked!  I’m not saying that people can’t get better or worse results from each of these cameras, but I want to see multiple setups, multiple lenses and multiple shutter speeds as every test I’ve been able to find cites an extremely limited sample size.  If I were to take only the very first test I did, I could “definitively” declare the GX7 superior.  If I were to take the test using the Lumix 20mm solely, I could declare the EM5 IBIS superior.  It’s situational until enough testing has been done to give a clearer picture and while I still think there can be more done, I feel I’ve spent a ton of time trying to get the absolute best results from both of these cameras and I feel very confident stating that my GX7 does better than my EM5.  If you guys want me to test other EM5’s feel free to get them to me and I’ll gladly expand the sample size, but like I said before, I really don’t think it’s an issue with my EM5, but rather that Panasonic has done something right with the GX7.

I hope that having done multiple tests with various lenses at various aperture settings and at various ISO settings can help detractors and those refusing to believe that I know what I’m doing, understand that I’m seriously not in this to try and soil Olympus’ name here.  If not, please feel free to acquire both cameras and do your own extensive testing.  Just do it objectively and I think you’ll find that the GX7 outdoes the EM5 when shooting between about a second (seriously, I got sharp 1 second exposures!) and about 1/25 second.  Like I said, I’ve valued both of these cameras enough to spend good money on them and feel both are wonderful tools.  Just because I’ve found that the Panasonic can not only hold a flame to, but beat the Oly 5 axis IBIS in almost every one of my objective tests when handholding at slow shutter speeds is not a knock on Olympus, but a testament to Panasonic.  They’re both part of the same team, and luckily for me, they both play for the team that I’ve chosen to buy into, so keep it up the both of you.  I want to see Oly one up these results with the next iteration… We all win.

***END OF THE UPDATE.. return to your regularly scheduled programing***

I’m as surprised as those who are surprised are…seriously.  Kudos Panasonic.  Now, I’ve not tried panning or the like, but will try to get some of that in as well and report back in a new post, but damn!  Even if my tests are an anomaly (which I don’t see how they could be as I’m using two production cameras with their designated IS settings and exact exposure settings and shooting techniques), that the GX7 has even situationally outdone the EM5 in the IBIS department has contradicted what I thought would be the case.  One further potential benefit with the Panasonic GX7 is the ability to shoot with the electronic shutter in silent mode which will further decrease vibrations.  Keep in mind that neither IBIS system will do anything for your shots of non static subjects, or at least moving objects in otherwise static scenes.  There’s nothing to combat subject movement other than a faster shutter speed to freeze that movement, but for stationary subjects or static landscapes, the Panasonic IBIS has impressed me.

With that said, I do feel that the Olympus IBIS is far superior for composition in that the 5 axis does a noticeably better job at stabilizing the live view image on the LCD or through the EVF compared to the Panasonic IBIS or OIS, and for that I credit Olympus.  If you shoot with super teles in good enough light, the Oly 5 axis IBIS will be more handy I think, and rarely do I need the IBIS to account for extremely slow shutter speeds, but I do often benefit from a more stabilized live view.  They also have allowed those of us shooting video with these machines the benefit of access to this IBIS for motion images as well.  Often we don’t quite need the stabilization effects on the final image when shooting in good light for instance, but at longer focal lengths, having a steadier image through the viewfinder can greatly aid in composition, tracking and fine focusing and for that purpose, the Oly system is better, but as far as the final image, when handholding, it looks like Panasonic has done us a solid and produced a superior still image, in camera stabilization mechanism.  Regardless, having any IBIS is better than not having it, so here’s to hoping every camera in the future includes it.

GX7vsEM5 EVFEVF COMPARISON

One thing I never ended up using on the EM5 was the auto switch sensor for the EVF.  When anything came within a few inches of it, it would shut the LCD off (normally while I was trying to access some menu or another) and I just ended up toggling that feature off and used the button to switch between the EVF and LCD.  Not a big deal and it never bothered me.  On the GX7, Panasonic has seemed to build upon that feature by allowing you to adjust the sensitivity or proximity to the EVF that the sensor engages the switch.  While I’ll still accidentally switch it when shifting to the portrait orientation for instance, by decreasing the sensitivity, it won’t switch until my eye is within about an inch (or less) to the eye piece which is great.  If you’re carrying the camera around your neck and get annoyed by it constantly switching, you can simply tilt the EVF upward and not have to worry about it.  A nicely implemented feature in my opinion.

Physically, at first glance, the EVF on the GX7 seems to protrude from the body more so than the EVF on the EM5, but this isn’t actually the case.  In fact, they measure almost exactly the same distance from the back of the camera, and when taking into consideration the EVF hump on the EM5, I feel the GX7’s EVF, and overall ergonomic design, is far less cumbersome.  That’s all fine and dandy, but how about their actual performance and quality?

I have to say, even though the EM5’s 1,440k dot EVF is nearly half the resolution of the GX7’s 2,764k EVF, it handles admirably and very comparably.  Both have situations where they best the other as I’ve found the GX7’s EVF over compensates the live view exposure correction when looking directly into a brighter scene when in Manual where the light meter will show you an accurate depiction, but the image in the EVF will adjust to account for the light (getting darker) by default.  In lower light the opposite seems to be true where the detail really shines in the GX7’s.  When accompanied by the -4EV (exposure value) sensitivity for Auto Focus in the Panasonic, this becomes a very handy tool for the low light shooter.

Physically, the tilting EVF on the GX7 is more low profile and adds the handiness of being able to tilt it.  While I feel it is kind of silly to try and use an EVF as a waist level finder, largely because you need to have the EVF pressed directly against your face making it look like you just have an issue with your neck, the ability to just ever so slightly tilt it comes in handy when wanting to keep your face (see: nose grease) off the LCD screen.  Because it is more streamlined to the body, it goes into and out of the bag much easier and I don’t have the problem of the eyecup constantly getting snagged and pulled off like I’ve had with the EM5.

GX7 LCD

EM5 LCD

LCD COMPARISON

The touch interface on the GX7 is as good or better than any camera with a touch screen I’ve used.  While the EM5’s screen was a step up from the previous generations, so too is the GX7’s from it’s.  With a 1,040K dot LCD, the GX7’s out resolves the EM5’s 610k dot screen.  In practice, both are beautiful, but I will say that the newer GX7’s is an incremental upgrade for me, as you would assume a newer, higher resolution screen would be, it also does a better job at color fidelity to my eye.

Both are completely customizable with the ability to add or subtract information on the screen, they include levels, histograms and all the exposure info you’d ever want.  One thing that I’ve appreciated about the GX7 is that I can add the histogram as an overlay to my main screen, and move it anywhere by grabbing and dragging it, where on the EM5, I have to toggle through screen’s to gain access to the histogram, which is larger and more accurate truth be told, but comes at the expense of other on screen information and takes up quite a bit more visual real estate.   One other very handy ability of these touch capacitive screens is the ability for touch assignable AF points, or even touch AF and shutter firing when AF is achieved.  I don’t like the auto firing  myself, but the ability to immediately place the AF point anywhere on the screen is wonderful, and honestly, the only benefit to a Contrast Detection Auto Focusing system (vs a Phase Detection) that I can think of.  For those who are annoyed by accidentally moving said AF point around by bumping into the screen, both cameras have a quick and easy on/off button accessible directly from the screen itself.

ROUND 1 – Decision:

IBIS – Split

  • The Olympus 5 axis IBIS provides a smoother, more stable live view feed but surprisingly, the Panasonic did better for me with the results, handheld at very slow shutter speeds.  Let us not forget that IBIS will not work in video mode on the GX7 (yet), but will on the EM5.  Situational wins for both here and depending on your style and need, one or the other may be more useful.

EVF – GX7

  • I have found the GX7’s EVF to be better at everything with the sole exception of  bright, high contrast situations sometimes kicking in an auto correction to adjust so that it isn’t too bright in the finder (although the light meter stays accurate).  The EM5 does the same thing, but not quite as egregiously.  The ability to tilt plays to the overall functional superiority of the GX7’s EVF and while having it off to the side as opposed to on lens axis takes a little getting used to, I now prefer it personally.

LCD – GX7

  • Higher res, truer color and more accurate touch interaction show what a year and a half of development can do.

So, with round 1 finished, I see the GX7 winning this particular portion of the battle.  Now, on to Round 2 where we’ll look at build quality and ergonomics…

Read ROUND 2 HERE

The GX7 and the OMD EM5 can be seen and purchased through my B&H Photo affiliate links below, currently with 4% rewards, AND Panasonic finally wised up and is now offering a Black Kit in the US!

Panasonic GX7 silver body

NEW BLACK GX7 w/14-42 kit!

Panasonic GX7 w/14-42 silver kit

Olympus OMD EM5 black body

Olympus OMD EM5 silver body

Olympus OMD EM5 black 12-50 kit

Olympus OMD EM5 silver 12-50 kit

Thanks for the read, and stay tuned for rounds 2 and 3, as well as a comparison piece between the two Lumix 20mm pancakes, v.1 vs v.2.  If you’d like, you can be alerted via email by entering your email at the top right of the page, or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

If you missed them, you can see my two part GX7 vs GX1 vs GF1 Evolution article HERE (part 1) and HERE (part 2).

Happy shooting,

Tyson

124 thoughts on “*The GX7 vs the OM-D E-M5, battle for my affection, Round 1 – IBIS, EVF’s & LCD’s

  1. I had just read the review by Cameralabs and he hated the Pany IS, he said he could only see 1 stop difference with the IS turned on…….

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    • Interesting, I’ve not read that one yet, but regardless that comment is very different from my experience and I’d strongly suggest those who have the ability to see for themselves. I’ll have to read it, as it seems an incomplete assessment and perhaps judged on the visibility via the live view. I certainly didn’t hack my cameras exif info, and that hand held 1 second shot is truly that. Thanks Owen!

      Like

    • Hey Owen,

      I read through the Cameralabs review… Whew! That is some digital ink!

      The example he showed, from the description, seemed like he took one shot with the GX7 without the IBIS and one with, then one with the EM5 (at least I didn’t see him describe taking multiple shots in each setup) which could be a situational anomaly. I had shots from both cameras come out blurrier than others shot at slower shutter speeds even and if I’d only taken one at each increment, I don’t feel I’d have properly tested it out. I’m not saying this was his method, I just wanted to paint a scenario where I too could have potentially had the same findings. The blur on his shots could be from technique too, just as mine may be favoring the shutter mechanism in the GX7 to be honest. When releasing your finger from the shutter during a slow shutter speed could certainly negate the IBIS I’d think, but regardless, my findings are certainly not in line with his.

      Cheers and thanks for pointing me to the review, always interesting to see and read about others opinions.

      t

      Like

  2. Interesting to see the two head to head. Does the camera body have much of an effect on bokeh, or is that just based on the lens? Looking at the Hood River sign, the background on the EM5 is more pleasing to me, seems smoother I think.

    Like

    • Hi Phil,

      Every variable in the conversion from reflected light to digital conversion will have an effect on a visual marker like bokeh, but the lens is certainly the most influential of those variables. The biggest difference I see between the two images is how each camera translates those exposure settings with the EM5 tending to overexpose (or the GX7 underexposing) comparatively as the light was pretty consistent throughout the 45 seconds or minute or so it took to do these. Because the EM5 image is a little lighter, it does seem to open up the defocused background and I see what you’re saying which is probably what you’re noticing and where I’d consider it to be smoother because the tonal range is opened up and pushed right compared to the more compacted and darker tones for the GX7’s image. As to the pixels and their structure in the out of focus areas, they seem to be pretty similar, albeit darker in the GX7’s shot. For that comparison though, I was more worried about keeping the shutter speed identical firstly and then making sure the ISO and aperture were consistent. That I shot the GX7 first, I determined the exposure based on its metering.

      Thanks for the comment and I just today shot both cameras with the Oly 75 with bokeh as a subject to compare so it should show up soon🙂

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

  3. Just, uh, damn.

    I like what you’ve done here, Tyson, but expect the reaction to your results (and likely your methodology, justified or not) to be rabid, virtually violent and irrational.

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    • Yeah, I was surprised myself. I took a ton more shots tonight with both cams and it confirmed my assessment. I am going to see if I can get out tomorrow and shoot distant subjects to see if that makes any difference, but at or under about 1/10 sec, the GX7 visibly beats the EM5 which seems to do really well until about 1/13 sec, but loses it after that. How useful shooting at a1/10 of a second will be in real world terms is certainly a topic for debate, but with the two cameras that I have in my possession, using the same lens and exposure settings, the GX7 is capable of holding a steadier shot at slower shutter speeds than the EM5.

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  5. Thank you Tyson – really interesting, I have both cams but not much time to compare yet. You did seem to go into what many consider is diffraction territory with your apertures – for this system – was this to achieve slow shutter speeds ?
    Krgds
    John

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    • Hi John,

      Simply put, yes. In decent light, and with the EM5 bottoming out at ISO 200, both cameras did (do) well until I was able to really slow down the shutter speeds, and to achieve those, smaller apertures were necessary. Last night, I spent some more time in lower light shooting at wider apertures and I’d say 90% of my shots showed the same results. In certain cases either camera could do a better job at a given shutter speed, but I’ve noticed that at very slow shutter speeds, I cannot get the EM5 to stay sharp where the GX7 for whatever reason, does have the ability to stay sharp in the same conditions. I also tried the electronic shutter with slightly better results too.

      I’d love to see if you get similar results as few folks I’ve spoken with have both of these cameras! I’ve found (obviously) the better bracing, the better the final results. On the first example (the 7) I was sitting with elbows braced against my body, the second (ropes) I was standing and in the tele shot I was sitting on the arm of an otherwise wet bench, but all shots were taken with the same bracing method. Try it out! Surprised the hell out of me.

      Thanks for the comment,

      Tyson

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      • Very interesting review, thank you. So is your feeling that, in terms of IBIS, the GX7 trumps the OMD for shutter speeds approaching a full second and longer? I ask because I have very steady hands anyway and like to use IBIS for facilitating a little motion blur sans tripod. Using a light compact (with IS) I can sometimes get reasonable static subject sharpness at 2 seconds.

        Also do you have any experience with how the OMD IBIS performs in video compared with the OIS lens stabilisation on the GX7.

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      • Hi Paul,

        Thank you for the comment. Regarding the IBIS, with my personal shooting technique and experiences, I will say that consistently, I get better results in still shooting with the GX7 when shutter speeds dip below 1/20 sec, and have had luck with 1 second or even slightly longer exposures hand held with the GX7 where the EM5 cannot stabilize anything for me longer than about 0.6 seconds with any lens in any situation that I’ve tried with any consistency (and over the last month, I’ve tried A LOT)🙂 I don’t know the science behind it or mechanical differences between the two systems, but I feel like the 5axis actually starts to work against itself at a certain point, where it seems like it almost looks for motion perhaps and over compensates if that makes any sense. Again, that is merely a guess and in no way can I scientifically or statistically back that up, I just can’t figure out a better way to describe it. For those who may shoot longer focal lengths and only really need to help stabilize down to say 1/40 second, I’m sure you can make an argument that the EM5 is better, or equal based on personal results. Someone else’s technique may contradict my own and this is why these tests are so subjective. I just had to share what I’ve found because it surprised the hell out of me.

        Having obviously read contradicting statements regarding the effectiveness of these two IBIS systems, I can only speak from my personal experience, and feel that the examples I’ve shown, if nothing else, show what can be achieved for my own shooting, and possibly for those who also shoot similarly. I think I’m the only one, that I’ve found anyway, that has come to this conclusion and posted about it on line, so take my results with a grain of salt, but to and for me, the IBIS for stills on the GX7 is superior and capable of a steady 1-2 second handheld static shot if the technique and bracing can compliment it by way of limiting the camera to very minor movement, and I can definitively say I’ve not gotten near that shooting the same exact way with the EM5.

        Cheers and hope this helps clarify it a bit.

        Tyson

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  6. Fantastic head to head. The gx7 seems fantastic and the 2 axis ibis originally seemed half hearted when comparing the 5 axis on paper. Just goes to show that to enjoy and understand a camera, the best bet is to have a gander yourself. However, your i depth reviews comparisons and honest breakdowns make it a lot easier to do if you haven’t access to these products. I’ve trusted your words and gone out and bought about 5 products since I’ve started reading your review and each one has paid off dividends (topaz, legacy lenses’,gx1 etc). Thanks man, keep up the great work

    Like

    • Thanks Chris,

      I will say that I feel, aside from hand holding at slow shutter speeds (which I normally get around with fast lenses and higher ISO’s anyway), the 5 axis is more useful which is why I had the split decision🙂 I read a lot on cameras, and I tend to find that a lot of “reviews” are more commercials for a particular camera on the bigger sites. It’s kind of like my experience with the Oly 60mm macro. Sure it’s capable of sharp images, but it is a dog in any type of focusing implementation in anything other than really good light. I didn’t see one of the pre release reviews mention anything because they’d all seemingly gone out for an hour and shot things in the parking lot claiming it to be the best macro lens ever created. Much like that, I’d only heard that the 5axis IBIS was categorically better, and while I feel in many ways it is, I happened to find one in which it’s not. Why the Oly IBIS doesn’t handle really slow shutter speeds as well? I don’t know, but it doesn’t and I find that pretty surprising so that’s cool, and I’m glad I didn’t spew out a review without trying that out. I have my biases and prejudices, we all do, but I try to find benefits and drawbacks in everything I use because I’ve yet to find a perfect camera, or lens, or anything. I really appreciate your continued conversation man and that I’ve helped in any way makes me feel great, so thank you for the kind words.

      I hope all’s well man.

      Cheers,
      t

      Like

      • No problem, thanks for doing this blog i, like many on here, love this place! Its great to have someone to bounce photo ideas and purchase considerations off. I’m pretty good at the moment man, hope you and the family are doing great!

        Like

    • I really like what he Fuji system brings tot he table, and being a fan of shooting with primes, they’ve put together a really nice cache of lenses. If I were starting to look at a system fresh today, I’d certainly look at the Fujis, and even the new Sony fullframers. Cool stuff around.

      Like

  7. Hi Tyson! Longtime follower, first time commenter (I think?).

    First, let me just say thanks for all of your awesome posts and for sharing your photos and your thoughts as a photographer (and as a father). Second, my wife and I had a chance to travel around northwestern Oregon several years ago before the wee ones joined our clan and you certainly live in one of the most photographically inspiring locations in the entire world! I could go for a Rogue Ale and a photo walk along the pier in Newport right now!

    I’m a M43 enthusiast using both OMD EM5 and GX1 bodies. I love both cameras with some different points being better on one over the other. That said, I generally seem to lean toward my EM5 for my more deliberative photos and to the GX1 with either the 20mm f/1.7 or the 14mm f/2.5 for my everyday walk around photos. With the Oly 5-axis IBIS, I’ve always had consistently less blurry images at 100% zoom than with the GX1 (which obviously has no IBIS whatsoever).

    Your head-to-head using the GX7 just blew my freaking mind! I never would have imagined that the new Panny 2-axis IBIS would not only hold up so well, but actually best the Oly IBIS. I’m really looking forward to your next rounds (and to seeing if the Panny IBIS performs as well when panny to track a moving subject should you make that kind of comparison). I’m also looking forward to the build quality and ergonomics comparison as I personally prefer the Oly ergonomics…my EM5 just fits my hand and my style like a glove and I use the control wheels for everything…even when adjusting settings in the SCP and reviewing images, etc…the EM5 ergonomics just rock!

    Quick question: As you compared these IBIS systems at extremely slow shutter speeds, I’d love to hear your quick thoughts about how they compare from those slow shutter speeds all the way up to the fastest shutter speeds?

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    • Hey Hal!

      Thanks for taking the time and I greatly appreciate the thoughts.

      I too have the GX1, and fall into the same frame of mind as it was purchased after I’d owned the EM5 and quickly played second fiddle. Not that it isn’t a great cam in its own right, but the OMD is just a different animal.

      Regarding the IBIS at more normal shutter speeds, I’ve been finding that both the EM5 and GX7 do a good job, but like I’d mentioned I really prefer the EM5 for the ability to steady the live view image much more effectively. While I think they’re pretty equal in effectiveness through more normal shutter speeds, I prefer the Oly approach for composition and then I was (and continue to be) surprised at the results at really slow shutter speeds with the GX7, so I think its situational.

      I have been getting a bit of feedback on this one, so I may expand the testing to further demonstrate and will post it here.

      Thanks and if ever you and the clan make it back up this way, let me know. We can get all kiddos out for some fam friendly hiking or the like.

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

      • Thanks for the detailed reply Tyson! The GX7 sounds like a really fantastic camera.

        One of the reasons I ultimately decided on the m4/3 format over Sony NEX or Fuji-X system when I decided to get my first digital SLR/ILC was the fact that it had two major camera companies (Panny, Oly), an upstart cinema camera company (BMCC), and several separate lens companies (Sigma, Voigtlander, etc.) all innovating within the format.

        I’m so happy I decided to jump into such an interesting, rapidly evolving, and just plain fun to use system! Keep up the great work on the blog!

        And yes, I’ll definitely reach out to you should our clan be walking in your woods. We dream of one day traveling to every US national park in a Cricket (http://www.crickettrailer.com/). We’ll be back out there someday!

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      • I jumped into the micro 4/3 system when the GF1 and 20mm f/1.7 pancake made an entrance. I’d used a few Oly and Panasonic compacts over the years and while I never really paid much attention to the 4/3 standard (aside from their remarkable f/2 zooms) when the micro side of things showed up, I was intrigued. I didn’t really find myself drawn to the G1, and when the GF1 and EP1 were announced around the same time, my decision was tipped by the better “kit” lens in the 20mm and I’ve been a very happy system user ever since. I still shoot other systems, mainly a full frame canon setup for the work stuff I do, and then various film cameras for fun. The micro 4/3 system has solidified itself as my everyday, and especially travel system. As a system, it is far and away the most mature and fully featured. I’m really excited to see what the Sony Alpha mirrorless full frames do, but I’ve never felt that Sony has done enough to support the system with FAST and semi-affordable lenses which the m4/3 system has in spades. The Fuji system would probably give me the largest pause if I had to choose today, but while they have the lens lineup that I feel is most kindred to my photographic spirit, they have far less third party support and overall system diversity. Every system has its benefits, and depending on which direction you’re looking at it from, could easily be the best system to any given individual, but I, like you, feel very happy and comfortable in micro 4/3 land🙂

        Keep me posted, my wife’s family has quite the outdoor/state park pedigree themselves, so I’m sure with a little wrangling, I could pull out some good inside info for you around this area. I’ve actually thought about trying to get a photo group excursion together to do a multi day trek on one of the cascades this next summer… we had a lot of fun hiking, climbing and shooting on Rainier this last year. Just need to motivate to try and get it done again next year.

        Thanks again and enjoy, I know I am!

        Cheers,
        t

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  8. Tyson, one more quick comment and question.

    I noticed that all of your IBIS comparisons take place had small apertures (f/8 to f/22) and that the differences between them appear more pronounced as the apertures get smaller (i.e., closer to f/22). Is it possible that there is something inherently advantageous about the GX7 body at these smaller apertures?

    For example, is the GX7’s performance in low light exposures somehow complementing and enhancing its performance in stabilizing the small aperture photos?

    Given this observation, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how they compare at the larger apertures. With the small format of M43, I generally don’t go smaller than f/8 on my shots so that I can avoid diffraction. Of course, I’m a relative newbie enthusiast, so I’m not so sure I fully understand all of the optics and physics of these things😉

    Thanks!

    Like

      • Hi Tyson,

        Thanks again for your replies to my comments and to your new Round 2 post. Excellent work as usual my friend!

        Its funny how your reviews have got me rethinking a few things about my m4/3 system set up. As I stated earlier, I currently run with the E-M5 and the GX1 bodies and I love both of them.

        Yet, as a result of your archival reviews of the G3 and the new reviews of the GX7, I’m considering selling both of my current bodies for a G5 (some crazy close out prices are now to be found like $299 with kit lens) and GM1 (to serve as my DSLR style with EVF and small, nearly pocketable rangefinder). While I think I’d miss the 5-axis IBIS of the E-M5, maybe I wouldn’t? I’ve read there are some camera shake reducing benefits to the G5’s electronic shutter option. I’m also intrigued by the ability to compose through the G5 EVF while simultaneously using the flip out LCD like a computer mouse in touch AF model.

        As for the GM1, I’m not exactly sure why I feel so drawn to it, but I just am. I hope they release an all black version in the US. Preliminary reviews describe it as extremely well built (e.g., full magnesium alloy body) and the small kit zoom might allow me to depart with my Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 prime as I use it mostly for landscape and street photography in the f/4 to f/8 range anyway. It would become my everyday body to replace the role of my GX1.

        I’m trying to be thoughtful and avoid GAS…but my mind is swimming in the possibilities. Am I crazy?

        Like

      • Hey Hal,

        You bet, and as far as answering your final question, I believe that to be one better answered by you and your therapist😉

        Honestly speaking, as I’m in kind of a similar situation regarding which cameras to hold onto, get rid of etc. My thoughts are that the G5, at $299 is an amazing deal regardless. Great EVF, great sensor, bells and whistles, awesome. Is it “as good” as the EM5? In my opinion, in certain ways it’s as good, but overall, I’d have a hard time saying it is as good or better overall. The EM5 has a lot going for it even though it is one of the most frustrating cameras (if not the most) I’ve ever shot with, plagued with issues, some major, others situational or personal, but it is a good camera.

        I’ve lived most all of my photographic life without any type of stabilization, so it isn’t entirely necessary for me, but it is very nice to have now that I’ve used it in these cams as well as a few optics for a couple systems. Not necessary, but I’d rather have it than not if the choice is there for the taking.

        The GM1 looks like THE camera as far as quality:size, I only wish they’d have included the new IBIS system. Silly to keep it out of any camera moving forward in my opinion. Oly can do it with the EM1/2, so it should be standard from here on out in my opinion, period. Other than that, the lack of physical control buttons would be kind of a bummer, but for the size reduction, it is a necessary evil, and I’m sure the quick menu will suffice. The sensor is good, the features are nice and the build quality sounds top notch. You could do a lot worse🙂

        So, in short, I’m not sure what I would do in your shoes, but I don’t think your reasoning is bad, and with the sale of the EM5, you could recoup quite a bit, so selling it and the GX1 could more or less cover your GAS.

        Good luck with it!

        t

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  10. Thanks again!

    Okay, now, I’d like to see a comparison with the E-PL5, since it only has a 2 axis IBIS and maybe the Pentax K-3, since it has 3 axis IBIS. 😀 I’m betting that the results would be interesting.

    You’ve certainly given us all some new thoughts.

    I’m glad that Panasonic has improved the latest EVF. The GH3’s EVF is not good, but it is pretty amazing to go out in the dark of night and be able to see to focus and shoot when I’d have trouble with an optical viewfinder. Anything they can do to fix the sunglasses problem I have would be appreciated. The magnifier has bad angles.

    I’m really surprised that the E-M5 didn’t do better, but I think the E-P5 would, as long as you don’t forget the EVF.

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  13. You said you took 10 or so photos for each set when testing IBIS, but only showed the best pictures. How were the other 10 or so pictures? Were they just as good? I can’t tell if you only got one sharp photo 1/10 or got 10/10 sharp photos for example.

    Like

    • Hi Daiken,

      I only posted the best image from the bunch as mentioned. I didn’t feel it necessary to show each and every one, although in most cases, the “best” was very close to all others shot at the same shutter speed with normally about 1 out every three or four being noticeably poorer than the others. I’ve found that I can normally get the best I’m going to get within three or four shots at any given shutter speed, and I’m about to post another two tests where I shot single frames at each shutter speed, with the exception of a couple at the extremely slow end where I’d normally do two or three to compare to make sure I got as sharp as I could. This was done largely because I just wanted to see what I could do with one go as it made me concentrate, focus on breathing, etc. What I’m trying to show is the best I’m able to achieve at these speeds, and in most every case, I don’t need to take more than one or two, but for the super tele shot for instance, I made sure to take 10 and 12 for the GX7 and EM5 respectively because not only was I worried about the IBIS, but also making sure I had the manual focus pinpointed. Because I’ve done about a dozen separate scenes throughout this, I feel I’ve compiled enough testing to see trends as specific shutter speeds, or with certain lenses etc. I’ve seen a couple people claim results from a couple other IBIS tests where it seems that the testers shot one single shot with each camera, or at least showed only one single shot and didn’t explain how they captured it.

      I’m really amazed by, and confident in my findings and the only other thing that I would really like to do is to test multiple copies of the EM5 and the GX7 to see if the IBIS findings at these shutter speeds are consistent between bodies.

      The OME EM5 does really well, and in some cases better down to 1/25sec or even 1/15sec comparatively, but I feel that “testers” will take one shot at 1/25sec with the 75mm lens for instance and proclaim that “X is better than Y” which, at that time, in those conditions and with that lens at that shutter speed is correct. But what about overall, at differing shutter speeds, differing apertures?

      I know that a few Oly fanboys want to discredit my tests in any way they can, and I don’t mind it. I won’t be able to get everyone to trust me, but I honestly have no problem being critical of any piece of equipment, regardless of the name on the front. If you read through some of the other stuff since I’ve had and been testing the GX7, I’ve certainly called Panasonic out on various things, so really I’m not being paid, nor do I have a vested interest in seeing the GX7 succeed in any way over the EM5 or any other camera, I’m just reporting what I’m seeing in results.

      (sorry to go off here, just have been wanting to explain in detail and will probably reuse some of this in the update to the article🙂 )

      Thanks!

      t

      Like

  14. Just a couple of comments:

    First, the GX7’s IBIS, just like Oly’s 2-way IBIS, doesn’t stabilize the viewfinder image at all. Apparently for the same reason neither stabilizes video. The sensor heats up too much when the IBIS is in continuous use.

    Second, I’m not sure that choosing the best image out 10 or 12 is really the best way to judge the effectiveness of IS. I think a better approach (but certainly more difficult and time consuming), would be to shoot a larger number of images and then count how many from each camera are “acceptably” sharp. If camera X has the sharpest image, but camera Y has 70% of the images acceptably sharp vs. only 50% for camera X, which would you say is “better”? For me, it’s the one that produces the largest percentage of acceptable images.

    And no, I don’t own an Olympus camera. This isn’t about which is better, it about test methodology.

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    • Thanks Bob,

      It was only the 400mm shot where I took 10/12 shots, with all other tests it has been a couple, maybe three or four for the first tests as I was more curious at the beginning of this test, at each setting, sometimes a single at the longer speeds, or if they’re acceptably sharp then one works and I move on. When shooting at under a tenth of a second or so, I wanted to make sure that I could get the best result possible when taking into account me and my motion being the main variable. On the newer series, each camera got one shot at each setting with the exception of the 0.4 – 1 second exposures where I did take two for some if my first shot was obviously mucked up from me moving.

      That said, I did give each a chance to best the other in an attempt to produce the cleanest possible shot that each cam is capable of at a given shutter speed and the posted results, I feel, are very honest representations of what each camera is able to pull off at the listed settings with each lens used.

      Thanks for the comment and I do agree with your testing suggestion and appreciate the insight on the differences regarding live view. A great bit of knowledge that I was unaware of. It has seemed harder to get consistent results at these speeds with the EM5 if that makes any difference, and I would have to say that the GX7 has had a greater number on top of being better attaché se slower speeds head to head for me, but at more “realistic” and common shutter speeds (I’d say down to 1/25 or so), the EM5 is great.

      Cheers,

      Tyson

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  15. Hi Tyson!

    First of all, thank you for your tests. They are very insightful especially for one who doesn’t own a GX7 yet. I have an EM5 and am currently looking at the GX7. Honestly, one of the biggest factor that’s holding me back from considering GX7 as my second camera is the IBIS. I use manual lenses (e.g. Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm) most of the time so IBIS is a big deal for me. Anyway, I just want to confirm if the focal length setting of IS1 (in your EM5) was set close to 75mm when you shot the test photographs because when I shoot stills with the EM5, I can go as slow as 1 second handheld. I know things like this might sometimes be very trivial so forgive my asking. I just want to be sure if the GX7’s 2-axis IBIS is in fact at par with or better than Olympus’s 5-axis IBIS. Thank you very much and kudos to your blog!

    Cheers,
    Jay

    Like

    • Thank you Jay,

      One area that I do really miss the 5 axis is in the live view image, and it has been an adjustment. I don’t think it’s quite as big a deal with the shorter focal lengths, but with the 75 and 100-300, the IBIS in the EM5 does a great job at steadying the image on the LCD or through the EVF.

      When a native micro 4/3 lens is attached to the EM5, it communicates with the camera body and automatically determines the focal length. It disables the ability to alter the focal length manually (which is best I think). When using a lens that doesn’t have the electronic ability to communicate with the body, that is when a manual focal length input in the IS menu is necessary. That said, it is very evident when shooting with a wide or standard focal length and the IS is set to say 400mm. The live view jumps all over the place🙂

      I’m still finding that both of these cameras have different upsides and neither (in my opinion) can be declared universally “better” than the other, but as far as IBIS goes, while not as handy in the live view, especially for longer focal lengths, the GX7 does easily as well or better in a majority of situations I’ve found in regards to the final image and effectiveness. With a moderate wide angle like the Voigt 17.5, I think it should do great, and wish I could test it out first hand😉

      Cheers,
      t

      Like

      • Several review about the E-M5 IBIS have shown, that enabling IBIS in live view greatly decreases IBIS performance. To get a fair comparison with the GX7 (which doesn’t stabilize live view) you should also disable IBIS in live view on your E-M5 for doing your test.

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      • Interesting! I’ve never once heard this and have never even investigated the ability to turn off the IBIS for live view. Since the fw update 1.2/1.3 which only initiated the IS once the shutter was pressed, I’ve noticed better overall performance, but this is the first time I’ve heard this. I’ll have a try, thanks.

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      • Izzy,

        while I’ve not taken the time to search out and download the manual (again) I cannot figure out if and how to disable the IBIS for JUST the live view. I’m sure it is possible, but like so many things related to the menus on the EM5, it is no where near obvious (to me anyway) when digging through the custom function menus for IS, live view, LCD, EVF or other live view related settings, that I was able to find anyway. If you do know which menu and submenu it lives under, I’d love to find out and would be happy to do a test with and without and post it here, but I just don’t have time today, or for the foreseeable future to decipher the cryptic manual/menus at this time.

        Thanks,

        t

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      • Hi Tyson,

        Thank you for that! I’m quite new to digital photography so I didn’t notice that with native mft lenses, the IS focal length automatically adjusts itself. I appreciate your tests and your input on this matter. I can’t wait to test the GX7 for myself! Great job on the review! Looking forward to more of your posts. I’m just happy that there are more versatile systems emerging from the market nowadays.🙂

        Cheers,
        Jay

        Like

      • IBIS in live view is controlled by Custom Menu C, setting ‘Half Way Rls With IS’.
        Settings to ‘On’ means that the preview will be stabilized when you half-press the shutter button.

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      • Izzy,

        Thank you again for helping decipher the setting. I’ve now gone through and shot 5 different setups, using the 75mm with identical exposure settings with the Halfway RLS On and then Off. I see absolutely no difference, or at least no discernible, consistent difference that would lead me to believe that IS being on in live view would affect it in any negative way, in fact I had better overall luck when the live view IS was set to on. Not so much that I feel it makes a true difference in actual performance, but steadying the live view, for me, seemed to help me stay more focused (pun intended) and steady myself. My shutter speeds through the tests ranged from 1/50 sec through 1 full second. Again, I would really like to test multiple copies of the EM5 (and the GX7 for that matter) to try and find consistency or anomalies, but I can only work with what I have.

        Thanks again, and let me know if I can try anything else you’re curious about.

        Cheers,
        t

        Like

  16. Hi Tyson – on behalf of the sane but usually silent majority may I add my thanks for the time and trouble you take to share your enthusiasms and findings with us.
    Like an earlier poster, I’ve been inspired to try new things after reading your posts and am currently having fun with some Canon FD glass on my GX1. I’ve also based some purchasing decisions on your (and others’) findings and will continue to do so, as I value your independence.
    Keep up the good work and as the ancient Romans used to say, Nil Carborundem – or don’t let the b******s grind you down😉
    All the best from the UK,
    John

    Like

    • John,

      I appreciate that. While I like to pride myself on being able to both handle and provide a retort in kind for much of that tongue in cheek type banter, sometimes it does in fact wear on me a little, so thank you for the reminder.

      I’ve been out and about with a couple FD lenses on the GX7 this last week and I think I’m going to try and put together a post focused on these older manual lenses with the new Pana cam. It is such a fun and cost effective way to grow the optical quiver and while not up to the highest standards in many ways, I’m pretty amazed at what many of the older lenses are capable of.

      Thanks again and all the best,
      t

      Like

  17. I have same result.
    I think GX7 can be gripped firmly than E-M5. I think that makes the difference.
    At least, GX7 can do well in some case.
    That must be accepted for all. We don’t have to support blindly Olympus 5axis IBIS.

    BTW, try optional large Eye-cup. it feels good. I’ve not experienced any trouble under the sun shine.

    Like

    • Thanks Zetton,

      I’ve not felt the need to add the larger Eye Cup, but I think that it may be a useful and worthwhile investment just to have. I have had issues when shooting in bright light, but the LCD screen does so much better than past m4/3 screens in those conditions that it is easier to overlook or excuse it I guess.

      I will say that after I bought a third party accessory grip and base plate for the EM5, the handleability got so much better. I have been shooting these tests with that Really Right Stuff accessory grip though, so it’s helped me keep a more solid grip on the EM5. As far as the native grips and body design though, yes, the GX7’s grip is vastly superior in my opinion and I have absolutely no desire to supplement the grip at all.

      Thanks and cheers!
      t

      Like

  18. Thanks for this chapter in the comparison. Before I entered micro four thirds land I had four different models of Panasonic FZ cameras, and the main reason I stuck with that brand and recommended it to others was the image stabilization. I shoot long focal length birds, often with a 1.7x tele converter attached, and would be lost without the I.S. I do use a monopod if possible, but can get by without it if need be.

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  19. Hey!
    Try to tilt GX7’s EVF to 90°: this should lead to more stable handling, because when your face is behind the camera center of weight places further and you have higher compared in to your face is above the camera. Although it’s better to shoot with left eye in this way.

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  20. The lead-off image of you with camera heads is fun and illustrative!
    Interesting findings, especially regarding the IS comparison to the EM5…that is sure to get some dander up in the photo community! 🙂 (I own the EM5 and EP5/VF4). I think a comparison to the more contemporary EP5/VF4 would have netted Olympus some more points, (like VF), but apparently not in the still-shooting IBIS department!!
    I just finished shooting images of my EM5 to help sell it on the web and I plan to replace it with the new M1 so I will not let the GX7 sway me from the advantages I see in the new OLY….but please let me know in which upcoming round you will be comparing UI’s between the cameras (so that I can skip it, LOL)…As there just is NO defending the Olympus UI…it’s a hot mess!
    Very interesting Round 1!

    Like

  21. Interesting, very interesting. Not what I’d expect.

    So, given the better IBIS in the GX7, do you think if Panny ever got around to making it work for video, it’d be even better than the EM5? Because that is just superb for video and if it could be matched or even bettered, that’d be a big win for GX7.

    Also, when is IQ test coming?!🙂 What have you found so far?

    Like

    • I’m not sure about that. Firstly, as was brought up by Bob above, the 2 axis IBIS is more difficult to implement into video/live view apparently due to it’s inability to cool the sensor efficiently enough, so I’m not sure if we will in fact see it, nor am I certain that is a full and accurate assessment, but seems like it could be a stumbling block. IF we do see the IBIS implemented into video capture on the GX7, I’m not sure that a 2 axis system will stabilize live movement as effectively as a 5 axis system can. My gut says it wouldn’t. With stills, it largely comes down to user movement, and the ability to stay still at the moment of capture where, when adding potential full and constant movement by way of motion capture, the presence of movement is not only near impossible to avoid if handholding, but also somewhat constant and on a variety of axises, pitch, yaw, vertical, horizontal, … Not to mention that normally in video, you’ll be shooting with a shutter speed of 1/50-1/60 or faster increments of those so it really comes down to the ability to stabilize constant motion by way of the live view, which the GX7 does not currently do. Whether it is able to or not, I am not sure.

      As for IQ, it should show up next week sometime. With all the work I’ve got going on, along with parental responsibilities, the blog gets pushed down the line a little bit, but I’m trying to shoot for one post a week which also gives me enough time to actually test these two against each other while focusing on the areas of comparison more finely.

      Thanks for the comment!
      t

      Like

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  23. Tyson:

    Thanks for this amazing post. I appreciate your effort to clarify some details in honor of your honest view.
    It seems that the guide lines on the M5 are the aureal proportions instead of the thirds rule of the GX7, that could be thing you kind of complain about those.

    Looking forward for your next post, recieve kind greetings from Uruguay

    El Nando.-

    Like

      • Hahaha, thanks Tyson

        OffTopic:
        I really want Uruguay to qualify, it should have been easier and avoid the playoff but we always get in trouble even having a good squad.
        And yes there’s a vivid chance to co-host the 100th anniversary WC with Argentina.

        Like

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  26. Thank you for your great review. One thoughts from here.

    Taking still photo might also have other factor apart from IBIS. I’m saying the ergonomic of the camera might also contribute to the perfectly still photo. Say:

    It’s obvious that 5-axis IBIS is great, but the grip on E-M5 is not too nice. Especially for the big-handed guy like me, instead of holding around the grip with the finger(s), I end up like pinching it with the side of my middle finger and thumb.

    On the other hand, the relatively bigger grip on the brand new GX-7 allow me to hold it with my middle and ring fingers. So, obviously get the better grip (even though, it is still not comparable to dslr)

    This might be one of the reason why Tyson get the better result on GX-7 in many occasions.

    Like

    • If you are to read, the settings were adjusted manually where applicable, in both cameras (as it is necessary for non m4/3 mount lens’ focal length to be manually set) but for native mount lenses, the focal length is automatically read by the camera, so there is no way to adjust the focal length manually for the Oly 75mm. In my very real life experience, no, the EM5 IBIS is not wholly better, and honestly I urge those saying so to actually compare both cameras for themselves. I think it would also surprise them as it has me.

      Thanks,
      Tyson

      Like

  27. The focal length seems to. E a factor. Perhaps at long focal lengths, most of the action really is at two axes, and the extra dimensions on the em5 do not help, and perhaps hinder the ibis. It would be nice to see the effect at the largest aperture, however.

    Like

    • Hi Tom,

      I’m sure that either IBIS system will be affected by focal length, and at certain focal lengths one may out perform the other. I’d hope that the extra axes wouldn’t hinder the primary pitch and yaw, but that might be the case where it actually works against itself to an extent. Wide open on the 400mm in that situation wouldn’t have been possible to get a slow enough shutter speed to see the IBIS challenged in my opinion as it would have been 1 2/3 stops faster putting the shutter speed at a very hand holdable increment, but it might be worth retrying in the future in lower light certainly.

      Of all the lenses I have tested on both bodies, the only lens that seemed to play to the EM5’s favor was the Lumix 20mm, which is normally lambasted when used on the EM5 because it focuses slower (when on the EM5) and has had the banding issue at or above ISO 6400 (on the original version 1 anyway).

      I think at or faster than about 1/25 second, the two systems are entirely comparable and one or the other may prove to be better based on an individual’s technique or caffeine intake, but when the shutter speed slows considerably, I am amazed at how well, and comparably better the GX7 has done consistently. Pretty big coup for the Panny camp.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Cheers,
      Tyson

      Like

  28. Hi!
    I’ve just done some test shots with my EM-5 and I’d like to add my thoughts on the IBIS discussion. A clew to the apparent superiority of the GX-7 may come from a comment you made more than once and that is “…I really prefer the EM5 for the ability to steady the live view image much more effectively…”

    What may be happening here is that the EM-5, with its better and steadier “live view” is giving you the impression that you are holding the camera more steadily than you actually are and thus you are not waiting for the best moment to fire the shutter. So the difference in performance may simply come down to you actually firing the EM-5 shutter when you are NOT as still as you are when you fire off the GX-7.

    I think you really need a more scientific test with a rig that moves both cameras the same amount at the same speed etc. A rig that can move the cameras in 3 dimensions at once might just show EM-5 is as good as it is claimed to be.

    I might be completely wrong on this but I thought I’d just pass on my thoughts.

    Like

    • Thanks Steve,

      What exactly would a “rig” prove though? That a machine is able to prove one more stable? Shooting with these cameras is kind of the point, and while I know people want to try and disprove my findings, I actually do try to get the absolute best results that I can with both set ups, and regardless, the fact that I’ve been able to get steadied handheld shots with the GX7 at 2/3 (0.7) sec through 1 second can even take any other camera out of the conversation, it’s pretty incredible. That I’ve not been able to replicate it through the many, many comparisons with the EM5 and that in and of itself is what it is.

      I appreciate the comment, but I feel, even if that were the case, than it is a point against the EM5. If it leads one to falsely shoot unstably, than it is providing a disservice in that regard, but I do not feel that to be the case at all.

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

  29. I don’t have the energy to read through the comments…but I noted that you have the stabilized EVF turned on. IBIS in the E-M5 is less effective when that’s on…just so you know…

    Like

    • Hi Mike,

      I hear you🙂 This topic has obviously spurred some conversation. I did address this in the comments, and have since done other tests with and without the IBIS on in live view. Absolutely no difference at shutter speeds below 1/25sec.

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

      • I’m looking to buy a GX7, EM5 or EP5, Googled and found your review. Very glad I did😉. Anyway, one of the other reviews that I found might be relevant. It (http://cameraergonomics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/micro-43-shutter-shock-revisited-omd-em.html) refers to ‘shutter shock’ in mirrorless cameras. The author discusses how this affects the EM5 he is using, varying with lens, but at the end he notes he couldn’t find evidence of ‘shutter shock’ on a GH2. So maybe there is something specific to Olympus M43s that makes them prone in a way that Panasonic M43s aren’t?

        Like

      • Hi Michael,

        Thanks for reading. I’ve not had any shutter shock issues with the EM5 myself, and would assume it to be an issue with the specific shutter unit being manufactured for a particular camera or cameras (or even a specific run of that camera). The EP5 is the model that I’ve heard the SS issue connected to, but only at a specific shutter speed. I remember reading it was 1/125 or 1/160 but I may be wrong. Like many issues, I think it’s probably over stated, but it’s still an issue, even if it is situational, much like the high ISO banding between the Lumix 20mm lens and the Oly/Sony sensor.

        I would try to get your hands on as any as you could to see how they feel to and interact with you. That will be the most important thing I think. All three are good cams, but for me, I prefer the GX7 because of what it offers over the others, and at the current prices is a great deal.

        Enjoy whichever you get and I’d love to hear what you get and how it works out for you. I enjoy gaining insight through others experiences🙂

        Cheers,

        Tyson

        Like

  30. Putting aside comparisons for a moment, the amazing and pleasing thing that I Iearned from you is that the GX7’s sensor-based IS is very, very usable. I had gotten the impression that it is semi-incompetent. I am not really in the market for an EM5, but I am very close to deciding on a GX7, and your comments on its image stabilisation are just what I needed to see!

    Like

    • While I think the technical amount of “effectiveness” will largely come down to personal technique, I now know, for myself, this camera has a very useful IBIS mechanism, and thank you for that very logical observation😉

      Thanks for the comment,

      Tyson

      Like

      • I think Round 2 may provide an explanation why you’re getting better results with the Panasonic. You like the grip a lot more.

        Like

      • Ergonomics definitely have a lot to do with the functional side of a camera in my experience, but I do use an accessory grip on the EM5 which makes it much easier to hold as well. For whatever reason, I find the GX7 to just do a better job in the IBIS department. I think many, many reviewers who’ve declared the EM5 IBIS superior haven’t actually tried to shoot below say 1/20 sec or so, which to me is an incomplete assessment, and too often, we read one person’s opinion or experience and declare it to be truth. I’m sure many “reviewer” spent an afternoon with the GX7, tried out the IBIS, read somewhere else that the Oly IBIS was “better” based on an incomplete test, and didn’t go any further. I don’t mean to condemn other testers experiences at all, but I have noticed that many people cite certain “tests” when making their arguments, which to me seem far from comprehensive IBIS comparison tests.

        Like

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    • Hard to say. If the GX7 has a similar issue it probably won’t manifest itself for a little while longer.

      When you say “flaking off” is it the screen coating or something? I’ve had a GX1 for a while and haven’t seen what you’re describing happen to mine at all, or at least not yet.

      My thoughts on the GX7 screen is that it’s as solid or better than any other articulating screen I’ve used. I’d rate it better than the Em5 as far as durability based on the cracking screen bezel issue on the OMD alone.

      Hope that helps in some way.

      Like

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  34. Superb reviews – love your comments and thoughts – the great example images – just fantastic.

    Also nice to see someone give the Panasonic GX7 the praise it deserves – in the hype of things recently with the Sony A7/R and Olympus OMD M1 the GX7 has just been forgotten almost.
    I do own the GX1 and the OMD-EM5 – as well as OMD-EM5, Fuji X100s, X20, NEX5n,NEX7 and now of course 2 bodies of the GX7 – for a good reason. ( plus Nikon DSLR gear )
    Both the Sony A7/R and Olympus OMD-M1 are both top top cameras – and it seems to me that the Sony A7/R has pushed aside the M1 a bit – However as nice of a concept the A7/R is as a small body with a FF sensor the real dilemma is fast zooms and size of lenses –
    For now Sony is not releasing any fast zooms as they know they will be to large and heavy for the small A7/R body with a small grip. Try holding the A7/R with the not so fast $3000 F4 70-200mm – imagine a F2.8 –
    So yes a nice size body and FF but only practical with some smaller primes –
    Now the M1 is a real good camera and for a Pro working outside a lot under rough conditions the M1 is the best choice I think – along with the Panasonic GH3.

    For me the GX7 is so intuitive – love the C1 C2 C3 – 8000sec shutter – electronic shutter with totally quiet mode – tilt-able viewfinder – 9 Fn buttons which 4 are physical – rotary dial with push to change function – great flash options – time laps etc etc etc –
    Also the form factor – I do love my OMD-5 but that viewfinder hump and no flash just irritates me sometimes – I much prefer the flush top like the GX7 has –
    (Olympus with their Stylus 1 just killed it with that large viewfinder hump – they could have put a small ELVF like on the Pansonic LF1 or just an analog viewfinder like the Fuji X20 and kept the body nice and small )

    Of all my cameras I love to use the GX7 the most – just very logical and C1 C2 C3 and 9 Fn buttons just makes it so easy to switch to a different settings )
    Of course I will keep my OMD-5 as it is a great camera as well but not quite the same fun factor to use –
    I do respect the IQ of the NEX7 but with no Mode Dial and terrible terrible button layout and horrible horrible menu system and Tri Navi buttons that are way to easy to change and total lack of Fn buttons and C1 C2 buttons it just frustrates me to use it – also I do not like the 2:3 aspect ration of the LCD and of course it is not Touch LCD – seems like Sony has determined that Touch LCD is not what people like or only for beginners as it is in the NEX5n/r/t !!🙂 – how wrong they are – and of course no fast zooms in the E-mount either as is the case in FE-mount –

    So thanks for your superb work on your reviews and sample images and bringing out how great the GX7 is –
    So many fantastic lenses for M43 – and now the new Panasonic F1.2 with IS – the 25mm F1.4 is my favorite and is fantastic but now even a faster lens – yes yes

    Loved your boxing of the GM1 – I am debating about getting it but hoping that Panasonic will create more lenses int he kit size form factor for it – as it does not make sense to mount say the 35-100mm F2.8 on it 🙂 – better of with it on a GX7

    Like

    • Thanks Jón,

      I appreciate the thoughtful response.

      A full framer will always have trade offs much as a micro 4/3 body will. I find it both amazing and silly that the EM1 seems to, so often, be compared to the Sony 7’s. A testament to the quality of the m4/3 system, but also an obvious showing of how two systems can greatly differ (by needing to compare both size and lens speed equivalents to try and “match” one to the other).

      This, to me, is further justification for a particular shooter to justify running multiple systems. Each system has its pros and cons, and I just love seeing how far each respective system is pushing both image quality and size options. We all win ultimately, and have many, many diverse choices with different trade offs.

      I have chosen the systems I have for my own reasons, and within those choices, I do feel that the GX7 is the closest to a perfect small system camera for me. It has the quality, the features and the intuitive interface that allows me to come back to it after weeks spent shooting other cameras, and I can instantly fall back in line, feeling comfortable shooting it. That is something I feel gets overlooked by folks who will review a camera after shooting it for a week, and then not really go back to it after moving onto another, different body. Something I always struggled with when jumping back to the EM5. The Oly never left me wanting for quality image files, but I am willing to trade certain things for an ease of seamless use. Fortunately for me, I don’t feel I need to trade anything really (aside from IBIS in video or live view, and weather sealing) when using the GX7, so for me, I’m very happy.

      The GM1 on the other hand is a different (tiny) animal. I’m working my way through it and want to really put it through its paces before I commit to a written review. I have to come at that camera from a completely different angle, but that it has provided such a compelling pocket solution, capable of utilizing my current crop of lenses for the system, makes it a very interesting little machine.

      From what I’ve heard, and read (mostly from Ale at 4/3rumors) the soon to be released Pana-Leica 15mm f/1.7 should be a good mate for the GM1. It looks as if it will be a little longer a lens than the various pancake offerings, but the diameter should more closely match the 14mm/2.5 or the new 12-32 zoom. I am very curious about it, and if they can keep it priced closer to the PL25, and further from the PL42.5, I might be very, very tempted, further expelling my 20/1.7 deeper into the bag. Time will tell😀

      Thanks again for the thoughtful comment, and I look forward to future conversation.

      All the best,

      Tyson

      Like

  35. Hi Tyson,

    Thanks so much for the thorough comparison. My concern, since I’m getting older and shakier, is composing with the EVF. I’m not sure if you were using OIS or IBIS on the GX7 when you were comparing shake. If OIS is comparable in the GX7, I will be more likely to buy it.

    Thanks again.

    Mike

    Like

    • Hi Mike!

      While the OIS on the Panasonic lenses does help to stabilize the live view some, the 5 axis IBIS does a better job steadying the screen or EVF view. As to the end results, it is situational and either camera, under different circumstances can best the other.

      While I have to hand it to the EM5 for stabilized live view, I don’t notice having a non stabilized live feed as much as I thought I would. The longer the focal lengths obviously, the more pronounced, but many of these lenses (the panasonics anyway) have OIS and will help with the live view. Wider angles through standard focal lengths, I have not found it to be an issue at all myself, but if you’re worried about it, I would certainly try to get your hands on both, perhaps in store, to see the differences for yourself.

      Like

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  40. Hmm, I wonder if you even turned on the IS on Oly – your shots just do not show *any* IS. I do my shooting with E-M1 and per what I gather it’s the same IS. I can go down to 1 sec on shutter and still get crisp images – WAY crisper than what you got with your GX7. Prejudice?!🙂

    Like

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment.

      There is no prejudice. I have no horse in this race. I’m merely, actually testing these things in real world scenarios so that I can give an unbiased report. I know a lot of folks are really hurt that someone has actually disproved most folks assumptions, but you can see my shots, you can see my settings, and I guess you’ll just have to trust that I’m above board.

      I’d guess there are quite a few readers and contributors here that will vouch for me, but something that I’ve found with Oly shooters is that even more than the Canikonians of the world, they get pissed if someone speaks ill of Olympus, or as in this case, merely shows that something might be a little better situationally.

      I choose my gear based on the tools it provides me, not the name on the front. I currently own cameras from 6 different manufacturers and systems between digital and my film setups. I don’t particularly care, but rather through research and personal testing, I determine which are best for me and what I need them to do. I’m not saying, nor have I ever said that my needs are the same as anyone else, and everyone is free to buy, compare and test these out on their own. I feel that so many “reviewers” tend to truly be biased, whether that be through their own preferences or professional endorsements/pressure or some type of affiliate reward program for selling a certain lens, or system. I’m not that way and have always written from a place of neutrality, giving my personal opinion and stating as much, because I was sick of seeing how anything that said Nikon or Canon was instantly “gear of the year” or whatever from the larger magazines and online review sites.

      I like to see innovation, and prefer to use cameras that I feel interact with me in an efficient and intuitive way. I have my personal opinions on what I feel is a useful system certainly, but will ultimately choose to buy what I feel is the best balance of performance, quality and offering. Basically, I don’t want my gear to get in the way of taking pictures, so that may be where some of my perceived Panasonic bias may have been assumed. I will say, that in my experience, I feel that the Panasonic micro 4/3 cameras have a far better, more intuitive and streamlined interface for me. Does that mean I hate Olympus, or shill for Panasonic, that others should feel the way I do? No, I don’t think so. It’s my findings, my opinions, and I always state that whenever I do a comparison piece.

      I think the fact that we get to split hairs in regards to a singular performance based bell or whistle on these cameras is pretty cool, and as long as we can check fanboism at the door, I think it is a good exercise for us to see that there is always room for improvement and nothing, in my opinion, should be considered universally useful, or superior.

      Thanks again, and please let me know if I can help clarify anything else.🙂

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

      • Hi Tyson,

        Thanks for the answer – I appreciate your practical view on things. On back-lit subjects, I usually center-meter them and overexpose the background – it’s out-of-focus anyway, or put the subject in front of a darker background. You could also use AF+MF option and get a crisper shot. Here is another thought – you are trying both cameras with the same lens – Lumix. I’d try Oly cam with an Oly lens – would be more fair. Not that Lumix lens is any worse but it has it’s own character (flavor) and from my experience not every Lumix lens behaves that well on Oly cam. I’m using 4/3 lenses and go down to 1/10th quite regularly – the IBIS holds up. Using CAN or NIK lenses with an adapter… I don’t know. I’d say the same argument here – Oly cams are best with Oly lenses. Using other lenses adds user’s own “interpretation” into it which makes results less subjective.

        I almost feel bad for Oly, seeing such bad results from their hailed IBIS. But I know that very good results with it are possible if you try.

        P.S. I believe you are only using 1 IS (either body or lens – not both at the same time… just checking…).

        Michael

        Like

      • Hello Michael,

        I actually, originally answered thinking that your comment was for my newest article which has been getting a lot of traffic today, sorry. I edited my original answer when I realized that your comment came through on this article.

        The first two tests were the Oly 75 on either camera. Then the adapted Canon FD 400mm lens, then the Lumix 20mm and PL25mm. Different lenses on both cameras with the best results for the OMD EM5 comparatively, coming when using the Panasonic Lumix 20mm pancake lens which did not do so well on the Panasonic GX7 oddly. None of the lenses I used had any optical in lens stabilization, so that is moot. The GX7 disables any IBIS when a stabilized lens is attached anyway. For in body processing, optical correction, etc, Oly>Oly and Pana>Pana will certainly provide the best results, I’ve found lenses and the IBIS with either system to be able to not discriminate and feel it comes down to one’s IBIS system versus the other, as opposed to a lens being from one manufacturer or another.

        In the test, I mention that the Oly 5 axis IBIS has some benefits over the Pana 2 axis, and really call the battle a statistical draw. I only found that at very, very slow shutter speeds, the Pana did better for me, much more consistently than the Oly did with the same lenses, and same exact exposure settings. I think that the Oly does do better above 1/15 to combat movement in more directions, and this is where I feel some of the other tests which have taken a couple shots with either camera and called it good, have fallen short. The 5 axis does better to compensate for directional movement on certain axes, obviously as the Pana only has two, but I think that when shutter speeds get really slow, the Oly system almost looks for movement and perhaps overcompensates where the Pana ‘waits’ for movement to correct if that makes sense. I have no scientific evidence to back that up, but that was how I was feeling with it. Of course, the Oly stabilizes the live view which is remarkably handy for composition, especially for longer focal lengths, and the Pana does not. Video, Oly yes, Pana no. So again, situational, and why I called it a draw showing where I found either to best the other. I was surprised to see the first two tests with the Oly 75mm lens produce such a favorable result to the GX7 myself. I still haven’t seen a comparison like this that proves these findings false, and really could be down to my own shooting technique and how it may jive with the two compensated axis versus the 5. Maybe, Panasonic has built a better 2 axis system than those same two axes on the Oly 5 which better compensates for the other 3 axes in movement? Who knows really, and I’ll need to start getting paid by someone to dedicate enough time to figure that all out🙂

        Thanks for the continued conversation Michael. Like I’ve said in the past, the fact that we get to debate over this type of feature to begin with is pretty cool. Either way, we are able to gain access to two very cool approaches within the same system, we all win!

        Cheers,

        Tyson

        Like

  41. Very interesting… I own a GX7 and an EM1, and my experience with Image Stabilization is totally different from yours. My EM1 literally kills my GX7 in that department. I do not own a 75mm, but now I am going to test longer lenses to see if I get any closer to your results. But from 9 to 40mm I can tell you that there is no game.

    Like

    • Hi Alex,

      I can’t speak for the EM1, but as shown in the various tests, the 5axis on the EM5 seems to struggle at very slow shutter speeds when hand held. I’d be interested in seeing an objective test that can disprove the slow shutter speed results I had consistently with the EM5.

      Thanks for the comment. If you do a test, link it here, I’d like to see the 5 axis at shutter speeds below 1/10sec or so.

      Cheers,

      Tyson

      Like

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  44. Hi Tyson,

    I almost feel like apologising for adding even more to a very long thread! I find using my PEN E-P5 I can get sharp images at 1 second exposure around 50% of the time, depending on technique and conditions. If only the EVF was built in and it had a silent mode. I am very tempted to give the GX7 a go if it can match the PEN, and it sounds like it can.

    Cheers!

    Chris

    Like

    • Hi Chris,

      Please don’t apologize🙂 I think the GX7 would be a fairly lateral move from the EP5, but like I found coming from the EM5, there was enough to convince me, so I guess, don’t listen to me😉

      Silent mode is an understated feature, as is the really great touch integration when wanting to move AF points around with your eye in the EVF, utilizing the LCD as a track pad essentially. The one drawback with the silent mode is because it’s using the electronic shutter, it can suffer from motion distortion if shooting a moving subject, or from a moving position (from a car, et al). As long as you’re stationary and your subjects aren’t moving faster than a brisk walking speed or so, it is not an issue and the absolute silence is really handy for various situations.

      Thanks for the read and comment.

      Cheers,
      t

      Like

  45. I have to agree with this article. I don’t own the GX7. I own the EM5, and plan on getting a second one because of the really low prices their fetching used on eBay. That said, the IBIS has disappointed a bit. IBIS, however, isn’t magic, and doesn’t work all that well for the kind of shots I need to take the most. People shots. Generally moving people. So, high ISO, fast lenses, and flash when I can get away with it are really what I must rely on. IBIS may help. But I can’t count on it.

    Of course, if a GX7 were to hit eBay in the high $300s / low $400s range, I wouldn’t mind having one of each…

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment Mark,

      I think that one of the features that is both a boon, and perhaps a bit of a red herring with the 5 axis system is how well it does to help stabilize the live view image. It does so well visually to aid in composition, which honestly is a huge benefit in my opinion, it kind of trains our brains into thinking that it may perform for still results better than it perhaps does in certain situations. How many stops do we really need? Or, more specifically, at which point is it realistic to expect an IBIS system to account for our ability to hand hold a slow shutter speed? Realistically, in the cases that I tested, they should have all been on a tripod, but as is the beauty of curiosity, I wanted to see just how slow I could consistently handhold these shots with various lenses. All said and done, either system is better than not having one period. Getting into the situational differences is just a way for us to find things to nitpick on the web🙂 Still though, a fun thing to explore and I agree that when the pricing drops down to around $3-400 for the GX7, grab one. It has been awesome for me and still has been my favorite everyday shooter I’ve yet used for any substantial time.

      Thanks for the comment and all the best,

      Tyson

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

  47. Thank you for this, Tyson, most helpful (like Steve Huff). Noting the GX7 has 2 x IBIS settings (for different movements which I’ve been unable to differentiate between) – please can you advise which setting accomplished which results, above? Also, given the additional time you’ve now had since this experiment – has your prefrence altered at all between the GX7 IBIS and Nocticron* OIS?
    (interesting that back in 1968 Leica attributed the title Noctilux to f1.2 ).

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    • There is one ‘general’ setting which I’ve used in all tests, and then there is a ‘panning’ setting which is really only optimized when panning the camera (which I didn’t use).

      Thanks for the comment! I have found that the OIS on the Nocti is good for 4-5 stops which is pretty nuts. I think they say “3-3.5” but I find that claim to be modest. With still hands and a good brace, I’m seeing really good results down to about 1/4 second or less in cases.

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  48. Pingback: Die Suche nach dem richtigen Zweitbody (wieder einmal) | blog.sag-cheese.de

  49. The conclusion seems like “GX7’s IBIS is better than E-M5 if your brace yourself really really well”. Have you tried a more relaxed stance?

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    • Well, I found the GX7 IBIS better for still results at very slow shutter speeds, in most every situation I shot in regardless of the way I’d shoot. A more relaxed technique wouldn’t benefit results for either system in my experience. For live view and video, I’d still say the EM5 is better.

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