Cameramakers sure are getting good at this particular niche. Collectively, they seem to be on to something.
There are at least seven—and maybe more—compact mirrorless gems already on the market right now that anybody should be more than pleased to own. Now there's one more: the beautiful little Panasonic GX7, the heir to the GF1 and GX1, both fine cameras in their time (2009 and 2011, respectively).
Much as I liked those petite but no-nonsense little bricks, the new one looks like something really special. Seems like Panasonic has been truly listening to what people have been been asking for. And has delivered.
First of all, a built-in electronic viewfinder. Not only that, but it's tiltable.
And a tiltable viewing screen / touch screen, too. (Articulation on just one axis—if you know what I mean—won't be to everyone's liking, but it's what I prefer personally.)
And in-body image stabilization (IBIS)! A first for this lineage.
Rumor has it that the GX7 doesn't have an anti-aliasing filter, either.
The usual and expected incremental improvements are more impressive on the video side, but the new camera offers plenty of up-to-the-minute improvements in the specs.
Here it is with the 14–42mm kit lens. (I don't have to tell you I'd get it with the sequel of the famous 20mm. But you know me.) It ships mid-month. The camera will be here in early- to mid-September...so, soon.
Cost is $1000 for the body. But do take into account that EVF, an added cost on most of this camera's competitors. The Olympus E-P5 is the same price, but without its EVF.
Consider the cost of the GX7 and the 20mm lens together: $1,428; and the cost of the E-P5, VF-4 EVF, and 17mm ƒ/1.8 kit: $1,449. Think these guys aren't watching each other?
I'll be very interested to see the first photo of the GX7 next to the E-P5 with its EVF perched on top, though. The form-factor difference is going to be rather glaring. And if you're one of those who don't like the big 24mm on the little NEX-6 and -7, you'll probably like the well-proportioned sized of this camera with its basic lenses.
I think the retro craze has been good for this camera's styling, too. It's not exactly retro itself, but it looks like the retro influence has made it handsomer than its predecessors.
The nice thing about this line has always been its rather blue-collar, get-the-job-done vibe. They've stuffed an awful lot into this new one. I do hope it retains the same solid, right-sized feel and straightforward character as its predecessors, along with its dazzling new delights.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Frank: "I think you're right, this could be the best yet. As the specs and photos are unveiled there aren't any 'd'oh' moments...they got everything right so far."
BH: "Looks like a great camera. I have only one question: How responsive is it? I've yet to use a mirrorless camera that can keep up with my DSLR when it comes to getting the shot exactly when you want it. I'd love to sell ye olde brick, but so far other great cameras like the OM-D and X100 just haven't been able to perform with that 'get the job done NOW' responsiveness of my DSLR. I suppose it's only a matter of time; perhaps that time is now?"
Mike replies: Hmm, maybe that's why I like my NEX-6 so much: it's fast enough. I'm aware from time to time of its slow turn-on time, but it never makes me conscious of shutter lag. I'm with you, I hope the GX7 is as good.
Mike R: "Oh, f..., f..., FUDGE! After I just told myself that I don't need a newer camera, this blatant act of good-intentions-sabotage comes along. Oh, worry, oh, woe, how am I going to tell myself that it's really 'okay'? Maybe, if I hop on a train to NYC and B&H, and actually hold one, reality will take over: It's just another camera...just another camera...just another camera...just...."
Mike replies: Believe me, Mike, if what you're trying to do is resist temptations, a trip to B&H Photo's Superstore is not the way to do that. :-D
John Camp: "The two keys for me are the sensor quality and the grip. I get along perfectly fine with my two GX1s, but a little more good-quality ISO range would be great, and I do like the fact that the GX7 is a little bigger—the GX1 is just a bit small for my hands. Hell, let's face it, I'll probably order two of them this afternoon."
Mike replies: Well, if you do, do it through my links, would you? We've just lost Pentax, our biggest advertiser. (The ad is still up, but it will be coming down as soon as we settle accounts—or we don't, as the case may be.)
Alberto Bengoa: "The only thing that makes me not to completely lust over this camera is the fact that on paper the user interface of the EP-5 seems better: those two wheels plus the mode switch makes for instant (through hardware, physical controls) access to four settings instead of just two. That may be a deal breaker in day-to-day use. Other than that, I really want this GX7."