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Friday, 06 December 2013

Comments

My advice: get an Olympus EM-1. It comes with two control wheels.....:-)

Tell me about it. Unicycling is tough, I've got the bruises to prove it!

With focus peaking, do you turn off the magnification box in MF mode? In playing around with my G6 with the kit lens in low-light situations, I don't find the focus-peaking that useful (failing to outline in-focus object). On the other hand, the pop-up box is annoying for composing the shot.

Carl:
3 "reviews" on such a small camera? It's not a complaint, it's interesting and you seem enamored with this little gem. My complaint is CAN'T SOMEONE make a simple camera anymore or does everyone have to make a camera to "capture" images of every sort...video, still, HDR, ad nauseum?
I really am not complaining, I'm intrigued.
I am on the fence re: a good street shooter and this gets in the pack of "could be's."
Just my two pesos.

Carl:

An excellent series, and I (although perhaps not my wallet) thank you.

I wonder - do you have a copy of the unstabilized Panasonic 20mm 1.7? And, if so, could you comment on how the new-to-a-Panasonic body in body IS works with that lens, a favorite of mine and the Editor and Proprietor?

Steve

Carl, will you stop it please.

Strangely perhaps, the best antidote to the GX7 seems to be to go make some pictures with my Zeiss Ikon. Simple pleasures - though it does sound like the M4/3 that would work for me. Hows's the EVF?

Mike

No carps, just additional info from a user of later Pens, an E-M5 and GX7.

"Most glaring was the loss of double control wheels,"

E-M5, E-P5 and E-M1 have true dual control wheels.

"... spinning the rear wheel (upper right rear corner, right behind the mode dial) dials in exposure compensation."

One need not set that. Pressing the rear control wheel in switches it to EV compensation, no matter what else it is set to do. Very handy.

"Easily switching from AF to MF was sorely lacking before, requiring menu-diving, but now it's there."

It's on a Fn button on my E-PM2 and E-M5. The one by the shutter release is perfect. The GX7 physical switch is fine, too.

I agree with everything else. Nice camera so far.

Have you played with the electronic shutter? I had definite shutter shock blurring on my Olys without the 1/8 sec. delay set. The GX7 EShutter eliminates that problem without a shutter delay, albeit with a couple of other limitations. I have shutter choice on an Fn button.

Moose

Yup, replaced my GH2 and GX1 with an OMD EM1 and a GX7 respectively and don't regret it for an instant. They are both a koy ro use. And, as a significant bonus, now all my M43 lenses have image stabilization. Just trying to think if my D800E has seen the light of day since the new toys arrived... Hmmm...

"My father, a machinist, said, "always use the biggest tool that will fit; it gives you the most accurate control"

So in your view the exception to your father's rule is your camera's sensor?

PStu, I find the magnification feature gets in my way. I think focus peaking *or* magnification can each be useful but I don't find I like both at once.

Hugh, there's a way—probably more than one but one that I use constantly—to simplify cameras like this (even though all the complications remain under the hood) and I'll do a post on that after I finish with this GX7-specific series.

Steve, I have the original 20/1.7 and will report on in-body stabilization next time.

Moose, I'll work with the silent mode and report on it, but haven't gotten to it yet. Probably two more installments on "features" and the mini series will be finished.

William, "fit" is a judgement call. I still use 8x10 and 7x17 inch view cameras, when they fit. Twenty years ago, because of my commercial work I had Nikon and Leica gear, as well as a nice set of Hasselblad stuff, along with larger view cameras. Essentially all of my personal work got done with the 35mm cameras or my 8x10 Deardorff. The 'blad never seemed to "fit". I'm quite sure that today, a 'full frame' dSLR would find itself in the same predicament as my 500C.

Finally, a couple comments make me think I wasn't entirely clear that earlier Lumix models I've used had only one wheel, but the GX7 has two fully functional and fully programmable wheels located in excellent positions on the body.

"the GX7 has two fully functional and fully programmable wheels located in excellent positions on the body."

I find the programmability limited. I can't, for example, find a way to put ISO on one dial and Aperture on the other in Av Mode. Not that ISO is hard to adjust.

Also, it's not possible to set shutter speed and aperture and let ISO float. They haven't adjusted to the fact that there are now three exposure variables, and one may, in a given situation, want to set any two and let the meter set the third.

The placement of the dials is indeed excellent for my index finger and thumb.

Moose

This is a truly useful series of articles, so thank you. I have both Olympus and Panasonic m4/3 bodies and whilst I feel that I should love the E-M5 I really don't. I recall that it took Mike very little time to reach a similar conclusion. Maybe it's the rubbery buttons, maybe it's the fact that it's been back to Olympus twice to have (as far as I can tell) most of the electronics replaced, but for me the Panasonic bodies (which have never let me down) are simply my preference. I even prefer Panasonic colours these days.

I had the GX7 in my Amazon cart but took a moment to reflect and found the obsolete GX1 refurbished for $229. Even with a new 20/1.7II the total cost was half of a similar GX7 configuration. Not having a protruding EVF makes the smaller camera more pocketable and I doubt I'll miss the other enhancements, at least until next year when the GX7 is also discounted to bargain prices.

I'm glad I'm not the only one having trouble holding my G3 level! (I am 25.) I was convinced the sensor had been mounted at an angle, because I didn't have as much of a problem with my Pentax K2000.

The sensitive dual-axis level combined with the tilting EVF/LCD on the GX7 should be useful for product photography, at least for me. My penchant for orthographic projection demands that I align the optical axis just so. Then again, I may be overthinking my eBay listings.

I have been eagerly following your review series on the GX7 and am somewhat surprised at the small number of comments. Perhaps OM-D E-M1 fever is to blame.

Khoa,

Thanks for confirming that my 39-year "advantage" on you was less important than the G3 camera shape. It *is* possible to get a copy of a digital camera with an off-kilter sensor--I have pictures of a torpedo level on a perfectly level surface, with the bubble exactly where it belongs, but the level itself *in the picture* is tilted a good 4-5°. The company's PR people didn't like being told about this.

In case this fits anyone else's experience, except for the G3, I've found I have no trouble keeping things reasonably level with handheld cameras, but I have to use a mechanical level, a real tool, to work with view cameras. Shooting with a view camera, my belt pouch holds my spot meter, a dusting brush, spare battery for the meter, and a torpedo level.

To David Wilson, watch for the last installment at the end of the week. The "Responsiveness" of a camera is probably impossible to define or quantify, at least now in the digital age compared to a Leica M4, but it's important. Sadly, there's no way to find out whether a digital camera is responsive to your needs without doing an extensive, and intensive, trial. B&H has a very generous return policy if you don't like your purchase, but they do have limits, so if I decide I don't like it after 3,000 captures...

---Carl

Thank you Carl, and thank you Mike for hosting these articles.

For some reason, this camera seems to be 'the right one', combining the street smart non-dslr form factor with operational smoothness and pictorial competence.

I also want to thank Carl for writing a review that is not about listing every feature and capability, and every missing feature and capability, then scoring it on the sum. Carl, thank goodness, seems to be writing about a camera in hand, and the actual needs of that hand when making the specific, purposeful images that he needs to get. Such a focus is clean and clear, and enormously helpful.

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