Here's one example of a perfect camera outfit.
The new Panasonic GX7 is a terrific mirrorless camera that caused an all-too-brief sensation when it came out because it was such a huge improvement on its immediate predecessors. It was quickly overshadowed by rivals, however, and now tends to get overlooked—unfairly, in my opinion. One result of that is that its price has come down and it now offers relatively high value among premium mirrorless cameras—less than $750 for the body as of this writing. That's still a lot of money, but it's less than the Fujifilm X-E2 ($900), virtually the same as the somewhat older OM-D E-M5, and much less than the Olympus OM-D E-M1 ($1,250). The Fujifilm X-T1 I've been writing about lately costs $1,300, which, let's face it, is not chump change—you could do very well in DSLRs for that much scratch.
One big advantage of the GX7 is its articulated finder eyepiece. I never had an opinion about this feature until I used the VF-2 on the Ricoh GXR that I reviewed a few years ago, when I discovered that I really liked it. The biggest downside of the GX7, on the other hand, in comparison to the Olympii, is that the IBIS (in-body image stabilization) isn't as effective—but see below.
For a "perfect outfit"—perfect general-purpose outfit, that should be—I'd pair it with the lovely Panasonic Lumix G 20mm ƒ/1.7 II Asph. prime lens, long a favorite for being a perfect combination of small size, fast speed and beautiful image quality, and the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12–35mm ƒ/2.8 Asph., a fine premium-quality zoom with very appealing properties that's been a bit of a sleeper even in the Micro 4/3 world. What's most often said of it by owners is that it costs a lot—but is worth it.
(If you're buying the GX7 and the 20mm at the same time you'll save by buying them together.)
What I'd do is use the small, light, faster lens as an easily portable walking-around lens for snapshooting, grab shots, and family pics, leaving the zoom at home, and have the zoom in reserve for when I get to do serious shooting or have a specific job for it. Best of both worlds.
With the smaller lens, the IBIS of the GX7 (which gives about one stop of low-light help) is there to help out a bit. The big zoom, however, has O.I.S., Panasonic's in-lens image stabilization—which, in Panasonic's scheme of things, always takes precedence over IBIS when both are present. And Panasonic itself even states that O.I.S., which users report gives more like 2–3 stops of camera-steadying assistance, is superior to its own IBIS. An ideal situation, really.
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Featured Comments from:
Ricardo Silva Cordeiro: "I think that if I could only have one camera it would be a GX7. Feature-wise, it's the most well balanced camera for my needs. But I preferred (and thankfully could) have a set of four different cameras, each one that excels at a specific task (speed, fun, low-light, and sharpness). But if the GX7 prices drop like they did with the GX1 I might see one in my future, it's a tempting camera, specially after seeing the promotional videos with the Magnum photographers Thomas Dworzak and Ian Berry:
Andrew Johnston [No relation—at least not recently. —Ed.]: "The GX7 has rapidly become my favourite and primary camera, to the extent that I am starting to think about dumping my Canon DSLRs. It's fast, handles beautifully and the image quality is superb up to ISO 6400. I prefer zoom lenses, and I have two 'normal' options, the superb but quite chunky 12–35mm, and the diminutive 14–42mm 'power zoom,' which is no larger than the 20mm pancake, for when I want to wander with a genuinely small combo."
Steve Rosenblum: "This is my walk around kit exactly. I will also sometimes throw in the Olympus 45mm ƒ/1.8 lens if I anticipate the need to shoot portraits.
"All of the lenses are fantastic. The GX7 fits my hands well and the controls are where they need to be and are well thought out. The entire kit of body and three lenses weighs just 2 pounds. The Panasonic 12–35mm ƒ/2.8 lens weighs just 10.75 ounces! At the suggestion of Carl Weese I bought the ONA Bowery bag to carry this kit around in which is beautifully made, comfortable to carry, and doesn't scream 'Camera Bag!' I still cannot get over how light and compact this kit is compared to the equivalent Canon gear I used to schlep around with me. It's a real revelation. No more 30-pound backpacks! As you said in your last post, we are lucky now to be shooting in a time where digital camera and lenses have all gotten really good. This gear is a pleasure to use. Finally!"