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Friday, 22 November 2013


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You're right about this Carl. When I recently looked at an ISO 3200 image from the Olympus E-PL5 I thought wow, that's better than film ever was. But on the other hand, when I looked at some ISO 200 film shots from my OM-2N I thought yes, there's grain, but it looks so much nicer than digital noise...

You sensor observations are consistent with my own with my Olympus EM1. I'm not as used to the increased DR. On sunny days it looks great, but on cloudy days (or low contrast shots in general) it can take a little more massaging to get the look I'm used to with my older cameras.


Thanks for the useful comments on the GX7 minus all the numbers, as they are available in abundance elsewhere. I was surprised to see your name on the byline, I associate your work much more with big negatives than m4/3!

Clearly the convenience, ability to use a staggering array of glass, and the ever improving IQ continue to expand the appeal of this smaller-sensor format.

It is especially nice to hear that Panasonic continues to tweak more DR out of these (relatively) small sensors. I shoot an Olympus E-PL1 and things have gotten to the point that I think its time to invest in one of the generation of m4/3 bodies hitting the street now.

Do you primarily compose with the EVF or do you use the display as well?

Looking forward to Part II, thanks for contributing your thoughts here at TOP.

-BC, Austin TX

Thanks for an interesting article.

I too started my µ-4/3 migration with the GF1; going through a few models until ending up with the G3 (and GX1). I don't agree that the G3 isn't an improvement noise-wise compared to GF1. I never used the GF1 above ISO 1600, and found ISO 1600 a bit too noise, usually stopping at ISO 800. I find that the G3 is usable up to ISO 3200 and have no problem with ISO 1600. It might be that the G3 has more DR at the higher ISO, so the noise just looks less?

I borrowed the GX7 last weekend and I too found it to be big improvement image-wise. I think will be able to use it at ISO 6400, when I buy mine. Another big improvement for me, is that it gets the white balance much better indoors, where I need the high ISO.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series.


An excellent start and I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the series. I currently have a pair of G3 bodies and was happy with them, but your observations on the dynamic range of the GX7 vs. the G3 have acted like a shot of starting fluid on my G.A.S. Thanks!

Thanks for the notes, Carl. I was sorely tempted by this camera due mainly to its articulating lcd AND evf, two features that I find very desirable. (Tilting lcds on my NEX 7, RX100II, and E-M5 have become utterly indispensable to me.) Ultimately, however, I decided to pass and leave the micro four-thirds format exclusively to my E-M5. But if I was starting from scratch with the format the GX7 is certainly the best value for performance and portability in micro four-thirds today.

I find the marketing description of "retro styling" on the GX7 bewildering, don't you? Its features are about as far from "retro" as you can get. It seems that any cameras that don't look like an slr or telephone are being called "retro" these days.

I agree with Tom. I remember moving from a Nikon D50 where I spent most of my time at ISO 1600 to a GF1 and being disappointed with the image quality at anything above ISO 800. The G3 has been a huge improvement in low lighting conditions, and I'm very happy to use it up to ISO 3200.

I'm surprised you didn't see an improvement with the G3. Perhaps we take very different sorts of pictures.

Carl, thank you - I'm looking foward to your next installment!

Hey everyone, flaky internet connection here in NYC. I probably won't get to comments till Monday. Just a quick note, if it goes through, that I'm not surprised people have different reactions to noise comparisons between cameras. It's not a binary comparison. There's how much, but then the character or texture, and how that relates to specific pictures. Individual reactions are important. Also, I seldom need to use really high ISO and tend to just take a look with a new camera just in case I ever need to go above 800 or so.

Have you tried a 6400 print from this yet? They're simply astoundingly good. I also shoot a Leica M typ240 and I have to admit this little camera produces holds its own in comparison to it. It has similarly awesome image quality and more importantly is a delightful camera to use - just like its bigger brother.

I'l be interested in your handling discussion -- I have two of these cameras, and I have some observations, not universally good, although I'm not sure how I would fix the problems...or even if they can be fixed. I do like them more than any other cameras I've used, including Leicas. My D800 mostly sits on a shelf, to be be used only for specific projects. I also think that Nikon and Canon are crazy to sit on their hands...they need to create similar systems. Soon.

I have pretty much decided on buying one due to its handling (and, of course the absolutely mandatory tiltable EVF), design, focus performance, and other improvements. Everything seems just right on the ones I have handled. A little too good to be true, I suppose.

It is very nice to hear that the sensor has so improved. 1600 was pushing it hard on the Olympus E-P3, and my older Nikon DSLRs weren't much better. And improved dynamic range---oops, exposure range---is something that was sorely needed.

I remember moving from a Nikon D50 where I spent most of my time at ISO 1600 to a GF1 and being disappointed with the image quality at anything above ISO 800. The G3 has been a huge improvement in low lighting conditions

I have been waiting for a GX7 to appear at my local brick-and-mortar reseller to appear on its premises.This happened last night. I bought it. I have been using m43 for the last 4 years, beside my main Nikon gear (GF1, EPL1, GH2 versus D700/800). The many reviews I read online, including this last one by Carl, had made it clear it was what we had been waiting for: a small, compact, higly functional street camera. Well, insofar since i got it in my hands it really looks to be such a camera. The most amazing feature? The ABSOLUTELY SILENT electronic shutter, Amazing. Zero sound. Nil. Nada. Insofar you shoot at full lens aperture. Get one!

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