Panasonic GX7 review mk2


wonglp

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#1
Was requested to do an alternative review of Panasonic GX7 mainly from a micro 43rd user perspective. Thought it might also be interesting to see how it stacks up to the Olympus E-P5, which is the highest end Pen for micro Four thirds, which GX7 form factor/features pit against directly.

For those who are new to micro four thirds system of mirrorless interchangeable lens system, you can take a look at this website, by far, it's the system that has the most lenses to date as both Panasonic & Olympus bodies can use either brand of lenses (which is >40 now! and still expanding), some are repetitions but nonetheless speaks alot of the format which is the first mirrorless interchangeable lens system that's growing from strength to strength, since 4 yrs ago.

There are several series in Panasonic Series, GF/G/GH & GX.

GF - No frills MFT body, no EVF, no grip.
G - With EVF and grip
GH - Best video capabilities and still combined and grip, GH3 is Splash/dustproof

GX7 is the premium line MFT camera which retains a small enough (and nice looks) form factor with grip unlike G/GH series which resembles more of a mini dslr. It's an upgrade from it's predecessor GX1, as to why there's a jump from 1-7, perhaps it's to show the premium upgrade in features from GF6/G6 to garner this naming. A quick look at the sleek camera!


 

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wonglp

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#2
Some of the features that's interesting on this cam:

- Tiltable 90degree EVF, first of it's kind, 2.764Million dots, 100% FOV, Magnification of 1.39x / 0.7x (35 mm camera equivalent)
- 1/8000s shutter
- silent mode (electronic shutter mode with AF assist lamp off)
- tiltable 80/40degree Touch LCD screen, 100% FOV,
- fat comfortable grip
- High speed burst shooting (electronic shutter mode) - 40fps!!! lower res files though
- First in body stabilizer as effective as it's mega OIS for any Panasonic body
- Focus Peaking
- Wifi & NFC with Panasonic Image App
- 7 buttons customizable on menu
 

wonglp

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#3
After shooting >1000 shots over 3 weeks, here's some personal findings summary of findings what I like or think there's room for improvements. These again are personal findings for using it hands-on for 3 weeks, I resisted reading manual to try exploring the features bit by bit. Stay on the review to read more why :)

What's good?
- Tiltable EVF, rangefinder design. Brilliant thinking to keep form factor nice (unlike in EP5, the VF4 while brilliant does make EP5 less appealing, and small bags is always a problem with it on)
- Grip, by far, it's the best in any mirrorless I've used of such form factor, it's fat, quite rounded, and yet, doesn't look kill the looks
- Colors, GX7 has much better colors (i've tried Gf1 & G3 before). Certainly this is subjective, though I would still prefer Olympus/Fuji colors. Panasonic has come a long way in out of camera jpegs with GX7, much better than GF1 days!
- Silent mode, changes mechanical shutter to electronic. Mostly I'm on this mode. Unless shooting landscapes with long exposure using silent mode limits it to 1sec.
- Wifi, while can be gimmicky, there's one particular feature using wifi which is bulb shooting with the app without cable release! Of course other features like saving the pictures, remote shooting, etc are there.
- Excellent IQ, these days really it's hard to find a bad camera, ISO would say it's comparable to Olympus EM5/EP5 which are very good IQ as well.
- HDR, I use this quite a bit and really like this feature. Touch on more later.

What's not so good, or can be improved?
- EVF Eye sensor placement, too sensitive and should be placed on the right, and it's rather sensitive (even when set to Low)
- Some banding with speeds faster than 1/60s at certain conditions, checking with Panasonic on this.
- Touch & snap setting doesn't stay stay after power off, can't find an option around it.
- IBIS not available for video mode

I may find out more good & not so good as we go, will edit as I go along.
 

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wonglp

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#4
My boy's reaction when he saw the GX7 - shell shocked, that's how good this camera is :bsmilie:

Taken with 20mm @ F1.7, ISO1250, 1/60s, ooc jpeg, standard colors. I realized if vivd colors is used, doesn't really work with the skintones

 

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wonglp

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#5
The rear of the camera, tiltable 80 bottom, 40 top degrees. Buttons easy to press, good spacing as well.



From the top, the movie record button, mode dial and control dials front and rear. One thing though is the mode dial is rather stiff, designed to prevent easy changing of modes, however, sometimes I find myself turning off the power switch as they are placed closely. There's 3 customization mode one can set, this makes it easier than doing on Olympus cameras.

 

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wonglp

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#6
Which do you prefer? Panasonic GX7 vs Olympus EP5+VF4 (EVF). One is sleek modern looks, one oozes classic. The VF4 does stick out very much, the bag behind is one I often use, but mostly I will detach and leave VF4 at home as it's just takes up space on small bags, and there's no compartment to store it unless i bring a small pouch.



From the top. Panasonic GX7+ 20m Mk2 vs Olympus E-P5+20mm Mk1. The on/off switch on GX7 can be easily turn on inside bag, less so on EP5.

 

ed9119

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#7
Tried out the GX7 panorama mode today in Dynamic Monochrome mode (you can set other color modes)

I used a 14-42 kit zoom from Panny



Zoomed in slightly the same scene

 

ed9119

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#8
with my bicycle in the foreground



and spotted a Nat Geo exhibition going on until November (50 Greatest Photographs)
turned the color setting to 'Vivid'
 

ed9119

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#9
JPEGs out of camera for panorama mode are about 6 to 7.5mb in size
and 8100 x 1920 pix in size
so lots of data to work with
 

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titus1984

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Looks good! esp the panorama mode. Can it use auto iso under S and M mode while using legacy lenses?
 

ed9119

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#11
to make sure yesterday was no fluke shot I did another round of the GX-7's panorama function this morning and this evening at different parts of the Marina Bay area



at the long end of the kit zoom , the camera becomes sensitive to uneven or too fast panning.... especially when aiming up .... this image above took me about 3 to 4 takes before the GX-7 stopped 'scolding' me ha ha (essentially it just stops and tells me that I am panning too fast or unevenly )

 

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wonglp

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#12
Looks good! esp the panorama mode. Can it use auto iso under S and M mode while using legacy lenses?
S yes, M no. There's 2 levels of focus peaking with 3 colors (blue, yellow, green) btw.
 

ed9119

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#13
in Panorama mode, I was able to still adjust EV +/- but the camera automatically selects ISO

these evening images were shot at Auto ISO 3200 if i remember correctly , a little noisy but the Auto WB did a good job
Shutter speed was 1/100sec if i remember correctly .... so yes, these were shot handheld







below image slightly cropped on both ends but with more than 8000pixels on the long side and a giantic 8mb file in Jpeg, I had loads of leeway to play with during post processing
 

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titus1984

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#14
S yes, M no. There's 2 levels of focus peaking with 3 colors (blue, yellow, green) btw.
I am sold man.. I can't do auto ISO with legacy lens hence sold my gx1. If gx7 can, I will get this over the em1. The panoramic mode looks so good too
 

wonglp

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#15
I am sold man.. I can't do auto ISO with legacy lens hence sold my gx1. If gx7 can, I will get this over the em1. The panoramic mode looks so good too
Hmm, just tried S mode again with Samyang fisheye manual lens, auto ISO while available didn't work , it stays at ISO200 no matter what speed was set. Let me check with panasonic.
 

titus1984

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#16
Hmm, just tried S mode again with Samyang fisheye manual lens, auto ISO while available didn't work , it stays at ISO200 no matter what speed was set. Let me check with panasonic.
That's what I experience for gx1. It does not make senses to me for implementing auto ISO in such a way. I don't think they can change anything.
 

keithwee

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That's what I experience for gx1. It does not make senses to me for implementing auto ISO in such a way. I don't think they can change anything.
Is it because the Samyang does not communicate with the body electronically , hence the ISO stays fixed at ISO 200 ?

I'm just throwing possibilities here and of course may be wrong.
 

wonglp

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#20
Is it because the Samyang does not communicate with the body electronically , hence the ISO stays fixed at ISO 200 ?

I'm just throwing possibilities here and of course may be wrong.
Hmm, not sure what it's thinking, certainly with m43 native AF lens, it does change. On Olympus Pen, the ISO would change if the speed is faster with manual lenses. With manual lenses, I only use Aperture mode, as the shutter speed would be adjusted automatically to compensate.
 

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