Panasonic announces their GX7 Micro Four Thirds camera – my thoughts

Written by Gary on August 1st, 2013

As an owner of the wonderful Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Panasonic GF-1 and a previous owner of a Panasonic GH-1, and I am actually quite excited with this new Micro Four Thirds camera from Panasonic.

 
GX7 rear

It is the most Olympus-like of all the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras to date which pleases me as I am mainly a photographer not a videographer.

For the 1st time in a Panasonic camera, the Panasonic GX7 boasts in-camera image stabilisation plus a fast flash sync speed of 1/320th sec, and to top it off, a top shutter speed of 1/8000th sec – all designed to make it more versatile for shooting wide aperture lenses either in bright sunlight or in low light conditions (the AF is even meant to work down to -4 EV).

The body is compact and is said to feel well built with its magnesium alloy body, and at last we have a compact Micro Four Thirds body with a built-in EVF although annoyingly it does protrude from the rear which makes it that much less pocketable. In addition to a hotshoe, it even finds room for a popup flash as well as a 3″ tiltable touch screen.

The built-in EVF is a tiltable 2.3M dot field sequential LCD EVF with 0.7x magnification but rather short 17.5mm eyepoint which may be an issue for those wearing glasses. It should give excellent colour rendition but being a field sequential type EVF, it will have some tearing although it should be better than previous Panasnic EVFs.

It has a raft of lovely features for the enthusiast and beginner alike.

Fast AF for stationary subjects at least, a AF/MF switch lever, good manual focus assist options with 3 level focus peaking and PIP magnified view mode – I presume image stabilisation can be activated in this mode but no mention has been made of this as yet.

A silent electronic shutter mode which means it will be great for classical music concerts, speeches, weddings, etc where camera noise can be very intrusive.

Fast burst rate comparable to the Olympus E-M5 giving 4.2fps with AF and 9fps with single AF.

The HD video capabilities are excellent allowing 1080 HD video in either MP4 or AVCHD formats at 60p/50p/24p with the latter at a very reasonable  28Mbps video quality. There is no external mic input which may annoy the odd user most will be happy with the inbuilt stereo mic or use an external sound recorder for the best sound quality.

It has NFC and WiFi capabilities for control by smartphones which will open up new possibilities and when combined with in-camera image editing and creative filters should make a lovely travel camera indeed.

Size comes in at 402g 122.6 wide x 70.7 high x 43.3mm deep.

Perhaps the main drawback for many will be the price – at £819/$A1249 body only, it is more expensive than the Olympus E-M5.

I am expecting Olympus to be announcing a similar styled camera with built-in EVF – hopefully one that does not protrude as much, and one that will have phase contrast AF capability for faster AF with moving subjects and with the Four Thirds lenses.

In the meantime, the Panasonic GX-7 looks like it will be very attractive indeed!

 

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2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Janne says:

    Well, I had already pretty much decided to get an Olympus E-P5, but this one makes me think again. Everything else seems to be about the same, but the included EVF certainly sets Panasonic apart. And at the same time I am so disappointed how the EVF sticks out so much. I have my E-P2 with 20mm pancake lens with me all the time as it’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. Tried the same with E-M5, but that was hopeless. Now I’m worried the GX-7’s viewfinder will turn out to be quite literally the sticking point for it. Also I think lately Olympus has been in a league of it’s own when it comes to straight out of camera jpeg quality, but that’s something that still remains to be seen with GX-7. In all other aspects, an Olympus E-PL5 would be quite enough for me and my budget, but without ISO 100, I’d really need faster shutter speeds than the 1/4000th, as I really like the image quality when shooting wide open.

    • admin says:

      Hi Janne, I agree that the EVF on the GX7 could be an issue with pocketability and for this reason, an EPL5 or EPL6 might be the better option, and then you can always add on a VF4 viewfinder for when you really want it. When shooting outdoors just use a polarising filter or a ND4 filter to allow you to shoot wide open in bright sunlight.