Gigs with the GX7 By Keiron

Gigs with the GX7

By Keiron

I decided at the beginning of this year to take the big step from a cellphone camera to a camera that couldn’t make calls and check Facebook (although the Samsung cameras are blurring those lines). After a lot of research (mostly on your site) I settled on the micro four thirds system based on the size of the hardware and the quality of the images and when I saw the Panasonic GX7 I knew it was the camera for me. Size was really important as I do a lot of backpacking and there was no way I could carry a DSLR system with me on my travels.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Here is my Ninja GX7 next to the classic Olympus Trip 35 and it is crazy to think that both cameras have pretty much the same equivalent focal length. I purposely make my GX7 look this way to make people less aware of me taking pictures and also to reduce the chance of thieves taking a liking to my gear.

I thought I would be a travel/street shooter as that was generally what I used my phone for but as I am a massive music fan I soon realised that I could take some fairly decent pictures of gigs. Due to the fantastic size I started to sneak my GX7 into gigs and take flash free pictures of the smaller concerts that I attended and I must admit I was amazed at the quality. My set up for the GX7 was the Panny 20mm 1.7 on the body and in my coat pocket and this would be great for close to the stage shots, and then I would have the Oly 45mm f1.8 in my pocket for further away scenes.

I found that both lenses compliment each other as the 20mm gives you the “I am in the action” type shots and with the focus assist lamp off the band, and fellow fans, hardly notice you taking pictures.

The Wild Feathers playing at Paradiso in Amsterdam. Shot with the 20mm: f2.2, 1/60 sec at ISO 2500

Picture 3

The 45mm on the other hand allows you to be a bit further back gives you quite flattering band moments which I really enjoy. The swivel touch screen on the GX7 really allows you to shoot way above your eye line and still focus and compose the shot properly, it really is such a great camera.

TenTemPies at Melkweg in Amsterdam. Shot with the 45mm: f1.8, 1/125 sec at 3200

Picture 4

I do not think many photographers would ever recommend Micro Four Thirds as a concert set up and to be honest if I went into photography for concerts I would have aimed for the Sony A7 line or the overly discounted Nikon D600. I find that on the GX7 ISO1600 is very usable and up until ISO3200 you start getting grain and detail loss but with some editing afterwards you can rescue the pictures quite well.

TenTemPies at Melkweg in Amsterdam. This picture was massively over exposed but with some lightroom magic it came out ok. Shot with the 45mm: f1.8, 1/125 sec at 3200

Picture 5

Lighting at concerts will always prove quite a challenge and I find that it forces you to shoot in full manual and using manual focus (magnification and peaking on the GX7 is big help here). The photos are not perfect and the grain can be annoying if you are used to well-lit street shots but at the end of the day live music should be dirty, raw and in the moment so there is no reason why the photos can’t be as well.

The Wild Feathers playing at Paradiso in Amsterdam. Shot with the 20mm: f2.5, 1/50 sec at ISO 3200.

Picture 6

Even though I would not recommend the system for this kind of shooting I have been very impressed with the results and the versatility of the camera has really shone through.

Both bands are great and you should check their music out:

The Wild Feathers

Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns and Preston Wimberly, grew up steeped in music; playing solo gigs, touring with local bands and working at venues. The four guys came together in Austin in 2010 through coincidence, mutual friends, and a shared love of the classics: Petty, Dylan, Cash, The Band, Allman Bros, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. They immediately began playing together and became The Wild Feathers. The young band spent the next year writing and defining their sound and touring around the country, sharing the stage with Delta Spirit, Surfer Blood and The Heavy, even landing an opening spot on Paul Simon’s 2011 fall tour.


TenTemPiés is an international collective of musicians based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Their music is a powerful and innovative blend of flavours, mixing Latin Rock with Reggae and Ska with an Amsterdam twist: Damsko Mestizo!

Have a great day,


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  1. Hi Keiron-
    I am a Product Manager with Lowepro, we design and manufacture camera bags. I am doing research on mirrorless camera bags and would like to get some of your insights. If you are interested, I would like to contact you.
    Danielle Salone

  2. Fantastic photos, Keiron. I have only shot live music once or twice but maybe I should do more of it (though I’d want to focus on jazz for some reason). You definitely know what you’re doing and you could be mistaken for having ten years’ experience. I’ve seen live music photographed by experienced photographers and they don’t always do a great job. The only photo here which I might question is the last one – not because of the scene but because of the awkward composition. Otherwise it’s great.

    You wrote that “I do not think many photographers would ever recommend Micro Four Thirds as a concert set up and to be honest if I went into photography for concerts I would have aimed for the Sony A7 line or the overly discounted Nikon D600.” Well, now you know that you can recommend the smaller sensors. 😉

    Before mirrorless cameras were mature – or before they existed – one had no choice: DSLR or 35mm SLR. But now, I have no reason whatsoever to use a DSLR, whether I’m photographing a table, a drop of water or an actor. I think most people will have this POV eventually. It’s just logical, IMHO.

    I hope to see more of your work here, as well as your considered opinions of lens choices, including any adapted lenses you use. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks for the feedback Karim, it is remarkable what the crop sensors produce and once you start printing the photos you love them more and more.

      I am really happy with the GX7 so the future will involve building up a lens collection and I feel that M43 is really moving to a great place where you have many options for similar focal lengths. A great example of this would be all the primes between 12mm and 25mm and we are really able to choose the one that best suits us, and our pocket, the best.

      Have a great day.

    • Thanks ATP

      I never want to feel like I cannot take my camera out with me due to the possibility of theft and it really helps when taking pictures of people in the street because a lot of the time they do not even think it is digital. I actually just got back from a trip in India and some people asked if it was a Lomo camera and a few times I took pictures of people and when I went to show they the picture they were shocked to see an LCD on the back and then asked me to not share or sell it.

      Importantly, I have found that you can actually colour in all the logos and text with permanent marker (or the one that I have that says permanent) and it comes clean eventually so nothing I have done has had lasting damage to the body which makes me sleep better at night.

  3. I use m43 cameras to shoot concerts and could not be happier. In fact I eventyally sold all my FF équipment and never looked back. Try the olympus 75mm, this is one of the best lens I ever used.

    • Hi Alain

      I actually borrowed the 75mm after I had the GX7 for a few weeks and I must admit, it was pretty amazing. I found that it is quite an awkward focal length for my type of photography (street/travel) but that was before I started photographing concerts and now that you have bought it up I think it may also be a great lens for that.

      I think I may borrow it again to try in a concert and maybe add it to my Christmas wishlist 🙂

      Thank you

    • Thanks Jens, maybe we call it a tie between man and machine because it is a really great piece if equipment and I am still very new to photography.

      Have a great day!

  4. Wow pictures. I have a GF6 that I’m pretty happy with. Yes micro four thirds are very capable. Would love a GX7 one day. Thanks for your inspiration.

    • Thanks K.W. Mui.

      In my opinion I think with the same lenses I doubt you will be able to see much difference between the G6 and GX7. The differences will lie in the form factor, image stabilisation and a few software tricks but the whole system is really great.

      That said, I think every mirrorless system is churning out amazing hardware nowadays and we are really going to have to resort to petty differences like brand preference, overly technical benchmarks and other photographer’s comments when comparing cameras. I think Steve’s review of the Fuji X-T1 really showed this when he said something along the lines of “this is a superb camera, but I already own superb cameras”. We live in a great photography age with many companies producing really great gear and I think the customer is really wining.

      But… and I have to say this… I really love Micro Four Thirds for their lens selection. When you take into account their size, price and image quality they really stand tall…

  5. Sometimes grain can add to the mood of gig photos. The cover of London Calling by The Clash is an awesome gig shot! Blown out highlights, crushed blacks and more grain than gx7 at 6400. M4/3 is good for gigs IMHO. Great shots by the way.

    • Hi Scott, thanks for the compliment.

      I do find that we are generally over critical of most of the shots we take and I keep having to remind myself that the best shots out there are not tack sharp and blown up to fit on a bus. I think seeing them on our screens is great but it allows us to constantly look at them at 100% crop and judge each and every shot on quality.

      Imaging Resource (sorry if this is a conflict Steve and Brandon) has a great bit at the end of the GX7 review that tells you what size prints you can make at each ISO setting and that is generally conservative. With any camera you should print your shots and you will be amazed at how they come out.

      My favourite music shots are rough and grainy as hell so it is hilarious that I feel I need take pictures more sharp than the ones I look up to. Maybe we all should crank up our ISO settings and chuck an ND filter on our lenses to get us to come back down to earth a little 🙂

  6. Hi Keiron, I love your pictures. I have the exact same GX7 in black with the 20mm f1.7 that I bought two days ago on sale, brand new, for 499€! I have only had limited time to play with it but I have already done some comparisons with my Nikon D600. It’s true that as the ISO increases the grain starts getting visible a fair bit sooner than on the D600, which is to be expected, but I found it quite usable up to ISO 3200 with some post processing. Your ISO 3200 images, especially the last one, look quite clean yet with decent detail. Did you process all of them in Lightroom?

    I use Capture One Pro 7 and in general I find the results superior to what I get with Lightroom with my D600, I haven’t tried it much with the GX7 yet. How do you find the image quality of the 20mm 1.7 compared with the 45mm? I am looking at my next lens to buy and the 45mm 1.8 is high up on my list.

      • Hi Frank. I was just really lucky, I work in Paris, La Défense, and I took my D600 with me to work on Wednesday to test the 24-70 lens at my local FNAC. As I stood waiting for the salesman to help me I saw the box with the GX7 amongst a bunch of other sale items (GM1 for 399 etc.). I decided on the spot to buy the GX7, it was just too big a bargain. The week before they had the silver and black display model for the same price, but I hesitated and the same afternoon it was sold. No regrets though as I prefer the black and in addition mine is brand new, unboxed and at the same price. The regular FNAC price here is 749, which is still less than what I see them on the Internet for.

        If I manage to find another one at 499 I can buy it and let you know.

      • Hi Frank, I sent a long reply yesterday but it seems that they didn’t accept it, maybe because I mentioned a dealer’s name in the reply. To make a long story short, I was very lucky, I work in Paris, La Défense and took my D600 to work with me in order to test a few lenses at a shop just around the corner from the office. While waiting for the salesman to help me, I noticed a box with sale items and in the box was one brand new GX7 on sale. It was the only one though. The week before they had a silver one with the 20mm lens on sale at the same price, but it was the demo model so I hesitated and that same afternoon it was sold.

        When the opportunity came around for a second time I jumped at it, I prefer the black version and in addition, mine is brand new, unboxed, not a demo model.

        I haven’t seen it anyweher else for this sort of price. The regular price at this dealer is 749 euros, which is still less than what most places sell it for.

    • Hi James

      I edit all my pictures with Lightroom at the moment and I have found that I can take pictures and then process them all within 45 mins straight after a concert which I quite like. I find that if I shoot pictures and don’t edit/file/upload them soon after I tend to get a big backlog and then get put off with the thought of sorting them out so I am in a bit of a routine at the moment. I did promise myself to trial the other packages out there to see what they are like when i have some time off.

      As for the lens quality, I think the 45mm is better than the 20mm but the 20mm is so good that you do not really mind at all, you really choose them based on the focal length instead of any quality differences. The big difference is that the 45mm focuses way faster! If you are used to the 20mm the focusing comment seems strange but there is a noticeable difference between them. I think that the pani 20mm and the Oly 45mm are a must own combo because at their price and size point they are just superb! I also bought a second hand pani 14mm f2.5 and there is a big quality drop there. I will generally only break out that lens out when I feel that the 20mm is not wide enough (which in reality is only probably 1% of the time). Luckily the 14mm is so tiny that carrying it around and not using it is never a problem, but given unlimited funds I would skip the 14mm and go straight for the Oly 12mm.

  7. Hi Keiron, I gather from your photo captions that you’re in the Netherlands. Can you recommend the best place/price to get a GX7 in Rotterdam ?

    • Hey Frank

      I tend to stay with Camera Nu (based in Urk but deliver everywhere) and Kamera Express (Rotterdam and Amsterdam) because of the great service and selection but you will pay about EUR599 for just the body.

      I have heard that they have slashed the prices of the GX7 in Australia so it may be an idea to just wait and watch for specials because there could be some new kit on the way and they may discount the GX7.

      It is a great camera though and hopefully I will be able to keep the gear envy away well into the future 🙂

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