Adventures in Morocco with the Lumix G7
By Jannik Pietzsch
As a Christmas present to myself, I got the new Lumix G7 after much, much deliberation. I wanted a good quality mirrorless camera, but didn’t want to spend Sony A7x or Fuji money. And since Sony has such a bad lens selection for their APS-C cameras, I was left with Olympus and Lumix.
I first got the EM10, although it turned out to be way too small for my liking and had a defective lens mount, which resulted in lenses not being recognized. The pins seemingly didn’t match up properly. Lumix then just released the G7 and had some great Christmas deals and the rest is history. Besides the kit lens, I purchased the new Lumix 25mm 1.7 and the, by now classic, Olympus 45mm 1.8.
So first I shot some street and landscape shots in my current home town, Cork in Ireland. All the photos have been edited in a basic manner, just doing slight adjustments in Lightroom of 5-10 min per photo. I got into photography through the film industry, this explains why I chose to shoot a lot of my photos in a wide-screen format. Oh, how I wish there were was modern panorama camera.
So I snapped a few images and was readily convinced that I had made the right decision, a very relieving moment, as I had gotten rid of my G1 and GF1 for good reasons. The G7 is just not comparable to those cameras, thankfully. Even over the G6, the image quality might not have improved that much, but just through small changes, like removing the zoom stalk and removing the iA button, it has made this camera so much more serious. If I could change a few things about it though, I would wish for the build quality and feel of the EM1, dual SD card slots and buttons which aren’t quite as flush to the body. Otherwise I really like this camera, it also has a much better EVF to the X-E1, a much better menu system than the Olympus or even Nikon, and so many customizable buttons. This is also my first camera with touch screen and wifi. I always assumed the touch screen capability to be a gimmick but I have to admit, it is actually really practical. As cool as wifi is, I feel like it isn’t quite worked out yet. Maybe NFC with its quick connection is a better alternative, but I found myself rather opting to do a batch transfer to my phone at the end of the day instead of doing a few quick transfers throughout the day. But it is clearly one of the greatest additions to modern cameras.
But off to Morocco!
The camera held up very well with the bright sunlight and all the fine dust. And nailing the perfect exposure is so easy nowadays with the EVF. Couldn’t be easier. Although with hind sight, a ND filer would have been great to shoot at other apertures than f8 or f11. I wonder why only the X100 series has a built in ND filter. Surely it can’t take up that much space?
The 25mm 1.7 really impressed me as well. The focus is so quick and accurate, in comparison the Olympus 45mm felt like a bit of a slouch. I always had a hood on so I had no problem with flare, which this lens is really prone to. But otherwise this lens is such a no brainer if you don’t want to spend the extra money on the 25mm 1.4. I really couldn’t recommend this lens more for Lumix bodies. With my experience and what I have heard though, the focus is much slower and very inaccurate at medium-close distances on Olympus bodies. Another cool feature I really enjoyed is that one can protect the screen by folding it against the body, then just chuck it into your backpack and you’re good to go.
It’s difficult to write about this camera properly without sounding like a salesman, because I did recognize the limitations of the camera before I bought it and did take this into consideration. If I take a step back and just have a look at the system as a whole, I would have to say that I would love to have better low light performance. Not at an A7s level but having a clean result at 3200 and 6400 iso would be awesome.
Another annoying aspect is that infinity is reached by 3m on most lenses. Now, I am so absolutely not at all into shallow depth of field, not even a little bit. But I do wish sometimes to be able to blur the background a little bit when photographing a subject at 5 or 6m away.
I also knew the camera’s image quality wouldn’t be as brilliant as my old X-E1 or as a new A7x but what I wanted was a camera with quick and accurate auto focus, which wasn’t too bad in filming and wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. Added features such as an EVF and wifi were also really welcome. I ended up getting everything I wanted, there’s a very solid lens set up and there’s now even the possibility of getting solid but cheap-er prime lenses. I think next on my list is the Samyang 12mm 2.0 but I am open to any suggestions
This camera allowed me to have a lot of fun. I ended up photographing way more than usual on my trips because everything just worked. Only 1% of my photos had missed focus and most of the time that was my fault, all were perfectly exposed and I never had any issue because the menu is just so easy to use. This is how it should be. And I think the image quality isn’t actually that bad, especially with a few tweaks. It’s actually really decent.
The camera has clearly matured a lot, and a lot of people claim that Lumix needs to up its game because it is still stuck at 16mp. Now personally, I do not need more than 16mp, but I would much rather prefer some more low light performance and maybe the in body stabilization of the GX8 / EM1?