A Panasonic GX7 and 20 1.7 II Update..still a great combo! By Steve Huff

A Panasonic GX7 and 20 1.7 II Update..still a great combo!

By Steve Huff

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Just a quick update for all of you Micro 4/3 shooters out there. As some of you know, I have been shooting with Olympus cameras for the past couple of years and LOVING them, specifically the wonderful E-M1. I also enjoyed the Panasonic GX7 when I reviewed it but for me it did not stick around because I was loving the Olympus E-M1 so much. Recently I came across a used Panasonic GX7 in black along with a 20 1.7 II lens and I have been shooting it here and there for the past two weeks. Nothing major, just enjoying it and having fun with it! The only way to be!

Snapped a quick shot of this couple on a chilly day in Sedona. The guy saw me and hammed it up but his girlfriend and dog did not 🙂 The GX7 and 20 1.7 II combo provides very sharp results. Click the images for larger and sharper view.

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After these two weeks I have grown to really enjoy the GX7 more and more. While it is quite a but different from the E-M1 in many ways, the image quality is just as good it seems, just a bit different. The Panasonic cameras always have a different color signature and many love Olympus for the colors and many love Panasonic for the higher contrast look of the files. I find the Panasonic files seem to have more drama..more edge.

ISO 3200 with the 20 1.7 II at 1.7. I used the in camera HC B&W for this one. 

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With the 20 1.7 II, the GX7 is a perfect walk around camera. Giving you a 40mm focal length magnification it is in between the popular 35mm and 50mm that many of us get stuck choosing between. With the 20, no need to choose, just go for the 40mm!

Around 6PM in Sedona AZ – deep colors here due to the fact that I dialed in some negative exposure compensation to richen up the red rocks and blue sky. 

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The GX7 in all black is pretty slick-looking. It looks more discreet than the silver and black version and is nice and light. I have also REALLY enjoyed the swivel EVF even though I am not a huge fan of the EVF quality or size. When compared to the new Fuji X-T1 EVF the GX7 looks tiny with off colors. But it does get the job done because as I have said, it really does not matter these days as ALL cameras can take a fantastic image.

Scorpion Hunting in my backyard at 8pm. These nasty little buggers come out when it gets dark and they hide in the crevices of the block fence. At night, with a backlight in hand it is easy to see them as they start to emerge for the backyard takeover. I’d guess there are probably 20-30 out there every night and one will make it into my house ever couple of weeks. I even had one under my blankets on my side of the bed last year. The sting of the Bark Scorpion is NASTY, they are the most venomous scorpion in the USA and the only one capable of causing DEATH. So much fun huh?

The GX7 and 20 1.7 II up close and personal…ISO 12,800, YES! 12,800 – f/2.8

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Today in 2014 there are so many awesome camera choices that ANYONE can get out there and enjoy photography, even with a lower budget, while getting super high quality images. Big money is not needed for truly spectacular image quality. Even though in todays fast paced tech world, the GX7 is already outdated to many, it is still a fantastic option for those wanting a simple, small, fast and high quality solution for their imaging needs. This camera and one lens would make a great family camera for all situations. Low light, good light, video, etc.

Add on the upcoming 15 1.7 and the delicious 42.5 Nocticron and you have a killer system that can do all kinds of neat tricks 🙂 But the 20mm 1.7 II is a gem. While not the fastest to focus it continues on with the legendary status that version one brought with it in a new shiny metal package. Overall, the GX7 is the first Panasonic I have really enjoyed since the amazing (for its time) GF1.

See the 20 1.7 II Review HERE

The black GX7 can be found at Amazon HERE

The 20 1.7 II can be found at Amazon HERE

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27 Comments

  1. Hi Steve,

    I currently shoot with a GF1 and the low light performance frustrates me. I have narrowed down my choices to the Fuji X-E2 and the GX7. The low light performance of the camera is mostly what I’m basing my decision on as both cameras have their pros and cons that against each other. Lens choice for me isn’t a big issue as I only plan to have a kit zoom and a 35mm equivalent of either system for now.
    My question is which system is easier to shoot with in low light and if one is worse then how much is the difference?

  2. Just wondering how you would rate the GX7 against the OMD em1 as I’m thinking of taking the plunge

  3. Hello Steve,

    “Panasonic for the higher contrast look of the files. I find the Panasonic files seem to have more drama..more edge”

    Would you mind putting a quick comparison between EM1 and GX7, if you have both.

    Cheers!

    • In the end it comes down to subjective judgement on output, I don’t see anything of better contrast drama or edge in comparison with the em1, objectively I see difference but not more or less. Personally I lean toward the olympus jpg output as I like the colours, but I would not suggest the em1 is better. I don’t personally see there is enough reason to swap one way or the other from the em1 or the gx7 once you have invested in a system, I don’t even see this line of reasoning as having much to do with photography. I recently saw some images taken on a GF1 that were exceptionally good photographs, better than many gx7 and em1 photographs I have seen on Flickr of late. I find the comparative analysis on this thread a bit fan boyish .

      • There is 100% a difference in output in color, contrast, AWB, etc. Also, the body itself is a HUGE difference from the E-M1 in use. The #1 thing to look for in a camera today is THE BODY, not the output as the output is excellent in all cameras today. ONce you find a body that is fast, easy to handle, has all of the features you need and the lenses to support it then you are on the way to being a happy shooter. Get a body that frustrates you and it will not be fun to use, nor inspiring. The E-M1 beats the GX7 in this dept easily.

        • Steve, I know I am late for the party, but I would like to say that I completely agree with the importance of getting the right body to enhance the complete photographic experience.

          I have a few cameras, Leica X1, X113, Fuji X100 (original LE version) and Fuji X-E1. I am already taking pictures of the X-E1 and lenses for eBay auction; I never got engaged with the camera, and the images while razor sharp, they simple look life-less, dull and sterile… maybe is just a reflection of the way I see the camera? My old GF-1/20mm combo files were way nicer, crude and gritty, but with lots of character, always reminded me the Digilux 2 output. I guess I will start considering the E-M1 for my stable. Both X´s are my keepers.

          Regards,
          Ricardo

  4. Do you have any plans to review the GH4? It would be interesting to hear what you think about its autofocus in comparison to the E-M1 and GX7, especially in low light.

  5. I bought the GX7 because it was the right camera for me, the EVF does annoy me a bit especially after using larger EVFs but I’m happy with my purchase regardless and I won’t be buying another camera for a good few years!

  6. Glad to see that you gave the GX7 a 2nd chance Steve, from what I’ve gathered from other reviews it’s one of those cameras that leave a modest 1st impression but that start to grow on you quite rapidly (maybe it’s because the default settings don’t do it justice). I waited for 4 years for Olympus to some day deliver something like it but it never happened, and then when the GX7 was released it was exactly what I needed, so my 1st impression was quite positive from the start. I don’t understand how anyone would consider the GX7 already outdated when it’s not even a year old yet, these cameras have fast paced production cycles but even then, it takes at least a year (+) for them to be replaced. Maybe it’s because you’re exposed to so many new cameras regularly ? The GX7 deliver pretty much the same IQ as the newer Olympus models so I don’t see how that is outdated (since no company has made any real sensor tech breakthrough recently). Anyway, I hope you keep enjoying your GX7, I’m curious about what differences you can feel in regards to handling and usability versus the typical faux-slrs from sony, fuji and olympus since you have such a deep rangefinder experience.

    • Thanks. The GX7 is a great camera but I still prefer the Olympus E-M1 in build, speed, EVF, feel, IS, etc. In other words, IMO the E-M1 is a technically superior camera but in IQ, they are equal yet different. Can’t go wring with either. Still, neither are anything like shooting a Leica Rangefinder, totally different. I will now give equal time though..to the E-M1 and GX7 😉 Both give slightly different results and both are fun to use.

  7. I have both the GX7 and the GX1. All you say about the GX7 is true to my experience. Just as important, and just as overlooked, is the GX1. It, with the 14mm 2.5 attached is a camera that can be comfortably carried in many of my front shirt pockets. Granted, it does not have IS; but I find that I can shoot hand held at some pretty low shutter speeds with good results. The GX7 does seem to have a slight edge in image quality; but not much of an edge.

    • Likewise Wayne, my 14mm 2.5 is often on my GX1 and my Pana/Leica 25mm on the GX7 and it’s a great combo to have on hand. The GX1 is a very underrated camera (mostly due to it not being a significant enough step up from the GF1 I suspect) and for someone getting into M43 on a budget, it’s the best value for money body out there.

  8. Steve , May I ask – Do you think that the GX7 with 20mm is on a par with the Fuji X100S ? Thanks –

    • I prefer it to the X100s as I am not a huge X-Trans sensor fan. So I while I like the EVF of the X100 better (due to the hybrid feature) I prefer the IQ, color, contrast, richness from the GX7 and 20 combo.

  9. How do you like the GX7 shape, compared to the hunchbacks from Sony, Fuji and Olympus (A7, X-T1, OM-D), with nose exposed to fresh air rather than squeezed on the LCD and smearing it?

  10. Thanks Steve, I thought the GX7 got a little lost in the shadow of the EM-1 and deserved a follow up like this.

    Paired with Pana/Leica 25mm, it’s a real treat. Optics obviously are great but that body just feels like it was made for that lens with the balance and ergonomic etc all feeling spot on.

    Can’t wait to see a 15mm review (hopefully on both the EM-1 & the GX7?).

  11. Thanks for both the website and for giving this camera another look! This camera and lens together are (as you stated) a terrific combination.

  12. That’s why they told me not to sleep on the ground in the Mauritanian Sahara, but that was the only cool place. Jeebers that’s scary.

    Just got my GX7 + 20mm 1.7 kit yesterday through my university for my upcoming research project, but they also got me the A7r and some nice primes, so the GX7 hasn’t had much love yet. These rich colors and detailed photos make me really look forward to getting out in the field and using both. I love shooting full frame again but I predict that these new m43 lenses will keep me with the format at least part-time. Thanks for the great review!

  13. Ouch, those scorpions!

    The 20mm has stuck with me since the GF1. I don’t know, when I see a picture taken with it, something is just right. I often say to myself when I’ve taken a picture and review it: yes, that’s exactly what I wanted! I have it much less with the 14mm, although also fun because of the size. I think maybe the field of view of the 20mm just sits right and reminds me of the Canonet I used to shoot with. And yes, that GX7 truly is the first real successor to the GF1. Why did it take Panasonic so long to get it?

    I do think MicroFourThirds has finally grown up. Great camera bodies at exceptional value for the quality you get. Even that Panasonic GM1 is very appealing for a camera to always have with you. Yes, you can only take pictures with a view screen, but in many ways it embodies what MicroFourThirds is for the broader consumer market: truly small camera body with exchangeable lenses that compares in picture quality with the entry level DSLR. Olympus OMD EM-10 is another example. Now they only need to market these cameras better!

  14. I can only agree with Steve! I got my girlfriend the same combo and must say that i’m a bit jealous once in a while 🙂

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