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A GX1 and 700$ available, what should I do?

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by FrozenBrain, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. FrozenBrain

    FrozenBrain New to Mu-43

    Sep 8, 2014
    Hi there,

    While I am a regular visitor of this forum, this is my first post and I seek your advice. Since 2011, I have switched to micro 4/3 with the purchase of a GX1. I currently own its Pana 14-42 PZ kit zoom (that I never use), an Oly 45/1.8 (very happy with it), and a Pana 14-140/3.5-5.6 (okayish happy due to lack of sharpness and shutter shock). I am reaching a point where I would like to improve my image quality. The GX1 is very fun to use but images at ISO > 800 are just not good. Hence, the 14-140 lens is frustrating to use as soon as I don't have an ideal light condition.

    I have at my disposal a budget of about 700$ (can go up to 800$). I am definitely looking for a prime lens in the 17-20 range for general/street photography and I don't mind buying used/refurbished gears. Hence, I can think of three cases:

    1. keep the GX1 and I buy 2 nice lenses (P25/1.4 + O17/1.8 for example). I will still be limited with my 14-140 lens though.
    2. buy the EM-10 and one lens
    3. buy the GX7 and one lens

    I am considering options 2 and 3 better than option 1 since I will be able to use the 14-140 lens. Now, I just want to be sure that either EM-10 or GX7 will be a significant step up from my GX1 in term of high ISO. I suppose the real questions are:

    1. EM-10 or GX7?
    2. Which lens?

    Currently, EM-10 is cheaper than GX7, so I would be able to pair it with the Oly17/1.8, but GX7 price may drop considering the release of the GM5, who knows. I hope that you will be able to help me converge towards the best solution.

    Thanks a lot,
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I've never used the GX1, so cannot honestly tell you if the GX7 or EM-10 are better. I can say that either camera body is excellent.

    With that being said, I find it to be true that getting better glass is a better choice than upgrading a camera body. The caveat being this - unless the camera body is holding you back or not allowing you to get the images you want.

    If you decide to go with a camera/lens combo - I would recommend looking at the images you take with the 14-140 and 14-42 and see which focal length is predominant in the images you love the most.
    I use both the 35 amd 50mm FOV for my street photography, so really, it will come down to personal preference for you on which you like better - the 17/1.8 or the 25/1.8.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    You didn't mention if video is important to you . Panasonic has much better video.
  4. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    Two points:

    The interface used in the GX1 and GX7 is essentially the same, so you can expect virtually no learning curve if you go that route.

    I have both cameras and can tell you the GX7 is a much better camera, but I'm not 100% convinced it takes better pics for the kinds of things I shoot, however I do enjoy working with the GX7 a lot more. ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  5. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    I had the GX1 and never really like the interface. But if you do and like the output from your GX1 then the GX7 would probably be the simpler option with a shorter learning curve. Technically on the specs it's also a better camera (higher speed shutter, higher flash sync, etc..most things other that frames per second).

    But as I mentioned I never really liked my GX1 that much and find the interface (both dials and super user control panel) better on the Olympus bodies. There is also a seldom considered thing. Which eye do you look though a view finder with? With the E-M10 either is fine. With the GX7 it's much easier with your right eye.
  6. FrozenBrain

    FrozenBrain New to Mu-43

    Sep 8, 2014

    Thanks a lot for all your inputs, it is very useful to refine my choices.

    If I think about my current issues with the GX1, I find two main ones. First, the image quality degrades rapidly with the ISO. At 1,600 ISO, my pictures already look like Monet's paintings (the texture, not the composition). Second, the autofocus is pretty bad. Some days ago, I tried to shoot some squirrels on the ground and most of my shoots were out of focus, to a point that it was annoying. So if I update my body, it really needs to be significantly better on these two points. Based on the reviews, it seems that both the GX7 and EM-10 have improved performances, but are they way better or just slightly? Are you able to easily focus on subjects that moderatly move? From the showcases, it seems to be the case but it depends how many shots are needed to have one good picture.

    From a personal point of view, I would rather buy the EM-10. I prefer its look compared the the GX7 and I don't do videos. But this is more a feeling than a cold decision since on the paper, both cameras look the same. I suppose that I am not the only one in this position! I will go out next weekend with my 14-42 and shoot at 17, 20, and 25mm. Most likely, this will give me the lens to buy, which will lead to the camera to pair it with. Can I assume that the P20 works better with the GX7 than with the EM-10 and vice-versa with the Oly17?

    Thanks a lot for all your inputs,
  7. davidzvi

    davidzvi Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Frederic, (interesting, my son's name is Fredric :smile: )

    Both will improve on both your concerns. ISO more so than AF, but AF is still better. And the viewfinder will also help. Look very carefully at the functions you currently often use and read through the manuals of each camera. That is what really turned me to Olympus over the Panasonic.
  8. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    I bought my GX1 to hold me over while my GX7 was in the shop and can't say I noticed a big difference in autofocus speed or lack thereof, but to be fair I'm most often shooting static scenes on a tripod and I really only used the GX1 for about a month. There was one GX1 shoot where focus speed might have been challenging, but it was an outdoor punk concert at dusk where autofocus kind of falls down anyway -- fwiw here are two similarly low-light sets in B&W @ISO3200, first with the GX1 and then the GX7, both using the p45-150 but with electronic shutter on the GX7 set.

  9. MiguelATF

    MiguelATF Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 9, 2012
    Somewhere in Southern Oregon
    Miguel Tejada-Flores
    I own both the GX7 and the GX1. The GX7 is definitely a subtle improvement in many ways - especially the ability to shoot at higher ISO's which you mention is important to you. Plus there's less of a learning curve. Having said that, the E-M10 is a sweet camera.

    I think if I were in your shoes. I'd pick up a used GX7 body - and a lens. The ones you mentioned - the 17mm f/1.8 (Olympus) and the 25mm Pana/Leica are both fine lenses but, honestly, I'd give the edge to the 25mm Pana/Leica - it's simply a remarkable piece of glass.

    Weirdly enough, there are other great lenses you can buy - which will amount to upgrading your glass (something several other people have touted - and I have to agree with them - that good glass is more important than a new camera body) - which are stupendously great....and relatively inexpensive. Two that might be worth looking into are both manufactured by Sigma - part of their new 'Art' series - a 60mm and a 30mm. Neither is quite as fast as the aforementioned 17 or 25 - but both are jaw-droopingly great lenses. I first found out about them reading a column by Kirk Tuck on his website - who in addition to being very smart is also opinionated and a great writer - in which he raved about the quality of these ridiculously inexpensive lenses. I have to second what he said. I own the 30mm - and hands down it's one of the best lenses I've ever shot anything with - on micro 4/3 cameras - or on the APS-C Pentaxes I used to shoot with - or any of the superb analog Pentax/Takumar lenses I shot with for decades.

    The moral of the story is - not all great lens upgrades....cost an arm and a leg.

    But in terms of the ones you're thinking of, the Pana/Leica 25mm stands out for me. So does the laughably cheap Sigma 30mm.

    Good luck - and let us know a) what you decide and b) how it turns out.
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