Advice for learning Gx7 useability

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by RzzB, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    Hello everyone - I'm new to Mu-43 so please be gentle:)

    I'm also new to Micro Four Thirds - and I'm struggling.

    I have just purchase a Gx7 - and it looks like a great little camera - but I really need to get up to speed quickly with it and that's not happening.

    I'm a Canon 5D III user, and know that camera, for what I use, like the back of my hand. It seems to me that the Gx7 is a different kettle of fish.

    I'm going to India all February and I'm leaving the 5D III behind, so I have to get a good grasp on it before I go!

    I will be shooting RAW stills only - so that removes about 90% of the clutter in the manual!

    What advice would you give me to get up to speed quickly - pouring through the manual is grim. Are there any usability tutorials out there that are useful - I've searched but what I have found have been dire.

    Thoughts?

    RzzB
     
  2. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    506
    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Play with the menu system and functions till you have it set up the way you like, then just go shoot like mad in ap, sp, and manual till you feel comfortable with everything. You don't have to shoot anything fancy, just around the house, or out in the neighborhood. And remember that in the beginning, as with most things, "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast".

    Hopefully my GX7 will arrive later this week, I can't wait to go play with it!
     
  3. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Maybe ask about what you want to do that isn't obvious. The menus are pretty simple. A lot of stuff will be personal preference, so its hard to give tips.

    AF/AE default setting is to have to keep the button pushed to lock. There is a menu setting to where you just push the button and it locks without having to hold it (my preference). Also, I set my AF/AE to only lock exposure, I use a shutter half press to set focus. I don't remember if touch focusing is on at default, but if you turn it on you can use the touch screen to move the focus point when you look through the EVF. Go to touch settings and set that how you like (you can have touch AF or touch AF/AE). That and silent mode are two fantastic features that as far as I know are Panasonic only. I turned off auto focus aid (the magnification square) and I set it to come on when I push the focus mode button when on manual focus (again, preference). I think peaking is on as factory default. I turned on the grid, level and histogram. Set up the Q menu with whatever you might want that doesn't have a dedicated button (metering mode, electronic shutter/silent mode, IBIS on/off etc). Thats all I can think of offhand.
     
  4. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    Thank you very much for your responses. Sorry - I should of explained a bit more in my original post. Shoot like mad is sound advice! :)

    I think most of my problems stem from the touch screen - I can see that it can probably be very helpful in some instances, but it's just difficult to understand what's possible from the User Guide. It sort of needs someone to explain what the possibilities and benefits are in a video tutorial or something. I really would like to understand it better and how it can help.

    Live view on the 5D is not a touch screen, and I don't really use touch devices much - so it's a bit lost on me! Progress eh!

    And then when I look through the viewfinder I'm expecting the focus point in the middle (my preference). I focus, half press the shutter, re-compose and hey presto. With the Gx7 the focus point could be anywhere - then I have to go back to the LCD and fiddle around to get it somewhere near the middle and then look back through the viewfinder - oh - missed the shot! I must be doing summat wrong.

    I love the focus peeking - I bought an old manual Pentax 50mm f/1.2 and the peeking makes it great to use!

    Many thanks,
    RzzB
     
  5. Dogman

    Dogman Mu-43 Regular

    172
    Dec 23, 2012
    Maryland
    First, I can relate to your comment about the user friendliness of the Canon 5D Mk III versus the GX7. Having both, I have the same problem with the GX7 in that the Panasonic buttons and menu system is not logical nor intuitive (compared to Canon's). Switching between the logic systems of two (or more) brands only complicates the problem. Having said that, since you will have only the GX7 in India, you should adapt to the GX7 system quickly. As someone suggested, going out for practice shooting is the best approach. You probably knew that already since it's obvious you are not new to digital cameras.

    Based on my personal experiences, I suggest that you get accustomed to several features on the GX7 including: (1) selecting the focusing area and getting back to the "home" focusing point quickly, (2) selecting a personally intuitive way to adjust exposure compensation (there are too many options!), (3) customizing the function buttons to your liking (both on camera and on the touch screen), and (4) using manual focus and focus peaking (if that appeals to you), and (5) using the touch screen and knowing how to adjust it in the rear monitor. The touch screen is very useful, and I never thought I would use it as much as I do. These are some of the areas with which I had the most difficulty in learning the GX7.
     
  6. leftnose

    leftnose Mu-43 Regular

    46
    Dec 5, 2013
    You will want to set as many of the custom functions as possible so the camera mimics Canon controls and behavior. For example, I've set the rear dial to be Exposure Comp in P/A/S without having to press in on it. I've also set the dials so they rotate in the same direction as Canon's (my primary camera is also a 5D3).

    As for focus point, set AF mode to 1-Area and make the point its smallest size. I've also configured Fn1 to Focus Area Set and moved the Quick Menu to Fn3 (since hitting the button by accident when it's mapped to Wifi freezes up the camera for a bit). So, with Fn1 set to Focus Area, it falls right under your thumb when at eye level, just like Canon's Multi Controller. A quick press of that button and you can then move the focus point around or hit DISP to center it. Very easy and very possible to do all with the camera at eye level.
     
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  7. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    Thanks for your help.

    I have indeed done much of what you have mentioned - I really need to understand you item 1... (1) selecting the focusing area and getting back to the "home" focusing point quickly,

    I think the next post might help in that area....
     
  8. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    Many thanks for your response.

    The first thing I did was to set the rear dial to be Exposure Comp in P/A/S without having to press in on it! Then the dial rotation!

    I'm interested in what you say about focus point. I will have a little play later on today and feed back.

    I'm currently up to my ears in framing for an exhibition - another reason why I perhaps haven't played with the Gx7 quite as much as I should have done!

    RzzB
     
  9. Dogman

    Dogman Mu-43 Regular

    172
    Dec 23, 2012
    Maryland
    Very good and useful advice particularly since the two buttons are right next to each other. I just set mine this way. Thanks!
     
  10. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I'd say look at exactly what you want to be able to do, and then map buttons appropriately to do so.

    As long as I know how to set my exposure triangle blind (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, though in all fairness I usually shoot in A mode, so aperture, exposure compensation and ISO is more appropriate), know how to switch AF points quickly, know how to switch AF mode, know how to switch metering mode, and know how to switch drive mode (single shot/burst), I've pretty much got everything nailed down. Add a custom setting for bracketed shots (ISO 200, manual mode, F5.6 as a starting point for the oly, ISO 400 and same with +-1 EV bracketed frames for the 5DII), sometimes a preset for black and white (lets you see what the picture will look like even if the RAW is still 'color'). I shoot raw, and find auto white balance works well enough in 90% of cases. Only time I use a custom or locked balance is shooting available light at parties with flashing lights in different colors (like the dancing bit at a wedding) because that often wreaks havoc with the system's AWB function.
     
  11. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    You don't need to take your eyes off the viewfinder. If you are in single point focus mode, the touch screen is still active even when you are looking in the viewfinder. You can simply move your thumb over the screen and place the focus point anywhere without taking your eyes off the viewfinder. I use this feature often on my G5 and find it extremely useful.
     
  12. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    One more thing, your cheek contacting the rear screen can not only move the focus point by itself, it can make movement erratic, or with your thumb, mimic a pinch gesture and resize the focus point.

    I found that for me, what works best is to tilt the EVF up a bit so my cheek doesn't touch the screen, and then use my left thumb to move the focus point while I'm looking through the viewfinder. My guess is that once it falls into place for you, and you have a bit of experience with it, you will end up loving it and wondering why all camera makers haven't implemented this feature. You don't have to worry about leaving it in the center, because it is literally a touch away from putting it where you like it. If you do want it to stay in the center, and mimic other cameras, I believe you can turn off touch and use the cursor buttons to move move it… but I suggest giving touch focus a try.
     
  13. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    "As for focus point, set AF mode to 1-Area and make the point its smallest size. I've also configured Fn1 to Focus Area Set and moved the Quick Menu to Fn3 (since hitting the button by accident when it's mapped to Wifi freezes up the camera for a bit). So, with Fn1 set to Focus Area, it falls right under your thumb when at eye level, just like Canon's Multi Controller. A quick press of that button and you can then move the focus point around or hit DISP to center it. Very easy and very possible to do all with the camera at eye level."

    Ohhhh... now that's really great! Fn1 then DISP is just what I want! Excellent - Thanks.

    Golly - it's all a bit diddy - give me a proper sized camera to play with :)

    I still don't see how to make the focus point move with my thumb while looking through the viewfinder.

    Ahhhh -- haha.... This will make you laugh!! I have just found out what I am doing wrong....

    I imagined that you were meaning I could move the focus point with the thumb on my left hand on the LCD screen - thought it was a bit odd with it off and all :) Also it was a bit akward to say the least with tmy left thumb and nose vying for the same space! Haha...

    Now I understand - press the "Focus Area Set" button using the right thumb, then use the four Up/Down/Left/Right buttons to move the focus point - again using the right thumb!! Got yer!

    Thanks to everyone's input on this - I'm already miles further on that I was this morning!

    RzzB

    RzzB
     
  14. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013


    Maybe awkward, but that is exactly what I mean. In the "Wrench-C" menu go to touch settings. You want "Touch Screen" On, "Touch Tab" On, "Touch AF" to AF, and "Touch Pad AF" set to either Exact or Offset (I prefer exact). Now set the AF mode mode to 1-area with the AF mode button to the left of the menu/set button in the center of the dial. Tilt the viewfinder up slightly so your cheek doesn't touch the screen, look though the viewfinder, and you will find and you can move the 1-area focus point by using your left thumb on the now dark LCD without taking your eye away from the viewfinder (it will also change the focus zone in 23-area AF when that focus mode is chosen). You may not end up preferring this set up, but I hoped I was detailed enough to where you can use it and try it. I really love it.

    Also, you might want to check out silent mode if you haven't already. While India is usually chaotic enough to where the sound of a shutter will be unnoticed, its good to have the option to shoot completely silently and unobtrusively.
     
  15. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    Haha... Got it - I'll persevere with that - I awkward but with practice could be very good!

    Yes - already got Silent Mode switched on...

    Many thanks for your help!

    RzzB
     
  16. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    Played about with this a bit last night - it's going to be very good. Just needs a little time and practice and well trimmed fingernails!

    Reading through the thread again, I MUST take more time in future to explain myself better, and thoroughly read other peoples posts! Ho humm...

    A massive thanks to all who patiently took the time to post to my first question on this excellent forum.

    I have a whole pile of more questions coming - and hopefully one day I might even be in a position to help someone else!

    Thanks,
    RzzB
     
  17. Dogman

    Dogman Mu-43 Regular

    172
    Dec 23, 2012
    Maryland
    I'm sure you're aware that in Silent Mode, and shooting under fluorescent lights, will result in banding (horizontal bands) when your shutter speed is faster than 1/60 sec.
     
  18. RzzB

    RzzB Mu-43 Regular

    36
    Dec 14, 2013
    Oooo - no - didn't know about that - thank you for the advice!

    Why is that? Hmm - I'll go read up about it...

    RzzB
     
  19. nikonian

    nikonian New to Mu-43

    2
    Jan 30, 2014

    Hi

    I want to use my GX7 the way you are describing. But mine locks both AF and AE when the shutter is half pressed. I want to use AF/AE button as AE lock and the half press of the shutter for only AF but it does not work that way and I could not find the menu to fix it.

    Do you know how?
     
  20. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Look under the "C-Wrench" menu. There are 2 items marked AF/AE. Probably one or both of those will set it how you like