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GX7 at a beauty pageant; or how trying the X-T1 just made things worse

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by jonbrisbincreative, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. jonbrisbincreative

    jonbrisbincreative Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 30, 2014
    After having rented the camera for a week and used it in a variety of situations alongside my Lumix GX7 and Canon 7D, I had hoped that I would be better informed about whether the Fuji makes sense for me or not. I'm certainly better informed but I'm no closer to deciding, unfortunately.

    If I were to compare the GX7 to the X-T1 I would say that the X-T1 wins hands down on the viewfinder, high frame rate, and noise control (at all ISOs, not just high ones). But the touchscreen of the GX7, the menus, and the lightness of the kit are all things that IMO the GX7 does much better than the X-T1. The autofocus I'd almost call a draw because there were times I was shooting low-light and the X-T1 couldn't respond fast enough for me. I felt like I was almost back in the olden days of earlier digicam autofocus. I don't even think about the autofocus in my 7D. I just point the little red square where I want and push the button. It Just Works. The GX7 I found to be better overall at autofocus (it's both accurate and fast) and sometimes it was clearly faster than the X-T1.

    But I can't give up the Canon RAW files. They're just fantastic when paired with a great lens like the 85mm f1.8 (a steal of a deal because it's not "L"):

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    Just a little VSCO preset + vignette in LR and it makes it look easy.

    The GX7 is no slouch in the IQ department. At base ISO with a couple Yongnuo 560 III flashes on wireless remote and I don't even have to do much in LR but tweak down the highlights just a smidge and add a taste of clarity:

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    But then the X-T1 was a great performer as well when it's tethered to the iPad and I have it hoisted up on a monopod:

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    So you can see my dilemma.

    I would eat up the high ISO performance of a 5D III if I could justify the expense of the camera and the lenses you need to make use of it. For my portable makeshift style studio work, I can't imagine you'd get better quality short of medium format (a Mamiya RB67 paired with Ilford FP4+ makes for fantastic images BTW). The GX7 is a pleasing little camera but the noise is apparent to me even at low ISOs and with plenty of light. But then again, portability makes a LOT of difference to me. I can't afford to be lugging around multiple bags of equipment since I don't have a studio but work exclusively on location so I'm already dragging around lights, stands, backdrops, etc... The X-T1 was really a joy to use in the ISO department because the APS-C sensor did great work without needing much help in the noise reduction department.

    I'm going to be selling my Canon 17-40/4 L that I've really enjoyed using but just find too restrictive because it's wider than I really need. I need to decide whether to stick with the Canon APS-C (a known quantity for me and something I'm certain I can get good images from) and add the 24-105/4 L or use that money to go toward an X-T1 or E-M1.

    The E-M1 has clear advantages in that I can use 4/3 glass (the 50-200 SWD appeals to me particularly) and maybe also get rid of the very heavy Sigma 50-150/2.8. The 4/3 12-60 also appeals to me over the native m4/3 12-40 just for the extra reach. The Leica 25/1.4 is also a favorite on the GX7 so I could imagine using that heavily on an E-M1 (though I have to say I find the rendering sometimes very "clinical" and maybe too sharp; a little astigmatism isn't always a bad thing).

    Is the problem there's just so many good cameras and lenses any more that it really is impossible to choose The Format To Rule All Formats? I keep thinking: maybe I should rely more on my RB and just let the 6x7 negatives do their job even though its more work for me. But the viewfinder in the X-T1 is so beautiful! And the knobs and dials are so easy to use!

  2. jonbrisbincreative

    jonbrisbincreative Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 30, 2014
    Here's another one with the X-T1 using the iPad as a remote (23/1.4 lens @ f2.0 ISO 2000). Lightroom PP because the lighting really confused the camera's light metering (all that black background but heavy spotlight...would have happened to my 7D as well).

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  3. tomO2013

    tomO2013 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2013
    It's funny because technically from a stills IQ point of view , pretty much every camera that you have mentioned has better low ISO, better high ISO, way way more dynamic range, better AWB than your 7d in terms of sensor capability. You don't buy the 7d, or even the 5d primarily to own the 'best' IQ going in terms of dynamic range, etc... maybe if you want good high ISO, where the 5d is excellent.

    Noise handling at higher iso on the XT1 is closer to a 5d mk iii. Focus on the XT1 is still not as quick in low light. I'm not sure if you have tried this, but on the XT1 you can enable high performance mode (it's off by default and buried deep in the menus). What this does is provide much much faster AF performance at the expense of battery life. The difference in AF performance is night and day. If you still have the XT1 you may want to try this.
    The EM1 is great for single shot focus - razor quick to the point that I reckon it would give the D4 or 1dx a run for their money. It really is quick and accurate. AF-tracking is not as accurate though as your 7d so you will need to determine how badly you need this.
    Another alternative is the GH4 which has great AF tracking, great image quality (better again that the 7d ;)  ) and can also leverage the wealth of fine lenses.

    BTW if you take out the EM1 to try with the 50-200 four thirds, make sure you have the latest firmware on the EM1, with the latest firmware Olympus have managed to improve the focus speeds significantly with older legacy four thirds glass..... I'm a little miffed at this, as all of a sudden quite a few people are holding onto their four thirds glass like gollum; I was hoping to pick up a good deal ;) 
    • Like Like x 1
  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I like the GX7 shot much more than the Canon shot. I can't really compare to the others since the conditions are so different.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    it's the classic dilemma, the ISO of the Fujifilm and the speed/design of M43.

    In your situation I'd go with the GX7 because it's such a responsive camera and the AF is more reliable in such lighting situations. Sure your photos won't be as clean but atleast you'll have a higher keep rate
    • Like Like x 1
  6. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Agreed. I was at this very point a while back. The choice is definitely between IQ or speed.

    I will say though, that I've never seen the quality and sharpness for the price you get with the m43 prime lenses. I can shoot the Oly 17 or 45 wide open and have tons of keepers.

    Why do I bring this up? Because it will allow you to shoot at lower ISO and make IQ issues sure to smaller sensor not as big an issue.
  7. 50orsohours

    50orsohours Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 13, 2013
    Portland Oregon
    I agree - on my screen that is the best looking picture of them all.
  8. pake

    pake Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 14, 2010
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