Gx7 impressions

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Steven, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    I went to Photo Expo Plus today and was able to see a lot of different cameras. Had to wait in line to check out the GX7. Unfortunately, I came out with a pretty negative impression. Mainly because of the viewfinder. I found it to be too small. There's just no way around it. It is small and there's a bit of that tunnel vision effect when looking at it. The various symbols/icons on the screen are really tiny. After looking thru a lot of other cameras finders that day, including Olympus and Fuji models, the smallness of the GX7 EVF really stood out. Other than that the camera seemed well-made, though uncomfortably fat in my hands. I though the new large grip would make it easier to hold, but maybe it just doesn't fit me. The new 14-42mm kit lens is amazing. It is very small and almost does not extend when zooming out. That's pretty brilliant. I asked the Panasonic rep about possibility of GX7 kit of silver top with black lens, but he just laughed it off. When asked he did say new 20mm lens has faster auto focus, but he didn't recommend buying one to replace old one.
    I really hope Panasonic comes out with another model that does not have a built in finder but has a hot shoe for the larger LVF2 finder .

    The new GM1 was also there. The body itself is tiny and cute, but even with the small 12-32mm kit, it practically triples in depth. Not quite sure I see the point in it for myself, but it is very light and cool looking. It's interesting that the new 12-32 lens has Mega OIS and not the newer Power OIS. Whatever that means. The camera looks a lot like the Fuji XF1, which seems to have now been replaced by the easier to operate but way less cutesy XQ1 with motorized zoom.

    Olympus EM1 was very solid in feel though noticeably heavy especially with the new Olympus 12-40mm lens. EM5 was light in comparison. the EVF4 viewfinder is nice and large. Finally saw the black 45mm/1.8 lens. Very nice! I think my next m43 camera will be an Olympus :smile: I think the only thing I will miss from Panasonic will be the superior built-in microphones.
     
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  2. MiguelATF

    MiguelATF Mu-43 Veteran

    Interesting impressions, Steven.

    You mention, in passing, that the Olympus VF-4 viewfinder is 'nice and large'.

    I realize this is getting into subjective territory - but how would or could you specifically compare your impressions of the GX7 EVF/viewfinder with the VF-4? Also - were you using/or trying out the VF-4 on the E-P5?

    I'm asking because I'm obsessed with having good EVF's in addition to the LCD screens. My current micro 4/3's cameras are two Olympuses - the older E-PL2 and the newer E-PL5 (both of which are very nice cameras btw) - and I use the earlier generation Olympus external EVF finder, the VF-2, interchangeably on both. I find it quite serviceable. But I'm curious about your perceptions on this.
     
  3. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    713
    Sep 24, 2011
  4. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012
    Thanks for sharing your opinion about the GX7 viewfinder, even if it turns out to be unpopular with those that love the GX7. This is not the first time I've read something similar and it helps that you inferred that the LVF2 is better, or at least that you prefer it. All this makes it so much easier to not be temped my a new body and keep flying my GX1s.

    Whether on the GX1 or GX7 I really like pivoting viewfinders. Yesterday I was taking several pictures using a mini tripod just off the ground with a GX1/LVF2 combo and it was the right tool for the job, better than trying to use an articulating screen (outside in direct sun).
     
  5. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    I like the pivoting feature of the finder as well, but I wonder if they could have made it bigger instead of trying to stuff that pivoting mechanism in there . Also, it does stick out quite a bit from the back. It seems that Sony, Fuji, and Olympus are able to fit larger viewfinders in similar sized bodies. Em5 viewfinder does not stick out at all with rubber cover off.
    I like the current Lvf2 I have more , yes. But that is only due to Gx7's small field of view. If it was enlarged I am sure it would be better because of its higher pix count . Does it have higher refresh rate as well? I am not sure.
    I know it's a dream but all the while I was hoping that Panasonic would leave a gap in that spot where you could plug in Lvf2 while keeping same rangefinder body contour.
     
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  6. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    I looked at both Em1 and Ep5 with Vf4. They were both very good. I could be wrong but I thought Vf4 might be even larger than finder in Em1. I know Vf2 view is larger than the Em5 finder even though its the same one . Em1 finder seemed a bit more life like while Em5 in comparison had more vivid colors and contrast .
    Gx7 in comparison I had to struggle a bit to see detail in, because it is smaller. I should mention that I used glasses with all of these.
    I used Vf2 in a store before and i thought it was excellent. I dont know if you would see much benefit from upgrading.
     
  7. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    375
    Apr 20, 2011
    Hijacking your thread to talk about the finder:

    Upon first using the GX7, most of the slightly less impressive aspects were to do with the viewfinder. Firstly the contrast seemed way too high, but thankfully you can set the contrast and brightness separately from the main display, and now I've set them up so they have pretty much the same output. Secondly, I can't work out why you'd ever tilt the viewfinder (though I suppose a redundant feature is hardly something to complain about). Thirdly it is impossible to use the finder as a third point of contact; if you press it right up against your eye, you can't actually see anything. Going to buy the upgraded eyecup once it becomes available over here, hopes that solves this issue. I think the fact that you have to hold it at a distance makes it seem smaller than it is too.
     
  8. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012
    That's probably a design question that Panasonic considered...the size of the viewfinder and how to match it with the rest of the camera which is smallish in size and in the 'rangefinder style'. Seems that the pivoting viewfinder would either stick out a little at the rear, or like the LVF2 on a GX1, make the camera larger by sitting atop. Which style one prefers in-use is a preference. I know I like the GX1/LVF2 combo but have zero experience with the GX7's viewfinder. My guess is that I would like the GX7 viewfinder sticking out to the rear a bit because it should provide a space for my glasses while I look over the top of my specs into the viewfinder, this is how the LVF2 works for me. I prefer to adjust the diopter and look through viewfinders without using the glassing sitting on my nose.

    My shoot the other day involved taking photos of a motorcycle tire with me on the bike. I was on and off the moto many times and didn't always take my helmet and glasses off to review the shots and/or confirmed the framing before making another image. While I still bumped the camera/LVF2 with my helmet visor a few times, it appears the LVF2 atop the camera (with more clearance, distance from the body), or any slip-on external viewfinder (VF4), would likely more user friendly for this unusual field duty (more clearance).



    Understood. The larger pixel count and possibly higher refresh rate would/should make the GX7 viewfinder better, but if the view inside is too small for your preference, then it sounds like "the juice is not worth the squeeze", at least for you and when compared to the LVF2. I assume many will not directly compare the GX7's viewfinder to the LVF2 and will be happy with it. However, I love this comparison as it’s how I would compare and partially judge the GX7, as I have four LVF2s for my GX1 bodies.


    Now that the GX7 has been introduced with a built-in viewfinder the LVF2 will likely become an orphan along with GX1s as they both age. (I know the LX7 can use the LVF2 and I have an LX7, but I think those that use the LVF2 on the LX7 are few.) I'd be pleasantly surprised if Panasonic was to introduce high-end, well-featured cameras lie the GX1 in the future that accept the LVF2, or a successor. Yet the added expense of adding a LVF to a body is likely a negative for many, and it makes even a closeout priced GX1 body a more expensive tool.
     
  9. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012
    Good that this adjustment can be made.


    I love and use the tilting viewfinder often with a LVF2 for low angle shots, whether standing bent over or on the ground.


    This is surprising as I use the LVF2 as an additional point of contact and enjoy that feature, it seems even more useful for this than a traditional finder flat on the rear of a body, particularly for low angle shots where a non-tilting viewfinder would be difficult or impossible to use.

    Do I understand correctly that the 'eye relief' distance of the GX7 viewfinder is such that you can't press you face/eye against the viewfinder and see everything inside?
     
  10. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    Roadtraveler, I am afraid it looks like you are right about Lvf2 being a dead end accessory except for maybe future LX models . But I will keep hoping against all hope that Panasonic will see the error of their ways and put a hot shoe on some future models. They are just so different in this respect from Olympus who out hot shoe on everything . Panasonic now has 2 shoeless lines - Gf and Gm. Is it too much to hope for a mid priced model between Gx7 and Gf models. I guess they don't expect much brand loyalty from buyers of those and they may be right. Oh well..
    BTW, 4 Lvf2s?? Wow, that has to be a record :). I also have an Lx7 but don't use it often enough to get a dedicated finder for it too.
     
  11. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Is there talk of an upgraded eye cup? I wear glasses and have found the viewfinder to be pretty poor when wearing them. When I remove my glasses and use the viewfinder it is much better, but not perfect.
     
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  12. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    375
    Apr 20, 2011
    The model number is the DMW-EC1, but it is not on sale yet, at least in the UK.

    Yeah, it's completely impossible to do so, for me anyway. The eyecup should be a cheap fix for this.

    I tend to shoot using the smallest AF point possible, as I find that otherwise contrast AF systems are difficult to control. However when using 'pinpoint AF', the camera then provides a zoomed view when focusing that cannot be turned off, which is a little distracting and slows you down as you wait for the normal view to return. Also I wish it had a proper thumb grip on the back, though I suppose with the very nice grip on the front I won't be dropping it any time soon. I'm sounding like such an old fart. I do like the camera a lot, it is basically everything I want from a camera feature wise. Nothing is perfect though. I think a firmware update allowing more customisation (there is basically two settings to choose from for the dials, and you can't customise what happens when you click in the rear dial) would really help me love this camera.
     
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  13. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Thank you, I've just placed an order via an international eBay seller. I'll let you know how I get on when it arrives!
     
  14. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    I haven't yet had the opportunity to try a GX7 (NONE of the local dealers have one in stock yet. Even the one dealer that says they're going to carry it can't get any. I don't know if this is because of high demand or because of Panasonic's inability to fill the pipeline.) So I won't give my opinion of the finder. But while there are certainly some complaints on the 'net from people who are unhappy with the EVF and think it's too small, the vast majority of people who hae reported on the camera seem to have no problem with the EVF. As with many other aspects of many cameras, YMMV.
     
  15. RoadTraveler

    RoadTraveler Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 23, 2012
    Yes, four. I have four GX1 bodies in regular use and each has a LVF2 on it. The bodies are so compact that it’s nothing to leave a body attached to a lens and simply grab the tool I want/need when in the field. Quicker, easier, and cleaner.

    I agree regarding the LX7, I've used it a little with a LVF2, but I'd usually prefer to grab a GX1/LVF2 with the appropriate lens mounted.
     
  16. Yes, the viewfinder in the GX7 is way smaller than the units in the Olympus VF-4 EVF and E-M1 body, but I'm sure that Panasonic had some serious size issues to consider. If you've seen the VF-4 perched on top of a Pen you'll know what physical dimensions an EVF with this viewing size requires. the ability to tilt a built-in viewfinder is also pretty neat.

    I got to use a GX7 the other day and there were a few observations I made. Generally it's a great feeling camera and the grip on it is appreciated compared to cameras like the E-M5 and E-P5. Ergonomically I feel it is let down by a couple of small details. Firstly that function button next to the viewfinder is tiny and awkward to press. Secondly I found the difference in tactile feel between the front (upper) and rear control dials to be off-putting, although I'd probably get used to it. I would also prefer the dial around the shutter button to be a larger diameter like it was on the E-M5 so that you can keep your thumb on the shutter button and still turn the dial to adjust exp comp right up to the last moment before exposure. If using your thumb to press the shutter button sounds awkward, this is in fact one of the most comfortable ways to hold the camera at waist level when using the rear screen in it's extended position.
     
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  17. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I reckon you somehow got the wrong impression.

    dpreview normalizes the viewfinder size of cameras it tests, and the normalized sizes of the Olympus models are:

    EM5 - 0.58x
    VF2 - 0.58x
    VF4 - 0.74x
    GX7 - 0.70x
    EM1 - 0.74x

    Canon 70D (for comparison) - 0.58x

    People generally seem to be very happy with the EM5 viewfinder. It's much smaller than the GX7's, which is almost the same size as the EM1's.
     
  18. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    You must have been doing something wrong. The eye point on the GX7 is 17.5mm, which is 4.5mm *less* than the VF4. The more likely problem is eyeglass wearers not being able to get *close* enough, quite the opposite of what you are saying.

    In fact, I have been posing this question since the day it was announced. A few weeks ago I tried one for myself at the local camera store. I got a pleasant surprise in terms of seeing the whole frame with eyeglasses on. The reason is that the EVF is 16:9 but the still image is 4:3 so the extreme sides of the EVF area are not used (unless you are videoing or shooting stills at 16:9 I guess). So, good news for eyeglass wearers.

    What I did notice was, as soon as I turned into the afternoon sun, huge light leakage from the outside world into my eye view of the EVF image. I now consider the rubber eyecup sold as an option to be mandatory for eyeglass wearers. Without the optional eyecup, being able to tilt the EVF and look down would be really helpful, so the tilting EVF has more uses than first appears.
     
  19. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Buying a camera can be like buying a pair of shoes. Doesn't matter how sexy they are if they don't fit.

    I had a similar experience with the EM5
     
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  20. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    Mike
    The DMW-EC1 Eyecup is available at B&H for $14.95.

    Mike