GX7 & Oly 17mm f1.8 - Early Impressions

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by hit_and_misanthrope, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. hit_and_misanthrope

    hit_and_misanthrope Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 19, 2014
    I've had a chance to shoot a bit with this camera lens combo and I'm generally pleased. I have the Oly 12-40mm 2.8 on backorder from B&H, so in the meantime I've been getting to know the Oly 17mm f1.8.

    I like this focal length a lot. It's a 35mm full frame equivalent, and I find this focal length to be very versatile. It has a very close focusing distance, and the results are bordering on macro. The auto focus is very fast and very quiet. The silver matches my silver and black GX7 nicely. Together they make a handsome pairing indeed.

    The weight of this camera feels very good. There is just enough heft to dampen the jitters that usually go along with small camera. The handgrip is quite comfortable for my average sized hands. People with bigger hands might not like the grip and much as me.

    The menus are devilishly complicated. I'm used to Canon, so Panasonic's habit of giving similar names to various functions is quite confusing. The focus features are especially complicated. I'm used to picking up a camera and quickly figuring it out. Not so with this camera.

    The stills are great, especially considering the size of the camera. The "look" of the images takes some getting used to, but it's beginning to grow on me.The colours and grain are quite different, and the images seem sharper. I've yet to tweak the settings to my preferences. This is a project for the weeks ahead. I can see preferring this lightweight DSLR alternative for most walkabout excursions. I prefer the DSLR look overall, but the fact is I don't always want to lug around a big honking camera. The diminutive size is so much more stealthy. With the silent shutter this camera doesn't call attention to itself the way the clacking mirror/shutter of a DSLR does.

    I'm most impressed with the video capabilities. I just shot a dance show and was able to sit in the front row, shooting through the viewfinder. The images, shot in AVCHD 1080/60p look terrific. The lack of stabilisation was not an issue at all. When shooting from a balanced position with two hands, and bracing the camera against your head while looking through the viewfinder, the camera is rock steady. The autofocus is very accurate, and silent. It quickly locks in without hunting around. Compared to the Canon video-optimised step motors, this system is in another league altogether. Low light performance seems cleaner. I've tried shooting some lowlight video with the Canon T4i, and the image gets very grainy very fast. It seems to me that the GX7 delivers better results in lowlight. It just looks less grainy at the higher ISOs. Maybe I'm wrong, as I haven't done careful side-by-side comparisons, but that was my impression. Don't get me wrong. DSLR video is fine and can look amazing. I just think the GX7 package, video-wise, is better overall.
  2. hit_and_misanthrope

    hit_and_misanthrope Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 19, 2014
    One other thing---
    I was perplexed by a quirk of the autofocus system. Before you press record, the AF does not operate. It is only after you press record that it begins to operate.
  3. Levster

    Levster Mu-43 Top Veteran

    What you can do is press the [AF] button on the touch screen before you start shooting and this will make the lens focus on whatever is in the focus box. This button is available when manually focussing, but I'm not sure about auto focus.
  4. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    Oahu, gathering place of many cars
    Real Name:
    Peter Gunn
    The Oly 17 1.8 is my all time fav on M43 and, since January 2013, I've rarely removed it from my E-P3. I suppose not surprisingly, I also like the EF 35 2.8 IS USM on my 6D as they have a similar FOV. I can shoot much slower shutter speeds with the larger camera and still be sharp. I'm guessing the increased mass and grip area makes it easier to hold steady. Or perhaps the lens based IS is better. Not sure why. Anyway, both are perfect walk arounds and easy to shoot with.