GX7 or EM1?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Everhandy, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    I think I'm leaning to the GX7.
    Better looking, less expensive, more true to the u43 form.
    Same IQ, really. That tilty VF is awesome.

    I agree with some reviewers that suggest that the EM1 is trying to be all things to all people. A significant divergence from it's ancestry (the OM-1).
    I consider the EM1 to be the 1973 Ford Mustang of digital cameras, the body is outgrowing it's engine. It's no longer the sleek, sporty classic it started out to be.

    By the by, on the other hand, if I had to write the check today, I may be tempted to steer clear of u43 for a Fuji X series (XE2 perhaps?).
  2. Rich M

    Rich M Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 2, 2010
    My GX7 arrived today……I was ready to completely bail out of the m4/3's system after many years (and many, many cameras).

    I like it……my first m4/3's camera was the GF1 with the 20/1.7…….and here I am back there. The EM1 is a great camera, but I love the GF/GX form factor.

    I'm sticking around.
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    If it was going to be my only, or even primary, camera, I'd probably go for the EM1. It just does everything well, handles a bit better with large lenses, is weatherproof, etc, etc. And, although the GX7's IBIS is good enough, the EM1's 5-axis is that much better. The focus tracking and a bunch of other smaller details are better on the EM1 and the EVF on the EM1 (and vf4) is by far the best I've ever seen.

    But after shooting with both pretty extensively, I bought the GX7. For how I use the system these days it's just a better fit for me. I don't much care about the weather sealing or the PDAF. The only lens I really miss the Oly ibis with is the 75-300 and I so rarely use that lens, it's not going to dictate my choice. The GX7 is the first Pany m43 body I've really felt comfortable with since the GF1. I even like the colors and WB as they come out of the camera - I just shot with the G5 for a while and really had to fight with those files to make them look the way I wanted, even the raw files. The GX7 just gets them more to my liking. And the thing just feels right in my hand. So did the EM1 but the EM1 just felt like a way more substantial camera than I need or want from an m43 body right now. And paying $500 less for the GX7 didn't hurt either...

    All personal preference - no right or wrong choice.

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  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    I think the EM1 is pretty brilliant. Looks to have dramatically better ergos than the EM5 while remaining remarkably small. But I'm not one of those who thinks smaller is always better, and I think the GH3 is one of the best cameras, ergonomically, I've used in my 40+ years in photography. If I didn't hate Oly's menus so much, and wasn't so happy with my GH3, I'd seriously look at one.

    That said, the EM1 and GX7 are drastically different cameras. Other than sharing a lens mount and sensor size, they have little in common. The fact that they were introduced at about the same time doesn't mean they're competitors. EM1 vs. GH3, or GX7 vs. EP5 make much more sense. If you need (or want) a full featured DSLR replacement, with near pro build quality, look at the flagships. If you want a smaller, but still well equipped RF style body, compare those.
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  5. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    In essence, I agree however, if you look at the form factor yes, the EM1 and GX7 are quite different (I would argue the EM1 is more cluttered and less attractive). If you look at capabilities (what can the camera do?), they are near twins.
    Comparing the GH3 to the EM1 is not quite appropriate either. The GH3 was purpose built for video to compete with the likes of a Canon 5D Mark III. In my opinion, the EM1 is more similar to the GX7 than the GH3 (comparing specs). On paper anyway, the GH3 smacks down the EM1 and at current street prices, a bargain in comparison.

    I guess my question is, unless your married to Olympus, why choose an EM1 over it's nearest rivals? Heck, I can buy an NEX-6 right now for almost half the price and get better IQ, better low light, smaller form factor and nearly identical specs in all other regards. I mean, aside from subjective choices in ergo and ease of use, is the EM1 as clear a choice as others are jumping to conclude?
  6. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Sorry, but that is really what the choice will be based on. There is no significant, quantifiable difference in IQ between those two µ4/3 cameras.
  7. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    most reviews ive read conclude the em1 IBIS gives you at least 1 stop better than gx7 in low light/high iso situations, and additionally performs 1 stop better in those situations than the gx7 in IQ terms. imo, 1-2 stops better IQ when youre talking 16-6400 is a big deal.

    as for getting better IQ from an nex, thats not what ive read from any review of the em1. quite the opposite, it has garnered very favorable IQ comparisons to sony and fuji, in good to low light situations. further, it has no AA filter which leads to crisper, better resolved images.

    i'm not claiming these factors to be dispositive on the question of which to get, only that for some these are pretty important criteria to seriously consider when making the choice.
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  8. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Owning a number of unstabilized lenses for m43, I wouldn't have considered a Pany body prior to the GX7 as an ONLY m43 body. To me the difference between a body with IBIS and a body without IBIS is rather large. Whereas the difference between a body with 2-axis IBIS and 5-axis IBIS is nothing to sneeze at, but it's a much much smaller difference. So while I've owned Pany bodies along with Oly bodies in the past, I've never considered making a Pany body my only, or even primary, m43 body. Whereas with the GX7, I have chosen it as my ONLY m43 body. I prefer 5-axis IBIS, no question, but its really not a huge issue for me. That it may buy me one more stop isn't huge, but it's ability to stabilize the view BEFORE shooting is pretty important with long lenses. So by choosing the GX7 over the EM1 (or EP5 or just keeping the EM5 I had), I'm making my shooting experience with my Oly 75-300 lens notably less pleasant. If I used that lens a lot, I'd have stayed with a 5-axis system, but I rarely use it, so it's a downside I can live with.

    In any case, that's why I ended up comparing the GX7 to the EM1 - I was comparing the best Olympus body against the best Panasonic body that I'd be at all willing to consider - at this point the ONLY Panasonic body I'd be willing to consider. So, the GH3 wasn't part of my calculation at all. And flagships are sort of in the eye of the beholder anyway. I sort of consider the Fuji X-Pro their flagship camera but clearly Fuji has shifted that role to the XE series by releasing the XE2 before the X-Pro 2. Similarly with m43, I first shot with the EP5 and GX7 and thought that the GX7 might just have been the best overall m43 camera I'd ever shot with. I liked the EP5 well enough, but I REALLY liked the GX7 a lot. It wasn't more than a month before I had a chance to shoot with an EM1 and very quickly concluded that the GX7's time on the top of the heap had been VERY short-lived, that the EM1 just came along and immediately unseated it. I've seen a few reviewers basically have the same thing to say - the GX7 set a new standard and then the EM1 came along and immediately topped it.

    But they ARE somewhat different in feel and capability and price, and even though I'd have to rate the EM1 ahead of it if I was in the rating business, I just LIKED the GX7 more for the way I'm using the m43 system these days. They're both incredibly good cameras with slightly different strengths - I'm not even sure I can say different strengths and weaknesses anymore, because I don't find anything to complain about in either - it's just relative strengths at this point. So the GX7 won for me, this round. And the GH3 was never even remotely in the running for the lack of any sort of IBIS, if nothing else... In the early days of m43 there were compelling reasons to choose Pany over Oly and different compelling reasons to choose Oly over Pany. Having one of each was really the only way to get all of the best of the system. Today, there are fewer and fewer differences between the two lines and it's really come down to a camera by camera comparison without much further reason for any sort of brand loyalty. Pany deciding to add IBIS to their bodies (I assume it will be in their future bodies as well...) is a last BIG step in this direction. I count this as a very good thing...

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  9. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    You seem to be asking two questions - why choose the E-M1 over other m4/3 bodies, and why choose m4/3 over NEX.

    To the first, I'd say autofocus. The E-M1 seems to be the first mirrorless with passable C-AF, thanks to on-sensor PDAF. Tracking on other m4/3 bodies, be they the E-M5 or the GX7 - just isn't very good.

    To the second, I'd say lenses. The NEX-6 is a nice camera (though personally I can't stand the controls), but a camera is only as useful as its lenses let it be. If Sony makes then lenses you want, great. But they're missing a quality standard zoom right now, which completely rules them out for me.
  10. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    James, I get confused when people seem to be factoring in thoughts like "true to m4/3s form" or "divergence from it's ancestry". Sounds interesting, but what does that matter? Ray's comments are spot on (I believe). Both great cameras. The E-M1 is "better" in an absolute sense, if judgement is required, but not necessarily better for you or any individual. It seems like you want validation that the E-M1 is not "all that". Well, I think it is, relatively speaking. But it is certainly a case of diminishing returns for many of us (me included).

    So your choice really should be a free and easy one, based on your needs and likes, cost, aesthetics, ergonomics -- whatever. It is as close to "can't miss" as it gets.
  11. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    I understand the point but, Olympus called it the "OMD EM5" and "OMD EM1" for a reason (I think). The OM in OMD infers an "OM" style camera. The OM-1 was one of, if not the smallest SLR's at the time. Certainly in the case of the OMD EM-1, this is becoming less the case and hence the divergence from the lineage. In an effort to become everything to everyone, the EM1 is becoming more like what is intended to replace, an APS-C sized DSLR. The essence of the u4/3 system is a smaller, lighter camera with some sacrifice in IQ in the exchange. The EM1 is diverging from that trajectory. Does it matter? To some. yes. For those of us that shoot street photography, urban exploration. cycling, backpacking, trekking and the like, a smallish, less conspicuous camera with great IQ (doesn't have to be the best) is absolutely essential. The EM1 is less likable from this perspective.
  12. Everhandy

    Everhandy Guest

    Yes, the OMD EM1 is quite good but compare RAW files to the Sony NEX 7 or Fuji XE-2 and you see where it falls a bit short, especially above 1600. Sensor size matters. The EM1 has a fantastic JPEG engine and Olympus should be commended for the fine effort however, is it worth the money? Yes, if you don't mind lugging a bigger camera and have cash to spare and No if you have less room in your pack and more room in your wallet.

    Of course, the EM-1 is a fine camera. It would be great to own, along with a bunch of expensive glass to go with it but, you're paying the premium for having a u4/3 body (should be smaller, lighter than DSLR) without the actual advantage of being lighter and smaller. In effect, with the EM-1 you're buying a DSLR and you don't even get an OVF?!?!

    Anyway, I got a nice crisp XF1 in the mail yesterday and I can't wait to go out a get some shots with it. Cheers.
  13. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    "Best" can only be answered in the context of "Best for what". There can be no bests until there is agreement on the rating scale. Either the GX7 or EM1 could be Best, depending on your critical features and performance. Need a tilty EVF? GX7 wins. Don't like a hump on top of a camera? GX7 wins. Need 5-axis IBIS and PDAF? EM1 wins. Battery life important? Get a Nikon DSLR and shoot for days on one charge. Need it to fit in your pocket? GM1 wins. So carefully define what's important to you; if after doing so there's no important difference between the cameras, go for the cheaper price.

    For what it's worth, I have the GX7 and EM5. I keep the EM5 setup for tripod work or heavy lenses, with an RRS l-plate and grip, and the GX7 for a smaller kit, with the 17/1.8 or kit zoom mounted.
    - I've made no formal tests, but don't notice any real IBIS difference.
    - I like the GX7 EVF better, both for the tilt and the fact that the eyecup doesn't fall off all the time like the EM5.
    - I shoot Raw or Raw + JPeg, so the SOC colors aren't that important to me.
    - The Panasonic menus blow the Oly away for ease of use, IMHO.
    - The GX7 button/dial setup is better than the EM5, probably about the same as the EM1.
    - The EM1 weatherproofing is interesting, but probably not all that useful to me. The worst weather I expose the camera to is probably skiing, and I've never had a problem with any of my cameras (other than battery life).

    If I hadn't bought the EM5, I would probably get the EM1 but it's not enough of a step up to make the change at the cost. I don't loose any sleep over this.

    I like them both a lot. Both can take better pictures than I can.
  14. Marcamarca

    Marcamarca New to Mu-43

    Nov 4, 2013
    I love the EM1. All I can say...
  15. rezatravilla

    rezatravilla Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 7, 2013
    Reza Travilla
    I will choose GX7. It has more features than EM1 also you can invest more in good glass.

    "Olympus OMD EM-5 + Zuiko 17mm f1.8"
  16. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I would certainly never put the NEX7 high ISO above the EM1. When I owned the NEX7 one of its biggest disappointments was its high ISO performance. At low ISO it was stellar. As for the X series, the sensor improvement is there but it seems that only the XE2 will focus in low light reliably and even then the EM1 will still find a target more reliably. My XE1 struggles with several raw converters, so to get the "advantage" I need to completely change my workflow. If you work with Adobe products the EM1 has better image quality than the Fuji, often.

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  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I shot with an OM-2n, and the E-M1 seems closer to the size and heft of that camera and other OM film cameras. The E-M5 is smaller and lighter than the OM bodies.

    I agree with meyerweb that we have a few different size classes with MFTs, each of which caters to a certain preference.

    Right now, this is what's in my bag:

    My Gear by Amin Sabet, on Flickr

    I find each lens-camera combo to be very well suited to one another. In particular, the Oly 75/1.8 seems to be made for the E-M1, and there is no comparable combo close to that size for Fuji X or NEX.

    I'm considering replacing the E-PM2 with a GX7 for a few reasons, not least of which is that I like how the GX7 looks with the PL25 :rolleyes:.
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  18. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    I made this choice recently, and went for the E-M1. I do not regret it: it is a wonderful camera, so easy to use that I can even operate it wearing leather gloves, unlike any previous camera (including all mechanical film SLRs) that I have owned.

    The main reasons to choose one over the other (assuming that you do not consider weather sealing important) are usability and ergonomics. That is why I chose the E-M1. I found the EVF of the GX7 to be quite awful: whenever I moved my eye, there would be an extremely unpleasant effect - described by some as "tearing" - whereby the colours would appear to separate. This was extremely jarring. I found it comfortable in the hand, although, having now spent quite some time with the E-M1, I think that it suits my larger hands better, although the GX7 is more similar to the E-P3 with larger grip that I had previously used.

    I did prefer the styling of the GX7 (I prefer the rangefinder look to the OM-D line's aping of the SLR format that mirrorless cameras are happily making obsolete), but appearance is less of an important factor than usability for me.

    As to image quality - I have doubts that there is anything significant in it, although I am extremely impressed with the quality of images from the E-M1 so far compared to the E-P3 (which had the much earlier Panasonic 12.3mP sensor).

    You should really go to a camera shop and spend a considerable amount of time holding each in your hands and working out which you find more comfortable (and make sure to see whether the EVF issue on the GX7 bothers you as it did me: some people do not seem much to mind).
  19. Pecos

    Pecos Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 20, 2013
    The Natural State
    All the later model cameras mentioned above have excellent image quality - not much difference between any of them when it comes down to it. The deciding factor for me is ergonomics - if the E-M1 were out when I entered the m43 world, I'd have gone with it. But I have an E-M5, and although its handling is a bit quirky and the menus bizarre, it's growing on me.
  20. Duncan

    Duncan Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 31, 2013
    I decided on the GX7 because the menus made a lot more sense to me, and I liked the smaller range-finder style to the DSLR style of the EM1. The EVF doesn't bother me at all, and I really like the fact that it tilts, because I can sometimes angle it to keep the sun out of my eye. I also like that it is considerably less expensive without giving up much in IQ or features. Finally, it just makes me smile every time I pick it up.
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