My first impressions about the GX7 (and comparison with the E-P5)

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Mat - MirrorLessons, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    Hi all,

    My GX7 arrived two days ago and so far my impressions are more than positive. Having used the Pen E-P5 a lot in the last months, comparing the two models seemed like the natural thing to do :smile:

    Ergonomically, the built-in viewfinder and the pronounced grip makes it much better. I love the E-P5 external VF-4, but the truth is that you have an additional bulky piece of equipment on top of your camera. It is uncomfortable if you want to use small bags for example and I often unmount it and mount it again.
    The GX7 built-in viewfinder makes a big difference here, even though the VF4 has superior quality.

    I did a comparison in low light performance, and long story short, both cameras are great. The GX7 however is better at high ISO from 6400 and up. You can clearly see the difference at 12800 and 25600. The amount of noise is similar, but colour accuracy and details are in the GX7's favour.
    So if you never go past 3200, both cameras are great, if you like to push the boundaries, the GX7 with its newer sensor will give you better results.

    GX7, 6400 ISO
    Full size: http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerarevi...loads/2013/10/EP5-vs-GX7-low-light-raw-18.jpg

    E-P5, 6400 ISO
    Full Size: http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerarevi...loads/2013/10/EP5-vs-GX7-low-light-raw-17.jpg

    I also tried the internal stabilisation, and no surprises here, the E-P5 wins but in a real world situation, the GX7 might be just fine unless you like, again, pushing the boundaries and take shots at 1 second.

    E-P5, 1 second
    Full size: http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerarevi...3/10/EP5-vs-GX7-low-light-stabilization-7.jpg

    GX7, 1 second
    Full size: http://www.bestmirrorlesscamerarevi...3/10/EP5-vs-GX7-low-light-stabilization-8.jpg

    The GX7 also seems to have a better dynamic range. I will do more test about that in the weeks to come.

    If you want to see more pictures, here is the article I wrote yesterday (night) :biggrin:

    • Like Like x 15
  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    Wow, 1 second exp handheld. That is officially insane!
    Can you talk a little more about the viewfinder ? How is Olympus better? Have you had previous Panasonic models like G3/5? If yes , how would those compare?
    Promise of the big Olympus finder in upcoming Em6 is one of the things that is keeping me from getting one of these new models now :) 
  3. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    I feel like the E-P5 image of the building interior is more color accurate: the hues of the mixed lighting are rendered whereas the GX7 seems to process out much of the warm incandescent tones. Also, although the exposure settings and ISO are the same, E-P5 ISO appears to be underrated compared to the GX7. The E-P5 image is dimmer and slightly more noisy--slightly unexposed to my eye. The 2nd E-P5 image is also slightly dimmer but the highlights have a lot more detail. I don't think ISO is calibrated/rated the same in these cameras and is throwing off manual exposure results a little. I'd add a wee bit more exposure to the Oly.
  4. Liamness

    Liamness Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Bit weird for me still using my GF1 to read about whether a camera is any good at ISO 6400 or not. I still get nervous when I might have to bump it up to 800.

    The 5-axis stabilisation is incredible. With wider lenses, it's hard to imagine a situation where you wouldn't be able to take a shot handheld (as long as there's no motion within the frame).
  5. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    I like the viewfinder so far. Better than the GH3 (sharper and better eyepiece), but the Olympus VF-4 has a bigger eyepiece and it feels almost like a DSLR viewfinder. But what matters really is that the GX7 has it built-in and the differences between the two aren't enormous.

    Mat - MirrorL
  6. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    The E-P5 produces too much green/yellow tint inside the church. The GX7 images are more faithful to the original scene.
    I agree about ISO calibration, it seems that both cameras behave differently and the E-P5 tends to be slightly more underexposed.

    Mat - MirrorL
  7. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    Yes, what you can do with the 5-axis is pretty amazing.

    Mat - MirrorL
  8. tomge

    tomge Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 16, 2013
    Which camera settings did you use? (Contrast,....)
  9. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    But "warm incandescent tones" really aren't accurate. That's an artifact of daylight balanced film that we've come to expect as normal, but your eyes don't see incandescents that way.

    Anyway, it's nice to see a comparison from someone who isn't biased towards either brand. Thanks to the OP.
  10. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Maybe it's not the so much the E-P5 that's to blame for the color tint but the profile used in your RAW converter. After all, it is RAW data and by design is supposed to be interpreted according to your taste. If the default profile produces too much green/yellow it would be easy to create a custom profile to render RAW as you prefer. I've never been happy with any of the the default RAW profiles in ACR, DPP or Aperture and always create a custom profile to save time diddling the wee sliders.

    Also, some Olympus models ship with a WB default, "Keep Warm Color." If you disable that default the yellow tint will be greatly reduced. I recall that setting burning my bum for a couple weeks until I disabled it.
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  11. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    I agree if all you have is incandescents. But then you see them as warm in mixed lighting, e.g., cool blue skylight from windows mixed with interior incandescents. Fluorescent lamps next to incandescents look really yellowish to my eyes.
  12. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    I got the same results with the JPG straight from the camera.

    Better size:

    Better size:

    Now of course with the RAW files you can correct that yellow/greenish tint, but straight out of the camera, the GX7 seems to handle better different light source.

    For the "Keep Warm Color" option, it should be effective only with AutoWB.
  13. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Thanks for the comparison pictures.

    Can we get some faces in the daylight too?
  14. Mat - MirrorLessons

    Mat - MirrorLessons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 10, 2013
    Noted. I'll try to do it in the next couple of days hoping for the heavy rain to stop here in Turin :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  15. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Manual WB? I'm guessing like ISO, WB between the two cameras are not calibrated the same, which is normal for cameras from different manufacturers. I'd set the E-P5 for a 1/2 stop more exposure and a little couple hundred degree cooler WB.
  16. Toe

    Toe New to Mu-43

    Oct 22, 2013
    Folks, this isn't an artifact of incandescent lighting, that's just Panasonic color vs. Olympus color. Panasonic's grays tend to err on the light and warm side, resulting in a 'clean' appearance with a slightly beige-ish quality. Olympus, meanwhile, has a way of leaving you with a dingy, yellowish cast in your images. It's visible in other types of lighting, too.

    Compare the bricks in these shots from ePhotoZine's GX7 vs. E-M5 review (click for larger):

    Panasonic GX7: Clean, sharp, and faintly beige-toned. (Spot the birdie!)

    Olympus E-M5: Dingy yellowish bricks, not as sharp, and as is typical for Oly it's slightly underexposed.

    Thoresby Hall is supposed to be a bit yellowish, but from what I've seen from other pics of it in ePhotoZine's reviews, no other brand seems to show it quite as dark and yellowish as Olympus does. A couple other observations from those two pics: Look at the part of the ivy on the side of the building that's in the shade. The GX7 shows a lot more detail here. Interestingly, even though the E-M5 is more yellowish on the bricks, the GX7 seems a bit more yellowish on the ivy. (Some of that might be due to the E-M5's underexposure.) Speaking of underexposure, the GX7 also looks much better in the shadows of the fountain.

    In Olympus's favor, it does bring out a bit more blue in the mostly-cloudy sky. I also prefer E-M5 for the green tone of the grass growing in the fountain. The E-M5 seems to show a bit broader range of color in that image, too - while Olympus looks a bit dingy on the building, other parts of the image look a bit muddy on the Panasonic (like the water in the fountain).

    Overall, though, I still prefer the GX7.
  17. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    I prefer the image from the E-M5: warmer, better contrast and the building sky are more colorful and detailed. Looking at the pixel level crops in the review, the E-M5 appears a little sharper and more detailed to my eye. The GX7 image looks a little overexposed in those same areas but the shadows on the fountain open up more due to the increased exposure. However, the difference in exposure has more to do with operator taste and skill. You can easily make the overexposed GX7 image a little darker or the E-M5 image brighter. Both exposures would benefit from a gradient mask in PS (but reversed directions!).

    Setting the same ISO, WB, shutter and aperture of two different cameras will never yield exactly the same exposure. Different makes of cameras are not calibrated the same and, in fact, ISO and WB often varies slightly within the samples of the same model. Differences in calibration do not a better camera make but the operator needs to learn to tweak their shooting to get the best from the camera. Ephotozine clearly calls these cameras a draw. I was considering the GX7 but RRS was indicated they're not planning a L-plate for the E-P5 or GX7. They did announce a L-plate for the E-M1 so that's where my credit card is bound.
  18. Toe

    Toe New to Mu-43

    Oct 22, 2013
    E-M5 sharper? Nahhh... The frames around the windows, the roof tiles, all the little detail work, pretty much everything on the building is better-defined on the GX7 - highlight or shadow. Same with the greens on the left. The E-M5 does have better overall contrast, though.
  19. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Welcome to the forum Toe.
    Thanks for the two big samples, I clicked on both and noticed some things you appear to have missed ;
    Indeed the bricks in your samples are sharper for the GX7,
    however the near foreground leaves are sharper for the E-M5
    therefore the sharpness differences can be put down to huge focus error.

    It takes ten seconds of looking to see it. I can put up crops but there's really no need. Look again.

    In my experience the typical exposure for Olympus is slightly high, not underexposed as you are implying.
    If anything Panasonic cameras typically underexpose. Luckily not the GX7! Which is nice.
    That's not to deny your experiences with this particular pair of bodies, but you shouldn't throw around the word typical when these results are completely atypical over the full m4/3rds system.
  20. wildwildwes

    wildwildwes Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 9, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks for the comparison. However, that said, both cameras are competent TOOLS that once fine-tuned to your own individual preferences and tastes will yield excellent results! The best images will be captured with whatever camera (brand, model, etc) one chooses to thoroughly & intimately acquaint oneself with! I've shot with both similar generation Panasonic & Olympus M/43 cameras when I was giving the format my first serious evaluation a couple of years ago -- also simultaneously interchanging the same set of lenses for the "experiment". For my personal tastes, the Olympus "signature" was more to my liking but the Panasonic produced equally stunning images... :horse:
    • Like Like x 2
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