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My GX7 Why I Sent It Back & Why I Still Want A M43 Camera

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by pwjp2011, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. pwjp2011

    pwjp2011 New to Mu-43

    Nov 9, 2014
    Before I start this thread, I want to say that this camera is not a bad camera and it takes fabulous pictures. Its just not the right camera for me. If you may become insulted about what I have written (thought none of it is offensive), you should stop reading now :)  . Now that we got that out of the way.

    I have a Canon T2i with the 15-85mm EF-S lens (as well as 3 other Canon EOS lenses) and an EOS M that I picked up at the fire sale prices. Let me say this before I start, there is nothing wrong with the equipment or the kinds of pictures the EOS systems take. My primary goal was to get a much smaller camera than my T2i that had the functionality of a DSLR. That is the primary reason I bought my EOS M, the EOS M takes pictures that look like it came out of a DSLR but its focus is a bit slow and it has no viewfinder. I wanted something more enthusiast oriented.

    I had a Panasonic GF1 prior to the Canon's a number of years ago that I liked but I sold it because both the EVF and back screen drove me crazy in bright sunlight as it was difficult to see. The Panasonic software was fine and the camera was quick enough. But in the end I sold it after 6 months as I just couldn't stand the screen and EVF.

    I decided I need to look at m4/3 again. I have always like the sleekness of the Leica cameras and the minimalist look so when the GX7 came out last year I kept my eye on it. And recently the price came down a lot, I picked it up with the kit lens for $750 + a $100 gift card. Not too shabby if you ask me when it was like $1200 a year ago. I played with it in the store a lot before I bought it. I also looked at the OMD EM5 a lot but I wasn't so thrilled with the body nor Olympus's software.

    First the things I liked:

    -The camera was very well made. Mostly all metal except for the covers on the top and the battery door.

    -It started very fast.

    -The focusing was very fast. I was impressed as it was almost as fast as a DSLR.

    -The pictures it took were great. Very close to what came out my T2I and EOS M.

    -It was very light, you could carry this all day with no problems.

    -The kit lens was very sharp in terms of optical quality.

    -The style of the camera is very nice, it really does look like a baby Leica.

    -The silver paint on the body was very nice.

    -The tilting EVF is kind of cool as was the tilting back display.

    -The back display was very vivid and clear.

    -In general this is a very responsive camera.

    Now the things I didn't like and why I sent it back:

    -Absolutely HATED the ergonomics of it. Though I played a lot with it in the store, its a whole other thing when you have it home for hours. Its got a decent grip but the buttons seemed to be in all the wrong places relative to my fingers. Especially when it was up to my eye. The buttons in particular I am talking about were the shutter release, the the scroll wheel under the shutter, the scroll wheel in the back and the AE lock button. These buttons definitely do not fall to hand as they say. In my opinion this camera is more about style than function. I guess you could get used to it but its definitely not ergonomic like a DSLR. Even when I forced my fingers to it, I had a hard time locating them when it was up to my face.

    -The battery door is very flimsy. That little clip button to keep it locked looks very fragile. They should have made it metal like the rest of it.

    -The camera though made of metal at times feels kind of hollow. My EOS M is much more solid.

    -Not a fan of the eyelet strap attachments. I have seen the eyelet inserts on other cameras wear out where the ring goes through just from swinging back and forth while hanging.

    -All the covers on the top of the camera are painted plastic. They are eh, just ok. On the silver one its very obvious its plastic, not so much on the black. But the cut lines of the various cover could be much tighter.

    -The EVF was ok but not great. It felt really tiny when looking though it. The opening was small and the sensor to turn the screen off was too big. Though it was better than my GF1's its not the same as optical. It also seemed like the saturation was jacked up but that could have been the settings. It felt like I was looking at a tiny old TV at times.

    -The touch screen was good but was not as good as the EOS M's. In particular some of the icons are cryptic and hard to decipher. Some of the menus are very dense and you need to understand them before you mess with them. Also at times some of the items appear touchable and they are not. On the EOS M everything you see can be touched and manipulated.

    -The on/off switch is kind of fiddly. I like the fact its decisively clicks on/off but I think the placement of it was not so good.

    -The command mode dial on the silver one is difficult to see in certain light. The letters and symbols are painted on and not very legible depending on the light.

    -The leather texture on the right side grip does not extend all the way around the camera.

    Overall its a very nice camera but its not for me. Though its very stylish looking as it looks like a Leica I think the ergonomics of it leave a lot to be desired
    especially if you come from a DSLR. I get the whole rangefinder thing but I think the DSLR style (notice that I didn't say DSLR camera) is more ergonomic for a more serious user. Just my opinion.

    I still like the idea of m43 as both the body and lens are tiny. It shows APS-C performance in a smaller sensor which shrinks everything. Thats never a bad thing. I have been looking at the Panasonic G6 as its more shaped like a regular DSLR as well as the Olympus OMD again.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Al.

    Al. Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 3, 2010
    Hull, East Yorkshire, UK
    The beauty of m43 is that theres something for everyone, simple answer, go for a GH 3 or 4
  3. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    I just acquired a Panasonic G5, and am very disappointed in the quality, compared to the G1, that we have had for several years. The only reason to get the 5 over the 1, is the VF and sensor upgrade. I have heard that the 6 is even less substantial. But, I've never seen one. And yes, the 5's menus and icons are very cryptic, and confusing, as is the GF 5's, that my wife has. Also the flash on the G5 is not nearly as good as the G1. I am very discouraged with the way the Olympus and Panasonic cameras build quality is going. Age, health and money, keep me from jumping ship. But, on the good side, the G5 and 20mm that I just received (late to the 20mm party), make a very nice, light, compact, and usable package for my old legs, hands and eyes. A livable compromise.
  4. I love my EM-1, but that would be a substantial cost increase on your GX-7. The Panasonic GH-3 would offer the DSLR form factor and from what I've read it is a high quality bit of kit.
  5. val

    val Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2013
    GH3/4 sounds like the camera for you.
  6. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    I think the more experience you have with other cameras, the more picky you become in regards to ergonomics and feel. I am perfectly happy with the feel and build of my G5, but I have read many negative comments from others about the build quality. Ironically, I hated the ergos of the entire Rebel line, much preferring the 20D, 30D, and 40D. I also don't care for the E-PM line of cameras from a usability standpoint. I really wanted to like them because of the size, but I just couldn't.

    But as has already been said, one of the great things about m4/3 cameras is that there are so many from tiny to just fairly small. Hopefully you can find one that you like.
  7. timinsingapore

    timinsingapore Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 17, 2014
    Londoner in Singapore for 21 years
    Timothy Auger
    As an APS-C DSLR user (Pentax K5) I bought a GX7 a few weeks ago for lightweight travel. I don't think I have experienced a single one of the frustrations you describe. Getting the right functions ascribed to the various buttons is a veritable nightmare and I haven't really cracked it yet. I find the images definitely noisier than the DSLR with its larger sensor - I knew that was possible in principle, but so many reviewers have said that in practice there's no difference that I am a bit disappointed. But ergonomically it seems rather good.

    (I suspect I am shifting the focus area with my nose from time to time - got to get that worked out. I am finding the interface a bit painful, but I'll nail it in the end.)
  8. bacil

    bacil Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 24, 2012
    I love my e-m5 and I think I will really like the e-m10. I am not familiar with Panasonic but the omd grip is excellent. I came from d600 and d800.
  9. tino84

    tino84 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 29, 2013
    hi, I also bought a gx7 few days ago, and as you say, I'm not so thrilled about. It delivers a very good image, I think it's better than my previous e-pl5, ISO are better I think, and everybody told me panasonic menus are better than olympus'. Everybody exept me, at the moment, I think menus are not better, oly worked very good with me and their sub-menus, but in the gx7 it's all in macro categories, 8 pages where you can find all of a type... and you search for something too much...
    Ergonomics, I find the same, buttons aren't easy to catch, I think I was faster with e-pl5. maybe it's only a matter of time I hope, it's good that you can assign buttons as you want. On the LCD, all information seems throwned on without a logic. Coming from a vf3, the vf is good to me, I'm waiting for the eyecup, but it's larger and more defined. And still, I cannot shoot only touching lcd, cannot find how to do it, if possible. We will see tonight, I have to go to a concert, so I'll test deeply how fast can I be with its dials and buttons, and how gx7 performs on bad light, with high iso, and changing af on lcd while watching on vf, that's why I bought it. OK, I still have to read the manul, but let's say, with my gx7 didn't start with the right feeling.. even if it seems a really good camera, well constructed and with a good sensor
  10. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    We're spoiled with camera riches these days. Yet... Pick a camera. Any camera. There will be a list of Likes and Dislikes. There is no perfect camera, nor any model which everyone will choose to have and use.

    Personally, I love the GX7 and have no problem with it whatsoever. It checks so many boxes for my requirements. Of course there are a few aspects which one can and may quibble about, but again, that will apply to all camera models. Overall, it does an awesome job, is a great compact size, but still fits in the hand marvelously. I think it is in a sweet spot, size-wise. Sometimes one may need a smaller or larger body for whatever purpose, but generally, the size of the GX7 is perfect for my usual needs.

    Whatever camera checks most of your major-need boxes will almost certainly be worthy of one's toleration of some lesser quibbles.

    Keep up your quest. And be sure to let us know what camera works better for you. Hopefully you will find something that will please you more. But do expect a list of quibbles of some sort. Nothing's perfect on this earth.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    I don't think there's a trend, it is just that the original G1 was overbuilt and with its kit lens must have been making a tiny tiny profit in order to get Panasonic's foot in the door.
    I totally agree the G5 and G6 don't feel as solid or refined as the G1 (and they grew bigger, crazy!) but I'm also sure there are some who prefer the newer models and their button/dial positioning.
    What you said about the menus : I also have a G3 and hate the menus, gimme G1 menus and buttons any day.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    [1] There is a tendency for DSLR users to buy a rangefinder camera and 'holding their DSLR in hand, gently slip it from one's grasp and slide the RF body in to the sculpted hand shape', and bitterly complain. That's not the right approach: the hand position and wrist position needs to significantly change, and it takes time to become comfortable. I went from 7D to GX7 and felt the change, but put the matter aside. I also gave it a chance: the fact you 'returned it' suggests a too-short trial of less than a month.

    [2] The DSLR body shape is the way it is partly because of its ergonomic effectiveness. But so is its size. The two go together for comfort. Try an RF body the size of a 7D and I wager 90% of the complaint will disappear: the whole palm is engaged; room for the thumb; room for well-spaced, well-placed buttons. OTOH the E-M5, being a small DSLR body, has collected its fair share of complaints about ergonomics. To a degree it comes with the territory, if you want the compact size.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. seadragon

    seadragon Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 3, 2013
    Yep. I really like my GX7. But the battery door is very poorly designed.
  14. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    It's a funny thing, Arg. I was shooting with my GX7 and some guy asks me to take a picture of him and his little son. He hands me his camera, a Nikon D800. After these past 5 years with mu43, it felt incredibly awkward in my hand. I'm sure I would adjust the other way, but dramatic changes in size require some time to adjust muscle memory. Dang, it was also big and heavy.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    The battery door is very poorly designed? Hmmm. I never noticed any issues with it myself. Works fine, does its job well as far as my usage has gone.

    What's there not to like about the design of the battery door and does that somehow diminish one's ability to make great use of the camera?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    I didn't fall in love with the handling of the GX7 either.

    If you want to get into an OMD, now is definitely the time. I'd look at getting into an EM5 or EM10, unless you need the PDAF, then get an EM1.
  17. tino84

    tino84 Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 29, 2013
    Gx7 has some weakness, but it delivers an awesome image, and it's definitely a very good camera.
    I'm still don't find it very handy too, but its non bayer sensor is a good thing to try at least to read the 380 pages advanced manual, to find a way to customize the camera on your needs.
    I printed some concert pics, shooted @6400 iso.. at home screen seemed to be nothing more an e-pl5 can provide. but printed.. seems to have shotted with an apsc..
    I know gx7 has a difficult learning curve, as I mentioned in my past post, but give it a try with an eye on manual, wouldn't bother too much..
  18. HarryS

    HarryS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 23, 2012
    Midwest, USA
    Tell us about it. Yeah, when I went from a DSLR to an EPL1, for weeks I kept bringing the camera to my eye for a non-existent viewfinder. Now when I dust off my old DSLR, I power it up and get confused beause there's no live view.

    The OP is just telling us how he misses the exact feel of his Canon. If he did not have the luxury of being able to return the GX7, I suppose he might get used to the differences in a few weeks if he had to stick with it..
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Thinking back to when I bought my first m43 camera coming from a Canon dslr. I bought an E-PM1. I hated it. I was used to two dials that allowed me to control the camera easily. Well, the E-PM1 "simplified" things by having only one dial and lots of menus. I just couldn't get comfortable changing settings. It took me forever, and forget trying to do it in the dark, like I could do on my Canon. I eventually bought a G5 and found it sooooo much easier to use. After I used the G5 for a good while and was happy enough with the IQ, and was happy with the controls, I sold my dslr. If I hadn't bought the G5, I probably would've switched to something else entirely. So much of my pleasure with a camera is the experience, not just the output. They both have to please me for me to be really happy. I got into m43 wanting the smallest camera I could find, that's why I bought the E-PM1. But now I have decided I don't mind a little size to have controls I like using. But each person is different. It's so great they make so many different cameras.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. rparmar

    rparmar Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Limerick, Ireland
    I can't tell you what your favourite will be, but I am also picky about ergonomics. Not keen on the bulky GH form factor. Don't like the dial positioning on the OM-D line.

    My favourite camera is the Olympus EP-5, once I grew used to the clever two-way dial. In combination with the front and real dials, this puts four handy functions at your fingertips. Plus I am a big fan of the Olympus menu interface, whatever it is called, the one that puts all shooting parameters on an easy vertical and horizontal menu.

    The optional EVF is the best I have used.

    But I don't like the way the flash deploys so easily. Hey, nothing is perfect. But after about ten cameras, this is the closest yet.
    • Like Like x 2
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