Why oh Why No Auto ISO in M on the GX7?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Turbofrog, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I am sad. I was slowly psyching myself up about upgrading my trusty GX1 to an E-M10 to gain the handling benefits of the EVF, focus-peaking, dual-dials, tilting rear screen, and the significant virtues of IBIS. Particularly exciting for me was going to be the improved usability with legacy lenses. The main reason for the E-M10 over the GX7 was as simple as this - the E-M10 does Auto ISO in M mode, whereas the GX7 does not.

    I can't understate how huge an oversight this is, especially for users of legacy lenses. There are numerous situations where I will want to set both the aperture and the shutter speed (for creative reasons, or to ensure that I'm shooting fast enough to avoid camera shake or motion blur), but where exposure is changing frequently enough that I need to constantly adjust the ISO. This is certainly doable, even on my GX1, but it's a significant hassle. The alternative is simply to set the ISO high enough for the lowest-light situation, and then use the command dial to adjust shutter speed upwards to compensate for exposure - also doable, but means that I'm leaving image quality on the table, which isn't something I want to do with a 4/3 sensor.

    The trouble is, I went and tried the E-M10 in a store the other day. It's a nice enough camera, but the ergonomics, usability, and particularly the menus just don't compare to the GX7 I tried previously. The GX7's touch-screen implementation, its picture-in-picture magnification, the quality of the focus-peaking and the fact that I don't need to enable it with a button, and its larger grip all seem to make it much better suited to use with manual lenses. Most bothersome on the E-M10 is that the focus peaking disappears when you press to half-shutter, but pressing to half-shutter is required to get a stabilized view for composition with the IBIS. Which is hugely helpful with longer manual telephotos, especially fast ones.

    So now I'm back to wanting the GX7, despite it's worse IBIS. But no Auto ISO in M really is a dealbreaker. It's not that much of an upgrade if I still have the same handling hassles as my existing camera that are making me want to upgrade in the first place...

    Given that the GH4 and FZ1000 now include Auto ISO in M mode, it seems Panasonic is listening to photographers finally. But I'm guessing there's no chance of a firmware update coming to save the GX7 for me. I guess I'm left still waiting for the ideal unicorn of a camera to one day be released. Maybe at Photokina...
  2. jyc860923

    jyc860923 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 28, 2012
    Shenyang, China
    Real Name:
    glad to know GH4 has it, I love this feature on my EPL5 and wasn't expecting Panasonic to include that. how many of us have been wanting a G7 that has the most recent sensor, GH4 focusing and updated firmware, for G6's price:tongue:
  3. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    It's all about individual priorities

    For some it is a huge issue, but not for all. In the quest for obtaining the best photo quality, many (myself included) prefer to set the ISO, and have it stay put. When wondering why it was not included in the GX7 you need to consider that the lead time in designing a camera is probably 12-18 months. When the GX7 was being designed auto ISO probably wasn't on their radar screen and it was not included. I totally agree with you, it would be nice to have, but if you start adding all these features to an existing model, what's left for the new model? Life isn't fair and in this case it is, what it isn't.
  4. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Real Name:
    Bruce Foreman
    Don't let that be a deal breaker. Manual mode is MANUAL. Most of us who clamored for full manual on video gear for years, don't want ANYTHING auto when manual control is needed.

    You may not think of the GX7 as a piece of video gear but for those who like to be a bit "inconspicuous" on an assignment that requires video, the GX7 is almost perfect. When you're "tuned into" working in Manual paying attention to ISO and setting it as necessary is no big thing, and in video mode the very last thing I want is exposure changing because of auto ISO.

    Go for the GX7. It's just about the perfect very compact travel and "knockaround" camera going, for both stills and video. Mine is almost always with me.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Real Name:
    call me Arg
    Panasonic have responded to customer feedback by including it in the GH4, but it is not their modus operandi to use firmware updates to add new features. They just save the new features up for the next model.

    I do grasp the usefulness of the (ironic really) M-mode-with-Auto-ISO, I had it on my previous camera. But I also grasp Panasonic's idea that M is for Manual, and that means auto-nothing.

    Yes, it would be a handy advantage, but far more sensible to work around it than to break deals over it. For example, if truly working in manual mode in varying conditions, you would really want to monitor exposure anyway, not leave it to beaver. So, even if you had auto-ISO in M, you would need to keep monitoring and adjusting the exposure compensation dial.... in which case you might as well be in non-auto-ISO and adjust the ISO dial instead.
  6. tbhv55

    tbhv55 Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 26, 2010
    I'm with the OP on this. The availability of Auto ISO in manual mode is very useful, and it could be implemented as selectable toggle setting, so that no-one is forced to have it.:rolleyes::wink:
  7. gochugogi

    gochugogi Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    Oahu, gathering place of many cars
    Real Name:
    Peter Gunn
    Probably should give it a different and/or more descriptive name than manual mode and it's own notch on the mode dial. I prefer manual to be 100% manual and normally set ISO even in Av or P modes. Call it Intelligent Manual Mode, Programmed Manual Mode, etc., so traditionalists aren't befuddled by ISO soaring up and down...
  8. manzoid

    manzoid Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 9, 2011
    I haven't used a Panasonic m43 camera, so I'm not entirely sure if what I am suggesting is possible... BUT when shooting with legacy lenses, if you switch to S mode and leave it on auto ISO, you would also have the aperture dial on the lens, so it basically is manual with auto ISO.

    I know you may still want it with native lenses, and I'm also assuming that panasonic cameras will function like olympus when set up this way. If you REALLy want the GX7, could it be enough? ;)

    Good luck with your options.
  9. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    I rarely use manual mode, but when I do, I love me some auto ISO.

    In many cases I want to shoot a specific aperature(wide open or sometimes stopped down to a sharper setting) and set the shutter speed fast enough to stop shake or sometimes motion and let auto ISO take over from there.
  10. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    It being 2014, I'm not sure why Auto ISO is so hard for most mfgs to figure out. Its simple... let users:

    -Use Auto in M
    -Define minimum Shutter speeds in all other modes
    -Define ISO EV jump (1/3-full, etc).
    -Define Min and Max ISO
  11. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    Real Name:
    call me Arg
    You can select Auto ISO but all you get is ISO 200 fixed.