Panasonic’s GX7 boasts in-body stabilization, up to 40 FPS using an electronic shutter, and Light Speed AF all inside a super stylish design with a comfortable rubber grip. One of BL’s biggest micro four thirds enthusiasts took it out for a spin – check out the results below, along with some personal observations on performance and features.
First, the facts:
• Sensor: 16.84MP Micro Four Thirds (2x Crop) MOS Sensor
• File Format: JPEG, MPO, RAW
• Video: 1080p HD
• ISO Range: 200-25600 (Extended Mode: 125-25600)
• AF Points: 23
• Ports: USB 2.0
• Flash: Hot Shoe, Built-In
• FPS: Up to 10 (except when using the electronic shutter feature for 40 FPS)
• Live View
• Weight: 14.18oz
Other notable features include an impressive action-stopping 1/8000th of a second shutter ability and flash syncing at 1/320th of a second and a DSLR-esque twin-dial control system.
The fully 90 degree tilting viewfinder is also a welcome feature.
Manual focus is super easy with the GX7. You can touch the area on the screen where you want to zoom in for manual focus assist. There’s peaking as well.
The touch screen is capacitive (responds to your touch). Besides the ability to change key settings while shooting, you can review images by swiping through them with the flick of a finger.
As mentioned above, the GX7 has this crazy 40 FPS mode when using the electronic shutter. However, to use it you are limited to reduced-resolution JPEGs but it’s still a fun option to have.
As silly as it may look, tilting the EVF to point the camera skyward without having to crane the neck actually makes getting certain architectural shots refreshingly easy.
Time Lapse Shot will record and then automatically combine sequential images to produce a time lapse video. Highlight Shadow Control allows adjustments to the highlights and shadows when working in Live View. A built-in Level Gauge automatically switches orientation when needed and is handy for landscapes.
Autofocus on the GX7 is blazingly fast. AF locks onto the subject immediately even in low light where manual focus is often the only option. Continuous AF, however, still tends to hunt around as one would expect with no phase-detect sensors. The GX7 employs contrast detection for acquiring focus.
Flash portrait photographers will be pleased with the native sync speed of 1/320th of a second. This portrait was lit with a Canon 600EX through an umbrella and triggered with Pocket Wizard Plus IIIs. You can mount a Pocket Wizard to the hot shoe of the GX7 to fire off-camera flash. This higher sync speed is especially handy for when you want to shoot outdoors with a shallow depth-of-field without losing the pleasing, subject-separating darker background. This portrait was shot at f/0.95 with the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm Micro Four Thirds Lens.
It’s typical for micro four thirds cameras to be limited to a 1/4000th of a second maximum shutter speed. The GX7 will go up to 1/8000th – an awesome expansion.
The in-body stabilization combined with a fast lens will allow you to shoot still subjects in almost complete darkness without having to crank up your ISO. This image was taken hand-held at 1/10th of a second, f/0.95, and ISO 200. The in-body stabilization is good but doesn’t seem to be as good as the 5-axis sensor shift system found in Olympus micro four thirds cameras like the OM-D E-M5. We welcome contrary observations, however – further testing required.
Pin-Point AF allows for Live View images to be magnified during shooting for homing in on tight details. One-Shot AF quickly and automatically acquires focus with manual focusing still available for greater creative control.
Silent Mode switches the shutter from mechanical to electronic and disables all sounds allowing for more inconspicuous shooting.
In addition to the tilting viewfinder, the 3″ monitor tilts 45 degrees upward or 80 degrees downward and is designed for reduced glare when used in bright sunlight.
The micro four thirds mount system allows for exceptional variety in lens choices from Olympus, Sigma, and more. Try out the stylish Panasonic GX7 Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless Camera and share your results!
All images ©Jonathan Fleming