The new LUMIX GX7 is definitely a head turner. I was in Chicago with my fellow LUMIX Luminaries for a few days at the Skip Cohen University summer session, and photographers were constantly stopping us to ask about this distinctive new machine. We heard “Is THAT the new GX7?”, a lot! There were a lot of approving nods and “that’s really NICE” comments.
Giulio Sciorio and I hit the road last week with the LUMIX GX7, and we had the chance to shoot the new machine in a lot of different situations. I wanted to share some of my observations and favorite features. I’ll try to stick to things that are unique to the GX7.
It’s bigger than I thought… in a good way.
I thought the LUMIX GX7 would feel similar to an OM-D or PEN in the hand. Some of my colleagues mentioned that the GX7 is smaller than they expected, but I thought the opposite. I expected it to feel more like a “mini” camera, but it definitely feels like a serious tool. The grip is much more substantial than the Oly’s, and it feels just right in my hand (I wear size L gloves). I like it much better than the PEN’s standard grip, and it’s beefier (wider but not as deep) than the accessory grip on the OM-D.
It has a reassuring weight to it thanks to the Magnesium body. When you pick it up you know right away that this is no toy camera. When I hand the GX7 to photographers they invariably mention that it “feels good” in their hand. The dials, buttons and switches all feel very well made. The mode dial and control wheels have crisp stops and don’t feel too loose or too tight.
The control layout seems reasonable to me. All of your daily-driver functions are easy to reach and I don’t feel like I need smaller fingers to work any of the buttons. I was dubious about the mode dial’s placement under your trigger finger, but I never even noticed it while shooting. I especially like the front control wheel. it is situated around the shutter release, and it leaves me wondering why all cameras aren’t built that way.
Yes, the EVF rocks
The first thing photographers do when they pick up the LUMIX GX7 is look through the EVF. One guy had it in a dark reception hall and swung the camera back and forth while looking through the EVF. I’m assuming he was visually testing the refresh rate, and he was very pleased with the results of his “test”. He mentioned how much better he thought it was than the OM-D in his bag.
It is big and bright, and it shows almost the entire Adobe RGB color space. That means that you are seeing almost exactly what the sensor will record with your current jpeg settings. That’s really handy for preprocessing your images and getting your shots right in camera.
Speaking of jpeg’s…
I use the processing tools in the LUMIX GH3 a lot, and I often use the jpegs right out of the camera. The LUMIX GX7 refines those controls and adds highlight/shadow curves. The curves tool is similar to another MFT camera, but it adds built-in presets and three slots to save your own custom curves. That adds incredible functionality to the tool.
We discovered that iDynamic and iResolution work a bit differently in the GX7 than they do in the GH3. We found that the settings in the GX7 were easier to control with consistent results than the same settings in the GH3. In fact, I don’t use either control in the GH3 but I found myself using both in the GX7.
iDynamic is a contrast control that helps you keep your highlights and shadows in check. iResolution works similarly to the Clarity slider in Lightroom and Camera RAW, and controls your mid-tone contrast and apparent sharpness.
Combined with the highlight/shadow curves and the basic photo style controls, G and I were able to dial in our images in-camera and get exactly what we wanted out of our jpeg’s.
Creative filters aren’t unique to the GX7, but there are a few new ones in this model. These filters allow you to choose a “look” for your photos (and videos) in camera before you make the photo. As long as you know what you are going for at the time of capture, these filters can save you a lot of time in post.
There are specific controls for each filter that are unique to that particular filter. Combined with the curves, iDynamic and iResolution you can make some really great stuff in the camera.
Those are the things that stick out in my mind after using the LUMIX GX7 for a week. Giulio and I are going through images and video as we speak and we will be talking a lot more about our LMIX GX7, Change Your Perspective Road Trip in the coming weeks.
Be sure to check out the new portal for our LUMIX Luminary team at us.panasonic.com/lumixlounge. You will find photos, bios and much more. See you there!