Bought a GX7 to replaced my GF1
I've finally upgraded from my GF1 to the Panasonic GX7.
Brought it out to shoot a sketching session with my friends today in Jurong. Wow. A lot of things did not go right. Alright, but here's my first (of many) impression from using it today.
The objective was to shoot some video. I brought the Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 lens (plus ND filter) and the Olympus 12mm f/2 lens.
The 17.5mm lens will be doing the video shooting. 12mm is for still indoors.
Design and handing
If you're using a tripod, the tripod mount will prevent the tilting LCD from deploying from rest. So you have to deploy it first before putting on the tripod mounting plate.
The body is nice solid. The grip is fantastic, and great to use with heavy lens — the 17.5mm is heavy.
iMovie 11 cannot import Panasonic AVCHD format. Final Cut Pro X cannot import it as well. My recommendation is to shoot in MP4 format which will give you the friendly MOV file.
The video quality is a huge step up from GF1. Shooting both at 720P, the video from GX7 is way sharper. So sharp that when viewing it at 100% on the computer, sometimes you can see visual jittering that's normally associated with really sharp video. Impressive!
Shooting with manual lens
For manual lens, I shoot with the P mode. You can easily adjust the exposure with the dial behind.
The challenge for using manual lens on a Micro Four Thirds body is to get the focus right, sharp. GX7 has focus peaking but in actual use for video and photography, I feel it's not optimal.
When the focus peaking highlight shimmer comes on, your subject matter may still not be in focus. At least this applies to me when using the Voigtlander lens today. It may be due to the fact that at f/0.95, the image is soft and the camera cannot detect hard edges to give the optimal focus peaking.
I lost quite a few shots today because I assumed that once I see the shimmer, the image is sharp, not true. Yeah, I usually do not check (or chimp) my LCD after each shot.
I'll test focus peaking more but I'm dropping back to using the manual focus aid, that enlarged zoomed in rectangle. Panasonic has added a few more zoom levels for that rectangle so now you can zoomed in real close to check the sharpness.
Other than that issue, I really enjoyed using the Voigtlander.