Well, I did it again. Panasonic announced the G85 (sibling to the GX85, which I own alongside the G7) only 4 months after I bought the G7. The G7 is an excellent camera, and I love shooting it. But I now have a decision to make. The GX85 lacks the AA filter and lacks shutter shock (owing to the hybrid shutter), which makes it sharper than the G7 in normal use. Thus, the G85 really appeals to me, despite the unfortunate list price for the new camera. I suppose it will depend on what I can get for the G7 and G6 (which is handy, but feeling a bit superfluous these days.)
So I finally broke down and bought the G7. I’ve been wanting to get a DFD / 4k camera for ages and finally got the opportunity. In fact, I had decided to go for the Nikon D7200 instead, which would have given me the top consumer dSLR out there. But after thinking really hard on the difficulty in using two systems one evening, I decided that the D7200 could wait. Traveling with m4/3 is so much better than travelling with the larger APS-C dSLR kits that I could not consilidate only on dSLRs.
So … I am keeping the D90 for now because of the Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro, a stunning lens with phenomenal acuity and smooth bokeh. I just can’t relegate that lens to manual focus on the m4/3 bodies.
On the other hand, the G7 turned out to be INCREDIBLE with the 100-300, focusing pretty much instantaneously in great light, and still quickly in low light. The promise of DFD definitely seems to have been met.
So how to I like the G7 so far?
- DFD – excellent
- AF on Olympus lenses – fast
- Body – light and yet accomplished feeling with a much better initial impression than the G6 gave me (I like it now though)
- Grip – perfect
- Dual control wheels – amazing – I set the front wheel to exposure compensation in auto modes and that is a joy to use
- Buttons – I’ll reserve judgement as there are so many and I have not started programming them for my own style
- Video – TBD
- Image quality – obviously this thing has a great sensor … I think it is a refined version of the one in the GM1, which itself is excellent … but more later
- Articulated LCD – as excellent as the one on the G5 and G6 but with seemingly greater clarity
All in all, I have to say that this is a huge upgrade on the G6, which was a pretty big upgrade on the G5, at least for video. So Panasonic might make us wait for the next G, but it is always worth the wait. I’m keeping the G6 as backup and third video cam by the way. The G6 is still stunning in daylight, as are all sensors derived from the venerable GH2 sensor.
Why not an Olympus EM5 II or EM10 II, which bracket the price range of this camera?
Simple answer is video and ergonomics. Not a contest. But … I would love to grab the EM10 II to replace the E-PM2, which has mediocre ergonomics by comparison. Perhaps one day I will find a used body for a decent price and sell of the E-PM2 (which has equal or superior image quality to the Panasonics.)