Panasonic GX7 First Impressions Review

Panasonic's much-leaked Lumix DMC-GX7 is arguably the company's most enthusiast-focused mirrorless camera yet to hit the market. Back in 2011, Panasonic released the DMC-GX1 in a move to appease enthusiasts who grew more and more disappointed as the promising GF-series got smaller and simpler, with fewer controls in the GF2 and GF3 models. The GX1, however, seemed like an interim move, adding minor enhancements to the original GF1 design and changing the badge, while fans watched as Sony's NEX-7 and later the Olympus E-M5 offered more controls and sophisticated features, including a built-in EVF.

While few of the GX7's specifications stand out as revolutionary (aside, perhaps, from its built-in articulated electronic viewfinder), our impression was that it contains plenty of small tweaks and features sure to endear it the enthusiast crowd.

Key specifications

  • 16MP Live MOS sensor
  • In-body image stabilization (works with any lens)
  • Front and rear control dials
  • Flip-up, 1024 x 768 pixel (2.3M dot equivalent) electronic viewfinder
  • 3-inch tilting LCD
  • 3-level focus peaking
  • 1080 video at 60p/60i/24p in MP4 or AVCHD format
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Magnesium-alloy frame
  • 1/8000 second max shutter speed, 1/320th flash sync speed
  • Highlight and shadow curve adjustments
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Large contoured grip

It's hard to know whether to think of the GX7 as being a post-NEX-7 or a post-E-M5 camera - but to an extent that's the point: unlike the GX1, which appeared to be a rather-too-late, warmed-over GF1, the GX7 is a camera that has learned from the increasingly impressive cameras it will have to compete with.

So, despite Panasonic producing an extensive range of image-stabilized lenses, the GX7 incorporated in-body stabilization. This will be a welcome move for anyone hoping to use legacy lenses or any of Olympus's prime lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system. Combined with the 'focus peaking' manual focus aid that Sony re-introduced to its NEX cameras, it promises to make the GX7 one of the more capable options, when it comes to shooting with adapted lenses.

The GX7 is one of a surprisingly small number of mirrorless cameras to offer a DSLR-style twin-dial control system.

But that's not the full extent of the GX7's offerings for keen photographers - a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second and a flash sync speed of 1/320th suggest Panasonic is serious about appealing to enthusiast photographers. The GX7 is also in unexpectedly exclusive company when it comes to offering a DSLR-like twin-dial control system. There are several mirrorless cameras with two control dials, but remarkably few that make it easy to simply set one to control aperture or shutter speed, and the other to control exposure compensation, which makes the semi-auto Av and Tv modes enjoyable to shoot in.

Wi-Fi

As with most recent Panasonic models - including the G6 and GF6 - the GX7 features Wi-Fi with the option to use NFC to establish a connection and transfer photos simply by 'tapping' the two devices together. Like those other cameras, it allows you to connect the camera to Wi-Fi networks to download your images, or to push them to social networks, but our understanding is that Panasonic hasn't modified its rather labyrinthine setup system.

Much better executed is the behavior with smartphones, where an iOS or Android app can be used to take remote control over almost all the camera's settings. It's also fairly straightforward to connect to a smartphone and pull images off the camera if you want to push them out to social networks yourself.

Silent mode

The GX7 is also one of the few cameras we've seen to use its optional electronic shutter to offer an effective silent shooting mode for discreet shooting. The camera is limited to a sensitivity range of ISO 200-3200 in silent mode, and the flash, AF illuminator and all camera sounds are disabled when the mode is engaged. We were quite impressed with silent mode, several of us commenting that we would likely use it often.

Electronic viewfinder

The most immediately visible new feature of the GX7 is its flip-up electronic viewfinder. We've seen corner-mounted EVFs before, but this is the first built-in unit we've seen for a long time that articulates upwards, allowing for more flexible shooting. The viewfinder itself is built around a 1024 x 768-pixel LCD panel. This has become essentially the standard for high-end viewfinders, thanks to the 2.3M dot OLED finders in several Sony models, and the similarly high-res LCD used in the Fujifilm X100S / Olympus VF-4 viewfinder.

The Lumix GX7's flip-up electronic viewfinder is one of its most distinctive features.

However, the GX7 doesn't use either of these panels, instead making use of a field-sequential LCD. It uses around 780,000 dots that show red, green and blue information, one after the other, rather than using separate dots for each. The only drawback to this unique display method is called 'tearing,' in which colors appear to separate, causing red, green and blue edges left and right of high-contrast areas when panning rapidly. It was still present in the GX7, but not as bad as we've seen before, likely thanks to an increase in the refresh rate.

The EVF's optics give it an impressive 0.7x magnification (in 35mm camera terms) and we're pleased to see a menu option to turn down the sensitivity of the eye detection sensor, if you find it that you're frequently triggering it accidentally. Our only concern is the rather short 17.5mm eyepoint - which rarely works well, especially for wearers of glasses, in combination with high magnification viewfinders (it makes it hard to see the extreme edges of the frame without moving your eye). 

Video

The only peculiar gap in the specifications relates to video - an area we wouldn't expect such an oversight from Panasonic. The GX7 provides plenty of movie control - offering PASM exposure control, a wide choice of frame rates and a choice of capture format - but it doesn't have an option for connecting an external microphone. So although you have a camera that can shoot 1080p video at 24 or 50/60 frames per second (depending on region), or genuine interlaced 60i in AVCHD mode, and at bitrates of up to 28Mbps for the 24p footage, you'll always be limited to using the internal stereo microphones or an external recorder.

Impressions of the body and controls

Shooting briefly with the Panasonic GX7 was enough to tell us that Panasonic has been paying attention in the 20 months since it created the GX1, which has resulted in a camera that should indeed appeal to enthusiasts. 

The top view shows the GX7's tilting EVF, hot shoe, stereo mics, pop-up flash, front dial, record button, mode dial and power switch.

When you first take hold of the Panasonic GX7, it's the rubber-coated grip that stands out. It provides a good hold on the camera, certainly better than that provided by the GX1. The magnesium-alloy body is flex-free, with no creaking or twisting, as we've come to expect. The front and mode dials are just stiff enough that we doubt they'll too often turn accidentally, yet they respond well when turned. The power switch is in good position for fast activation. 

The Lumix GX7 offers plenty of ways to control settings, with four customizable Function buttons.

The rear control dial also serves as a button, by default bringing up exposure compensation in program and semi-auto modes (adjusting by +/- 5 stops in 1/3 stop increments). Turn the dial without pressing it and it adjusts program shift, or the pertinent parameter in shutter/aperture priority modes. When in the Quick Menu, it also adjusts parameters for the selected control.

Rather than leave you to go into a menu or remember a function button to switch between manual and autofocus, the GX7 features a physical switch surrounding the AF/AE lock button, a nice touch. 

Panasonic's new Quick menu looks a lot like the one on Canon's touchscreen SLRs and works about as well, activated with the Fn1 button. Fn2, for its part, brings up the curves menu, adjustable by touch or dial, which allows you to change shadow and highlight settings, and create and save up to three custom curves settings.

Overall, we like what we see. The Panasonic GX7's feature set more appropriately addresses the current market by including important features its predecessors left out. It also includes quite a few new bells and whistles found on competing products, most of which should enhance the experience, hopefully without being too much. The EVF, sensor-shift IS, focus peaking, 1/8000 second shutter speed and extra control dial should please most enthusiasts looking for a little more in their mirrorless camera. We look forward to putting it through its paces when we get a sample in for a full review.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 Real-world Samples Gallery

There are 32 images in the Panasonic GX7 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Because our review images are now hosted on the 'galleries' section of dpreview.com, you can enjoy all of the new galleries functionality when browsing these samples.

 Panasonic GX7 Samples Gallery - published August 14th 2013

Comments

Total comments: 1202
12345
Boissez
By Boissez (8 months ago)

The functionality (lightning toggle/image resizing) is brilliant! However I would like the scene to have some more color in it - especially colored textures/fabrics as it can really punish poor de-bayering and heavy-handed NR.

2 upvotes
SulfurousBeast
By SulfurousBeast (8 months ago)

I agree the "Test Scene" is too dull. Hope you guys are taking into consideration the ability to capture the maximum dynamic range, colors, B&Ws possible in a controlled environment and the Test Scene pics are chosen accordingly. Honestly the Photo of Photos (Faces) is very dull and compromised already....DPR please rethink your Beta before finalizing as hundreds of Cameras' fate is based on what scene you use for critical reviews

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

besides what you say, I hope DPReview could understand what is picture height (and before that, what is image quality).

0 upvotes
Individual11
By Individual11 (8 months ago)

It's a real test of 'change management' making this fundamental of a change. I join those who have said that they have come to rely on the old test scene - resolving "Paul Smith" on the watch is one of the things I look for. But change is not always a bad thing. Clearly this new scene reflects the improvements in cameras since that first scene was designed. So what I would keep (or replicate): the watch face for the detail of the lettering and material (and moderate contrast) of the "Paul Smith," I agree that blonde is better than brown hair, several textured fabrics: carpet, white loose wool, the yarn or torn carpet (earth tones, left of center), the pom-poms without glittery sheen, playing card (a ubiquitous object), paperclips (agree with others) & the robot cuz he's simultaniously cool & cute. Most importantly, how are you to deal with the backlog? Will you continue to shoot both scenes thru transition period? And BTW, where did you get the honey balsamic?

1 upvote
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (8 months ago)

If you want to test text resolving there's some very tiny text just above the centre of the chart in various combinations of black, white and grey.

0 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

I have to agree the robot should remain. For the new test format, I recommended a picture of him tucked in somewhere. Maybe a little frivolous. Should be a bit of whimsey in there, though.

0 upvotes
Kodachrome200
By Kodachrome200 (8 months ago)

it be great if you could add a few more cameras that will be important comparisons for some time like the nikon d800

0 upvotes
Kelcey Smith
By Kelcey Smith (8 months ago)

We are currently working through a backlog of cameras including the D800 and we'll be adding them along with upcoming cameras.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

to my eyes, GX7 doesn't have better noise than Pana's previous sensor in E-M5, though Oly may cook raw files more than Pana.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Stu 5
By Stu 5 (8 months ago)

E-M5 uses a Sony sensor.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

Oly did mention Sony but what part of the sensor was made by Sony if any?

the sensor got Pana brand Live MOS,
the sensor got Pana technology of fast readout for CDAF,
the sensor performs similar to Pana cameras.

maybe Pana made the chip and Sony made on-chip micro-lens? only my wild guess.

be careful about anything told by Pana or Oly. their whole business is based on cheating.

* adding to my original post, ISO cheating may also contributed a lot that the ISO difference may go directly as the performance difference.

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
SulfurousBeast
By SulfurousBeast (8 months ago)

Guess you have no clue what you are talking about..."whole business based on cheating" - what the hell that is supposed to mean?!!

5 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (8 months ago)

Someone in the m4/3 forum sent an E-PM2 to Chipworks for analysis. The final report haven't been published, but they did say that the markings on the sensor were consistent with a Sony chip.

Live MOS is in fact an Olympus trademark, which may not imply a specific sensor maker.
As for the readout speed, Sony would have made a sensor that meets their customers' demands, possibly (but not necessarily) using Panasonic tech.
The sensor performs noticeably better than previous m4/3 sensors, and is in fact on par with Sony APS-C, if one takes the smaller size into consideration.

Panasonic and Olympus don't base their businesses on cheating, at least not more than any of their competitors. Care to elaborate on that? I know that you talk alot about "F-stop cheating" and "ISO cheating", but that really is a misleading way to put it.

5 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (8 months ago)

Regarding "ISO cheating", you should read these two articles:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Publications/DxOMark-Insights/Pushed-ISO-Let-s-make-it-clear

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/4241806072/sense-and-sensitivity

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

I don't know the truth, only I see no evidence and a lot of contradictions to call it Sony, some more reasons,

volume is too small for a dedicated sensor for Oly only,
Sony's own NEX focus much slower,
Sony's own NEX actually perform "worse" (ISO cheated),
Oly said it vaguely in an unusual way (they meant to cheat).

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (8 months ago)

Well, I don't know the truth either, of course, but I see no reason to doubt that it's a Sony sensor. Especially given that Olympus and Sony have stated that they will exchange technology, now that Sony has invested heavily in Olympus.
As to the volume, Olympus use the sensor in their entire m4/3 line-up, and Panasonic most likely use the same sensor in GH3.
But as long as we don't know for sure, your guess is as good as mine. We'll have to wait for the results from Chipworks.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

sorry I don't have the imagination to think Pana throwout their sensors for Sony whom Nikon is turning away from.

Comment edited 27 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (8 months ago)

Panasonic still use their own sensors in some cameras, so they haven't "gone Sony" completely. Canon make their own sensors, but they also have used Sony sensors in some compact cameras.
Sure, the GH3 is their "flagship" model, but I see no problem with Panasonic using a Sony sensor in it. There is some evidence suggesting Olympus use a Sony sensor, and since GH3 has practically identical image quality in raw, it's most likely the same sensor.

And just because Nikon use sensors from Toshiba and Aptina, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have turned away from Sony completely. Nikon also designs their own sensors, which are manufactured by Renesas, and they have done so for many years, so they've never used exclusively Sony sensors.

We simply don't know the reasoning behind the choice of sensor maker; there could be both technological and business-related factors influencing the choice of one source over another. That goes for all camera components, by the way, not just the sensor.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

> We simply don't know the reasoning behind the choice of sensor

don't blame others,
that you don't have reasoning behind your own dreaming.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Kirppu
By Kirppu (8 months ago)

My opinion is that test scene needs one bigger object with decent amount of details. Like Baileys bottle in the old scene.

0 upvotes
HelloToe
By HelloToe (8 months ago)

Also not sure why we need three different black & tan bottles. Couldn't find any other colors?

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

it could be changed totally

0 upvotes
HelloToe
By HelloToe (8 months ago)

If it's not already being planned, it would be nice to have the four zoomed-in boxes beside the big full-scene view, instead of below it. I'm pretty sure most of us are on widescreen monitors at this point, why not take advantage of the space?

It might also be a good idea to have all four zoomed boxes on a single horizontal line, rather than in a 2x2 grid. A lot of monitors are weak in their vertical viewing angles, making things lighter or darker depending on whether the image is at the top or bottom of the screen.

2 upvotes
Tan68
By Tan68 (8 months ago)

Your idea to have all four thumbnails in a row might make it hard to have the full scene view to the side.

However if there is a choice of:
- full scene to side and 4x4 thumbnails beside it, or
- full scene above/below with one row of thumbnails
I vote for one row of thumbnails.

I think you are correct about most people having wide screens. But some people don't like to view the browser full screen. I dislike sites that force me to view full screen and/or read crazy wide blocks of text.

So, I vote for full scene above and one row below. Not everyone has IPS.

0 upvotes
Sudo Nimh
By Sudo Nimh (8 months ago)

I don't like photos of photos! Okay, I guess you're trying to show skin tones, but the test is limited by the reproduction of the original photo. Please concentrate on real objects. Your old test scene was good, and I liked imaging-resource's scene, with crayons and bottles and thread, even better. You need more color in this scene, and not just a particular shade of green.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

we want flat targets.

1 upvote
Timbukto
By Timbukto (8 months ago)

Imaging-resource's red mosaic fabric is a very good one due to difficulties with red channel reproduction. However as for everything else keep in mind the resolution of a photo shot at a distance must be higher than the resolution of a crayon label and cardboard box! Only points of detail for them would be settled dust and frayed edges of cardboard!

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
KZMike
By KZMike (8 months ago)

Would have to agree 100%. . . retaining what you suggest is good since most all know/have viewed or have those items for comparison purposes.

0 upvotes
Thomas Kachadurian
By Thomas Kachadurian (8 months ago)

Love the dim light high iso option. That is meaningful data.

6 upvotes
Mikhail Tal
By Mikhail Tal (8 months ago)

Sad to say but now I am actually looking forward to the OM-D E-M1 already because it has on-sensor PDAF so I can actually photograph moving subjects without losing focus. Plus it will have 5-axis IBIS, weather sealing, and the always amazing Oly jpeg engine, and maybe another surprise or two. That said the GX7 is still an amazing camera that puts most DSLRs to shame.

0 upvotes
IchiroCameraGuy
By IchiroCameraGuy (8 months ago)

Puts most DSLRs to shame in video and compact size but other areas....

2 upvotes
calking
By calking (8 months ago)

Are you suggesting that the test targets need to be moving and in a rainstorm???? Now THAT'S funny!!! bravo!!!! Finally someone with a sense of humor!!!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

it'll be interesting if Oly becomes the second to make a 70D-like PDAF camera.

> always amazing Oly jpeg engine
very bad taste

0 upvotes
Mikhail Tal
By Mikhail Tal (8 months ago)

If I have very bad taste, how would you describe your own taste, grotesque?

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

I'm not interested in the taste of a specific individual.
I'm only talking about cameras from a user's point of view.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
IchiroCameraGuy
By IchiroCameraGuy (8 months ago)

Bravo for dim lighting version - much, much more realistic

3 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

The question still remains how different aspect ratios should be tested. For example, simply changing matching 4:3 and 3:2 formats by height to matching by width changes the comparative noise measurements by 1/3 stop.

0 upvotes
4F8A6E2DF8174CA98C2A855FF732B3FC

Panasonic has absolutely horrible customer service. I have a GX1, love the camera but customer service is so bad I will not buy another Panasonic product again...I'm looking at getting the new Olympus at $999.

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (8 months ago)

That's one of the advantages of m4/3, you can move to an Oly body and keep the same lenses.

0 upvotes
DUSTY LENS
By DUSTY LENS (8 months ago)

I like this new system .
It seems to be very easy to use for comparisons between Cameras .

I wonder if something like this or even this same system could be used on some most desired lenses also , for comparisons without the use of the camera body , and instead using a standard body or digital back in order to eliminate the variability of the bodies and sensors .

Seems like far too much to ask though .

Dusty

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

> for comparisons between Cameras

of the same aspect ratio only.

0 upvotes
Phil Askey
By Phil Askey (8 months ago)

Framed vertically, as always.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

@DUSTY LENS,

I told them before but they have a mindset as DxOMark (which is definite a good one but that's only one point of view).

but we are talking about body tests here right? for the aspect ratio problem, some lens tests have the same issue (photozone.de) that resolution figures are inflated about 6% for 4:3.

I suggest using PH of a squre sensor of the same area.
or dividing the current lp per PH by a factor <= 1,
0.866 for 4:3,
0.816 for 3:2, and
0.750 for 16:9 to get a comparable normalized figure.

and you can test vertically, only the result will be adjusted using another factor >= 1 to get the same result.

Comment edited 5 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
sandytntn
By sandytntn (8 months ago)

When I need good stills I use my dslr's. I have a GH-2 for travel and when I want something smaller. I was bummed when I heard the GH-3 got bigger and heavier. Anxious to see how GX7 compares weight and size to GH-2. Could be good travel replacement for GH-2.

0 upvotes
KCook
By KCook (8 months ago)

Oh carp. At least for JPG samples it looks like vee also need an in-camera sharpening setting (in addition to ISO). To keep this sane you could use just 3 sharpening values: min, max, and center.

Kelly Cook

0 upvotes
ayhani
By ayhani (8 months ago)

Technicaly very good but I need blue watch.

3 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

There was some discussion of including elements from the old scene.

The arguments against were that they would be really small on this much larger scene and that it would make it impossible to shoot the old scene, if we needed to (if we needed to publish data for a camera for which we've not yet shot comparison cameras in the new scene, for instance).

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

How about including enlarged high resolution prints of some old elements?

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

I would prefer DPReview concentrate on a well designed new scene and test procedures than backward compatibility which is a temporary issue.

but then for a larger target, including the old scene may not be a bad idea even we cannot use them to compare with old tests. they can be there for future cameras of hundreds of MPs.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HelloToe
By HelloToe (8 months ago)

I think I'd still prefer to have the old shock of blonde hair, rather than the new brown. I think the blonde is easier to judge for correctness of color - some give a greenish tinge to it, some a banana yellow, some a dull straw color, and others a nice, natural blonde.

2 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (8 months ago)

Definitely need a curving 3D solid-color car/barrel/sphere. As the color shifts with reflection angles, different cams react differently to it -- with ugly artifacts in the worst cases. Yes, the blue VW was always my first go-to on your original scene because I like to shoot cars. [Ok, a bald-headed guy will not do.]

Secondly and finally, do something dynamic. I'd put a spinning black-white swirl wheel rotating at fixed rpm to get a feel for capture speed.

Wish you the best in making everyone happy.

0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

They need to use a LED timer to capture exposure time as they use in DXO measurements.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

I would love to see the GX7 compared to the GX1.
does a "10% improvement" really show?
I'd be very interested to see if the claims of their sales department are real.

2 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (8 months ago)

I don't know what ten percent exactly means here. But I wonder why you are talking about this subject AFTER seeing this. anyone who knows the old 16 MPixel sensor like I do with the Gh2 knows that such results are simply not obtainable for that sensor. Everything is better here. The colours, the noise, detail at high ISO. You name it. If you would have said that prior to these results, I would have shared the same stance.

4 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

We'll try (where practical) to re-shoot the previous model, when we review a new one. There's currently a large backlog of cameras to work through, though.

2 upvotes
Alexis D
By Alexis D (8 months ago)

Hi, Richard,
Please re-shoot the D7000, D7100 or K5 and any other cameras that are good references due to their popularity and/or their IQ performance. X100s too. Thanks.

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

Hi Alexis, as we wrote in the story and in the comments several times now, there is a list of existing cameras we'll include as reference points.

The X100S, K-5 IIs and D7100 are on that list but we probably can't go back as far as the D7000 and K-5.

1 upvote
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

The old GX1 is of no interest to anybody, it's not a viable alternative to any recent offerings, why wasting time on measuring the old discarded stuff.

3 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (8 months ago)

> The old GX1 is of no interest to anybody

I'd think it would be of interest to anyone who currently owns a GX1 and is thinking of upgrading to the GX7. I'd certainly like to compare the two.

0 upvotes
Benarm
By Benarm (8 months ago)

wow, the RX100 MKII is doing pretty well in low light ISO!

6 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (8 months ago)

I came to look at the GX7 and it will be my next cam. But the true revelation forme is indeed the Sony. I wonder how it gets such a low rating for higher ISO in DxOmark...It is really clearly better than my G1 for instance. Otoh: the detail seems to be lacking somay be some RAW noisereduction????

Edit?: went to the Dxo site and they tested the Sony. It scores very well but indeed high ISO NR is applied. Just like I thought. Still: very good result here. If Nikon used this one in the 1 that would be quite awesom for that system.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Alexis D
By Alexis D (8 months ago)

DXO seems to have formulae that favors cameras with larger sensors and give them higher scores, almost as if to ensure that they won't be embarrassed by cheaper cameras with smaller sensors.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

There isn't really anything surprising in the new tests. The FF is a clear winner, followed by NEX, followed by GX, followed by RX -- as you would expect the sensor size matters most. That is, if you are shooting raw. In jpeg, they all have different noise reduction, none is flawless.

0 upvotes
Jorginho
By Jorginho (8 months ago)

I do not see how the NEX6 wins? Where exactly? I think the GX7 is the better actually. Very good, but also the Sony sensor is a year old so they needed to catch up. But they seem to have done a bit more than that.

2 upvotes
deleted-13120401
By deleted-13120401 (8 months ago)

@pete you're probably generally right but there's no FF in this test.

1 upvote
Ingloryon
By Ingloryon (8 months ago)

You guys need to check tonal range and dynamic range measurements at DxO

0 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (8 months ago)

@hoosh, you can select the Canon 5D3 which is 35mm FF.

0 upvotes
Michael_13
By Michael_13 (8 months ago)

Great improvement in functionality!
I miss the little robot, though. You should have put him in, instead of the Beatles. I also think that there's no replacement for the paper-clips.

Looking forward to the database filling up with older models...

2 upvotes
HelloToe
By HelloToe (8 months ago)

For a reference comparison, here's a close-up of an Austrian 20 Schilling bill: http://i.imgur.com/3knLJz1.jpg

Suffice to say, none of the cameras tested so far are anywhere NEAR resolving the full detail of that thing. I suspect even this scan isn't showing all of the detail of that light background area.

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
ThePhilips
By ThePhilips (8 months ago)

That's why we need scene test results from: a medium format cam and a Foveon-sensor equipped cap.

First would provide enormous resolution, but still with the trade-offs of the Bayer sensor.

Second would provide true color pixel rendering of the details without Bayer artifacts.

If I'm looking at the quality of detail rendering, in the old comparator, I typically use as reference low ISO images of either Sigma SD1 or Pentax 645D.

0 upvotes
tomtom50
By tomtom50 (8 months ago)

The normalization feature is really nice. I would recommend a red and a green fur patch rather than two green patches top better show weakness in the red channel.

Also it would be nice if the settings showed aperture and shutter speed as well as lens used. That allows comparing exposure without downloading the entire file and comparing exif data.

1 upvote
HelloToe
By HelloToe (8 months ago)

I'd keep both green felt patches, but add a couple more colors of felt along with it.

0 upvotes
forpetessake
By forpetessake (8 months ago)

I would suggest using patches with contrast color stripes: blue-red, yellow-green,... Sony's jpeg engine, for example, makes a mess of red-blue transitions and that would be immediately visible.

0 upvotes
HelloToe
By HelloToe (8 months ago)

Blue-red is available in the colored concentric cricles (toward the bottom and a bit toward the right).

0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (8 months ago)

Nice work, it's a shame it's impossible to update the samples for the entire database, but this scene is definitely better.

I'll miss is the watch, though. :)

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

This test pattern is optimized for testing lenses. (as evidenced by the patterns in the extreme corners and the mirroring of many items into the same position on diametrically opposing sides)

For testing cameras/sensors, I would like to see identical objects at a different distance/location, so they are not blurred by the lens in both locations - so we can see at least one of them in better sharpness and contrast.

IE: to test cameras/sensors, you need to get rid of the symmetry in the chart. (that's just unimaginative). instead of a mirror image in parts of the chart, alternate the objects between far from and closer to centre. that is why the old chart was better for comparing cameras.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Timbukto
By Timbukto (8 months ago)

Instead of pretending that you can disassociate the factor of the lens, I think the symmetry is fine the way it is particularly because it allows viewers with enough experience to understand some issues are indeed lens related. Besides if you want to remove the lens from the equation we could always post lenscap ISO long exposure shots and compare those.

The reality of the situation is people who care about IQ should stop caring about *sensor* only differences especially for the vast majority of printed and web mediums, and focus on *system* differences, particularly lens differences and AF performance or shutter/mirror vibration and stabilization, etc. This is a great test for what it is, but sensor testing has always been the low hanging fruit...and dangerously close to a fruitless pursuit as its almost meaningless in terms of end results...

What would be amazing is if they could get a setup on a glider, leave the camera engaged in AI-servo, and see AF tracking performance.

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

The symmetry means you can compare well-lit and poorly-lit examples of comparable objects in the partially-lit mode.

3 upvotes
fberns
By fberns (8 months ago)

nice, works well. The bits in the corners are a welcome addition.
Seems to be optimized for further increasing resolutions.
Will still have to find my prefered comparison spots that I had in the old scene.
It's the first time I say it: The whole test scene funtionality was one of the main reasons I got to love your camera review site and that made me always come back!

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
1 upvote
photobeans
By photobeans (8 months ago)

Looking at the RAW, the GX7 sensor compares very well against the nex-6. The images are also sharper than all the other cameras, likely because they removed the AA filter.

5 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

compare both at iso 100 and you'll see that the oly is still better - I'm not sure why the oly defaults to iso 200 when the gx7 is at 125

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
dccdp
By dccdp (8 months ago)

This is exactly what I wanted to post after looking at the samples :) The quality of the GX7 sensor managed to surprise me, it's nice to see how mft has evolved during these years!

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

> why the oly defaults to iso 200 when the gx7 is at 125.

exaggerated ISO value is one of the cheating tricks used by E-M5 to show as if it got better image quality.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (8 months ago)

Are these stacked images?
Not that it matters as such. but it comes back to if we look at the lens performance and behavior or the sensor

0 upvotes
mischivo
By mischivo (8 months ago)

The one glaring problem that you're old test scenes have had is that the so-called "daylight" you were using was not true daylight balanced light. I've analyzed those RAW files, I know what you're balancing to and compensating for. There is too much correction on the green/magenta slider, which indicates the use of cheap bulbs.

Do you plan on fixing this and using either actual xenon flash bulbs exclusively or something more truer to daylight, such as KinoFlo 55 fluorescent bulbs?

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

I'm confident that the results are no different from those you'd get with KinoFlo 55s.

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (8 months ago)

It is great. I love it. No more out of focus sections for full frame cameras.

Will the settings and lens focal lengths and apertures all be similar? For instance using F8.0 on a full frame camera would paint it in much better light than using F8.0 on an m4/3s camera.

2 upvotes
Karl Scharf
By Karl Scharf (8 months ago)

I am hoping that DPR will use the latest available firmware updates when adding older cameras to the database.
If not, then the whole exercise of changing the studio scene will be of little value.
Will take some time to get used to.
Karl

2 upvotes
Mirrorless _ user
By Mirrorless _ user (8 months ago)

BUG = NOT actualizing the images of all cameras when switching to "Low light"

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

there is a fundamental mistake that we cannot use the tool to compare images of different aspect ratios.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

I thought the print mode may work but it won't if converted from the wrongly shot full-mode.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mirrorless _ user
By Mirrorless _ user (8 months ago)

Where is the " GO TO FULL SCREEN MODE " button ?????

0 upvotes
Kelcey Smith
By Kelcey Smith (8 months ago)

We're still working on adding that feature.

1 upvote
jalywol
By jalywol (8 months ago)

Yes, that would be helpful...perhaps even a larger magnification, since these images seem much smaller than the previous detail sections on the last studio scene.

1 upvote
Sirandar
By Sirandar (8 months ago)

Red shadow noise with low contrast detail please

0 upvotes
GeraldW
By GeraldW (8 months ago)

It will take a little getting used to; but I do think it's an improvement. I would like to see a swatch or two of fabric, perhaps a course and a fine weave sample.

I do like that you have retained the MacBeth Color Checker and the Kodak gray scale.

The playing cards also duplicate an element from the old one.

However, I will miss the Bailey's bottle. That was one of my key reference points.

Over, a good job.

Jerry

4 upvotes
drwho9437
By drwho9437 (8 months ago)

Needs a shadow area badly like the last scene had with the box at the lower left. Without that it is very hard to tell color shadow noise level.

1 upvote
Jorginho
By Jorginho (8 months ago)

Plenty of sahwo once you change the light bulb. here the GX7 shines I think.

1 upvote
fad
By fad (8 months ago)

Thanks for the effort and thought put into upgrading what dpr does so well.

No comparison can ever be perfect, I'm sure. But this is better than perfect, it is useful.

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
qianp2k
By qianp2k (8 months ago)

I like this new scene better, lots of areas with more details you can compare with. Hope DPR will find time to do tests again to add all cameras currently in old lab scene with this new scene.

1 upvote
RedDog Steve
By RedDog Steve (8 months ago)

Yes, how does this affect a comparison with 'everything that went before' ? Especially since I will be comparing head to head with my GX1. I wonder if it's worthwhile to make a shot of the old scene and the new ...

0 upvotes
Karl Scharf
By Karl Scharf (8 months ago)

Hope that DPR will use the latest firmware updates when adding the older cameras.

1 upvote
Kelcey Smith
By Kelcey Smith (8 months ago)

The old scene comparisons will always be available, although not directly comparable to newer cameras. However, I am currently working through a sizable list of older cameras that are as widely representative as possible.

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

And please bear in mind that the existing scene only contains about four years-worth of cameras - it too was new (and empty) at some point.

2 upvotes
Nerval
By Nerval (8 months ago)

Dear DPR Team (Mr Britton, or Mr Butler, if you're around I have a question below...),

Print mode is a great addition.

I do have a question though, and I did not go through the 5 comment pages I admit, so apologies if it has already been answered:
How does it work?
My display has a certain pixel density, hence in photoshop, I have been obliged to scale the print mode function of that vertical and horizontal pixel density.
So is it actual print size when I see it, or is it print size on a 72 or 90 or 144 pixel/inch display equivalent?

Then I second any comment about a piece of fabric or fine repetitive texture, it's good for judging apparent resolution and aliasing.

Cheers

Comment edited 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

The 'Print' images are all scaled to a common size (or, more accurately, a common image height).

We looked at various fabrics but the distances we shot at meant it was hard to find any that produced any useful information at current resolutions (the weave is so small in this scene as to be invisible with current cameras).

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

> or, more accurately, a common image height

which makes trouble.

basically DPReview believe the image quality will change when the camera is rotated, say from landscape to portrait orientation.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Mike Sandman
By Mike Sandman (8 months ago)

The widget is a great addition. The ability to compare cameras is very helpful. I agree with one of the earlier comments asking for a bit of fabric or other material with some texture. And now I know what to do with my old Schilling notes

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (8 months ago)

Comparing samples at 100% is pointless, so I'm glad to see the "print" option.
The RX100II looks good except for lens softness in the corners.

1 upvote
flektogon
By flektogon (8 months ago)

I am not sure whether this new studio scene is so good. For example those “grass” areas are placed too far away from the centre, so any smudging might be attributed to the poor lens performance in the corners rather than as a result of aggressive NR.

0 upvotes
SulfurousBeast
By SulfurousBeast (8 months ago)

Close call, All 3, except RX100II (for the sensor size) are good. But there is now no real advantage of APS-C compared to M43. Oly EP5 still looks warmer and slightly sharper of all. But that's down to processing. Anything more, we are just 'nitpicking' here. All these camera's have come a long way even compared to the D200, D300, 40D & 50D (that I still have). Did they not take good Pics? I am not comparing to Full Frame at all.

1 upvote
photobeans
By photobeans (8 months ago)

I'm not sure why you think the e-p5 is sharper. I have good eyes and the GX7 is easily sharper than all the other cameras. THis is likely due to the lack of AA filter on the GX7.

2 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

@photobeans: give them the same ISO value, and you will see what he's talking about. the gx7 defaults to 125, the oly defaults to 200. with the oly at 100 it is a bit sharper and with better contrast.

0 upvotes
liquidsquid
By liquidsquid (8 months ago)

That little patch of greenery is the most telling, as it seems to confuse the snot out of the NR routines. The Sony NEX shows artifacting, The GX7 shows smearing, the EP-5 handles it well with just some resolution loss, and the RX100 II smears it out as well, but not as bad as the GX7. Of course this is all at ISO 12800, a setting I have never used.

Still considering the sensor size and resolution... if I have to look this close to see a flaw consider me really impressed.

Of other Note: Greenery is cyan-ish on Sony, yellow-ish on the m4/3 which is consistent with my experiences with the same WB settings.

0 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (8 months ago)

Pretty impress with the GX7 it's clearly showing nex 6 has no advantage even though its equipped with a larger sensor and EP5 don't look so hot against it. Even the RX100II is impressive. Would be the second panasonic camera I really like to own after the L1.

6 upvotes
Just Having Fun
By Just Having Fun (8 months ago)

The GX7 also has IBIS that works with every lens (but not for video) unlike all the NEX cameras. Since the JPEGs are virtually equal you have to give the edge to the GX7 overall.

4 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (8 months ago)

Funny when you were trolling in favor of D600 several months ago, you were constantly telling people how IBIS doesn't help when you need faster shutter speed to stop motion blur.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (8 months ago)

I'm not thrilled by the use of photographs (are they analog photos? Dye sub prints?) The use of difference races and sexes is good in principle, but they all have dark hair. In any event these are photos of photos, so it's not enormously informative.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 39 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Timbukto
By Timbukto (8 months ago)

Photos of Photos sounds pointless, until you realize its actually better than many other photos of man-made objects. How much detail is in a cardboard box of crayons? The label of a battery (which is also *printed*). The labels of wine labels? In fact these are all artifacts (man-made) limited by precision of some printing or moulding processes, etc. In fact wine labels are particularly pointless in that you now have to again contend with judging resolution on objects that may not fully be within intended DOF. So if you take a high resolution print, shoot it at a distance, it should be as valid as anything else. You think a coin is better? It's a machined item...how much 'resolution' and detail do you really thing it contains? Honestly the only real minute details most of these artifacts will contain will be the tiny particles of dust that settles on most of these items...

0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (8 months ago)

I'd like to see a Coke (okay, Pepsi too) bottle(s). Even though they may not subscribe to a "scientific" or "standard" red, it is red in the pop culture context we all recognize and associate. Even though the pop(ular) context is highly commercial, I'd still prefer its colors to colors of some robot. Tough call.

0 upvotes
Rbrt
By Rbrt (8 months ago)

Canadian coins on an Austrian 20 schilling note. Certainly has an international flair! The penny has been withdrawn from circulation in Canada, by the way...

0 upvotes
bzanchet
By bzanchet (8 months ago)

Excelent work DPReview!
I am very happy to see the RX-100 II slightly better than the m4/3s up to ISO 400! The best pocketable camera ever!

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (8 months ago)

Look at the RAW files - I don't think that's true, impressive as it is for such a small camera.

0 upvotes
ET2
By ET2 (8 months ago)

"Look at the RAW files - I don't think that's true"

Put the kit lenses on all three larger sensor cameras and reshoot this scene, RX100 will probably beat all three.

3 upvotes
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (8 months ago)

Fair enough, but you aren't stuck with one lens, are you? - and don't forget the 20mm f1.7II is offered as a kit option with the GX7, which likely will be tack-sharp stopped down a couple of clicks...

2 upvotes
Pictus
By Pictus (8 months ago)

I would prefer more stuff prone to moiré and more red.

0 upvotes
HelloToe
By HelloToe (8 months ago)

Eh, there's a few areas that show moire and aliasing (two sides of the same coin, really) in this image. The main one is probably the colored concentric circles in the bottom-right section (opposite the currency). The backs of the playing cards are good, too (Olympus is poor here). There's a bit in the black/white striped areas, too, especially ones that run diagonally.

0 upvotes
Pictus
By Pictus (8 months ago)

Yep, but I would like something more like the http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/645D/645DhSLI0100_NR_OFF.DNG.HTM
that have a nice red fabric good to test high ISO/noise reduction and a bottle of Samuel Smith good to test moiré and demosaicing algorithms...

0 upvotes
Riezer
By Riezer (8 months ago)

As far is I can see GX7 is slightly better than Oly P5 and Sony Nex-6 in both raw and jpeg (I checked 200, 1600 and 3200 ISO).
Canon 5dIII is much better from ISO 1600 up. Very impressive Panasonic. If the price drops 30% or more I'm interested. I would first like to see the EVF in action, though.

Btw: does anyone know which lenses were used?

I like the new studio scene, but I must say I miss the globe that was on the old one. That item was the best piece to compare differences.

2 upvotes
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (8 months ago)

I don't see all that much difference between the Oly and Pan [not what I was hoping for as I'm probably going to be buying the GX7].

The 5DIII beats them both by a good margin - but you'd be a fool not to expect that. What surprised me was that the Sony NEX didn't look any better even at low ISOs and probably a bit worse at higher sensitivities. All in all quite impressive performance from the new camera and the real-world high ISO samples actually look pretty useful for some things.

0 upvotes
Riezer
By Riezer (8 months ago)

I don't see much difference either. Just a slight advantage for the GX7 you can see this on the banknote. The smaller text is easier to read on the GX7. Also, the others seem to have a hazy cast on them, maybe the GX7 is sharper for the lack of AA filter...

0 upvotes
Chris2210
By Chris2210 (8 months ago)

Does it lack an AA filter? I've not seen that mentioned anywhere. I was looking at the converging 'resolution' lines and there really isn't anything to choose between them in RAW. Seems to be a slight bluish cast on the RX-100 shots which muddies the results there a bit I feel.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 1202
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