Thoughts on the GX7 & E-M10

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xand83
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Thoughts on the GX7 & E-M10
6 months ago

Hi all.  I'm a frequent lurker here, but thought I would post a few thoughts on my recent camera upgrade.  I've used a Panasonic GF3 for the last 2 years and enjoyed it immensely.  The quality upgrade from a smartphone/point-n-shoot has been eye-opening.

I figured it was time to upgrade and, being thrifty, ordered a used E-PL5 in "like new" condition.  I used it for a few days, and the picture quality was impressive, but something was off.  First, the Olympus menu system was basically hieroglyphics compared to my old GF3.  Second, the control wheel was acting crazy.  It would lag, jump around, and lag some more.  So I shipped it back.

I figured that, since I don't upgrade my gear too often, I should spend a little more and get the "latest & greatest."  It was a pretty easy debate since the Olympus confounded me, so I ordered another "like new" camera, the GX7.  WOW.  How amazing is that camera?  It feels nice in the hand, has easy menus, many customizable buttons, looks sexy, and the wi-fi implementation is loads of fun.  I used it for 4 days with my 20mm 1.7 and was completely smitten.

And then one morning, I turn on the GX7 to find "Please turn your camera off then on again" along with some grinding action.  Seriously?  After 4 days?  I contacted Panasonic and they confirmed it would have to be sent to the repair center in Texas and I would receive a replacement at some point.  Thing is, I'm going on a trip next week and *really* wanted this camera for the trip.

So, a tad angry at Panasonic, I decided to simply return the camera and buy something "new" this time since I'm starting to feel like a defective camera distribution center.  Unfortunately, buying the GX7 new would take an additional $300, so that was a no-go.  Side note:  Why is that camera so expensive right now??

Anyway, I purchased the E-M10 and received it mid last week.  The E-M10 new (w/kit lens) costs the same as the used GX7 I purchased.  Some initial thoughts:

- Wow!  The E-M10 is tiny!  It doesn't feel any bigger than the E-PL5!  And the grip is minuscule.  But after taking it on a trip to see the cherry blossoms in DC, the grip is pretty manageable.  The front ledge is not steep enough, but the thumb grip is much better than the GX7.  With an adjusted camera-hold, it works (though I might still shell out the $60 for the accessory grip-unsure).

-Egats!  The menu system is still terrible.  It's the same as the E-PL5, but this time I didn't have to go digging to activate the super control panel.  It is a toggle-able option when clicking the display button (nice!).  It doesn't seem so bad on the E-M10 because there are dedicated exposure/aperture dials on the top in aperture priority mode, which feel more natural.  Using the jumpy control dial on the E-PL5 was frustrating for those options.

-The E-M10 EVF feels nicer than the GX7.  I'm not sure if the quality is better, but it's located better (for me) and it doesn't jab my eyelashes into my eye.  The E-M10 EVF "feels" much more comfortable than the GX7.

-The button placement on the E-M10 is smarter than the GX7.  When carrying the GX7 I would constantly toggle the "Display" button or the back control wheel.  It was annoying.  The E-M10 doesn't have buttons in the way of the thumb grip.  But I do miss the function buttons on the GX7.  Those on the E-M10 don't seem as customization.

-Boo.  The E-M10 doesn't have the silent shutter.  That was a rather nifty feature on the Pannasonic.  Oh well

-The picture quality, from what I can tell, doesn't seem terribly different between the two cameras.  It seems the E-M10 images are a little more contrasty and colorful, but they are both excellent.

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts on the cameras.  It's been somewhat stressful receiving several defective cameras, but I hope the most recent one, the E-M10, sticks.  It's a solid little camera and really gets me excited to go out shooting.  

 xand83's gear list:xand83's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Panasonic 20mm F1.7 II
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus PEN E-PL5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7
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