Richard Butler

Richard Butler

DPReview Administrator
Lives in United Kingdom Seattle, United Kingdom
Joined on Nov 7, 2007

Comments

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On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

scott_mcleod: Maybe I'm imagining things, but the intro (and most of the review) seems very cagily worded - almost damning with faint praise - and includes some rather odd statements, such as, "a camera where you don't have to think about whether it has a mirror or not" (really? This is "a thing" now?) and "16MP isn't exactly cutting-edge at this point" (are there any m4/3 cams with more, at any price?). As for using "try" three times on the first page... how does it "try not to be mirrorless" any more than the E-M10? Or am I missing some critical difference in the form factor? (the hand-grip makes it "less mirrorless", perhaps?)

Seems like a very good camera to me. I almost get the feeling that the reviewer would like it better if it had a Samsung-style smartphone-like interface (kill me now, please) and is maybe selling potential buyers short in this respect.

BTW, it's "eke", not "eek"...

Eek! I hold my hand up to that.

At a time when many of the cameras APS-C rivals have moved on to 20, 24 and 28MP, then yes, 16MP starts to look a little less than cutting-edge.

I tried to write an honest assessment of the camera and explain my perspective on it, so that readers could decide whether they agree with me.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 7, 2015 at 05:33 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

smozes: The Nikon D5500 also allows you to use of the touchscreen as a trackpad for AF point selection while using the OVF.

rhurani appears to be correct: it seems to have first appeared on the G5. I first encountered it when I reviewed the GH3. So it's been a couple of years, already. Everyone in the office who used it loved that feature, though.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 7, 2015 at 03:25 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Tom Caldwell: I don't agree that you should ask Panasonic to dumb down the G7 to suit less experienced users. Less experienced users with no intention to learn will simply set the camera to auto and leave it there anyway.

Dumb the camera down and it will still be used on auto whilst those seeking to improve will have less functions to explore and learn from,and those who would like an advanced camera that is physically smaller (we do exist) will give it a complete miss.

More involved camera users are not all looking for a substantial size camera in order to demonstrate our expertise. The larger the body the more status for the photographer?

Anyway the G7 is already too large - give me the GM1/5 and to heck with my street cred .... ;)

My hope isn't really for Panasonic to dumb down the G7 (though starting with a blank piece of paper, when it comes to the menus and interface wouldn't be a terrible idea, for them or their rivals), but to decide what they want it to be.

My concern was that it risks being too complex for beginners but not well built or enthusiast-focused enough to win-over dedicated photographers who might also be looking at the E-M10, X-T10, a6000 or even the GX7.

These are more vague concerns about it getting noticed, rather than criticisms, *per se*. And, as I conclude, if you have any interest in video, these concerns are irrelevant.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 22:31 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

TN Args: I hate it when reviewers try to make a negative out of an excellent set of external controls! "First time ILC buyers", indeed! Had a look at the controls on a PowerShot G3X or a Coolpix P610 lately?

Those are definitely both mass-market models.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 22:13 UTC
On Mono a mono: Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) hands-on article (622 comments in total)
In reply to:

Stephen Williams: There are many claims here about the superiority of a monochrome sensor over a color sensor. Could someone please supply a reference (URL) where there are samples showing direct comparisons of files made under controlled conditions?

artnaz - we'd like to add both, ideally.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 21:59 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Jim Hully: Once again Panasonic USA forces you to buy this camera with the kit lens., no body-only option. DPReview, why isn't that a "con" in your conclusions?

I don't want the hear the usual witless suggestions about just selling it. Tell you what, next time you have your car serviced, let the dealership sell you a new wheel. Not something you wanted but hey you could always sell it...

Jim

Different kit options exist in different countries, so that Con would be very USA-centric. Also, it's not uncommon for manufacturers to bundle a kit lens at this point in the market, so it'd be wrong to single-out Panasonic for this.

My understanding is that body-only options for entry-level cameras are only available in Europe because the competition authorities felt that only selling them with lenses would kill-off third-party competition.

Anyone else who agrees with Jim, please 'Like' his comment, so we can pass this information on to manufacturers.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 19:47 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

agentlossing: I personally love the WiFi options... if they're too complex for the reviewer to figure out, why not stick with the options that make sense? Arguing there are too many features is nitpicky.

agentlossing - yes, I get that. I just think that the fact that the most accessible option to transfer images doesn't let you transfer to a smartphone (which, for me at least, my most used type of connection), is indicative of a system that tries to do so much that it fails at the basic stuff.

It's undeniably comprehensive and if that's what you need then yes, it's better than the Olympus system. However, I maintain that it's a little over-complex for a mass-market product. If they'd kept the simple stuff simple, then I'd be much more positive about that extra capability but, in my experience, I found the broader capability came at the cost of accessibility.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 19:34 UTC
On Mono a mono: Leica M Monochrom (Typ 246) hands-on article (622 comments in total)
In reply to:

Stephen Williams: There are many claims here about the superiority of a monochrome sensor over a color sensor. Could someone please supply a reference (URL) where there are samples showing direct comparisons of files made under controlled conditions?

We'll see if we can get hold of an M Monochrom.

Given that the colour filter in front of each pixel absorbs around 50% of the light that hits it (the red and blue for a green pixel, the red and green for a blue pixel, etc), it should be obvious that there will be around a 1EV advantage to removing these filters.

Equally, the fact that you're not interpolating from neighbouring pixels to derive the colour value at each point means that you have pixel-level data made up solely from individual pixels (which should result in sharper images, no matter how good your demosaicing is).

Whether this is enough to make a significant difference (or be worth the hassle of having to go back and shoot with coloured filters again), is another matter.

If we can get the M Monochrom into our test scene, we will.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 19:28 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

agentlossing: I personally love the WiFi options... if they're too complex for the reviewer to figure out, why not stick with the options that make sense? Arguing there are too many features is nitpicky.

agentlossing - yes, I've saved my smartphone connection as a favourite but, from playback mode, I can't ever get to that list: I just get the choice of 'Via Network' and 'Direct' but with direct always ghosted out.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 19:17 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marcio K: Have a lot of options on screen and manual controls now is something that detracts a camera? Really?

Marcio K - I think I included a line about 'wanting a camera to grow into' towards the end of the conclusion.

I've also edited the last line, to make it clearer.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 18:29 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

smozes: The Nikon D5500 also allows you to use of the touchscreen as a trackpad for AF point selection while using the OVF.

That's true, but I find the G7, which allows you to position the AF point pretty much anywhere on the scene much more useful than being restricted to the D5500's 39 AF points (though they are spread over a useful amount of the frame).

I've also had more luck with the G7 getting it to position the point where I want it (probably because it's a feature Panasonic introduced some years ago on the GH line, so they've had practice). That said, I've not used the D5500 often enough to know whether I'd learn to get it to do what I want.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 18:08 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

agentlossing: I personally love the WiFi options... if they're too complex for the reviewer to figure out, why not stick with the options that make sense? Arguing there are too many features is nitpicky.

agentlossing: I think it depends on what you want to do.

The Olympus system, with the option to let other people connect and download only the images you've tagged, even if they don't have the App is pretty handy (and easy enough to use that it's useful).

By comparison, there's an 'Upload by Wi-Fi' button in playback mode on the Panasonic, but it seems to exclude the option of uploading to a smart device (so far as I can tell, you have to separately engage Wi-Fi mode if you want to make a 'direct' connection). It seems odd to exclude the action I think you're most likely to want to do spontaneously*.

*I've worked through the Advanced Features manual and spoken with Panasonic, and we couldn't find a way to make direct connections with the 'upload' button. If there is a way, I'd be fascinated to hear (though it does support my concerns about complexity).

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 18:01 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

G1Houston: How well does face detection work? Does the meter automatically follow the selected AF point/face?

It works *fairly* well. It identifies eyes, as well as faces, so it is pretty good at focusing wide-aperture lenses, when focus is critical.

However, it's only any good at recognising faces when they're directly facing the camera - if you subject turns away, the face is lost - which can be frustrating.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 17:31 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

technocamper: Does the LCD lock into place against the body? On the E-M5II, you can push it down a bit and I keep imagining snagging it on the bag somehow and breaking it off, even though that's never going to happen. (Yeah, I know - the solution is treatment for OCD...)

I wouldn't say it 'locks' but there is a little catch to stop it swinging out.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 16:57 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

A Girard: Is there a reason why Auto ISO in the latest Panasonic cameras hmmm.suck?

You can access Auto ISO in M mode but you don't have exposure compensation, so you can't dictate the brightness that the camera is trying to maintain.

As others have pointed out, you also can't select a speed related to focal length at which the ISO should change, which is increasingly common on other cameras (though iISO tries to do this for you).

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 16:57 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marcio K: Have a lot of options on screen and manual controls now is something that detracts a camera? Really?

BarnET - it sounds like we're in complete agreement. It's a really good camera but up against some great competition (hence the silver award). But, if you're planning to shoot video more than occasionally, it's probably a gold.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 15:40 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marcio K: Have a lot of options on screen and manual controls now is something that detracts a camera? Really?

BarnET - that's exactly it. I think the design of the on-screen display and the Q.Menu (especially in its Preset form) end up feeling cluttered to the point of being overwhelming. With a fair amount of tinkering, you can simplify it, but that's not easy until you know the camera quite well.

So it becomes something of a Pro and a Con: yes, you get more extensive (and much more customizable) controls than a D5500 or T6i, but that also means that you have a camera that's potentially intimidating, by comparison. It's a difficult balance to get right.

For someone who's already a keen photographer, who can make use of all this extra control, then suddenly the X-T10 and E-M10 start to come into competition (and probably some more expensive models with more substantial build).

But, as I'm hoping the conclusion makes clear: if you want to shoot video, all those concerns are essentially irrelevant: this is the camera to buy, in its class.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 15:29 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Marcio K: Have a lot of options on screen and manual controls now is something that detracts a camera? Really?

They can do if they get to the point of being overwhelming.

Note that the review says that they *might* do, for the target audience. If you see them solely as a positive, then fair enough.

I personally found it to be rather fiddly - it wasn't until I'd done a lot of customization (turning off the on-screen tabs, creating a custom Q.Menu with only the features I wanted to change) that I found myself enjoying the camera.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 15:12 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Oli4D: The video page of the review is missing...

That's interesting. It shouldn't have taken that long for the fix to have propagated. I'll speak to the developers about it.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 15:12 UTC
On Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review preview (200 comments in total)
In reply to:

Oli4D: The video page of the review is missing...

Is this still a problem (I thought I'd fixed it just before publishing).

Direct link | Posted on Jul 6, 2015 at 15:09 UTC
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