A bit over twelve years ago I ventured into the world of digital photography with the Minolta DiMage 7. It was a good camera by the standards of the day. It was equipped with an excellent lens and was easy to hold. The major drawback was its enormous appetite for batteries. As the years rolled by I moved on to a Canon DSLR. A few years ago I discovered the u4/3 system. Built on a standard developed by Olympus and Panasonic it seemed to offer a lot: decent image quality, interchangeable lens, compact size and the ability to use virtually any manual focus lens ever made with the proper adapter.
After shooting with three different Panasonic cameras I now use the Panasonic GH3 and lately the GX7.
I am a bit old school when it comes to photography. I have always been a bit uneasy with all the automatic features of modern cameras and wanted a fully manual camera. This is what attracted me to the GX7. While it has all the features one would expect on a digital camera, it is very easy to operate manually. In this aspect it is as close to using one of my 35mm range finder cameras as I could at a fraction of the cost of alternative cameras.
The GX7 is constructed on a diecast magnesium alloy frame and has a solid feel. It is compact but not overly small. It fits in my hands very well.
The controls are easy to use and are ergonomically arranged. The electronic viewfinder works very well for me. The viewfinder doesn’t exhibit any vignetting of the image when viewed through my glasses. This is very important to me. All of the electronic viewfinders from Olympus and Panasonic have dark corners (including my GH3) that force me to move my eye around in relation to the eyepiece to view the entire image. It is probably caused by a combination of my eyesight, my prescription and the magnification of the viewfinder.
Over the years I have bought, sold and traded many cameras. I have kept my Nikon F2 and a small collection of Nikkor lenses. I also have a Cosina Voigtlander R3A and R4M with a small assortment of lenses. These lenses can be utilized with an adapter. Because the u4/3 sensor is smaller than the 35mm frame size these lenses were designed for the angle of view is half of what it would be for on a 35mm camera. This in effect doubles the focal length – a 50mm lens when mounted on a u4/3 body will have the same field of view of a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera. This “crop factor” as it has become to be called just leads to confusion so I don’t think about it. I know what the field of view will be for a given lens from experience.
This adaptability has breathed new life into my vintage lens collection. The Nikkor 300/4.5 is currently my longest lens and works very well with the GX7.
In my nearly 60 years of photography I have used many cameras. The GX7 ranks as my all time favorite. It has a very natural feel and is very much an extension of my eyes. It is not perfect but comes closer than any camera that I have used to that level.
If you are in the market for a new camera give the Olympus and Panasonic u4/3 system cameras a look. I think you will be amazed with what they offer.