Fuji X100s and Panasonic GX7

PART 1 - Before
Two rather nice looking faux rangefinder cameras both fitted with similar lenses. The permanently fixed 23mm f/2 on the X100s and my Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens fixed to the GX7, currently the only AF m4/3 lens I have at the moment. I'm supposed to be selling the GX7, but as you can see it's still here. And the more I put it in it's rather lovely leather case and take these camera porn pictures of it, the harder that will be. Both cameras have silent shutters, the Fuji is a leaf the Panasonic electronic. 

For no obvious reason other than I felt like it, I've decided to take both out and see how they compare. No comparison shots taken on both cameras, just an idea of how it feels to work with them side by side to see if the GX7 should be off to a new home. I suspect it won't be, since I can't stop looking at pictures on the internet of the 42.5mm f/1.2. I know I said if I bought the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 I wouldn't buy the Panasonic, but then you should know by now that my pronouncements and actions don't necessarily go together. Plus there is that rather lovely 15mm f/1.7 about to be released. 

So this is a post in two parts. This first part is written before I go out and I'll finish it when I return with some pictures and some impressions of how I felt about using each. 

PART 2 - After

Well that was certainly different. I can't remember ever doing anything like that before. i.e. taking out two different cameras which were so similar. There are differences certainly, colour balance, layout, high ISO performance, articulated screen etc. but I noticed the similarities rather than those differences. 

My conclusion was that these are both probably modern classics and in terms of which I prefer I'm completely unable to make a decision. I'm just glad I can afford to own both. Perhaps I can sum it up best by the fact that when I was using one I didn't want to put it in my bag and use the other. I like both colour balances, I appreciate the build quality of both, the responsiveness was about the same and I could go on. Why people get so 'agitated' pitting one camera brand against another is beyond me. Exaggerating small differences to justify purchasing decisions has always seemed to me to be pretty pointless. The Fuji is better at high ISO's, the Panasonic produces sharper images straight out of the camera. For me, that's about it. I don't use m4/3 cameras in low light if I can possibly avoid it and there are all sorts of ways to sharpen up Fuji X images. But both are great cameras.

Both also strike me as 'photographers cameras'. By that I mean that they are picture creating rather than picture taking machines. Photographic instruments that allow us to make images primarily for ourselves but for others to enjoy as well. Many of us (i.e. me) like the single lens approach. There is probably an element of photographic 'purity' in it and certainly I've been known to think something like that. But this kind of lens and what it allows us to put in the frame is a classic. APS-C and m4/3 versions of the 35mm lens for 35mm film cameras. I've been using something like this for years, in all sorts of format, from a 1" digital sensor to 6x4.5 medium format film. It's interesting how it turns out to be just right for many different situations. 

This does of course put pressure on my bank account. If I'm keeping the GX7, which it seems is the case unless I can persuade myself otherwise, then I will want more lenses for it and I'll probably want fast primes. And I think we know where that's headed!! I'm also keen to get my hands on the second converter for the X100s which will then give me the APS-C equivalents of the three classic primes. 28mm, 35mm and 50mm. And I won't use these rangerfinderesque, but thoroughly modern cameras, all the time. However there will be times when they are exactly the right tool for what I want  to do. Whichever one I choose will be a decision made in the moment. But I know one thing for sure, whichever of them I choose, neither will be a disappointment. 


I've managed to avoid buying a 42.5mm f/1.2, but I have ordered a tried and trusted Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (My third) to have a telephoto option. I was thinking about changing the 17mm for the Panasonic 15mm maybe, but editing some of the images I took yesterday and running them through the Topaz Detail 3 plug in in Photoshop I really liked what I saw. So I've decided to go with a simple 2 lens outfit for the GX7. For now!!

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