The Hybridographer - Stills / Video gear - Part 2 - Panasonic GX7

Panasonic GX7 12-32mm zoom lens - hand held

In terms of the quality and sharpness of the video footage, the GX7 comes out top of all the cameras I currently own. Like the Panasonic GH3 I had, it looks really impressive. Plus I have to say that I'm REALLY impressed with the little 12-32mm zoom. While everyone goes on about the GM1 and it's size, for me it's that 'pancake' zoom that gets my attention. It's sharp, has less distortion than you might think via it's lens profile and for a 'kit' lens performs beautifully. The stills I shot with it yesterday were really very good indeed.

If I only ever wanted to use the GX7 in video mode locked on a tripod then I would say it's probably the best I have. But there are some strange effects when I move the camera. If anyone has any idea if and how this can be fixed, then I'd be glad of any advice. There is a 'flickering' when I pan the camera that can be quite noticeable, even on a tripod. I've tried everything I can think of to eliminate it, but it tends to spoil what could be a very useful 'hybrid' performance. Not sure what that is and I don't remember it so bad on my GH3. 

Now to a certain extent all my cameras do it, but on the GX7 it's more noticeable. There is also a lot of OIS 'wobble' which is exaggerated by using the stabilisation in iMovie. To a large extent this is caused by how I want to use the camera and I am aware that I'm asking a lot to get smooth panning and camera movements when I'm hand holding for video. But my Sony's and Fuji X-T1 handle it much better than the GX7. If I hold the camera still (or as still as I can under the circumstances) then it's fine and the GX7's video footage is really top class, however there are times when I want to move the camera and as I've indicated before in many of the locations I want to shoot in I can't use a tripod.

So in spite of the excellent stills quality from the GX7 and the overall impressive look of the video footage, this panning effect is putting the GX at the bottom of my hybrid usability list. As I indicated if this is something that can be cured and if there is some way that I can eliminate it then I'd be happy to give it another go.

I have to say though, as a light, small unobtrusive camera / lens combination for stills the GX7 / 12-32mm combination is difficult to beat in good light at low ISO's. I know that the GM1 is just going to be too small for me and with no viewfinder of any kind, nor the possibility of adding one I can't see it lasting that long. The GX7 is much more to my taste and is a really impressive stills camera. I was hoping that I would have had an Olympus 45mm f/1.8 for it by now, but the one I ordered from Amazon has disappeared into thin air somewhere in the delivery process. I've had my money refunded but haven't been able to order another one until today, because of the Easter holidays. I can see either a 12-32mm and 45mm or 17mm and 45mm combination being an attractive option for stills and the occasional bit of video footage. (assuming I don't move the camera about much) And this is how I see the GX7 fitting into my camera options.

The GH4? Well it is tempting, not so much for 4K, though the possibility of video 'grabs' off that footage would be a nice option, but for many of it's other features. However, though I may well consider one, particularly if video becomes a more important aspect of my work, I'm inclined to stick with the GX7 at the moment. Though, as you will be aware, making predictions about what I'll buy and sell is notoriously unreliable!!

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