New Camera – Lumix GF7

It’s been a busy few months for me over here in Kyoto, and as most of you have probably noticed, I haven’t been all that diligent on posting every week. I don’t feel bad about it, though; so many are immersed in the chaos of NaNoWriMo that I’m probably doing them an eensy favor by not posting regularly. 😉

One of the things I finally did at the beginning of this month was buy a new camera. For those that follow my blog regularly, or were around for A-Z in April this year, you know how much photography I do, yet all of the photos on this blog thus far have been captured on a Sony HX100V. A good camera, but limited in its capacity as it can not change its lenses.

Learning how to use a camera like this for the first time was really fun.... especially since all of the menus were in Japanese only.
Learning how to use a camera like this for the first time was really fun…. especially since all of the menus were in Japanese only.

Since about December of last year, I’ve had my heart set on getting a true DSLR — the Canon 70D, to be precise — but funds rather limited me. Then, I had the joy of holding one in an electronics store and almost fell in love.

But, I thought about how much it weighed, and how my Sony was already more bulk than I wanted for a casual day. Lugging around fifteen new pounds of equipment and $1,000 lenses was not so appealing, anymore. Plus, what if I found all the buttons and tubes and lenses too difficult (thus taking the joy from taking the photos in the first place?)

Off to the side, discreet on its shelf, was a Lumix GF7. This camera is part of a new generation of DSLR “micro” cameras. Nearly the same power for the photographer, at lighter, more manageable sizes. (Micro Four Thirds are what Olympus and Panasonic have dubbed the brand.)

GF7 12-32mm 35-100mm BR
Also with menus only in Japanese… but it seems I can get the firmware replaced to include English.

It was in my price range, and I was ready to buy; online, I could get an additional $800 lens for free. Boom. Sale made. I brought the camera home, expecting to have to live with some quality reduction while I learned lenses. I could upgrade in the future if I really decided to pursue more professional looking photography.

I took it out for a test drive a couple of days ago. Below are completely UNDOCTORED photos, something I never really had the privilege of with the Sony:

Frankly, I’m pretty blown away by the results. Sony’s picture quality, while vibrant, missed the subtleties in a lot of shots, the focus and zoom were a bit unreliable, and it was slow. The Lumix is FAST, taking photos on its touch screen in a fraction of a second, and is far more sensitive to light. The fact that it didn’t blow out the reds on the shrine was quite delightful.

I’m looking forward to playing with it more, as it has a ton of other features, including 3 or 4 different options for night photography (another no-no with the Sony), Aperture, motion capture, and portrait features. And it is so light. My camera bag, wallet, camera, and two lenses all weigh less than a basketball.

I have a few more field tests I’m going to do, including night photography, filter use (20 filters on this camera to put your Instagram to shame), portraits, and landscape photography so I can get a feel for the full range of features, but there is no buyer’s remorse here!

30 thoughts on “New Camera – Lumix GF7

  1. I have two Sony DSLR bodies and a range of lenses that take me from 18mm to 500mm. Carrying the bag containing bodies, lenses, filters, electronic release, flash and mini-tripods qualifies as a work-out in its own right.
    Mostly, I use my Panasonic Lumix FZ72, a bridge camera that runs from the equivalent of 20mm to 1200mm on a single lens. Although there is a slight compromise on image quality, particulaly at the extremes of zoom, it only really shows if I try to print A4, which I never do anyway.
    You seem to have hit on an outfit that suits your needs and, more importantly, your aspirations. I wish you well with it, and look forward to seeing more results. What you have shown here certainly bodes well, and that selfie puts most camera phones to shame.

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    1. That’s an impressive zoom, wow! 60x optical… Mine was only 30x. At what range did it start going grainy/fuzzy on you? Yeah, I’m excited about the new camera, and the range of lenses I’ll be able to experiment with! Of course, I didn’t need another expensive hobby, but I was ready for an upgrade I simply wasn’t going to see with a point and shoot (though I’ll still be using my Sony from time to time, despite the scratch on its lens from a bad lens cap…)

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      1. In reality, it’s okay throughout the optical zoom range. At 20mm you get the marked pincushion effect you’d expect when working that wide, but it’s reasonable right up to 1200mm. If you look at <a href="; target="_blank"this set, the first two were taken at 1200mm, the rest with digital zoom applied, giving 2400mm (all 640s at f/5.9, ISO 100). Some full-range comparison shots are here.
        I’m looking forward to seeing your results, when you’ve had a chance to experiment.


  2. I’m not the only one who didn’t take part in NaNoWriMo then? 😉

    I’m glad you went with what felt good for you. There are so many who buy for features they’ll never use or look for the largest pixel size (which is ultimately pointless unless printing for large canvas shots). At the end of the day, it’s the person using the camera that determines the quality of shot… no matter the body or lens.

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    1. Yeah, no NaNo for me…. November is the one time of year I want to be outside as much as possible, and NaNo gets in the way of that, haha. Plus, I have so much stress in my life I’d rather not make something I love another “task to be completed.” 😛

      And totally agree with you re: cameras!


  3. Your photos always blow me away so I anxiously await your future posts. Long before anyone ever dreamed of digital photos, I took pics with an Olympus with interchangeable lenses. Now, in maturity (old age), I am happy with my simple Lumix.

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    1. Lumix is a surprising camera, since it hardly ever enters discussions on review sites regarding DSLRs… I’m very happy with it, and am looking forward to all the new tricks I’ll be able to pull off.

      Thanks for the compliment on my photos! I love snapping them… I’m just happy when they turn out. 😛


  4. There are so many options. Once I had my eye surgery, and could see how bad my photos taken with my point-and-shoot were (truly!), I decided that I needed a new camera. After dithering, I finally ended up with a Canon Rebel T6s, with an 18-135mm lens instead of the 18-55mm kit lens. Eventually, I’ll want to add another lens, but for now, this will do. Since I’m new to “real” photography, there is much I have to learn, and there won’t be any new equpiment until I really know what I’m doing.

    One thing that has tickled me is that my fears about the gear being too heavy seem to have been misplaced — and there’s a reason. The camera and its lens weigh only about half of the orbital sander and other tools I use in my work. I don’t even notice that I’m carrying it. So: another side benefit of woodworking and varnishing — strong hands, wrists, and arms. Who knew?

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    1. I’ve heard really god things about the Rebel, and yeah, I bet all that work on boats really helped you out! For me, I spend so much time typing and pressing my wrists on the edges of tables that the extra weight adds concerns for carpal tunnel, which I absolutely don’t want. The Lumix works for me in terms of weight, especially since my partner (while patient) doesn’t share my love of framing the perfect shot. 😉


  5. AFter only 2 yrs., I had to replace my point and shoot Nikon pocket camera. I can’t have a bulk camera since I do a lot of photo shooting when I’m biking around. I did have a Nikon SLR a long time ago and later bought a telephoto lens which I used the combo for about a decade.

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    1. Wow, only 2 years! What happened? Was there some malfunction?

      I want to get a fun telephoto lens…. Definitely looking forward to playing with macro/telephoto/astrophoto techniques in the coming days. Canada will be great for the stars!


  6. Congrats on the new camera!! Beautiful pictures! I just bought a new one myself… but already having a DSLR and realizing how infrequently I actually mess with changing lenses… I wanted a high quality point and shoot. Especially for Japan when we come next year. Something that would give me wonderful pictures without much effort. I settled on the Canon SX710 HS. I took a photo of the moon the other night and realized I could see the CRATERS (not just the coloration for where they were) on the image. And that was still using optical zoom.

    Can’t wait to see the new photos you take and share with us!

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  7. Beautiful photos, Alex! And that’s great that you’re already satisfied with the quality of the new camera. I finally put a new camera on my Christmas list this year, since I’ve had mine for 6 or 7 years and it’s having issues focusing properly after one or two shots. I wonder if they sell Linux in the States…

    Also, you’re not the only one doing NaNoWriMo. There’s no way I can work it into my life without sacrificing food or sleep. :S

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    1. They do sell Lumix in America. 🙂 You can probably get a good deal on eBay, too, since they come in larger kits with “everything you need.” Just make sure it’s a highly rated seller. 😛

      I am very happy with the camera, though I notice right now that the Sony has better innate macro. (I realize that this will no longer be the case when I buy an actual macro lens, but out-of-box, the Sony is superior here. However, I did another field test with a plate of sweets, and Sony in general lost to the Lumix.

      I’ve done NaNo twice, and both times, though I got that 50k, I was so exhausted afterward that I didn’t try to write anything again until April…. which then left me trying to write during A-Z, lol. This year, my writers group is doing a January version, and since it’s a holiday, I think I’ll be able to manage it. 🙂

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      1. I’ll have to check that out then. 🙂

        What is a macro lens? What does it do? I don’t know much about camera technology, since I’m not a photographer by hobby (I only take pictures when I feel the need to), so I’m

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          1. Thank you! That’s the hope…. with just two more large shipments of boxes to send out, I think I may actually have the time (if I calm down on blog activities). Maybe I’ll arrange to have some easy photo posts for that month.

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        1. Macro lenses take the microscope effect shots of things (like flower petals, insects, etc.) Basically, there are three types of lenses you’d want. A macro for super close. The kit lenses (two come with the camera and serve the purpose for nice point-and-shoot and portraits) and a zoom lens, for things a bit further beyond (beyond 200mm). Sometimes, they are also called telephoto lenses. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Anabel! It’s taken a few days to get used to not having everything automatically ready for me, but I’m sure if I use it enough, it’ll become natural. Still have to play with the relationship between Aperture, Exposure, Shutter Speed, and ISO… but I’ll get there! 😉

      Hope you’re having a lovely time!

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  8. Those are some great straight out of camera photos! I don’t know how my Canon fares on that front; I only shoot in RAW format these days so everything pretty much demands editing if it isn’t going to look weird and flat. I do know she’s a heavy behemoth, which I don’t mind most of the time, but I definitely understand the appeal of something more compact and lightweight.

    I think your Lumix might be the same camera that my friend I just visited in Japan has, funnily enough.

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    1. The Lumix has the ability to shoot in RAW, which I’m definitely going to try out once I get the hang of all the controls. You wouldn’t happen to know how to install new firmware into a camera, would you? Haha… I feel like I really should change the Japanese to English, just so the learning curve isn’t quite so high. 😛

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