Over the last several months (which of course, have been leading up to the Holiday Buying Season), we have seen the release of several remarkable cameras from all the big mirrorless camera companies, including Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic – the latter two, being the developers of micro 4/3 cameras and technology. The M43 top dogs have not disappointed, as their latest releases represent long awaited upgrades of some of their most popular cameras.
In the case of Olympus, the new OM-D E-M1 chimes in as the successor to the highly popular, and highly acclaimed Olympus OM-D E-M5 – which has long held a rightful position as one of the darlings of the mirrorless realm. For Panasonic, their all new Lumix GX7, which is the replacement for the long in the tooth Lumix GX1. Where Olympus have inexplicably gone backward in model numbers fro E-M5 to E-M1, Panasonic have decided to vault forward, skipping several different model numbers to go from GX1 to GX7. Both of the new cameras have enjoyed favorable reviews, but how will these two top tier micro 4/3 cameras fare in a head to head match up?
Kai Wong and Lok C from DigitalRevTV are happy to oblige, as they take to the streets to put these cameras through their rigors in an M43 shootout…
“The new Olympus E-M1 is arguably not the best-looking camera Olympus has released in recent years, but it’s all about the performance. After all, this is the top end Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus, but just how does it compare to Panasonic’s top dog: the GX7? Watch this head-to-head comparison review (video above) to find out.”
My 2 Cents
Granted, Kai W is not the biggest fan of micro 4/3 cameras (he doesn’t like many of the other top cameras out there either – He is a critic, after all 😉 ), but there’s no denying the quality of these two cameras. Make no mistake, these are both quality built image making machines that deliver where it counts with top caliber image quality, performance and ease of use. Their solid, comfortable in the hand and have intelligently laid out displays and controls, as well as tiltable LED screens. Of course, which one looks better is a matter of personal preference.
Head to Head:
Image Quality – The removal of the AA filter on the OM-D would theoretically give it an edge in still photo image quality, but the GX7 really does put out some gorgeous images, itself. In my opinion, this is a push. I would recommend that you make your own judgements where IQ is concerned, but either way, you will not be disappointed. Both of these cameras produce delicious files!
Stabilization – The OM-D E-M5′s 5 Point In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) is rock solid, and that technology has now been built in to the E-M1. Panasonic have countered by adding IBIS in the GX7 (until now, Panasonic have used only Optical Image Stabilization, or OIS. In other words, it’s built into the lenses). Speaking strictly of IBIS, Olympus have the edge. But most of the high end Lumix Lenses are equipped with OIS that will function at about the same level as Olympus’ IBIS, and most of the time, that’s what you’ll be using when shooting with the GX7. While you will appreciate the GX7’s IBIS capabilities when using Olympus lenses or Lumix lenses that don’t have OIS, I’ll give a slight advantage to Olympus.
Video – This is where Panasonic cameras shine, and the GX7 has it all over the E-M1 in most respects here, although like Kai, I would have liked to see a mic input jack on the GX7.
Build Quality and Ergonomics – Push
Touch Screens and EVFs – Both have bright, high resolution tiltable touch screens and EVFs. Panasonic’s EVF also swivels upward. Push
These are two great cameras that are tailor made for the Pro or Enthusiast Photographer, although at this point, I would have to say that the Panasonic Lumix GH3 remains the king of the micro 4/3 hill, with it’s top caliber capabilities in both still photos and video. Still, these two do represent a step forward in sensor and processing technology, especially for those who prefer the smaller and lighter body styles of these cameras. It’s also good to see Panasonic finally including In Body Image Stabilization on one of their cameras – a trend I hope to see more of in the future. Both the E-M1 and GX7 produce gorgeous files and are also loaded up with wi-fi technology, which is a must have in this day and age, but by coming in at $500 lower than the E-M1 while running neck and neck in performance, I would have to say that the GX7 represents a much better value. If you have your heart set on Olympus, you might also want to consider the E-M1’s predecessor, the OM-D E-M5 – which is still one of the best cameras around today.