Panasonic GX7: Superseded but not superannuated
Last week I met a photographer friend for lunch and a mooch around the West End in search of likely street shots. Not much doing on that front, but Steven happened to mention a bargain price on the recently discontinued Panasonic GX7. Now I coveted this particular camera, the one with the swivelling viewfinder, when it first came out back in 2013. I read many ecstatic reviews and I was sore tempted. Recently, quite by coincidence, several photographer mates have told me how much they enjoy this little camera.
After the launch and the accompanying publicity, I passed by Park Cameras in Rathbone Place on a number of occasions and saw the body alone costing around £750 (from memory) and I also remember seeing a very attractive kit, including the highly-regarded f/1.7 20mm pancake lens, for just under a grand. Big money, that, and I wasn't ready to plonk down my credit card just then. I got sidetracked, but I never lost my liking for the Panny.
So when Steven tipped me off that this very same body and lens, in kit form, was flying off the shelves of Camera World at an enticingly low price of £349, I persuaded him to walk in the direction of Wells Street. We were just in time and we carried off two boxes, both having succumbed to temptation. Camera World's Dale Hawkins said they were the last two in that particular store.
The odd thing about this deal is that the lowest price for the Panasonic f/1.7 20mm (Mark II) is £247 (source Camera Price Buster) and this means that the GX7 was thrown in for just £100. That's a remarkable price, even for a recently discounted model. I suspect Panasonic were left with the boxed kits and it wouldn't have been feasible to split them in order to get full price for the lens. So some lucky customers receive what seems to me to be a particular bargain.
This happenstance nicely dampened the flames of lust for the Olympus PEN-F that had been raging since the Photography Show last month. The GX7 gives me a renewed entry into the micro four-thirds system and there is no doubt that the 20mm pancake is one for keeping. My plan of attack was to use the GX7 for a few months and then look to see if I can afford the undeniably more attractive PEN-F. But hold on: I really like the Panny and the menu system is so much more approachable and easy to use than the rather oddball layout on the Olympus. Autofocus, particularly with this small prime, is blindingly fast and manual focus works amazingly well (for an auto lens, that is). As a travel companion it has promise of great things and, despite its bargain-basement price, I think I'm hooked again by the old flame.
I slipped on one of Evris Papanikolas's Rock 'n Roll wrist straps in a fetching camel colour and I'm in business. I'll be reporting further on the GX7 and pancake when I've taken it for a spin or two.
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