I did some extensive reading on DP Review and other sites, comparing many cameras. I settled quickly on the micro-four-thirds format mostly because of the small size and the huge variety of lenses that are available. I Narrowed it down to the Olympus OMD-EM5-II, the Panasonic G7, and the new Panasonic GX8. I then decided on the G7, based on features vs price; the price with a kit lens was quite a bit lower than either of the others... As bad luck would have it, I had made a check on prices in the evening, and later on the same night I went online to make the purchase ---to find the price on the G7 was suddenly up by $200!!. Went to several other online retailers and found the same thing (price fixing, ya think???) But c'mon, just in that last coupla hours? ....So, disgusted, I went with the second choice which was the Olympus. (The GX8 was just too expensive to start with, being still new).
I have had this camera for about a month now, and I have mostly been satisfied. It is very well built, better quality than the Panny G7 and every bit the equal of the GX8, and lots of metal! This is one camera that will remind you of "the way they used to make 'em", without all that plastic! It is also more weather resistant, and of course it has the 5-axis image stabilizer. This feature has been touted by DP Review and others, and my experience so far is that it lives up to the hype ---I have been able to get clear shots handheld in dim light, at 1/4 sec exposure time. Not too shabby!
This camera has a HUGE array of functions, and it certainly has taken me some time to learn how to access them---and get a feel for which ones I will really want and which are not important. There is a learning curve to this camera, but despite what other reviewers have said about the menus being extremely difficult to wade through, I am finding it IS manageable. The user-assignable "function" buttons, and the 2 dials, are a huge help here. You need to figure out what you will use most and assign them appropriately for convenience.
My major reason for buying this camera was to be able to take the sort of photos that a point-n-shoot won't do; in particular, very wide angle (from 24mm (FF equivalent) up to and including fisheye), and, to use it with a telescope which I already own, with adapters. In addition there are a very wide variety of lenses available in this format with new ones coming out several times each year from several MFR's. This format is well supported. Presently I have the OLY 14-150mm, the 9-18mm, and an aftermarket (Rokinon) fisheye lens, and all of them are producing good results. I will probably be adding a wide angle prime, such as the 17mm, and a macro later on.
Since I am not a really experienced photographer I can not comment in detail about the picture quality, except that it certainly is a step above the Sony HX9V point-n-shoot that I had before this one! In particular I like the way the jpegs the camera produces without any further processing; This is subjective, but to my eyes they just look better when viewed on my 24" monitor. I have only *just* had my introduction to Lightroom and Photoshop, so perhaps I will comment later on about how well the RAW file processing works out.
On the down side, there are a few small issues that I did not like; first, there is no way to charge the battery via a plug on the camera body. You must pull the battery each time and place it into the supplied drop-in charging module. No, this is not a huge deal, but just plugging the camera into a charger would be so convenient . And hey --even the $99 bargain point-n-shoots have a charging plug on the camera!!! This is just one of those things that *can't* have been that hard for them to include... (to be fair, I noticed that none of the other higher end MFT cameras had such a charging plug either; but I really can't imagine why!)
The second thing I noticed is that the refresh rate for the screen (and the viewfinder) is perceptibly slow; If you pan the camera quickly you will see it "stutter". Again, not bad enough to be a problem, and there is a setting that will reduce the effect some; but the Panasonic cameras were superior in this regard (although they had other shortcomings which I decided were more significant to my buying decision). The last issue is with the grip; it is a small camera, smaller than either of the Panasonics I have mentioned, which is good --but with that comes some difficulty holding it --at least for someone with long fingers. What they left out was a good bulge on the right side that a large paw can get a grip on. With the zoom lens on, it can be difficult to hold steady. There are some fixes available. Olympus makes a grip extender accessory, with features including a second battery holder inside---but you will pay dearly for this... Luckily there is a FAR cheaper and perfectly good grip extender available. I purchased the FOTODIOX PRO grip extender for the OMD-EM5-II for about $29. No gadgets like a second battery, but it is well made and fits *perfectly* (and does not get in the way of the battery door!). I would strongly recommend this to anyone who buys this camera!