Panasonic Lumix GX8 - Review
The Lumix GX8 is a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mirrorless camera and the first of it's kind to offer a whopping 20.3 megapixel sensor. This may not seem like a lot for full frame mirrorless or dslr users, but for the MFT crowd - it's very impressive.
I've had the opportunity to shoot with this camera for the past month, thanks to the team at Panasonic Australia, so I feel it's time I can give a relatively thorough and honest review of the GX8. Having not previously owned another Panasonic, Lumix or even MFT camera in the past, this review will be entirely unbiased and based on my true feelings towards the GX8 and the GX8 alone.
This review won't cover everything about the Lumix GX8, but it will cover the things I feel to be the most important features/abilities of the camera.
A few important specs:
Micro Four Thirds System
Dual I.S. (image stabilisation)
4K Video and 4K Photo
OLED Live View Finder
Aesthetics and Build Quality
Straight out of the box, this camera feels and looks like the real deal. It's solid magnesium alloy shell feels great in the hands and the grip feels just right for such a small and compact camera. It's available in both an all black finish or duo-toned black and silver finish, as you can see I've opted for the all black model.
The GX8 is completely weather sealed offering dust and splash resistance. I've had the opportunity to test said weather proofing with the camera mounted to my tripod just inches from incoming waves, with the odd heavy splash or two - a quick wipe down and there has been no issues since.
Tiltable Viewfinder and Free-Angle Monitor
One thing that I was pleasantly surprised by was just how much I love not only the fully articulating and swivelling screen, but also the tiltable viewfinder. Whilst having a screen that can tilt and swivel to your hearts content is pretty handy, having the option to also tilt the viewfinder is just plain awesome. There are countless times when I'm trying to line up a shot with the camera in an awkward position - being able to tilt the screen upwards makes those compositions so much easier. Now with the added bonus of a tiltable viewfinder means those same positions are now possible in harsh sunlight as there is no glare off the screen in the viewfinder like there would be on an unprotected/unsheltered screen.
Most, if not all of Panasonic's lenses have built in image stabilisation, the GX8 and I believe the GX7 also offer in-body image stabilisation. This isn't all that new or exclusive to mirrorless cameras, but what is new and extremely exciting is the feature Lumix has premiered in the GX8... That is the ability to use BOTH the lenses I.S and the camera's in-body I.S to achieve what Panasonic has named "Dual I.S."
Having these two features work together to form somewhat of a "super" image stabilising system makes shooting handheld images in low light (or with long shutter speeds) an absolute breeze. I was able to shoot this image below with an equivalent focal length of 200mm at a staggering 1 second shutter speed. I've never dreamed of hand holding a shot longer than 1/4 of a second, even at a 14mm focal length!
The world of video is all so new to me and to be honest, I'm stoked to be able to shoot 1080p on my current DSLR and mirrorless systems. Having the ability to now shoot 4K video, that's 3840 x 2160, in a camera this small and feature rich is just plain awesome. Whilst I don't have a 4K monitor or UHD television, 4K video does not go to waste. Shooting at 4K first, gives you the ability to crop in after the fact and still produce 1080p or even 2K video - that way you can get multiple clips from the one video or apply panning or zooming effects to the video.
Unfortunately, whilst shooting 4K video, and video in general, you lose the ability to use Dual I.S - though you can still use the lenses IS (if it has it). Not to mention, the autofocus takes a significant hit in speed during 4K shooting. I'm not sure if these are things that can be fixed with a firmware update, but it's a small price to pay for having the ability to shoot 4K video in such a compact camera.
Things I love:
The ability to shoot 4K video internally.
Tiltable monitor AND viewfinder (super handy for landscape work, especially in harsh light).
Size and weight (perfect as second body or as a primary travel body).
Huge lineup of quality lenses, both native and third-party.
Customisability (there are a heap of custom function buttons that can be set to just about any feature).
Burst mode of up to 10 fps!
AF speed for stills.
Things I don't love:
Inability to use DUAL I.S. while recording both 4K and HD video. (only Lens I.S.)
Decrease in AF speed when recording 4K video.
More Sample Images
Whilst this camera won't completely replace my current kit, it will certainly be a compliment to my other bodies. For those looking at a travel camera with some seriously awesome features - then this camera should definitely be a contender. With features like Dual I.S., 4K Video and blazingly fast AF speeds; there really isn't a camera (of this size) to compare it to. I've really enjoyed playing with the GX8 and it certainly makes shooting fun!
Feel free to leave any questions/comments about the Lumix GX8, or other mirrorless cameras, below!