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Zoom and focus control

The GX1 takes advantage of Panasonic's recently introduced power zoom lenses by allowing you to zoom in and out via the touchscreen. The touch zoom icon is the upper-most item in the Touch Tab, located along the right side of the screen. Once it is activated a slider and two sets of arrows appear, along with a focal length scale that updates in real time. Although you can zoom by dragging the slider, we find that the most precise results can be obtained by simply tapping on either of the single arrows. With just a bit of practice we were able to move the lens in either direction in 1mm increments; something we found a bit harder to achieve when using the lens' physical zoom lever.

With a compatible lens attached, you can zoom via the touchscreen in one of two ways; dragging the slider or pressing the arrows. Single arrows zoom slowly while double arrows zoom more quickly. By default, a zoom scale appears onscreen and updates in real time to reflect the lens' current focal length. This display can be disabled in the Custom menu.
With MF assist enabled, you can get a full screen view at 5x magnification... or click on the magnify icon to get a 10x magnification. You can move the enlarged area by dragging across the screen or using the 4-way controller.

For precise focusing, the MF Assist function offers three magnified views with which to adjust and confirm focus. The first view, at a 4x magnification, superimposes the magnified view in a central square over the rest of the image. By pressing the 'magnify' icon, or rotating the thumb dial clockwise, you can switch to 5x and 10x magnification views (shown above).

Playback mode displays

The GX1 makes use of the DISP. button to cycle through the available views in playback mode. With a minimal icon display as a starting point, and the appearance of an image-only view with zero user input, the GX1 offers an image review mode aimed squarely at users who want to see images rather than data.

When you press the playback button on the rear of the camera you are presented with a view of your image along with a Thumbnail and Delete button. After 2 seconds of inactivity, the touchscreen buttons disappear, offering an image-only view. An initial press of the Disp. button on the rear of the camera temporarily returns those buttons to view.
With the button icons still onscreen, a press of the DISP. button shows mode dial setting, exposure, ISO, exposure compensation, flash and WB, along with Quality settings, image count and battery life. Pressing the DISP. button again brings up an even more detailed view of your camera settings...
...and a final press brings up an RGBY histogram displaying the image's tonal distribution. Pressing the Delete button brings up a screen where you can specify deletion of a single image, make a multi-image selection or wipe the entire contents of the card.

Playback magnification

In play mode, pressing on the screen zooms in to the specified area at a 2x magnification. Subsequent screen presses magnify the image in step-wise increments of 4x, 8x and 16x views. You can also accomplish this by rotating the thumb dial. The 4-way controller can be used to navigate the image, as indicated by directional arrows onscreen. However, we find it faster to scroll around the image simply by dragging with your finger.

The current magnification view is displayed onscreen, along with icons indicating the appropriate direction to turn the rear dial. Onscreen buttons allow you to zoom out in step-wise increments or return directly to full screen (x1.0) view.

You can remove the onscreen icons by pressing the DISP. button.

Playback thumbnail index

Press the Thumbnail button (or turn the rear dial counter-clockwise) to switch to thumbnail index views. There are three different options: 12 images (3x4), 30 images (6x5) and last but not least, a calendar view which allows you to browse your images according to the date on which they were taken.

In each of the thumbnail views you can drag the scroll bar or click the up/down arrows to move through images. Clicking on an image brings it up in fullscreen view. In calendar view, dates that correspond to images stored on the SD card are shown in black. Clicking on a date gives a thumbnail view of images captured on that date.
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Iam really like the design of the GX1, though I do have a few quibbles. It's a little bigger than the rest of the field, but none of these is sufficiently small with a lens attached to be considered significantly smaller than the others. It's got a nice-size grip and thumb rest, which makes it comfortable to hold and shoot single-handed, and it feels well constructed.

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