Panasonic GX series

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Keithpictures Forum Member • Posts: 73
Panasonic GX series

I made a chart in attempt to make sense of the GX cameras.

Clearly Panasonic Lumix didn't plan this out ahead of time, but you can see some logic in it.

The first three cameras shared some commonalities, representing general growth (in size and otherwise), and even though they weren't too similar, they were higher end rangefinder bodies (compared to the GM and GF lines).

In 2016, the manufacturer became confused. It looks like they realized that the GX8 represented a whole new class of camera - a new high end, apparently - and they wanted to update the mid-range model. So they created a GX7 mark II. But the Japanese company decided to change its name for the foreign markets. It added a digit to the 8, which makes sense in a way: we've seen this style of demarcating price points: one digit for the high end, two digits for the mid-range, and three digits for the entry.

What remains a mystery is why Panasonic differentiates the European and American markets - GX80 vs GX85, the same camera. Perhaps it is because they are technically different internal systems, one video system focused on PAL, one on NTSC. That is my guess. Still, it is a marketing blunder. (As is the similarity in naming between the GX line and the G line, which are SLR-style versions, with some spec improvements. There are lots of other letters, Panasonic.)

Nonetheless, The GX80 makes some sense as a mid-range version of the GX8, but it confuses the naming convention established by its natural predecessor, the GX7. The Japanese name should probably be the international name as well.

The GX800/GX850 makes some sense as the entry-level rangefinder. The company dissolved its other rangefinder-style lines, GF and GM, though the Japanese name of this body reveals that it is the actual successor of the GF line. The brand apparently wanted to simplify all rangefinders into the GX line, which is fair enough. Again, we have the stupid decision of different names for different markets.

But at least as of 2017, there was a clear GX lineup: GX8, GX80, GX800 - high, medium, low. The quality and features reflect the different price points nicely. To take the viewfinder as an example of the different price points: the GX8 has one of the best viewfinders ever - OLED, large, tilting. Beloved by many and one of a kind. The GX80 has a basic, stationary viewfinder. The GX800 has no viewfinder at all. It makes sense. Ignoring the GF and GM lines, and ignoring the discontinued GX7, Panasonic seemed to have things sorted.

But then comes the GX9. It's the GX7 mark III in Japan, and its body size supports that name. It indeed appears to be the successor to the GX80/85. But they've named it as a successor to the GX8 as well. It actually does seem to combine the two cameras, both high-end *and* midrange.

In the GX7 lineage, it represents the most up-to-date in technology and ability. That's clear enough. In the GX7-8-9 scheme, it's trickier. It retains the tilting viewfinder, but it is not an OLED like the GX8. To be a high-end model, it should be, as many people complain about the interlacing of this LCD EVF. (For me it's fine.) The other major point against its high-end status is that it's not weather-sealed, whereas the GX8 is.

Others might criticize that it lacks a mic input, but as a street camera, this doesn't seem necessary. I can handle that they'd leave this off. Similarly the SD card slot could be on the side, and it could stand to have manual dials like the LX100. But these are more minor points, and I can appreciate that Panasonic keeps things "simple and compact" in these decisions.

In its favor, it improves upon the GX8 by losing the anti-alias filter, adding Bluetooth connectivity, improving on stabilization, and being small, which I consider a luxury. I think it's actually a better camera than the GX8, but price and reputation suggest otherwise, which is why I've put it lower in my diagram. With just a few more features, it would be higher.

In the end, the GX9 should have included an OLED EVF and weather-sealing, or be called the GX90/95. But overall, I think it represents a natural current end-point in the GX series, essentially having the best of everything that a street/travel camera should have. Panasonic should simply resolve: the GX is our premium street camera that also shoots great B-roll footage. Let's add all the tech necessary to compete in this market.

It will be interesting where the GX line goes from here. I hypothesize a proper high-end successor to the GX8, but perhaps in the GX7 body again: a GX7 mark IV aka GX10, which simply improves the specs of the GX9. Just make EVF an OLED, add environmental sealing and add the mic jack, and I think almost all Lumix street/travel photogs would be happy. (Except those who prefer the overrated articulating screen

 Keithpictures's gear list:Keithpictures's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / Power O.I.S Panasonic 8-18mm F2.8-4 +1 more
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