Great Eight: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 review
- 20MP Four Thirds MOS sensor
- Dual IS capability
- Depth from Defocus AF system
- 2.36M-dot tilting OLED EVF
- 1.04M-dot, vari-angle OLED touchscreen display
- 4K video / photo
- Weatherproof magnesium alloy body
- Wi-Fi with NFC
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is the company's flagship Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens camera, and the followup to the popular GX7. While sharing some similarities with its predecessor, such as a tilting electronic viewfinder and rangefinder-styled body, the majority of the specs and features are dramatically improved.
The GX8 was the first Micro Four Thirds camera to leave the world of 16 Megapixel sensors behind, moving to 20MP. This increase in resolution allows the GX8 to appear to be closer in spec to other ILCs, many of which have 24MP sensors. When combined with Panasonic's latest Venus Engine processor, the GX8 is capable of 4K video capture, 10 fps burst shooting (8 with the mechanical shutter), and a top ISO of 51200.
The camera has also received a big upgrade in the autofocus department. While we'll explain how Panasonic's Depth from Defocus technology works later, it impressed us with its speed and subject tracking abilities when we reviewed the DMC-G7.
Another very useful new feature on the GX8 is 'Dual IS'. The camera already has built-in sensor-shift IS and, when selected stabilized lenses are attached, can combine the two systems for even better shake reduction. Panasonic claims a 3.5x improvement at wide-angle and 1.5x at telephoto compared to the GX7 (which relied solely on its less advanced in-body IS system).
The GX8 has also gained 4K (UHD) video capture support that surpasses the DMC-G7 in terms of features, though it's not as robust as the GH4. 4K support also extends to stills, via the camera's 4K Photo mode, a tool which helps capture moments that you might otherwise miss.
One last thing to mention in this introduction is the design of the DMC-GX8. The camera is considerably bulkier than its predecessor, closer in size and weight to Fujifilm's X-Pro2. That's good, though, as build quality has increased and the camera is now splash and dust resistant. The tilting EVF remains but now it's larger and uses OLED rather than LCD technology. The tilting rear LCD on the GX7 has made way for a fully articulating OLED screen on the GX8. A few dials have moved around as well, and there's now direct control for exposure compensation on the camera's top plate.
The Lumix GX8's feature set comparable to both mirrorless cameras like the Olympus PEN-F and Fujifilm X-Pro2, but also DSLRs such as the Canon 80D and Nikon D7200. As you'll see throughout the review, the GX8 offers some features that none of those cameras can compete with.
|Panasonic GX7||Panasonic GX8||Olympus PEN-F|
|Sensor||16.0MP MOS||20.3MP MOS||20.3MP MOS|
|Image stabilization||Sensor-shift (2-axis)||Sensor (4-axis) + lens shift*||Sensor-shift (5-axis)|
|AF system||23-pt CDAF||49-pt CDAF||81-pt CDAF|
|Max shutter speed||1/8000 (mechanical)|| 1/8000 (mechanical)
|Flash x-sync||1/320 sec||1/250 sec||1/250 sec|
| Burst rate
|5 / 40 fps||8 / 10 fps||10 / 20 fps|
|EVF resolution||2.8M-dot equiv.||2.36M-dot||2.36M-dot|
|EVF type/mag||Tilting LCD / 0.7x||Tilting OLED / 0.77x||Fixed OLED / 0.62x|
|LCD type/res|| 3" tilting touch
| 3" vari-angle touch
|3" vari-angle touch
|Built-in flash||Yes (GN 7 @ ISO 200)||No||No**|
|Video||1080/60p @ 28MBps||2160/30p @ 100MBps||1080/60p @ 77Mbps|
|Mic/headphone sockets||No / No||Yes / No||No / No|
|Wi-Fi||Yes, with NFC||Yes, with NFC||Yes|
|Battery life||320 shots***||330 shots***||330 shots|
|Dimensions||123 x 71 x 55mm||133 x 78 x 63mm||125 x 72 x 37mm|
|Weight (CIPA)||402 g||487 g||427 g|
|* When using lenses with built-in image stabilization
** External flash included
*** With 14-42mm kit zoom
As you can see, the GX8 is a pretty big leap forward from its predecessor. It is very close in spec to the Olympus PEN-F, though it's weather-sealed, supports 4K video, and has a considerably larger EVF. One could argue that the GX8 is targeted more toward the video crowd, while the PEN-F is for those looking for a classic 'camera-loving' audience.
The DMC-GX8 is sold in a body-only configuration for $1199 / £919 / €1099. The camera may be bundled with a lens in certain regions.
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