Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Review
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GX1 is the company's latest addition to its G-series lineup. And although the camera bears the '1' appendage in its model name, it is clear from even a cursory glance that with the GX1, Panasonic has provided the long-awaited spiritual successor to the highly regarded Lumix DMC-GF1. Of perhaps even greater significance, the move to introduce a separate GX product line (as opposed to releasing the camera as a 'GF4') would seem to suggest a long-term commitment by the camera maker to meet the demands of enthusiasts who embraced the GF1.
Launched back in 2009, the GF1 was, ironically, Panasonic's attempt to court compact-camera owners looking to upgrade, with what was then billed as, 'the world's smallest, lightest interchangeable lens camera'. Instead, the GF1's high quality Raw output and classic rangefinder aesthetic gained a strong and passionate following in the enthusiast market. DSLR owners looking for a second 'go-anywhere' camera with high image quality embraced the camera's comprehensive external controls and its relatively compact Micro Four Thirds lens offerings.
It is precisely these users who have been disappointed twice over with the Lumix DMC-GF2 and Lumix DMC-GF3 releases. These cameras departed from the GF1's retro styling and button-driven operation. Instead, they favored ever-smaller form factors, and design cues that pointed unambiguously to users who may be turned off by an overly complex (and expensive) camera, including increasing reliance on touchscreen controls. With the GX1 Panasonic is aiming squarely at more advanced users for whom the GF1 struck a pleasing balance between size and operability.
Of course, the competition for these users has grown much stiffer today, and Panasonic recognizes that if it wants to expand the camera's appeal, the GX1 must offer advantages not only to the GF series but to a crowded market that includes strong APS-C sensor competition from both Sony and Samsung. To this end, the GX1 employs the same 16MP sensor we first saw in the Lumix DMC-G3, although with image processing adjustments that allow for a top ISO of 12,800.
A brand new viewfinder, the DMW-LVF2 has been introduced alongside the GX1. With a higher magnification and resolution, the LVF2 is a noticeable improvement over its predecessor, the LVF1. Crucially though, a new spec and connector makes the LVF2 incompatible with any GF models; neither is it possible to fit the LVF1 on the GX1. Faster communication between the camera and lenses helps the GX1 focus even faster than the 120Hz sensor readout allowed in the preceding G3 and GF3 models, with Panasonic claiming a 10% improvement.
Panasonic's well-regarded touchscreen interface has also gotten some new tricks, with a level gauge and clever Touch Tab icon that allows you to hide, reveal (and of course activate) a small panel of menu options directly on-screen. Another very welcome feature is the inclusion of an orientation sensor that automatically rotates vertical images even when captured with non-OIS lenses.
The GX1 is being made available in both black and silver bodies. Unlike previous GF models, none of the GX1's kit options includes a fixed focal length lens. Instead, the kit lens options are limited to just two; the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS zoom lens and the more conventional (and less expensive) Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS lens.
By creating a separate product line for the GX, Panasonic has made clear distinctions in its G-series offerings. The GF line is positioned as entry point for compact-camera upgraders. The GH2 is designed for users who shoot a lot of video and the G3 is aimed for (primarily) still shooters who desire a built-in EVF and articulated LCD. The GX1 then is rather sensibly positioned as an enthusiast offering for those who want the highest image quality from a Micro Four Thirds camera, in a form factor that comfortably accommodates a range of zoom lenses and does not skimp on external controls.
Panasonic GX1 specification highlights
- 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor
- ISO 160-12,800
- Orientation sensor (providing information with non-OIS lenses)
- 3.0", 460k dot LCD
- Full AVCHD 1080/60i video (from 30fps sensor output)
- Continuous shooting up to 20fps (at reduced resolution)
- Electronic level gauge
- Four available Fn buttons (two onscreen)
Differences between the GX1 and the GF1
- Higher resolution sensor (16MP vs 12MP)
- Touchscreen interface
- Much-improved screen coatings for better visibility in bright light
- Faster AF acquisition times
- Top ISO of 12,800 (vs 3200)
- Continuous full resolution shooting at 4fps (vs 3fps)
- Higher burst depth in Raw mode (11 vs 5)
- AVCHD 1080/60i video (vs 720p AVCHD Lite format)
- Built-in stereo microphones
- Electronic level gauge
- Two additional Fn buttons
- No drive mode lever
Compared to the Samsung NX200
What's not evident in the images above is just how much more heft the GX1 has in comparison to the NX200. With a solid metal body construction that weighs in at nearly 320g without a lens, the GX1 feels in hand rather substantial, in a way that calls to mind not only the GF1, but classic film camera bodies.
Compared to the Sony NEX-7
Although the GX1 has slightly smaller dimensions in both width and depth, it's worth remembering that that Sony has managed to pack a built-in EVF, articulating LCD and of course an APS-C sensor into the NEX-7. The GX1's more conventional control point layout stands in sharp contrast to the sleek, hewn-from-a block-of-granite design of the NEX-7. Both cameras offer a sure, firm grip, although users with larger hands may find one-handed shooting slightly less comfortable with the lower profile handgrip of the GX1.
|Douaumont Ossuary by Eric 54-BNF|
from Armistice Day
|Silhouette at sunset by Jill Hancock|
from Portrait Lens (around 80mm or equivalent - please check the full rules)
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: The Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. Should you worry?
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.