Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Review
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 is an impressively nimble performer. Whether changing settings via the touchscreen, physical control points or a combination of the two, menus and settings are quite responsive. From power-on to first exposure using the camera's AF takes around 1.4 seconds, but once powered on, shutter press to image capture can happen in as little as 0.2 seconds including AF acquisition and within 0.1 seconds with the camera pre-focused. Even in raw-enabled continuous shooting modes, buffer overruns do not prevent you from taking additional images, albeit at a slower rate. We generally found the camera ready to shoot when we were.
The GX1's combination of a mode dial, four Fn buttons (two onscreen), numerous control points on the rear of the camera and a comprehensive touchscreen interface means that you can make between-shot adjustments quickly and easily, often with multiple options at your disposal for accessing the same setting. Few key camera settings involves an inordinate amount of clicks or presses. This contributes to an overall feeling of responsiveness when using the GX1.
Continuous Shooting and BufferingLike the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, the GX1 has four burst modes, SH, H, M, and L. We'll discuss the SH mode in the following section, but in H mode, using the static AF setting, the GX1 shoots at up to 4 frames per second at its highest image quality settings. In M mode, image capture drops to 3 fps, which is still quite usable for shooting casual action. It bears mention, however, that live view is disabled in H mode, so the gain of one additional frame per second is tempered by the fact that you cannot see what the camera is actually capturing, only the image that it has just recorded. Although this generally isn't a problem when shooting static subjects, the lack of live view greatly reduces your ability for instance, to pan accurately while following a subject. In a noticeable improvement over the G3, the GX1's buffer can capture up to 28 JPEG images at its maximum frame rate. Crucially, images can still be shot while the camera is writing data to the card. It's hard to overestimate the importance of being able to shoot images - even at a reduced frame rate - while the buffer is being emptied. During this time of data transfer you can also access camera menus, with the exception of, understandably, the playback menu.
To generate the timings shown below, we shot with the camera's burst mode set to H, with a SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC class 10 card.
Burst of JPEG 16MP/Fine images
64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro
|Frame rate||4 fps|
|Number of frames||28|
|Buffer full rate||2 fps|
|Write complete||5 sec.|
Burst of RAW images
64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro
|Frame rate||4 fps|
|Number of frames||11|
|Buffer full rate||0.77 fps|
|Write complete||13 sec.|
Burst of RAW plus JPEG 16MP/Fine images
64 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro
|Frame rate||4 fps|
|Number of frames||8|
|Buffer full rate||0.5 fps|
|Write complete||18 sec.|
20fps Drive mode (4Mp)
The GX1's SH burst mode captures 4MP images at 20 frames per second. In the current G-series lineup the GX1 joins the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 as cameras capable of double-digit frame rates. The image sequence you see below was shot with the G3.
|This short sequence gives you some idea of what 20fps looks like when SH continuous shooting mode is engaged.|
There's no such thing as a free lunch, however, and to achieve 20fps you have to accept some sacrifices. The first thing you give up is live view. Just like shooting in 'H' continuous mode, during a 20fps capture burst the viewfinder/LCD screen displays a review of the images already captured, as opposed to a real-time view of the scene.
In addition, the resulting images are 4MP JPEGs (Raw mode is disabled when SH is selected). At a resolution of 2272 x 1704 you have, in theory, enough pixels for a decent quality 8x10 print. But there is a steep penalty to be paid in terms of image quality. The 20fps files exhibit prominent artifacts and are noticeably short on fine detail.
With such a drastic reduction in image quality, SH mode is best suited to images destined for the web or very small prints.
Autofocus speed / accuracy
We have always been impressed with the AF performance of the G-series cameras compared with competitive systems that also use contrast-detection AF and even some entry-level DSLRs. The GX1 continues this trend. Panasonic claims AF acquisition times for the GX1 that are 10% faster than the already speedy G3. To be honest, in practical use this difference is negligible. Yet with a sensor readout capable of sampling 120 times per second, the GX1's speedy focus acquisition will be a noticeable upgrade for users coming from the GF1. In well lit scenes of static subjects with strong contrast, using both the standard Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS and power zoom Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm kit lenses, we found acquisition times from shutter press to image capture as fast as 0.2 seconds which is very impressive indeed.
Of course, the Achilles heel of any contrast-detection AF system is low light, poor subject contrast or a combination of the two. Overall, we found performance with the kit lenses in these environments to be roughly on par with that of entry-level DSLR kit lens combinations.
When using one of Panasonic's fast prime lenses, however, like the Leica D Summilux Asph 25mm F1.4 we were very impressed with the AF system's ability to quickly lock focus on static subjects indoors even under low light conditions. In the sample above, the camera was used in shutter priority, with a custom white balance and exposure compensation of +.33EV to provide a pleasing luminance level.
When set to AFC mode (continuous autofocus) the GX1 employs its contrast-detection AF to track the subject. Based on the tracking performance of previous G-series models we were not expecting miracles here, and our experience of shooting has proven that our caution is justified. Results were on par with what we experienced with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3.
We found the GX1's AFC tracking to be most successful in well-lit scenes with subjects of strong contrast that move rather consistently. When panning the camera in order to keep the subject relatively close to the central area of the viewfinder/LCD screen, we were only able to reach success rates as high as 50% with very slow moving subjects. In and of itself, we feel that AFC tracking on the GX1 is a reasonable option as long as you set your expectations accordingly. Yet, with the introduction of the Nikon 1 V1 and its benchmark setting AF tracking capability, the GX1- like most other mirrorless and even entry-level DSLRs - is now looking up at a new standard of performance.
|Madrid subway by MAGMATCICO62|
from Your City - Public Transport
|Incandescent Bulb by Kukla|
from Illuminate- Macro only
|Curiousity by PERCY2|
from Macro - Your Best Macro Ever
|Hoar Frosted Trees by sabishiT3T|
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.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
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.
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.