Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Review
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 introduced six 'Photo Style' color response presets and these are carried over in the GX1. As we mention in the dynamic range page of our review, two of these photo styles, 'natural' and 'portrait' alter scene brightness, yielding brighter midtone values in addition to their color, contrast and saturation adjustments. One point GF1 owners may notice is that Panasonic has dropped the 'Dynamic B+W' style that many users preferred.
The Photo Style image effects are previewed in live view display so you can see how the image will be altered before you take the shot. They are customizable as well. For each Photo Style, contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction can be adjusted independently.
|With a photo style selected you can click the down arrow on the 4-way controller to begin making adjustments to contrast, sharpness, saturation and/or noise reduction.
In Monochrome mode the saturation adjustments shift the tint from cool to sepia.
Additionally, you can define a separate custom setting that pairs any combination of these four parameters with a chosen Photo Style. You can also shoot video with any of the Photo Styles applied.
The GX1 has a series of 'Creative Control' processing filters that can be applied to images; Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, High Dynamic, Toy and Miniature. While the 'Low Key' and 'Toy' modes are new additions, the rest of these options come straight from the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 and, to be blunt, are largely disappointing in comparison to equivalent effects in competitive cameras. The exception is 'Miniature' mode, which mimics the restricted depth of field made possible with tilt/shift lenses. We've seen similar effects in competitive cameras from other brands, but we're pleased with Panasonic's implementation which allows you to specify the size, position and orientation of the sharp region of focus.
Note that the screenshot and image samples below are from the GF3, the first Panasonic model to include this feature.
Because the 'miniature' option is very processor-intensive, the live view refresh rate is rather slow, and there is a delay of a few seconds after each image is recorded before the camera is ready to take another shot. You can also shoot video while in Mini mode. Due again to the heavy processing requirements, the recording rate of video is reduced to approximately 1/10 of its usual speed, resulting in accelerated playback.
The GX1 makes use of Panasonic's familiar face detection feature in combination with the highly intuitive Touch AF capability. Face detection is turned on via the Record menu but can also be assigned to a function button or the Q.Menu. Once activated, the camera's AF will attempt to lock focus on a face in the scene. The feature works quite well, with the main requirement being that the subject's eyes, nose and mouth be visible simultaneously in the frame. When multiple faces are detected, at different distances from the camera, priority is given to the nearest face that falls within the lens' minimum focus distance.
|With face detection activated, the camera surrounds a 'found' face with yellow brackets. Focus confirmation is indicated by green brackets and a green circle in the upper right of the frame.||Face detection can be easily overridden by pressing the screen, which engages Touch AF. Focus confirmation is indicated by green brackets and a green circle in the upper right of the frame, while the face is surrounded by white brackets.|
One of the most useful implementations of this feature is that it can be used in conjunction with Touch AF. This means that with face detection active you can still manually specify a focus point by touching the screen. Your Touch AF selection overrides the camera's face detection focus and will continue to do so until you explicitly press a 'disable Touch AF' onscreen icon.