The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 may be the first Micro Four Thirds camera to sport a 20.3-million-pixel sensor, but it has a whole host of other updates too. Andy Westlake takes it for a spin

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • + Impressive feature set
  • + Effective in-body image stabilisation
  • + Excellent viewfinder and screen
  • + Great image quality in raw

Cons:

  • - Relatively bulky
  • - Connectors block articulated screen
  • - Uninspiring JPEG colour output
  • - Pedestrian styling

Product:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,000.00 (body only)

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Panasonic Lumix DMX-GX8 review: Build and handling

GX8 top

The top plate has two electronic control dials, plus exposure mode and exposure compensation dials

With its rangefinder-like design, the GX8 bucks the current fashion for DSLR-shaped CSCs, and it handles a bit differently too. The side-mounted viewfinder feels a little odd at first, especially when shooting with telephoto lenses, but I soon got used to it. However, the control layout is excellent, and the huge level of customisation on offer means that most users should be able to set the camera up to their liking.

The camera is dustproof and splashproof when paired with a suitable lens, such as Panasonic’s premium 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100mm f/2.8 zooms. It feels decently built, but somehow lacks the impression of solidity and refinement exuded by some of its competitors, such as the Fujifilm X-T1, and is not helped by the small, plastic rear buttons. However, there’s no reason to believe that it will be any less rugged in extended use.

The prominent handgrip helps the camera feel secure in your grasp, aided by a slight indentation for your thumb. One advantage of the large body is that there’s plenty of space for physical controls, including no fewer than four dials on the top-plate. The hotshoe accepts Four Thirds-dedicated flashguns, and includes a power pin for small external units that don’t take batteries. Two tiny holes in front of it conceal the built-in stereo mics.

GX8 controls

This view shows all of the GX8’s controls, aside from an unmarked Fn button on the front

Two electronic dials are used for changing other settings, such as shutter speed and aperture – a small one around the shutter button and larger one positioned for operation by your right thumb. A button in the middle of the larger one can be used to temporarily alter their function to changing ISO and white balance, in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of Olympus’s OM-D models. An exposure-compensation dial sits beneath the exposure mode dial and provides ±3EV correction in 0.3EV steps. Sadly, though, it’s not active when shooting with auto ISO in manual-exposure mode, which is a strange oversight.

On the back is a small switch for selecting between single (AFS) and continuous (AFC) autofocus modes and manual focus, which is a nice touch that is not often seen on CSCs. It can also be configured  to access Panasonic’s AFF mode, which switches automatically from AFC to AFS if subject movement is detected.An array of small buttons on the back are used to access other key settings, such as drive mode, and Panasonic’s customisable Q menu gives on-screen access to other commonly used settings without having to resort to the main menu. The whole on-screen interface can be operated by touch, with the responsive capacitive touchscreen and carefully designed interface combining to make this a quick and painless experience.

GX8

Panasonic’s Q Menu gives access to secondary functions, with both preset and user-specified options available

As with other Panasonic CSCs, the touchscreen can also be used to quickly set the focus point, not only when using it for composition but also with the camera to your eye. This is a nice touch, but as a left-eyed shooter I found it rather too easy to move the AF point inadvertently with my nose. The simplest solution to this was to tilt the EVF slightly, and it’s also possible to turn off the function completely in the Touch Settings submenu and use the D-pad to move the AF area. Right-eyed users – the majority of photographers – should have no trouble at all.

Most of the controls can be reconfigured to suit your preferences, and indeed there are no fewer than 13 customisable function buttons. Of these, five are on-screen touch buttons, and eight are physical buttons on the body. Three of these are labelled Fn but are not numbered, three are labelled only with their default function, and two aren’t marked at all. This can be a problem when the camera shows an on-screen prompt to press, for example, Fn2 to change a setting, as it’s difficult to work out which one it means. Indeed, it’s not always easy to remember what all the buttons do at the best of times.

  1. 1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 review - Introduction
  2. 2. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 review: Features
  3. 3. Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8 review: Viewfinder and screen
  4. 4. Panasonic Lumix DMX-GX8 review: Build and handling
  5. 5. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G8 review: In-body/dual IS
  6. 6. Panasonic Lumix DMX-GX8 review: Performance
  7. 7. Panasonic Lumix DMC GX8 review: Image quality
  8. 8. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 review: Verdict
  9. 9. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 review: Specifications
Page 4 of 9 - Show Full List
  • RadiantFlowers

    Title needs updating, this is GX8, not G8
    “Panasonic Lumix DMC-G8 review: In-body/dual IS”

  • sam

    Some people for some reason get their kicks out of criticising everything they can’t afford. Such a bitter person hoping a company which is innovating more than most to bring us new features (and profit for themselves of course, they are ‘in business’) loses money on a product is just plain negative. If it’s not something he likes he should just turn the page and move on.

  • entoman

    Cameras just keep getting better and better don’t they!

    Every month one manufacturer or another adds a new innovation or a leap in quality, creating a really competitive market. We’re really spoilt for choice nowadays.

    It’s fantastic to have so many absolutely superb cameras to choose from, with a huge choice of models from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Fuijifilm and Panasonic.

    There quite literally is something that is perfect for everyone.

  • entoman

    I’m a DSLR man, but if I was in the market for a rangefinder-style, interchangeable lens, mirrorless camera, this is most definitely the one I would buy. The specification is excellent, the size is sensible, quality of construction faultless.

    Of course, the major advantage of the 4/3rd system (masses of high quality, lightweight, compact lenses to choose from), is outweighed to a large degree by the limitations of the small sensor (lowish pixel count, noise at high ISO). But, unless you are shooting for publication, it’s probably adequate – and future 4/3rd cameras will undoubtedly overcome many of the current sensor’s limitations. For amateurs it’s a good system to buy into, and can only get better.

  • poopchute

    You clearly haven’t been paying attention, if you think it is unremarkable. And I’m curious, how exactly are they trying to rip off the public?
    I too thought it was a little ugly at first, but it has grown on me. But that doesn’t really matter anyway, does it? It’s just personal opinion. For example, I think Soccer was created so the mentally challenged have something to entertain themselves with. But, that’s just my opinion.

  • Turbofrog

    Nothing remarkable about it except for one of the biggest viewfinders of any camera on the market (FF and MF DSLRs included), one of the most sophisticated image stabilization systems, one of the most sophisticated 4K video implementations, some of the best direct controls and touch-screen UX, full weather sealing, and image quality that competes strongly with other new camera models that cost the same? Nothing remarkable except for all those things?

  • Chris Hawley

    VERY ugly camera, and nothing remarkable about it. Impossible to justify charging £1000 for something this mundane. Hope they lose money on this, trying to rip off the public.