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: Performance

GX8 4K

Panasonic’s 4K Photo mode lets you capture fleeting moments. These four sequential frames follow a bee taking off.

At one time, CSCs lagged well behind DSLRs when it came to speed. That era is long gone, and the GX8 is an extremely snappy performer. Using a high-speed Panasonic 16GB SDHC U3 card with the camera set to continuous high mode (and therefore with focus and exposure fixed), I got it to shoot at 8.1fps, rattling off 30 frames in raw+JPEG before the buffer was full, or almost 150 in JPEG-only mode. Switching the speed down a notch to 5.5fps allows autofocus, exposure adjustment and live view between frames. In this mode, the GX8 still shot 30 frames with raw enabled before slowing down, and almost 300 JPEG-only, which should be enough for the most committed ‘spray-and-pray’ practitioner. Switch to the electronic, rather than mechanical shutter and the camera can go faster still, up to 10fps, but with a risk of image distortion from rolling-shutter effects.

For photographers who like to shoot even quicker, Panasonic has included its 4K Photo mode. This uses high-resolution video technology to allow shooting at 30fps, but because this is presented as a drive mode rather than video, it encourages photographers to select shutter speeds appropriate for stills rather than video. It records MP4 files, and Panasonic provides an excellent interface for stepping through the individual frames and saving the ones you want as 8MP stills.

Three shooting modes are on offer: ‘4K Burst’ mode records so long as you hold down the shutter button, while ‘S/S’ mode behaves more like video, initiating recording on the first press of the shutter and ending on the second. Finally, there’s a very clever ‘Pre-Burst’ mode that continuously buffers the sensor’s output, and records from 1sec before the shutter button is pressed to 1sec afterwards. This is great for capturing peak action, but the downside is a significant impact on battery life.

GX8 battery

The DMW-BLC12E battery is good for 330 shots per charge using the LCD, or 310 using the EVF, by CIPA standard tests

Autofocus is, likewise, extremely impressive. Aided by Panasonic’s unique Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology that uses a knowledge of the optical characteristics of the lens to determine which way to move the focus group, it’s extremely swift in acquiring focus and with static subjects, unerringly accurate. The focus area can be set anywhere within the frame, and to almost any size to match your subject. Naturally, face detection is available, complete with eye detection to ensure optimal focus for portraits.

When it comes to JPEG image quality, the GX8 gives perfectly competent output with lots of fine detail, although its colour rendition isn’t as attractive as the Olympus E-M5 II’s. In part, this is due to auto white balance that errs distinctly towards the cool side, but also to a rather uninspiring standard colour mode that perhaps tries too hard to be accurate, rather than pleasant. At high ISO sensitivities the processing does a good job of maintaining strong colours, but the slightly over-enthusiastic noise reduction has a habit of obliterating low-contrast detail.

  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
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  • 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.