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 DMC GX8 review: Image quality

GX8-sample

The GX8’s 20MP sensor can record lots of detail

With its new 20.3-million-pixel sensor, the GX8 brings a useful advance in image quality compared to previous Panasonic models. The expected boost in resolution is welcome, if not exactly groundbreaking, and high ISO noise seems slightly reduced, with ISO 3,200 very usable where on previous cameras it was a bit marginal. There also appears to be some improvement to low ISO dynamic range. I found that it’s possible to pull about 3 stops of detail out of shadow regions before noise becomes problematic, although you’ll need to use a touch of chroma noise reduction even at ISO 200. These individual improvements aren’t necessarily huge, but together they help close the gap relative to the current generation of 24-million-pixel APS-C DSLRs, and it means that the GX8 has the best raw image quality of any Micro Four Thirds camera yet.

Resolution

With resolution closing in on 3,600l/ph at ISO 100 (shot using the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens at f/5.6), the GX8 squeezes about as much out of its 20.3-million-pixel sensor as it could possibly get. Resolution inevitably drops slightly as ISO is increased, and noise with it, but at ISO 1,600 it’s still around 3200l/ph, which in context is similar to the 16-million-pixel G7 at ISO 200. Thereafter, it falls more precipitously, especially at the top two sensitivities, giving just 2,300l/ph at ISO 25,600.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 1600

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 1600

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 3200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 3200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 6400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 6400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 12800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 12800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 25600

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 resolution ISO 25600

 

Dynamic Range

The GX8 produces creditable results in our Applied Imaging tests, giving somewhat improved results compared to the G7 we tested recently, although still a little behind APS-C cameras like the Canon EOS M3. A dynamic range of 11.6EV at ISO 100 indicates plenty of leeway for recovering shadow detail, and even at ISO 1,600 we get a respectable reading of 9.4EV. However, the numbers fall monotonously after this, with very low readings at ISO sensitivities of 12,800 and 25,600.

 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 dynamic range

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 dynamic range

ISO sensitivity and noise

At low sensitivities of ISO 100-400, the GX8 gives sharp, detailed images with bright colours and little visible noise. At ISO 800 noise starts to become obvious in raw files, but Panasonic’s JPEG processing smooths it away quite aggressively, with some impact on fine detail. By ISO 3,200 fine detail has mostly disappeared from JPEGs, and shadow detail has become indistinct, although more can be extracted from raw files. ISO 6,400 is just about usable at a pinch, but the JPEG files show low-frequency colour blotching in the shadows and barely any fine detail at all – shooting in raw and applying your own preferred noise reduction is highly advisable here. Step up to ISO 12,800 and things deteriorate further, although it might be OK for small prints or low-resolution web display. However, the top sensitivity of ISO 25,600 is best avoided.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 100

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 1600

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 1600

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 3200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 3200

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 6400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 6400

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 12800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 12800

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 25600

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8, ISO 25600

  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 7 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.