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
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 review: Features
In typical Panasonic fashion, the GX8 is so well featured that it’s difficult to know where to begin. Its new 20.3-million-pixel sensor offers a standard sensitivity range of ISO 200-25,600, with an extended ISO 100 also available at the cost of possible highlight clipping. The conventional mechanical shutter covers a 60-1/8000sec range and a silent electronic shutter gives 1-1/16,000sec, although unfortunately there’s no electronic first-curtain option. The GX8 is also the second Panasonic camera to offer in-body image stabilisation, which I’ll cover in more detail later.
Despite the camera’s size, the GX8 doesn’t have a built-in flash, but it does have a hotshoe for external units. This includes a fourth contact to power a small add-on unit like the one supplied with the GM5, although you don’t get one in the box. As this seems to be the new Micro Four Thirds standard, it’s also possible to use the hugely useful bounceable flash that comes with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, if you’re prepared to do some minor surgery on that unit to make it fit.
As usual for Panasonic, the GX8 offers an impressive video specification. In addition to full HD, you can also record 3840×2160 4K video, at either 24fps or 25fps and with a very respectable 100Mbps bit rate for high-quality footage. There’s a peaking display to aid manual focus, a zebra-pattern overexposure warning, a couple of ‘cinelike’ colour modes, and control over the luminance levels used for outputting footage. However, serious video shooters will be disappointed by the 2.5mm stereo input, which means that most external mics will require a 3.5mm adapter, and the lack of a headphone socket, which presumably is Panasonic’s way of nudging them towards the GH4.
Of course, there’s built-in Wi-Fi for connection to a smartphone or tablet, with NFC for quick set-up with compatible devices. Panasonic’s free Image App is available for both Android and Apple devices, and aside from the usual functions of image transfer and camera remote control, it can be used to geotag your images and even construct photo collages.
All the usual playthings we’d expect on a modern camera are present and correct too. There are creative image-processing filters aplenty, which thankfully allow you to record an unadjusted raw alongside the filtered JPEG file, an auto-stitching panorama mode, multi-shot high-dynamic range shooting, time-lapse shooting, and even a stop-motion animation mode. It’s difficult to think of much more Panasonic could have added.