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-G8 review: In-body/dual IS
The GX8 is the second Panasonic camera to include in-body image stabilisation, after the GX7, but its system is rather more sophisticated. It can work in combination with the in-lens optical image stabilisation (OIS) found in many of Panasonic’s lenses to give an increased overall effect, although most lenses will need a firmware update for this to work, and three of the oldest won’t be compatible at all. It also corrects on four axes rather than two, which means that it should give better results for close-up shooting. However, it doesn’t offer any rotational correction around the lens axis, which tends to be important for long exposures.
In-body IS means that GX8 owners gain stabilisation with all Micro Four Thirds lenses from other makers, and with third-party lenses used via adapters (although as usual the focal length has to be entered manually). Most obviously, this makes Olympus’s non-stabilised lenses a more tempting prospect than they are on other Panasonic cameras. Unfortunately, though, the system doesn’t stabilise the viewfinder image to aid focusing and composition, which is particularly useful when shooting with telephotos. If you want this, you’ll still need to use a Panasonic lens with OIS.
I found the in-body stabilisation to be pretty effective, allowing use of shutter speeds 2 or 3 stops slower than usual before blurring from camera shake becomes apparent. In side-by-side tests shooting at 12mm and 1/4sec, I found that dual IS with the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS lens gives slightly better results than the GX8’s in-body stabilisation with the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8, giving 8/10 critically sharp shots compared to 6/10. However, both were less effective than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II’s in-body stabilisation, which delivered 10/10 sharp images using the 12-40mm f/2.8. All this really means is that it’s wise to take a few more replicate shots with the GX8 when using slow shutter speeds.