Andy Westlake examines the Panasonic Lumix GX80 mid-range compact system camera
In body IS / Dual IS
Perhaps the GX80’s most appealing new feature is Panasonic’s latest Dual IS system.
Like the GX8 before it, the camera can use both in-lens and in-body IS together to allow the use of even slower shutter speeds without blur from camera shake ruining your shots. But where the GX8 only offered four axes of correction in body, the GX80 now offers five, adding in correction for rotation around the lens axis. This tends to be important for long exposures with wideangle lenses, so it’s great to see it added.
The great thing about this is that you get image stabilisation with every lens you can use, not just those from Olympus, Sigma, Samyang and so on, but also old manual lenses on mount adapters (when using the latter, the camera helpfully prompts you to enter the focal length when you turn it on). So if your subject’s not moving, you can keep shutter speeds much slower than usual in low light, and so use lower ISO settings. This in turn can often offset the noise disadvantage of the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor. What’s more, the image stabilization works for video recording, including at 4K.
In practice the GX80’s stabilisation works very well indeed. I’ve found it gives excellent results with all lenses – Panasonic, Olympus or third-party, with or without optical stabilization – often allowing the use of shutter speeds around four stops slower than would be possible without it.
We tested out the image stabilization for video shooting side-by-side with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II (each fitted with the Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens), which until now has been pretty much the class leader for hand-held movie work. You can see the results on our sister site The Video Mode, but suffice to say that the GX80 performs at least as well.