The Panasonic Lumix GX8 is the new flagship mirrorless compact sector. Its mission is to compete with the best that the category has to offer: Tools prized as the Olympus OM-D and-M1 or the Fujifilm X-T1. The price reflects this ambition: 1200 euros for the only machine and about 1600 for the package that also includes the versatile 14-140 mm lens stabilized.
The Panasonic Lumix GX8 uses a 4:3 format CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20 Megapixels: the highest achieved so far by category. Isn’t the only notable aspect of this camera, it offers a 3 inch OLED rear panel and 1 million points (fully articulated and equipped with touch technology), an electronic viewfinder adjustable, too, a mechanical shutter that reaches the great speed of 1/8,000 s (with 1/250s flash sync) and a volley from 6 FPS with continuous autofocus or 10 FPS with single AF.
Could not miss the 4 k video mode (with a maximum of 25 fps and 100Mbps). Also of interest is the new Dual stabilization technology, which takes advantage of both the stabilizer built into the camera body, is the one that may be present in the goals, for a combined result even more effective.
Continuous technological amenities including Wi-Fi antenna, NFC and external microphone input (in a standard 2, 5 mm). Absent, however, the flash: it is neither integrated into the camera body, nor provided in the form of outdoor unit. To use a flasher with this machine, so you have to purchase it separately.
The Panasonic Lumix GX8 is built and designed very well, except for one detail worth mentioning now: its dimensions are pretty generous for a mirrorless. The body machine measures 77.9 x 63.1 x 133.2 mm and weighs 487g: once grafted also aims, this camera is not the more portable between the compact while remaining well away from volumes of a traditional SLR.
For the rest, the construction of the GX8 is very satisfactory. The shell is made of high quality plastics and metal and is very solid and pleasant to hold, thanks to very pronounced and comfortable grip. Also the camera body is partially sealed and therefore resistant to dust and water splashes.
The button layout and the depth of the control system are undoubtedly from advanced machine, ready to satisfy even the most demanding photographers. In addition to the two traditional collars, are in fact present a physical dial for exposure compensation (up to +3 and -3 stop), a button for the quick menu and really tons of customizable keys (over 5, one front), to have all the functions always at your fingertips. Both the nuts that the buttons shall also forward a very solid and precise tactile feel.
Touch panel also adds interesting control options, as well as the screen and the viewfinder fully posable (the latter taken from GX7 Panasonic models and exclusive).
Performance and usability
The performance of the Lumix GX8 are class leading mirrorless. The single auto focus is very fast, very accurate and (with the right goals) totally silent. Also the continuous AF is effective: keeping the subject framed in the central area, you can track it with remarkable results. The track on the whole picture is available and definitely usable, but not nearly as accurate (it is, after all, a very advanced feature and usually the preserve of professional SLR).
The burst, in its many versions, is excellent. Traditional mode offers the optimal speed of 6 FPS with continuous AF and allow it to freeze the moments with great effectiveness. Using the AF fixed 10 fps at full resolution are reached and even 25 fps in burst mode 4 k (with reduced resolution to 8 Megapixels). The buffer is never a problem: in most cases you can take freely dozens of consecutive images, without incurring delays. Overall, the GX8 is one of the most responsive and snappy cameras on the market and gives the feeling of not being really never in trouble, even in more complicated scenarios.
Interesting posts focus function (introduced with the updated firmware on 25 November), where you can take a burst of images and select the desired focus point, even using the touch screen. Its implementation, however, is not refined or particularly fast: va launched electronic menu and, as long as it remains active, overwrites many other settings. In future models, probably, will appear on the control dial.
Less commendable, instead, the autonomy of about 330 shots: seen the large space available, you could opt for a bigger battery.
The image quality of the Panasonic Lumix GX8 is very good for a camera micro 4:3. In ideal shooting conditions, the files produced do justice to 20 Megapixel sensor, being rich in detail and well balanced in terms of exposure and contrast.
The color profile is not always brilliant (as often happens in Panasonic models), but the many metrics allow intervention to customize it as you like. The most demanding from this point of view, however, may choose to shoot in RAW and then develop their own images.
The performance in low light is good for the category, but not impressive in a general sense. To ISO base images are well detailed and clean, just go up to intermediate values (500-800) to notice some degradation in fine detail, especially in the middle tones (such as skin). Going to 1600 and beyond, the digital noise and its suppression are increasingly insidious, making the images gradually softer and foggy, and characterising them with the appearance of the color blocks.
This is typical for a low diagonal sensor compromises, but on a camera at this price it is impossible not to draw comparisons with the best mid-range DSLRs, which in many cases offer even higher image quality. The most susceptible to this theme will make their assessments and decide if the tradeoff is worth it.
On the video front, however, the Panasonic Lumix GX8 is unparalleled. The footage is 4 k format 1080 p resolution are excellent in terms of detail and dynamism; numerous advanced functions (zebra patterns, professional color profiles, etc.) offer a great depth of use for video makers technically savvy, while the automatic help less experienced user to still get good results, including autofocus. Shame about not being able to use even in video integrated stabilizer.
The Panasonic Lumix GX8 is an excellent mirrorless camera, characterized by a high performance line Department, a large depth of examination, physical construction of high standard and a video mode of the most advanced ever included in a consumer camera.
The image quality, although not reaching the one offered by the best SLRs of equal cost, it is still very good for a mirrorless. To carefully evaluate the size, not too strong, but quite generous for a category that always makes the portability its main flagship.
1200 euros for the only machine are certainly a high figure, but that’s the price you pay if you want to have the best in the mirrorless: a very exclusive club of which the GX8 is definitely part of it.