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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 Digital Camera Review

panasonic20120827ba.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Keith Parsons

 

The Lumix DMC-GX1 is the latest micro four thirds offering in the G series from Panasonic. Boasting a number of spectacular features the real question on everybody’s lips is whether the camera is enough of a step up from its predecessors the Lumix DMC-GF1, GF2 and GF3 models to warrant its street price of $850.

With features such as a 16.1 megapixel MOS sensor that boasts some brand new processing power, that reportedly suppresses noise by around 66%, as well as the addition of a high-resolution 3” touch screen it certainly is a well specced camera.

 

Appearance and Functionality


The Lumix DMC-GX1 is first and foremost a well built camera, you really only need to look at it to determine this, though when you pick it up it backs this up by feeling so vey natural in your hand. The addition of a moulded handgrip is an often overlooked extra that can give an otherwise boxy camera the grip it desperately needs.

The rear panel of the camera body is taken up largely with the 3” LCD touch screen although adequate room has been left on the right hand side for large function and navigational buttons. The top panel of the body features the cameras flash, which is fully retractable as well as a hotshoe that allows an external flash or the newly developed DMW-LVF2 viewfinder to be attached.

panasonic20120827bb.jpgMenu functionality is quite superb on the Lumix DMC-GX1. The camera is considered an advanced compact and as you would expect with such a camera there is an absolute plethora of customisation available. In the main menu there are five sub headings (Rec, Motion Picture, Custom, Setup and Playback) which whilst offer lots are also simple enough for beginners to use. To simplify the shooting operation of the camera there is a quick menu as well that offers fast access to a couple of options like flash control and metering modes which don’t have specific buttons on the camera.

The cameras playback menu is a rather impressive feature, allowing you to do a whole number of things to your images. You can crop, resize, convert aspect ratios, rotate and edit titles to name a few of the many options and viewing modes the Lumix DMC-GX1 packs in.

As far as shooting modes go the Lumix DMC-GX1 offers what you would expect from an interchangeable lens camera with Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual. Although for those who still enjoy the scene modes and art filters then there is more than ample options here as well with two dedicated modes. However when fiddling around with settings and modes gets to much and you need a quick fix there is always the Intelligent Auto button located conveniently on the top panel of the camera that overrides the mode dial and shoots in Auto.

 

Image Quality


The Lumix DMC-GX1’s 16 megapixel sensor is not overly impressive in that it’s the same one as found in the GF3 camera and a lot of other manufacturers are managing to fit in APSC sensors in their mirror less options. Though what is impressive is the way in which the camera processes and reduces noise in images. Images shot well over the usual 1600 ISO threshold are more than usable thanks to in camera processing improvements.
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It is an interesting idea to keep the sensor and vastly improve it rather than ditch it and develop a brand new one altogether. The Lumix DMC-GX1 offers very good quality images there is no doubt and this is obviously enhanced by the ability to also shoot images in uncompressed RAW format.

The camera also handles white balances and tone reproduction very well with the Auto white balance setting being fine in most situations although as always it is easy to switch it onto any number of the desired presets to be certain. Further still shooting your images in RAW will allow you the most refinement in post processing.

 

View street test images on our Facebook page 

 

Lens Quality


panasonic20120827bc.jpgThe Lumix DMC–GX1 comes with either one of two kit lenses, the Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS lens or the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS. Strapped to the front of our test model we had the latter and the major difference between the two is the motor driven zoom and focus options of the G X Vario option.

I had a few issues with the operational functionality of the lens itself though certainly not any image related issues, as the lens was tack sharp and well constructed. I find the manual focus almost worthless as firstly it takes a little while to activate through the menu and it then takes a rather long time to actually function. Call me a traditionalist if you will but there is something much simpler about physically turning the focus on a lens. Though there are so many lens options available with this camera that there is surely something there to suit all.

 

Viewfinder / LCD Screen


panasonic20120827bf.jpgThe 3” 460,000 dot resolution touch screen is quite a treat with ample brightness and contrast. Its large size is quite noticeable when composing images in live view or when looking for finer details in image playback.

The touch screen is overall quite responsive and doesn’t appear to suffer from any lag. The screen really comes into its own with its touch AF and touch shutter release. You can literally zoom right in to a subject and then simply tap the screen to release the shutter, a feature that I imagine will be quite standard on cameras in the years to come.

The ability to individually remove items from the live view screen is a plus also as it allows you to maximise the viewing space.

 

Video


The Lumix DMC-GX1 offers what I would call superb video for a small sensor camera. Full HD is expected on cameras these days and the Lumix DMC-GX1 certainly doesn’t disappoint here with a range of resolutions available right through to the full 1920x1080px.

The neat ability to shoot videos in AVCHD format allows for almost twice the amount of recording time over the often favoured MPEG format. The built in image stabilisation works a treat and you only need to turn it off to see your video shaking all over the place.

The recording of quality audio is what really sets videos apart as lots of wind noise or muffled voices can really detract from a videos success. However the Lumix DMC-GX1 features a split L & R Stereo mic that records quite respectable on camera sound with minimal wind interference.

 

 

 

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Conclusion

 

The Lumix DMC-GX1 is a top notch contribution to the mirror less compact range that offers the user quite a lot. Image quality is very good, even at higher ISO levels and the video quality is also quite good with great audio and image stabilisation that looks professional.

I have a slight qualm that perhaps the lenses are starting to lose any traditional feel and that focusing is quite hard with the smaller motor driven options, though with the large range of lenses available there are options aplenty. If you are after a camera packed with features and good image quality but in a manageable size then I would recommend the Lumix DMC-GX1 hands down.

 

Accessories Used During Testing:

SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s SD Card 

Tamrac Aero 94 / 3394 Camera Bag 

 

Recommended Retailer:

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View / Buy The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1  

 

Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4.5 stars
Video quality
4.5 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
LCD screen (Rear)
4.5 stars
Value for money 4 star
Street Price - Body only $850.00
Street Price - + 14-42mm Mega OIS Kit $899.95
Street Price - + 14-42mm Power OIS Zoom $999.95
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor Type
17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio) Live MOS Sensor
Image Sizes 15 sizes / 4 ratios
Lens -
Lens Mount
Micro Four Thirds mount
Resolution Settings: Stills [4:3] 4,592 x 3,448 (L) [16M]
3,232 x 2,424 (M) [8M]
2,272 x 1,704 (S) [4M]
1,824 x 1,368 (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds System standard)

[3:2] 4,576 x 3,056 (L) [14M]
3,232 x 2,160 (M) [7M]
2,272 x 1,520 (S) [3.5M]
1,824 x 1,216 (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds System standard)

[16:9] 4,576 x 2,576 (L) [11.5M]
3,232 x 1,824(M) [6M]
1,920 x 1,080 (S) [2M]
1,824 x 1,024 (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds System standard)

[1:1] 3,424 x 3,424 (L) [11.5M]
2,416 x 2,416 (M) [6M]
1,712 x 1,712 (S) [3M]
1,712 x 1,712 (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds System standard)
Resolution Settings: Video MP4 NTSC [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 30fps (sensor output is 30p) (Approx. 20Mbps)
[HD] 1,280 x 720, 30fps (sensor output is 30p) (Approx. 10Mbps)
[VGA] 640 x 480, 30fps (sensor output is 30p) (Approx. 4Mbps)

MP4 PAL [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 25fps (sensor output is 25p) (Approx. 20Mbps)
[HD] 1,280 x 720, 25fps (sensor output is 25p) (Approx. 10Mbps)
[VGA] 640 x 480, 25fps (sensor output is 25p) (Approx. 4Mbps)

AVCHD NTSC [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 60i (sensor output is 30p) (FSH: 17 Mbps)
[HD] 1,280 x 720, 60p (sensor output is 30p) (SH: 17 Mbps)

AVCHD PAL [Full HD] 1,920 x 1,080, 50i (sensor output is 25p) (FSH: 17 Mbps)
[HD] 1,280 x 720, 50p (sensor output is 25p) (SH: 17 Mbps)
GPS -
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus Yes, Manual focus lever
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority
Yes
Shutter Speed: Stills 1/4,000 - 60 and Bulb (up to approx. 120 seconds)
Shutter Speeds: Video
1/16,000 - 1/30 (NTSC), 1/16,000 - 1/25 (PAL)
ISO Auto / Intelligent ISO / 160 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800 (Changeable to 1/3 EV step)
LCD Monitor TFT LCD with Touch panel, 460,000 dots
Less than 1/160 second
3.0 inch (7.5 cm) / 3:2 Aspect / Wide-viewing angle
Approx. 100% Field of view
Brightness (7 levels), Contrast and Saturation (7 levels), Red tint (7 levels), Blue tint (7 levels)
Guide Lines (3 patterns)
Real-time Histogram
Viewfinder -
Flash TTL Built-in-Flash, GN7.6 equivalent (ISO160 · m), Built-in Pop-up
Auto, Auto / Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On / Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Hot Shoe No
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / Flash / White Set 1, 2 / Color temperature setting
Self Timer 10 sec, 3 images / 2 sec / 10 sec
Stills Format/s
JPEG (DCF, Exif 2.3), RAW, MPO (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds System standard)
Video Format/s AVCHD (Audio format: Dolby Digital 2ch) / MP4 (Audio format AAC 2ch)
Video Recording Time/s 29 Minutes / 4GB
Storage Type - External SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card (Compatible with UHS-I standard SDHC / SDXC Memory Cards)
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity USB 2.0 High Speed, mini HDMI TypeC
Video: Auto / 1080i / 720p / 480p (576p in PAL system)
Audio: Linear PCM, Monaural Type, NTSC / PAL, Remote socket, Stereo, Wind-cut: Off / Auto, Microphone level adjustable: Lv1 / Lv2 / Lv3 / Lv4
Power Source Charger
Battery Options Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1,010mAh)
Battery Life Approx. 300 images with H-FS014042
Approx. 310 images with H-PS14042
Approx. 340 images with H-H014
Dimensions 116.3mm (W) x 67.8mm (H) x 39.4mm (D)
Weight 272g (Body only)
















 


 

 

About Panasonic

 

Panasonic Australia is a proud member of the Australian corporate community. With long standing links to local manufacturing and with hundreds of employees, Panasonic Australia is committed to fostering good relationships with consumers, businesses and governments alike.

 

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