on May 24, 2013
I purchased the GX1 + the 14-42 "x" series motorized lens + the 45-175 "x" series motorized zoom lens and all 3 pieces are excellent choices.
The GX1 is built like a luxury item, the body is very high quality metal and has a nice finish. There are all the usual functions you'd expect on a quality full size DSLR but packaged in a smaller body.
I'm loving the programmable "F" buttons on the back of the camera, there are 2 hard buttons and two more available on the touch screen. I've got one of them set to allow me to toggle through the ISO settings, another is set to toggle through the digital zoom mode (Off, 2x, 4x) so I can easily access these features without having to wade through the menu.
There are several burst modes you can play around with and I've found the ULTRA FAST FOCUS and the burst modes allow me to follow fast action Saber Fencing bouts with ease, something that was impossible to do with a Point & Shoot camera.
Both lenses that I purchased are the premium Lumix "x" series which feature motorized zoom. The zoom is SILENT so you don't get any noise when you are using the camera in video mode. The only complaint I've got is the placement of the zoom switch, its just a little too high on the side of each lens (about the 2 o'clock position). I find that I use the manual zoom ring on the longer lens, while I use the electric zoom on the super compact 14-42 lens.
on April 5, 2012
Interesting camera, with a very mixed set of features.
This is essentially a G3, in a smaller case, without any viewfinder. As such, it has the following strengths and, well, issues:
1. This camera does not have viewfinder...which I happen to like, as I am using it for underwater photography. But, in bright sun, the display is somewhat difficult to see (which is true with every camera I have used). You can get an electronic viewfinder, but the cost will end up being more than the G3.
2. This is a very small body, and if you use it with any larger lens (like the 14-140), the lens will be larger than the camera.
3. It does not do HD video at the same level as the GH-2 (1080i versus 1080p).
4. The folding zoom lens has corner softness issues, and the less expensive lens is rather large. Would have been nice if the more expensive zoom was equal or better quality.
5. Flash sync is "only" at a 1/160th... not a problem for most people, but I would have liked it to be faster.
1. 16 meg sensor, with far better high iso capability. Standard 1600 iso images look pretty good. But only if one is not doing pixel comparisons. In some cases, the sensor is now better than the lens.
2. It is fast, really fast, as fast as any camera I have used (including a bunch of DSLRs from the big boys).
3. Set the camera to spot focus and you get a greatly magnified view when it hits focus. Absolutely wonderful for fine focus adjustments.
4. Very well made feeling. I know, that has nothing to do with taking pictures, but is nice to spend money and feel you are holding something worth the investment.
5. Very easy to use interface.
I own lots of camera's...and this is by far the easiest and best quality camera to travel with. Small, fast with excellent image quality. Once could do a lot worse in picking a camera.
on August 24, 2012
I cut my teeth on old Leica M3's that I inherited when I was a kid. They were old then, but I loved them. I have done semi-pro photography, i.e. weddings, press photography, advertising- all on the side and not as my sole source of income. So I know cameras. I bought two other Lumix cameras in the past- a small point-and-shoot with a Leica lens built in that I bought in Peru when I left my camera in a cab, and the TS2 waterproof. Both served me well except the one I got in Peru the screen went out. I always suspected maybe it was a gray-market camera. What I love about Lumix is the availability of Leica lenses, and I am a die-hard fan of Leica.
I really wanted a Leica M8 but I don't have $8,000 to drop for one. The DX1 offers Leica lenses and has the old-school rangefinder styling. I was looking for a camera to carry on long backpack trips. After hiking the Camino de Santiago carrying a Nikon D80 I was wishing for something more portable. Everything I read about the DX1 was good so I got one, expecting that it would be a backup for the DSLR and also for long hiking trips where I needed a quality compact. Well I believe the DX1 is going to be my first choice now and the Nikon will actually be the backup.
First off, it's a Micro 4/3 camera, so those posting about the image quality need to sit down. It's not a full-frame DSLR. I am betting that one day soon there will be a full frame mirrorless and when that day comes I will ditch DSLR's for good. The technology these days with live LCD viewfinders is good enough now to replace the cumbersome mirror. However, back to my first statement on image quality- it appears with the first few test shots that the image quality is just about as good and in some cases better than my D80 with 18-55. Compared to the 14-42 shooting a picture of the box the camera came in with both cameras and then enlarging it, I found the Nikon picture to be slightly less sharp. I am not ready to conclude that statement before I take more tests, but given that I was expecting the Nikon to be way more sharp, I was very pleased with this first test.
What I love is the old-school rangefinder look and feel when shooting. It's just a doggone sexy camera. If you want a small camera that has big-camera features and quality, this is the camera for you. I couldn't think of a better backpacking/travel camera other than maybe a Leica which is way out of the price range.
I have the 14-42 lens now, but I ordered a 45-200 as soon as I got the camera. That lens has not yet arrived. I also went on eBay and bought the 14-45 lens which is supposed to be much better than the 14-42. Without yet testing that lens, I can tell you already I see why they say don't get the 14-42. Get the body only, then buy the 14-45 lens. The 14-42 has horrible vignetting at widest setting (14mm). There is also some light abberation showing around the edges of objects. However, I am giving five stars to the CAMERA because it's awesome. The 14-42 isn't the greatest lens.
I was amazed by the OIS. I shot a handheld shot at 1 full second and it was almost perfect. There was the slightest bit of blur when enlarged. That blew me away! Note- I have a nack for hand-held shots having for years done available light photography. Most people probably can't hold the camera steady at that speed. Still, I could see the average joe shooting at 1/30 with no shake with the OIS. Suddenly the f:3.5-5.6 doesn't seem so bad since I can hand-hold longer exposures. With the Nikon 18-200 VR lens at wide zoom I can hand-hold down to about 1/15 second without noticeable shake. With the lumix I would say I can go one more click.
The horizon line option in the viewfinder is awesome. As said above, I have a nack for hand-holding long exposures, but I suck at getting the horizon straight!!! The horizon line level is easy to use and doesn't take up much of the screen so I leave it on all the time. One click of a button and it goes away if you don't like it.
The video is very impressive. I am not much of a video guy, but I did some test shots and they are clear, crisp, and have excellent color. I did find that the focus went blurry when I was filming a guy kiteboarding and tried to go from the kiteboarder to the kite. It seemed like it hunted for focus before going to infinity when I went for the shot of the sky with just the kite. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning. There are three different focus settings. One stays put where you focus it, one is an active focus, and one apparently continuosly adjusts focus- I have not figured out yet the difference between the last two. I did a test with a pool ball rolling it slowly on the pool table and the focus was a little slow at tracking it in video mode. However, in still mode where you click the shutter lightly to focus it focused instantly. I mean a fraction of a second from close up to infinity.
I love that there are options for different scene modes so my wife can play around with those, as she doesn't get the whole f-stop thing, but she can set it for "sunset" or "portrait" or other modes and let the camera do that for her. For me I can set it for aperture priority, shutter priority, put rogram, or if I want to just point and shoot there is a convenient "intelligent auto" button. The ia works great and I like that the button lights up blue to remind me that it is on.
The flash is not terrible, and I like that it pops up so it can aim over the lens, but you do have to remove the lens shade or it casts a shadow in the picture. Not a huge deal- just worth noting. What I love most about the flash is that you can take your thumb and point it up when you shoot and bounce it off the ceiling. This probably wasn't what it was designed for, but it works great! Since the flash is spring loaded and pops up it's easy to hold it facing skyward to do bounce flash photography. Definately if you do a lot of flash stuff you will want to get an accessory flash. For me it works just fine, and I don't expect a built-in flash to be more than just a basic flash for the stock lens, so I think it qualifies for a good review. Some reviews I have seen knock the flash for being less than adequate, but I found that it worked fine for using the kit lens indoors taking normal shots. That's what built-in flashes are for.
I just love this camera and recommend it to anyone wanting to step up from point and shoot, or step down from DSLR, but don't think that by stepping down you are loosing much, because the image quality is excellent. It is a smaller sensor than a Nikon D90, so of course it will not match the quailty exactly, but it's way better than I expected, and compared to the D80 as mentioned above, I found it to be pretty on par and even saw crisper edges when photographing the barcode on the box as a test image. Again I need to mention that I have not yet done a scientific side-by-side comparison to the D80, but preliminary shots show it's going to at least not be a step down in image quality. Compared to my brother's D90 I think it will certainly be a step down in image quailty, but way better than I ever expected.
Mark my words, the DSLR is headed for a dismal future as mirrorless cameras get better. As soon as they come out with a full frame mirrorless I think there would be little reason to get a DSLR anymore. The new digital viewfinder technology is good enough now to replace the DSLR mirrored optical viewfinders in my opinion. The ability to have insane FPS, less camera shake, and all the other stuff that goes along with mirrorless to me will one day make mirrorless dominate. For now, however, with the micro 4/3 I think it's a darned good second and for backpacking and travel where you need a smaller camera I think it should be your first choice. At least it is mine!
I do want to mention about the shutter. Someone commented that it is loud and may cause camera shake. It is a little loud... not "loud" but definately audible. I love that! It has a very old-school sound to it- "kachick"... definately not a Leica, but I kind of like the old school sound. My wife as well grinned when she took the first picture and said, "I love the way it sounds." You KNOW you just took a picture! However, definately not stealth. As for camera shake, I didn't find that. I took a shot at one second- how much better do you want?
I love that you can use old film camera lenses like Leica M and R lenses, Nikon and Canon lenses. I have a whole case of Nikon A1's that I will adapt, and some Leica R lenses that I cannot wait to use again. You have to use them in manual mode, but if you have old film camera gear then probably that's how you used to shoot and if you are like me you kind of enjoy shooting in manual.
By the way, I did check out the manual focus and I like that the screen zooms in for focusing. Not sure if it does that with the eyepiece attachment. I think it would be annoying with that, but it works great when using the built-in screen. I found the lens very easy to focus despite some reviews that said it was weird focusing with the electronic "focus by wire". I found it very smooth and it felt like I was focusing with an old manual lens. It was very quick to achieve focus.
I love that you get two personal settings on the dial to set up the way you shoot the most along with the aperture priority, shutter priority, and program modes. The "art mode" or whatever they call is kind of useless to me, but my wife likes it. I prefer to do all that in processing rather than when shooting. I also like that there are programmable function buttons, although I have not yet figured out how to program them. I would probably make one to switch easily to manual focus rather than having to click to a screen and then click sideways to the manual focus icon and press enter. One click to go to manual focus would be much easier.
I do find that with my extra large hands the camera is approaching too small. Not really a complaint. I am saying I don't see how you could get it any smaller without making it hard to use. I do find that my hand covers up the low-light focusing infrared light. I have to adjust the way I hold the camera. I also can't grip it the way I can my D80, but it's a small camera and that's what you get when you look for a smaller camera. I prefer to have it more portable and not have the big handgrip, so it's not a bad trade-off. The body of this camera is barely larger than the TS2, and then of course you add the lens onto that, but just to give an idea of the size.
Enough said. Buy this camera!
on August 27, 2012
I like this camera a lot, and I do recommend getting it. However, there are two general types of photographers: those that normally shoot with a DSLR (in manual/semi-manual mode), and everyone else. For the DSLR geeks, you'll appreciate the features packed into this little gizmo. As well as the flexibility which comes close to using a DSLR, (close but not quite there, yet). It's better than the Canon G10 (my other non-DSLR camera). For what it is, it's excellent.
For everyone else, especially those who lug around DSLR because the salesperson told them to buy this big camera that they don't ever want to learn how to use, when the auto function works just fine, this Panasonic is perfect for you too. But please please please, at least learn the white balance function. I am so tired of looking at photos with weird color casts... makes me cringe.
Anyway, yeah, it's a great little camera, at a very good price.