Customer Review

163 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compared with GF1 and GH2, December 29, 2011
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This review is from: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 16 MP Micro 4/3 Compact System Camera with 3-Inch LCD Touch Screen Body Only (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
I own the GF1 and GH2 so I'll be comparing with those two cameras. I like the rangefinder-like body but as with using a camera, the photos and image quality comes above all. That's the reason why I use my GH2 more often than the GF1. But now with the GX1, it seems like Panasonic is finally able to put GH2 capability into a GF1 body. That's something I've been looking for.

- BUILT

The GX1 construction is sturdy. It's a metal body and now comes with a new rubber grip that I like. You get a firmer hold when using heavier lens.

The GX1 is slightly slimmer than GF1. At 272g, it's 13g lighter than GF1 and 120g lighter than GH2. By the way, the LVF2 is 36g.

Buttons behind are rearranged a bit. I've read a few reviews saying the buttons are cheap and misaligned, but I don't think that's so with my set.

The new flash can now be tilted back for a bounce lighting so that's useful. But the flash films filmsy. I seldom use it even with my GF1 so it's a small issue.

The battery used here is the BMW-BLD10, also used by the GF2. That means now I have three different batteries and chargers with GF1, GX1, and GH2. I seriously think Panasonic should release new batteries only when they can double the capacity. 2 old batteries are always going to last longer than whatever new battery. Panasonic, just choose a slim battery and stick with it for 10 years.

- SPEED (Autofocus and handling)

I value speed A LOT.

I'm glad to say that the autofocus speed is very comparable to GH2, which means it's almost instant.

The touchscreen is convenient for autofocus. Choosing focus points is faster with one touch, compared to several button presses on the GF1.

Everything seems breezy with the camera. Startup is fast. Moving through menus is fast. Writing to files is alright but that's dependent on the card speed. Class 10 is a good card speed. If you want really fast writing time, get a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 card.

The improved speed makes it fantastic for street photography. See something interesting on the street. Power on, hold it to your eye, touch-focus and snap. It all happens very fast, as things on the street do.

- IMAGE QUALITY

The 16mp sensor here is similar to the one on G3. The ISO performance has improved a lot. On the GF1, ISO 800 is my no-go zone. On GX1, I can go up to ISO 3200 and not be worried that noise becoming the subject of the photo. I think there's about 1-stop plus advantage.

Image quality is great in most situation. Colours are pleasing but I still prefer Canon colours. Everyone sees colour differently. It's subtle and you have to compare photos side by side to see the difference. The colour temperature in the GX1 seems slightly cooler.

White balance is still a problem with artificial light sometimes. WB intelligence still has some ways to go. It's a small issue that can be easily fixed in post process.

Dynamic range has improved slightly I feel. Always shoot raw to get the best possible quality to tweak later if you so desire.

Overall, the image quality seems comparable to the GH2.

- VIDEO QUALITY

All Panasonic micro four thirds cameras have fantastic video quality out of the box. It gets better with good lens.

What's improved here is it can record 1080/60i movies now. It's great for those who need it. I normally shoot 720p on my GF1 and GH2, so I'll still be shooting 720p here. I like the 720p for the smaller file size which is quicker to upload online.

- CONCLUSION

I'll rate the camera 5 stars in its class. However, if I include DSLRs for comparison, GX1 would probably be 4 or 4.5 stars. Image quality very good but not stellar, mostly the part on colours. I've to emphasis again that colours is quite subjective, so maybe it's just me.

It's a rather pricey camera (body only). And the new LVF2 goes for USD 299 at recommended retail price. So the total cost of camera and LVF2 can be higher than GH2 body!

I've always wanted a GH2 quality in GF1 body (and weight). The maximum ISO I reach in most situations is ISO1600 and this camera is perfectly capable of handling that, so it's a big plus for me.

The biggest reason to upgrade from GF1 would be for the improved ISO performance. If you've been missing shots because of photos being too noisy, it's a worthy upgrade.

BUT BUT BUT...if it's just the ISO performance, I might recommend, to get your money's worth, consider a good low light lens to use with the GF1. You can get the Panasonic Leica 25mm lens and still have change left! And I've used the Olympus 12mm lens with GF1 at night, shooting at 1/10s on ISO 400, and gotten a relatively sharp photo.

GH2 users have less reason to buy since image quality difference is not drastic. The more probable reason would be to get a lighter gear. It is 120g lighter. It's worth considering if you don't mind the missing viewfinder (available for a price). I see myself using the GX1 more because of the lighter weight. I don't shoot for critical events, and the GX1 can handle most of what I already do currently with the GH2. So if I start using the GH2 less, I'll be selling it away.

Last note. If you check back to reviews on the GF1 when it was first released, you'll be able to see much of the criticism have been addressed.

I still wish for that in-built EVF in the GF/X series but I don't think I'll see that from Panasonic in the near future. Well, a LVF2 is better than no alternatives.
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 3, 2012 5:05:56 PM PST
K. Snyder says:
I don't get why they have ommited 1080p 60fps, 1080i is the worst for action video. Even the FZ150 shoots 1080p 60

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2012 11:13:10 PM PST
Panasonic announced a firmware update available starting in February 2012 that will improve the white balance issue that was mentioned in this review:

"Panasonic has announced an update for its GX1 advanced compact system camera which improves a number of functions. A firmware upgrade for the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4.0-5.6 lens is also available which improves the performances of the O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabiliser). The updates to the Panasonic GX1 include enhancements to auto white balance, the performance of autofocus and improved stability when using SD memory cards to comply with high-speed UHS-I cards. "

Posted on Mar 19, 2012 4:21:18 AM PDT
Victoria says:
What about vibration and shutter noise?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2012 5:04:46 AM PDT
Parka says:
GX1 doesn't have in-body stabilization. It's not an issue for me. You should also check out the Olympus OM-D E-M5 which has the image stabilization.

The shutter is still loud. Here's a Youtube video with the sound:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXlQ5H2rPu4

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 12:49:59 AM PDT
White Lotus says:
I just wanted to add a tip for those who own this camera. The touch screen is a resistive type. That means that it responds best to Pressure as opposed to Touch. The touch screen on the GX1 is really good if you use your fingernail or a stylus designed for resistive screens. If you use your fingerpads (the soft part of your finger) like most people are used to doing with their smartphones and iPhones it doesn't work well at all.

Posted on Aug 30, 2012 1:42:35 AM PDT
White Lotus says:
This camera (GX1) has ability to take pictures while shooting video simultaneously. If you are shooting a wedding (like I did this past weekend) try not to do this too much. When you play the video back, there's a stutter when you tried to take the picture. Now I have a video full of stutter. I'll try my best to fix it post production but it's going to make the video look a bit weird. It's best to stop video taping and simply take a picture.

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 10:57:51 PM PST
B. Cao says:
Thanks for the thorough review. Question though, the GF1 had a feature where the self timer was able to snap 3 shots in increments of 3 seconds each. Does the GX1 have this as well?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 19, 2012 2:19:41 AM PST
Parka says:
Not that I know of. You're shooting timelapse? I use a Pixel TC-252 for that. It has more control over the intervals and number of shots.

Posted on Jan 19, 2013 10:11:10 AM PST
P. Friedman says:
"And I've used the Olympus 12mm lens with GF1 at night, shooting at 1/10s on ISO 400, and gotten a relatively sharp photo."
Tripod and remote shutter, (as no OIS in lens)?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2013 10:48:44 AM PST
Parka says:
It was hand-held. There's still some handshake blur, but the f/2 aperture helps, especially when it's really dark.

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6013/5992866692_02839edf2d_b.jpg
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