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on April 16, 2016
- I am posting this review in 2016 - more than 4 years after its release. That is why I am avoiding words like Pros and Cons
- My primary camera is Olympus OM-D E-M1. I have purchased this one as a pocketable sub camera by pairing it with Panasonic 20mm f/1.7
- I have used GF2 and GF3 as a sub camera before but sold them

If you are coming from post 2014 models with >900k dots screens, things such as the lower resolution (230K dot), lower brightness, and the non-tillable LCD may disappoint you. Otherwise there are things that would make you happy or even surprise you such as ergonomics. Overall I am very satisfied with what I got for the price I paid ($100). Below are my short list of things you should consider if you are thinking about purchasing this as a sub camera to your more modern camera body.

Things that may disappoint you:
1. Lower screen resolution (230k dots) and lower screen brightness. Also the screen coating can delaminate
2. Screen is non-tiltable
3. ISO-AUTO is not supported in Manual mode (i.e. you cannot set aperture and shutter speed for creative effects, then let the camera decide on best possible ISO). ISO-AUTO is available only in A, S, and P
4. Menu system does not offer pop-up help meaning you may have to consult with user manual from time to time
5. Settings have peculiar dependencies where some items get greyed out. Corresponding error messages are vague as well.
6. 4 buttons around the D-pad are flat against the surface and difficult to push as they are made of metal

Things that may surprise you:
1. Very solid construction
2. Well-shaped rubber grip offering surprisingly good handling
3. Clever engineering that provides high degree of controls with less buttons and dials (push toggle for the rear dial & touch side panel that stores 4 Fn buttons)
4. Focus magnification (although no focus peaking), Flexible AF (this was new to me coming from Olympus)

Good sub camera even in 2016. There are a few shortfalls but a solid performer nonetheless for $.
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VINE VOICEon August 9, 2013
How should I describe the Lumix GX1? Besides 'THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST DEALS YOU WILL EVER FIND, BUY IT!'?

I'll resist the urge to start with mirrorless cameras - if you're not familiar with what they are, do some research with a search engine - or a rundown of the Micro Four Thirds system. Suffice it to say that of the many good, recent mirrorless systems (they have become a trend with camera manufacturers in the past few years), M4/3 has a distinct advantage in body and lens choices, with some of the coolest lenses imaginable, readily available, although often outside of the dabbler's (read: me) price range. Any of myriad cameras by Panasonic and Olympus work with the array of lenses produced by the aforementioned brands, along with Leica(/Panasonic), Voigtlander and others, since M4/3 is an open standard, not a proprietary system like Nikon's, Canon's, et al.

On to the GX1. Panasonic has a robust series of cameras available in this system, although in the classic, rangefinder style Olympus has a higher mind- and market-share. Olympus does also have its share of diehard fans, who will say things like "Olympus jpg files are better" and "Olympus in-body image stabilization is best," but the truth is that both brands are extremely good. Panasonic has a bent towards video performance that Olympus does not; Olympus makes shinier, more eye-catching cameras. But you shouldn't let brand choices rule the day with this open standard system. Focus on the model you are drawn to, with the features you need.

The GX1 represents the highest fit and finish (and feature-set) Panasonic has made within this small, rangefinder format. It's a sort of leap from the GF series of lighter-featured compact cameras with a lot of the features of the more DSLR-shaped and enthusiast-aimed G and GH cameras. I've owned a GF3, which is a bit smaller, but the difference is in build quality: the GF3 is mostly metal, and decently put together, but feels like a consumer camera. the GX1 feels like an instant classic, don't-make-'em-like-this-any-more, tough, beautiful workhorse of a camera, with solid metal body, nice rubber grip, and perfect finish all around.

I feel like this camera bridges the gap between small size and ergonomic handling perfectly. The grip is big enough for my hand, but still compact, and even with a 3" LCD there are just the right amount of buttons for a hardcore enthusiast user. There are two programmable buttons, a dual-purpose wheel (click in to switch between which setting you're adjusting: brilliant), a nice four-way, and all are metal and finished perfectly. The touchscreen works well, although it is resistive, not capacitive, so you need to made your presses known or it will ignore you. This is so that you don't constantly mess up the camera when using it as your hand brushes against the screen.

The sensor is not the 12mp one used in the GF line, but a much nicer 16mp one that has much improved high-ISO performance against the GF3. I'm impressed with the ISO 1600 images I get, I remember when ISO 400 on a DSLR looked worse. Yes, the sensor is a bit aged now, and this kind of tech does move fast. However, for practical intents and purposes, the images it produces are excellent. I especially like the saturation and color rendition I've been getting with jpg files.

Which brings me to my last point: obsolescence. Panasonic and Olympus iterate on their Micro Four Thirds cameras constantly, and they don't exactly hold their value a couple of years in. The list price for the GX1 is $700 body only; you're seeing it for around $250. It's not that old of a camera, and certainly holds up well. But the fact remains that Panasonic has already replaced the GF3 with the GF5 and is now releasing the GF6... and this great model is also being replaced by the upcoming GX7 (by early accounts a huge update and a fine camera). So why should you look at the GX1? Because there is more to photography than the latest sensor, more to it than best-in-class noise performance or image stabilization. Cameras are tools, the user is the one who makes the photo. But you need a good tool, one you can grow with, one that is rugged, well-designed and does what you need it to when you need it to do it. And which simply makes you happy to use it. The GX1 is all that. The single most compelling reason to own it is the desire to make great photos with a great tool. Panasonic's fast iteration means that I could own such a tool for around $250, which is just astounding. This camera still feels like a $700 camera, still acts like a $700 camera, but brings it within the reach of just about everyone who is prepared to spend even enough for a decent point-and-shoot.

That's why the GX1 is so worth it. I use the 14mm f2.5 pancake lens, which is small and a great performer. There are many other lens options. The possibilities, as they say, are endless.
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on May 4, 2013
The GX1 is tiny. Not skinny jean pocket wee but, with 14mm F2.5 pancake mounted, it easily slides in a coat pocket or purse. It's at its best with small lenses but handles telezooms if you support the lens barrel. The metal body shell (magnesium?) feels solid. A contoured and rubberized grip makes holding secure, but wish it had room for two more fingers. The textured matte black finish is impeccable. The design is not vintage inspired like a Pen, but is more modern and reminiscent of Contax. I was pleased to see "Made in Japan" on the bottom.

CONTROLS: The GX1 is packed with advanced features but DSLR users should find controls intuitive. Major functions (ISO, WB, AF, etc.) have a dedicated button or dial and are labeled. Point 'n shoot converts will need to study the manual, but can start straightaway in auto mode. The buttons are small but I adjusted quickly. The single input dial/wheel, albeit tiny, falls naturally under the thumb. It's stiff and not likely to suffer inadvertent turning. The mode dial is knurled metal with firm click stops. There's a sturdy on-off flip lever on the top deck.

If you're used to a tabbed interface with options visible on a single screen, e.g., like Canon, these menus will feel disorganized. There is rough subject organization via 5 icons, but requires scrolling through as many as seven screens of illogically grouped options. Fortunately, after set up, most people will rarely visit the menus as important features have physical controls.

DISPLAY: The LCD is okay but falls short compared to current technology: resolution, refresh rate and brightness are lower than the LCDs on my E-P3, 7D and 5D MKII. The OLED of the E-P3 whips it silly. The slow refresh rate is bothersome: pans are smeared and jerky in low light. In fairness, nobody buys this camera for sports but a faster refresh rate would be welcome for panning rug rats 'n house critters.

You have a choice of touchscreen or buttons/dial for most features. Touchscreen implementation is clumsy compared to an iPhone or Olympus E-P3. I prefer buttons and dials so I can operate by feel, so no biggie. If your first camera was an iPhone, the responsive touchscreen of a recent Olympus M4/3 model will suit you better. Finally, the LCD can't be turned off for time-lapse photography or use with optical viewfinders. You must buy the DMW-LVF2 to gain a LCD off switch.

VIEWFINDER: The GX1 lacks a viewfinder but I purchased the optional Panasonic DMW-LVF2 External Live View Finder at Amazon for $160. It's pricey but you get a tilting EVF with LCD graphics. Using the DMW-LVF2 is the only way to shoot with the main LCD off. No eye-detect but is has a toggle button to deactivate the LCD. Viewfinders are essential for shooting in bright sunlight, for stealth in dark venues and the 90 degree tilt makes ground level shooting a snap. It also allows steadying the camera against the face, resulting in sharper images.

SHOOTING: This is my point 'n shoot so portability is paramount. I mounted a Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 pancake lens and the package is so small and light I barely notice it has a lens. Single shot AF is fast and surefooted, even in dim light. AI servo tracking is weak but no buys this camera for sports. Exposures were normally accurate but night scenes tended towards overexposure, but it's easy to dial down with exposure compensation.

Images are sharp and richly nuanced when viewed on my 27" Cinema Display. I shoot RAW and "develop" in Apple Aperture. Image quality trails my 60D but is nipping at its coattails. The GX1 bests my E-P3 with 23% more resolution but noise levels are similar up to ISO 3200. I wouldn't hesitate using ISO 800 and ISO 1600 is surprising clean if you don't underexpose and apply noise reduction for skies and shadows. The GX1 yields 3 more stops of high ISO, extending to 12800, but beyond ISO 1600 is too noisy save for "emergencies."

Battery performance is weak and trails far behind my E-P3, 5D MK II and 7D, so carry a spare for a day of heavy shooting. Two hundred pics and your'e done. Using the DMW-LVF2, instead of the main LCD, doesn't save much battery power.

FLASH: I mainly use natural light and employ the popup for fill-in flash. Slow sync mode blends flash and background light for a natural look. Unfortunately, slow sync tumbles in really dim light, e.g., a dark bar, and requires both flash and exposure compensation. Oddly, flash compensation was the only feature lacking obvious controls and I had to look it up in the manual: press a function button and turn the input dial.

TRIPOD MOUNT: The tripod socket is centered under the lens but most quick release plates block the battery door. A small Arca plate with offset screw will clear the door. The Kirk PZ-130 fits fine and has an anti-twist lip.

MIA: Lumix cameras--save for the GX7--lack in-body stabilization. Instead, stabilization is built into lenses. Well, some lenses: Lumix prime lenses lack stabilization but zooms have it. I knew the GX1 lacked in-body stabilization but bought it anyway. So I use a table top tripod or brace against walls and fences in dim light.

LAST BLURB: Despite some grumbling, I like this camera. The positives of confident AF, near-DSLR image quality, stylish design, excellent fit and finish, petite size and useful features out weigh nitpicks. If this camera cost $600 I'd subtract a star or two for the zits. But for the closeout price of $250, this is a wonderful little camera.
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Bought this used when my GX7 was in the shop and I was afraid the repairs wouldn't be done in time for shoots I had already scheduled. I chose this model because it's sensor, menu system, and physical interface would be similar to the GX7, providing a gentle learning curve, and after my GX7 was returned would service as a second camera. I have to admit that I much prefer shooting with the newer, faster, more featured GX7, but also must admit to having a hard time distinguishing between shots between it and those taken on the GX1. If you find the GX1 at a good price, I recommend it. One thing to note is that the LCD on this model tends to deal inmate around the beveled edges, so I'd recommend a protective case and/or good quality screen protectors. I've added a photo of my GX1 with a couple adapted large lenses I picked up recently.
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on November 5, 2013
After reading a great many reviews and repeated reality checks on the amount of money I can actually afford to spend on a camera, I decided on the GX1. I have not been disappointed.

I was nervous making the switch from an APS-C sized sensor to a m4/3, theoretically providing less depth-of-field and less spectacular low-light performance, but have not had any problems in the real world. Perhaps I am getting less depth-of-field with this camera, but it is negligible to say the least. Portraits I have taken have had fabulous background separation, both with my adapted Pentax 50mm f/1.4 and with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake (which I highly recommend). The low-light/high ISO performance is also well within acceptable ranges. In theory, the Sony NEX series can provide better high-iso photos, but Sony pancake lens is a f/2.8. Practically speaking, this means you need to use a higher ISO in similar light settings (IMO, a step backward in methodology) or you need to affix the much larger 35mm f/1.8 lens to the camera (putting a serious dent in the camera's pocketability). No regrets on either of those fronts.

My big reasons for buying the system were the lenses available and the portability. Portability of this camera is wonderful. Instead of carrying around my massive DSLR, I have something that will (just barely) fit into a pocket. When taking street photographs, I almost never have "that guy" in my picture anymore (you know, the one looking directly at the camera with the burning hatred of a thousand suns glinting in his eyes). This has made a huge difference in the number of usable photographs I get from a shoot. I also no longer leave the camera at home or in the car. Even if I'm going out and doing something social, I bring the camera with me because it isn't that much of a burden. I have gotten some of my best shots because of this, do not underestimate the value of portability. The lenses are also fabulous. I have only used the 20mm f/1.7 pancake and the (slightly difficult to find) 14-45 f/3.5-5.6 Panasonic lenses. Both have provided mind-blowing sharpness for the cost. As a hobby photographer, I scoff at dropping huge sums of money on fabulously sharp lenses, so having two cheap lenses that produce magnificently sharp images is a real plus. Spend the extra money on the older 14-45mm instead of the 14-42mm, you will not be disappointed.

Relatively cheap, marvelously sharp, diminutive in size, full control over every function, the GX1 is a nearly perfect camera. My only gripe? I want more knobs and buttons! Considering this camera cost me 1/4 of the Olympus EM-5, it is a fantastic value, but it still sorta handles like a compact point-and-shoot.
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on February 3, 2012
Bought this camera about a week ago through Amazon and 17th Street Photo...and after a week of use, no buyer's remorse. I absolutely love this camera. Purchased just the body only and Panny's 20mm f1.7 lens, they're excellent together. Full disclosure, I'm moving up from a P&S camera...but I am familiar with the features such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings through general use, reading photo books and my old h/s photography class years ago. :)

- The build. It'll be the 1st thing you notice when you take the camera out of the box...and it's built like a tank (not literally, but it's sturdy). Very solid, premium built to it. The battery cover/door concerned me initially (just seems/feels flimsy) but no issues since purchase and I don't believe it will be.
- The customization. On the mode dial there are 2 custom options, along with assigning quick access features to any of the 'fn' buttons. There are 2 on the body (back of the camera) itself and 2 more within the touch screen menu with a section that pulls out from the right hand portion of the screen. I've primarily been using the Aperture priority dial, but the ability to quickly access a preferred camera setup via the Custom mode dial is a nice feature.
- The flash. We've all taken a picture with flash and we get that bright face with the unwanted shadow from the subject in the background. I find it brilliant that Panasonic incorporated a tilting feature to the flash. Haven't needed to use the flash due to it's strong low light capabilities, but I have tested it. A gem. Simply tilt towards the ceiling and it softly lights the subject without over exposing and no unwanted picture ruining shadows in the background.
- The touch screen. This may be a personal preference, but it's not too bright. I tested the Olympus PEN E-P3 at a local camera shop and felt the OLED screen was way too bright...and if you plan on being outside in the sun, you'll more than likely get glare from the screen. With the GX-1, it really hasn't been an issue with me. I do wish there was a built in EVF, but thus far the live-view screen hasn't been an issue for me and will save me from having to purchase one.
- New 16MP sensor. And it captures images beautifully. I know that for some advanced photobugs it's nothing new...but coming from a point & shoot...Wow. And the images I get from the 20mm lens as well. AMAZING! (look no further than the reviews from amazon on the 20mm lens) It really gives the image some 'pop' and depth of field. The bokeh (blurred background) is rendered nicely as well.
- The grip on the front of the camera and thumb rest behind the camera. Very useful. Especially if you have large hands.
- The iAuto button. My wife is not camera savy, but I'm definitely comfortable with handing it over to her and taking some shots with the iAuto feature turned on...especially if we're on vacation in the future. The button lights up a bright blue, so there is no mistake in telling you that it's on.
- Video features. Great 1080 quality with no jello effect. What's even better is that you can switch from AVCHD to MP4 format. MP4 compresses (I believe) the video file better and it's been a breeze to upload videos to our Mac and email. Haven't used it much and don't believe I will, but if the situation comes up I know I have good working camcorder on hand. I'd def make sure to turn OFF continuous AF within the video camera menu. It's defaulted to ON and with my lens, it's constantly auto focusing and you can hear the motor in the video...and it gets annoying.
- The Panasonic family of lenses. There's a lot to choose from.
- RAW format. Renders the image just like my eyes see it. The colors are wonderful and true.
- Too many more to list.

- JPEG. My biggest con. (Well, I soon able to fix one of them) A lot sites knocked on the GX-1 for its JPEG processing. Images are great, clear...no issues. It's just the color rendering leaves much to be desired. BUT! It can be fixed. The iResolution and iDynamic within the camera is defaulted to OFF...go within the the menu and put them both on 'Standard'...huge difference. The JPEG defaults (in my opinion) renders the image a little too dark, muted and flat...especially if there is shadows. Turn them both to 'Standard' and your set. Colors come our richer (in my opinion) and looks like what your eye sees. Granted that was resolved, but in JPEG pics...when indoors, for whatever reasons, it gives a little bit of a brownish cast. It's not always, but when testing indoors the lighting had an ever so slight brownish glow to it. And yet if I took another picture, it would go away. Not sure if it's a white balance or metering issue...just be on the lookout for it.
- The camera is small. Took a little getting used to, but I prefer it much more over a bulky Canon or Nikon. If not for the large grip and thumb rest, I'd have shipped it back that same day.
- Touch screen. Again, this may be personal preference yet to me, the touch screen is not sensitive enough. Initally you feel as though you have to give the screen a slightly firm press/touch. Not to the point of breaking it obviously, but if you're a touchscreen phone user, you'll definitely notice the difference between the camera's touchscreen and your phone. Granted after a while, you'll get used to it.

Really can't think of too much else and don't want to be too techincal. As a 1st time buyer of a mirrorless camera, I'm very satisfied and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.
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on May 21, 2013
When the GX1 was first announce a couple of years ago, I had high hopes that it will become the NEX killer for Micro 4/3. I have an EP1 and loved it except for the poor ergonomics, dense weight and the lack of an EVF. I also have a GH2, a great camera with a great feature set but uses it mainly for video; the form factor is just too big and too pretend SLR like for a walking around camera.
I was hoping for the GX1 to be more like a refined GH2 with the features and hardware but in a more NEX like form factor. I was very disappointed with the GX1 when it came out....no tilt screen, no view finder and another different battery. I was ready to jump ship and go over to the Sony NEX camp except that I already have invested in several M4/3 lenses and is generally quite pleased with the overall system.
Amazon had the Olympus EPL1 on sale for $150 and it basically had most of the GX1 features except for a 12mp sensor. The EPL1 became my #1 carry around cam and worked really well with the 20/1.7 and the 7-14 zoom. When my trusty EPL1 developed a vertical strip of dead pixels across the frame, I needed to shop for a replacement. The Lumix GX1 by now had dropped in price and now at $250 (body only), it is a no brainer replacement for my dead EPL1.

I liked it immediately out of the box.

It is small....S M A L L, almost the same size as my Lumix P&S, just the right weight (not heavy like the OLympus EP1), very good build quality (not plasticky like the GH2) It has all the right features and took very good images, on par with the GH2. The controls are well placed with the right heptic feedback, the touchscreen worked great, just the right sensitivity. The UI and layout is almost identical to the GH2. Focus is very fast for an older M4/3, as fast as the GH2. With a 15mm/f8 Olympus "lens cap" lens, this camera actually fits into my jeans pants pocket !! I challenge any inter-changable lens camera to do that!
The down side for me is of course the lack of a built in EVF (ref NEX7) and no tilt/ flip screen (ref GH2). I am ordering the LVF2 for $160, which I think is too expensive for what it is, but would allow me to see what I am framing without constantly taking my glasses on and off. It is hard for us old guys to frame and focus arms out using the LCD screen.

This camera at $599 would be overpriced and be lost in the sea of similar cameras ....EP2, EP3, EPL 1,2,3 et al, GF2,3,5..... all offering similar price and features; however now at $250, this is the bargain of the year. Nothing at this price point touches it. Not something that offers pro features and controls. With the 20mm/f1.7, it can give the Canon G1x and the Nikon Coolpix A a good run for the money. It is of course not in the same league as the Nex7 or the Fuji 100s.

For me, to make it perfect, it will need a quality M4/3 sensor, a decent built in EVF and a proper flip screen and focus peaking.........and an external mike jack please, plus wireless remote.

How about it, Panasonic? Olympus? Anyone?

May 28, added LVF 2 viewfinder

The $160 view finder takes this little camera to a new level. Manual focus using legacy lenses is now possible. I have no problems looking through the entire frame with glasses on. It does not auto switch between LCD screen and finder but turning the thumb wheel will put the image on the LCD for review, and touching the shutter button returns it to the LVF. The viewfinder is clear and lag free under most conditions. A slight judder under low light indoors Wien panning. The image quality is similar to my GH2. The GX1 can magnify just the center portion of the screen for framing and focusing at the same time but the cropped image is fuzzy and not sharp like the full magnification image. There is no focus peaking or any other aid but that is the way the camera is. For $160 , it is a bit expensive but still a good buy. BTW, the unit is quite small, smaller than it looks in photos. The horseshoe mount is locking but the durability is questionable. I would not leave any clip on viewfinder mounted on the camera when placed in a camera bag or pocket. The part just sticks out like a sore thumb and will put unnecessary load on the hot shoe. I think this tiny VF should be built in as part of the camera , and still retain a compact form factor, like the NEX 6/7 , but this is better than nothing.

Let's make sure we have it in the GX2!
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on October 9, 2012
(I wrote a full blog up about how I'm learning to take insanely great pictures at [...] . Here's an excerpt that has to do specifically w/ the GX1):

I knew I wanted a camera that was much better than a point-and-shoot, yet I didn't want the bulk of carrying a DSLR around. The camera had to be compact, yet functional. It had to have interchangeable lenses and manual aperture and shutter controls. After reading dozens of detailed reviews and hundreds of comments from users of various cameras in this category, I bought the Panasonic Lumix GX1. For $659 you can get a camera and lens that fits all of these criteria. Not only that, but this camera uses a new-ish standard called "FourThirds" which is a digital protocol across several camera manufacturers for interchangeable lenses with sensors that while smaller than DSLRs, are much larger than traditional point-and-shoot cameras (and the sensor size is the main limiting factor of point-and-shoot camera picture quality). I've found that with this class of camera, sometimes called a "mirrorless camera" or "micro 4/3 camera," you get nearly the quality of a DSLR in a form factor that's compact enough to carry in a small bag (albeit not quite a pants pocket).

Here are a few things to know about the GX1 specifically:

All GX1s are not created equal! There are two base models for the GX1. The first has a manual 14-42mm zoom lens, which you can score for $469, while the second uses a power lens, also 14-42mm, but is much more compact. It'll cost you $200 more, but to me it was worth the space savings (to see the comparison picture on my blog just Google "danielodio insanely great pictures" -- same body, vastly different lens sizes). Having the more compact lens means I don't have to remove the lens when I take the camera in my backpack, and that means I'm more likely to take the camera with me to more places. And as the old saying goes, 'the best camera is the one you have with you to take the shot.' There are a few drawbacks to the more compact version besides the higher price tag. Some reviewers on Amazon found ghosting in the images, although based on the reviews, that problem seems to have largely gone away in more recent production runs (I haven't noticed it). But make sure to read the Amazon reviews to learn how to test for this. Additionally, I've noticed that the power lens uses noticeably more battery than the manual lens, although you can shoot on & off for several hours with either one without a problem. If you expect to be buying a number of lenses, you might want to stick with the base model and then add this very compact 20mm Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 Aspherical Pancake Lens which many owners rave about.

Another small thing to know about the camera is that the charger light shows as a solid green when charging, and then turns off when charging is done. A bit strange, as I thought when I dropped the battery in that solid green meant the battery was shipped full and charing was complete.

Also, if I had an unlimited budget, I would've sprung for the Sony NEX-7 camera, but it costs $1,199 just for the body. I couldn't justify the huge price gap between the two for the additional functionality of the NEX-7.
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on September 15, 2016
Great (and cheaper) alternative to buying the GX7 (which is the current replacement, and obviously is a superior camera). I am a Canon DSLR user, and I was looking for a cheap compact camera to carry around, without losing too much compared to a DSLR. That is: flexibility (removable lens), picture quality, low noise on high ISO, and the possibility of using external flash. This camera fits the bill with the caveat on the lens. If you are looking to put it on your pocket, go with the powerzoom version of the 14-45, which is flat when powered off, or the 12-32 lens. The regular (mechanical zoom) version of the 14-45 is huge compared to the camera. I miss a little the viewfinder, but you get used to it, or else you can buy it as an add-on. Level meter is a great feature. Great camera for the price, better than the old GF versions (which don't have a hotshoe and use a lower end sensor). Match this with an Eyefi card and you have HQ photos on the go.
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on December 30, 2012
This is the successor to the GF1, Panasonic's original 4/3 Enthusiast Compact. There are 2 significant improvements that make it worth the money to step up to the GX1. First, the GX1 is slightly (but noticeably) smaller and lighter. Even though it's smaller and lighter, the GX1 is still (in my opinion) just as easy to use as its predecessor. This is a big because size and weight are obviously a major reason why anyone would buy a micro 4/3 camera. The GX1 is easier to carry around and with the 20mm pancake lens I'd even describe it as fairly pocketable (the same is probably true with the collapseable kit lens but I'd steer clear of that option until Panasonic fixes the vibration bug which seems to plague that lens). Anyway I think the GX1 is even easier to carry around on a daily basis than the GF1, which for me will translate to more shots taken. Also, the excellent and intuitive control layout of the GX1 has mostly been preserved (unlike the later GF models which now seem to be aimed more at the point and shoot audience and rely far more on their touchscreen controls). The GF1 also offers a pretty decent touchscreen layout but I don't really care for touchscreen controls on a camera so I pretty much ignore them. Still you do have the option if its important to you. Anyway the other compelling reason to step up to the GX1 is the new 16MP MOS (backlit CMOS?) sensor. This is also a clear improvement over the GF1's sensor, not so much for the extra megapixels (12 is more than plenty for virtually anyone. I've blown up pics from the GF1 to 8*10 after cropping them by half and they still look amazing) but the sensor from the GX1 is easily a stop better than the GF1's sensor, and the processor also does a better job processing jpegs than the GF1's, producing compressed pictures that are punchier but also more lifelike. There was nothing specifically wrong with the GF1 in this area but the GX1 still represents a noticeable improvement in my opinion. The only 4/3 based camera with a better sensor is Olympus's E-M5 which is a different beast entirely (for starters it retails for nearly 3 times the price). Panasonic also thoughtfully made the popup flash fully articulating so you can bounce it off the ceiling (at least if the ceiling is low, just because you can angle the thing like a speedlight doesn't mean its got the same range). Finally, the GX1 does also improve slightly over the GF1 in terms of speed and responsiveness (not that I ever found the GF1 lacking in that area). To sum up then the GX1 is not just a great micro 4/3 camera, its good enough to make it worth your while to trade up from a perfectly good GF1. This is also my personal favorite mirrorless compact. The NEX series may have a bigger sensor and the E-M5 is an incredible camera but I don't think any camera packs more possibilities into a smaller package than the GX1. Granted, to really match up with the NEX cameras in low light you'd need to buy the new 12-35mm 2 f2.8 lens which would make the for a kit that's even more expensive than the E-M5, but there are a bunch of subtle advantages to the GX1 even with the kit lens (noticeably better quality lenses, built in flash, better metering, more accessible manual controls, and the big one for me is better balance and portability due to the smaller lenses). Anyway, this class of camera is all about the compromise between size, weight, and capability, and the GX1 comes closest to my personal ideal. Its a teriffic choice if you're already a fan of Panasonic since the GX1 is both more capable than and smaller than its predecessor. The one other thing worth mentioning here though is once you buy something with detachable lenses and a hotshoe, you aren't just buying a camera, but a system. The best thing about the GX1 from the perspective of a new buyer is that Panasonic makes what are generally considered to be the best micro 4/3 lenses. The however, the E-M5 would be arguably the basis for the most capable mirrorless 4/3 kit. With a high quality weather-sealed lens, and the right add-on flash the E-M5 could make a pretty compelling (and incredibly lightweight) semi-pro system. My GX1 can't do this, rather its imo the ultimate walkaround shooter, the absolute best camera small enough for me to actually bring everywhere and use. Also, if you've already used an NEX and like the system, don't buy one of these sight unseen.(Especially if you've invested in extra lenses, even with these mirrorless cameras the lenses can quickly become more expensive and longer lived than the cameras themselves). If you took a vote out of all reviewers, the GX1 would probably get a bit higher marks than an NEX, but there's no absolute answer as to whether great manual controls, built in flash, and great lenses are preferable to a real APS-C sensor and Sony's menu system optimized for more automated even paired with somewhat larger and less capable lenses. Anyway, to sum up I personally love this camera, it's great for anyone who already bought into the Panasonic system (as I did) and a worthwhile upgrade to any of the GF line. For a new purchaser, its place is as the ultimate walkaround camera. But no mirrorless camera is the best at everything. Right now I think Panasonic, Olympus, Sony, and even Nikon mirrorless compacts have their place (Nikons are about absolutely minimal size and maximum simplicity they're actually too small for my hands and also not as good as Sony, Panasonic, or Olympus due to their sub 4/3 sensors). The only brands I would specifically recommend against are Samsung (between the mediocre non-corrected lenses, slow RAW, and JPEG processing issues its got an APS-C sensor that's not even capable of matching the micro 4/3 cameras), Canon (nothing wrong with their picture quality but its so huge why not just buy a Rebel and be done with it?), and the Pentax Q. I'm thrilled with my purchase, you will be as well IF your situation/needs are similar.
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