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Review Panasonic GX1

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The Panasonic GX1 is, since the end of 2011, the first member of yet another series of mirror-less Panasonic cameras, in addition to the G series, the GH series and the GF series. The Panasonic GX1 has a retro look and is aimed at the passionate amateur photographer who enjoys a solid, compact camera with interchangeable lenses . The Panasonic GF5,  Panasonic G3 and the Panasonic GH2 are competitors within the same brand. Outdoors you can think of Sony NEX 7, Sony NEX 5N, Olympus OM-D E-M5, or Olympus E-P3. Competitive enough, so. What makes the Panasonic GX1 so attractive?

Panasonic GX1 review, review Panasonic GX1, GX1 review, Olympus OM-D E-M5, system camera

Construction, ergonomics and ease of use

The Panasonic GX1 is designed with the same philosophy as the Panasonic GF1. It is less "the newer Panasonic GF5", because the GF series is increasingly miniaturized. Many of the current Panasonic GF1 users were hoping for a successor like a Leica-lookalike appearance with a built-in viewfinder at the left side, like thes Sony NEX-7. Panasonic has a patent on this type of camera .
The ergonomics of the Panasonic GX1 is very good. The camera with battery weighs just over 300 grams and fits comfortably in your hand. The buttons are not too much miniaturized and therefore easy to operate. The 16 megapixel sensor in the Panasonic GX1 is the same as the sensor in the Panasonic G3.

Panasonic GX1 review, review Panasonic GX1, GX1 review, Olympus OM-D E-M5, system camera

Measurements for this test have been carried out with the aid of Imatest. The measurement results are shown in the Panasonic GX1 test report. For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ.

Panasonic GX1 versus Panasonic GH2, Panasonic GF5 & Panasonic G3

  • Both the Panasonic GH2 and the Panasonic G3 have a built-in viewfinder, which the Panasonic GX1 lacks
  • Panasonic G3 and Panasonic GH2 don't have a fixed LCD screen
  • The Panasonic GH2 offers more for video enthusiasts
  • The Panasonic GX-1 is the first Panasonic camera where you can use UHS-I memory cards
  • The Panasonic GF5 is by far the smallest of these camera┬┤s

Panasonic GX1 versus Sony NEX-7, Olympus OM-D E-M5 en Olympus E-P3

  • There are more micro-43 lenses than Sony NEX lenses

  • The Sony NEX-7 has a higher resolution (24 megapixels in stead of 16), an LCD screen with higher resolution, a built-in viewfinder and a higher price

  • The Olympus E-M5 has a built-in viewfinder, IBIS (in body image stabilization) and is extra sealed against splash water and dust
  • De Sony NEX-7 and the Olympus E-M5 have a tilitable screen

Viewfinder, LCD display and menu

The Panasonic GX1 has no built-in viewfinder and the LCD screen can not be rotated or tilted. It is a touchscreen, which not only makes the operation of the menu or viewing of photos easier. You can also take pictures by tapping the screen at the place where focus should be.
The camera menu has become more complicated with respect to the camera menu of the Panasonic GF1. This camera offers much more possibilities than the GF1, so this comparison is not entirely fair. But the large amount of options can be confusing at first. Set the camera to shoot with the touch screen and bring the camera to your eyes 10 minutes later, using the electonische viewfinder. Then you make a picture when your nose touches the touch screen.

Panasonic GX1 review, review Panasonic GX1, GX1 review, Olympus OM-D E-M5, system camera

Panasonic LVF2 viewfinder

 
Panasonic  LVF2 viewfinder has an effective magnification of 0.7 and is much better than the Panasonic LVF1 . The Panasonic LVF2 is good, as good as the built-in viewfinder of the Panasonic G3. Personally, I like to use a viewfinder to work instead of compose on the screen. The seeker must be purchased and there is not cheap. And the intent viewfinder makes the camera less easily in your pocket or camera bag forth. For those who always works with a viewfinder, the Panaonic GH2 and the Panasonic G3 may be a better choice than the Panasonic GX1.

Panasonic GX1 review, review Panasonic GX1, GX1 review, Olympus OM-D E-M5, system camera

Resolution

The 16 megapixel sensor, the Panasonic delivers GX1, combined with the Sigma 30 mm EX DN, JPG and RAW files with a resolution of an average of 2200 lines per picture height. The resolution of the Panasonic GX1 is averaged over the entire ISO range almost equal to the resolution of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and is about ten percent higher than the resolution of the Panasonic GH2 and the Panasonic G3. This difference is, in practice, is not visible. Below are two examples of jpg files created during the test. which you can judge the sharpness of an image area at 100%. The left image was obtained with the Sigma 30 mm EX DN, the right shot with the Panasonic 14-42 mm X.
Click on the right image to see a larger version.

PanasonicGX1review-resolutiev2

PanasonicGX1reviewdemominidetail

Dynamic range

Panasonic-gx1-review-sample-imagev2

Here you see a night shot, taken with the Panasonic GX1. The dynamic range of micro-43 cameras is so good now, a single shot that you can light up the shadows without the noise spoils the fun. Above you see an edited version of the same recording. The picture quality is worse than the recording we made with the Nikon D800E. A larger sensor pays off in a higher dynamic range.
The test for dynamic range and dynamic range are used in the Panasonic GX1 test report.

Panasonic-gx1-review-dynamic-range

Noise

 

The test results are in the Panasonic GX1 test report. Comparison of the noise in jpg files with the measured noise in RAW files without noise reduction, shows that when the noise occurs jpg files at all ISO settings. Above the 3200 ISO, the noise really visible. Right is a detail from a 1600 ISO RAW images without any noise.

PanasonicGX1review-1600ISOnoise

Color accuracy

The GX1 Panasonic has a very natural color reproduction, but scores at this point less than the Olympus OM-D. At this point the Panasonic GX1 scores better than the Panasonic G3. The best results are obtained by working in RAW, but the difference is almost invisible. See the  Panasonic GX1 test report for our Imatest measurements.

Even when artificial light is the color surprisingly good, although you can get the colors more natural the white balance manually adjust. By artificial light the color rendition of Panasonic GX1 better than the color of the Olympus OM-D. The total scores for color reproduction of the GX1 Panasonic and Olympus OM-D are equal.

PanasonicGX1review-kleur

Built-in flash

The Panasonic GX1 has a built in flash. The nice thing about this is that you flash it with your finger up to focus, so you can also indirectly flashes.

PanasonicGX1review-flash

Autofocus snelheid en nauwkeurigheid

The autofocus of the Panasonic GX1 is accurate and fast. It is in terms of AF speed just like a SLR camera to photograph you. At low contrast or in the dark, the AF / speed. And that is not surprising because the autofocus of the Panasonic GX1 is based on contrast differences of the sensor signal.

Autofocus tracking

 

The Panasonic can GX1 series shots with a speed of 4 frames per second and, if you lowered the resolution to 4 megapixels to 20 bps. A series of photographs of a car with a speed of 60 km / h on the camera hit, merely provides sharp images, as you can see opposite.

 

PanasonicGX1review-AFtest-overviewv2

Sidenote here is that you have the camera set to continuous autofocus and the camera pulls himself with the car. With autofocus tracking the camera tries to follow the subject itself, but that only works well with very slow moving subjects. Even a red car in a gray area escaped the autofocus tracking. The same remark also applies to the autofocus tracking of other cameras like the Olympus OM-D.

Conclusion

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Amateur
Year:2011
Overall score:6.3
Resolution:6.5
Dynamic Range:6.0
Noise:6.5
Color:8.3
Whitebalance:7.0
Megapixels:16
Sensor:M43
Sensor magn.:-
fps:4.2
Weight (gram):318
MSRP NL (Euro):549

See our list of tested cameras to compare the performance of this camera with other cameras.

Pros

Cons

  • Good image quality, especially at low ISO
  • Compact when combined with the Panasonic 14-42 mm X lens
  • Touch screen available, but not obligatory for operation
  • Fast autofocus
  • Optional electronic viewfinder
  • No built-in viewfinder
  • Noisy shutter
  • Optional viewfinder increases costs
  • Fixed LCD screen

The Panasonic GX1 is a pleasant camera to use and will therefore please many afficionado who want a decent camera with the main buttons on the body, in stead of using the camera menu. In terms of image quality (resolution, dynamic range, noise) the  Panasonic lies between the Panasonic G3 and the Olympus E-M5 . The color rendition of Panasonic GX1 in our test showed siginificant better results than the Panasonic G3. The additional electronic viewfinder LVF2 works fine and is an asset against the LVF1 for Panasonic GF1. When you prefer a camera with a built-in viewfinder, you can confidently choose the Panasonic G3. In this review we have disregarded video, but for video, the Panasonic GH2 or the upcomning Panasonic GH3 might be a more logical choice.

Imatest results are shown in the Panasonic GX1 test report.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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