Panasonic dmc gx8


LUMIX G Best Compact System Camera DMC-GX8M | Panasonic UK & Ireland

Digital Live MOS Sensor Image Stabilization 4K Pre-Burst, 4K Burst, 4K Burst (Start&Stop)

Try and see what POST FOCUS is

Try out the cool new function available with the latest free firmware download for LUMIX GX80, GX8, G7, FZ330, TZ80 and TZ100 cameras**. It's called Post Focus and it allows you to take a photo and then choose your focal point later. With Post Focus, you can shoot with confidence knowing that you can always change the focal point your photo was out of focus. Click here to read more about this LUMIX-exclusive feature* or click on image to simulate the Post Focus function.

* As per June 2016. **Models as per June 2016.

Try out the cool new function available with the latest free firmware download for LUMIX GX80, GX8, G7, FZ330, TZ80 and TZ100 cameras**. It's called Post Focus and it allows you to take a photo and then choose your focal point later. With Post Focus, you can shoot with confidence knowing that you can always change the focal point your photo was out of focus. Click here to read more about this LUMIX-exclusive feature* or click on image to simulate the Post Focus function.

* As per June 2016. **Models as per June 2016.

Try out the cool new function available with the latest free firmware download for LUMIX GX80, GX8, G7, FZ330, TZ80 and TZ100 cameras**. It's called Post Focus and it allows you to take a photo and then choose your focal point later. With Post Focus, you can shoot with confidence knowing that you can always change the focal point your photo was out of focus. Click here to read more about this LUMIX-exclusive feature* or click on image to simulate the Post Focus function.

* As per June 2016. **Models as per June 2016.

Try out the cool new function available with the latest free firmware download for LUMIX GX80, GX8, G7, FZ330, TZ80 and TZ100 cameras**. It's called Post Focus and it allows you to take a photo and then choose your focal point later. With Post Focus, you can shoot with confidence knowing that you can always change the focal point your photo was out of focus. Click here to read more about this LUMIX-exclusive feature* or click on image to simulate the Post Focus function.

* As per June 2016. **Models as per June 2016.

Try out the cool new function available with the latest free firmware download for LUMIX GX80, GX8, G7, FZ330, TZ80 and TZ100 cameras**. It's called Post Focus and it allows you to take a photo and then choose your focal point later. With Post Focus, you can shoot with confidence knowing that you can always change the focal point your photo was out of focus. Click here to read more about this LUMIX-exclusive feature* or click on image to simulate the Post Focus function.

* As per June 2016. **Models as per June 2016.

Digital Photographer, Innovation Award, February 2016

Camera Labs, Recommended, October 2015

Trusted Reviews, Recommended, September 2015

Pocket- Lint, Recommended, September 2015

What Digital Camera, Recommended, September 2015

Amateur Photographer, Test bench Gold Award, August 2015 19 August 2015

ePHOTOzine, Highly Recommended, July 2015 19 August 2015

Photography Blog, Highly Recommended, July 2015 19 August 2015

www.panasonic.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Review

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is a brand new compact system camera aimed at the keen enthusiast. The GX8 integrates 4K video recording capability with a variety of 4K Photo functions, capable of recording 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) video with either 30p or 24p frames rates at 100Mbps in the MP4 format. The Panasonic GX8 features a new 20-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor (making it the highest resolution Micro Four Thirds body to date), a built-in 90-degree tilt-able Live View Finder (LVF) with 2360k dots and 1.54x / 0.77x magnification, and a free-angle 3-inch touch-sensitive rear LCD screen with a resolution of 1040K dots. The DMC-GX8 also offers Panasonic’s first Dual I.S (Image Stabiliser), a splash and dustproof magnesium alloy body, 8fps continuous shooting, low-light focusing down to -4 EV, focus peaking, silent mode for street photography, built-in wi-fi and NFC connectivity, ultra-high speed AF of just 0.07 sec, mechanical (1/8000th sec shutter speed) and silent electronic (1/16000th sec shutter speed) shutters, RAW support and an ISO range of 100-25600. The Panasonic GX8 is available in black or silver for £999 / $1199 body-only, £1099 with the 14-42mm lens, £1399 with the 14-140mm lens, and £1699 with the 12-35mm F2.8 lens.

The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is the successor to the two-year-old GX7, which actually continues in the range for the forseeable future. Comparing the two cameras side-by-side quickly reveals that the GX8 is a bigger, heavier and more serious affair than its predecessor, with a higher launch price to boot. Compared to the direct compeititon, the GX8 is similar in sizer and weight to the Olympus OMD-EM1 and the Fujifilm X-T1. Within the Panasonic range, only the flagship DMC-Gh5 sits above the GX8, which with its DSLR-styling and video-centric positioning is an altogether different proposition.

The magnesium alloy bodied Panasonic GX8 is quite a large Micro Four Thirds camera, measuring 133.2 x 77.9 x 63.1mm, and weighing 435g without a lens attached or battery inserted, although this is only actually 33g more than the GX7. Even with a slim lens like Panasonic's 20mm pancake fitted, the GX8 isn't pocketable, being much more at home in a small camera bag, which may be a deal-breaker for some. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 has a chunky hand-grip on the right that really helps with the camera's handling, with more than enough room to accommodate three fingers. This works in tandem with the sculpted rubberized thumb-rest on the rear to ensure that it's easy to get a grip on the GX8.

The GX8 follows in the footsteps of the GX7 by again featuring a built-in electronic viewfinder. The 4:3 ratio OLED display has a high resolution of 2360k dots, slightly reduced from the GX7's 2764k dots, but now offering an impressive 1.54x / 0.77x magnification thanks to the newly designed large eyecup, which makes looking through it even more of a pleasure. There's a high color reproduction of approximately 100% of the Adobe RGB colourspace, 10,000:1 High Contrast and the ability to separately adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation.

There's also a handy sensor which automatically detects when the camera is held up to eye-level and even starts auto-focusing, with just the slightest delay until the display is ready. Thirdly, a whole host of information is displayed onscreen - virtually everything that you can display on the rear LCD screen can be shown in the EVF. And last but not least, the viewfinder can be physically tilted through 90-degrees, acting as a conventional finder or a waist-level finder and anything in between. Suffice to say that we didn't miss having an optical viewfinder when shooting with the GX8.

Front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

Working in tandem with the tilting electronic viewfinder is the new free-angle 3-inch OLED screen on the back of the GX8. The rotating, free-angle OLED monitor, which is hinged on the left side of the camera (looking from the rear), can be rotated 180 degrees for side to side and flipped out and twisted through 270 degrees. You can use the screen as a waist-level viewfinder, holding the camera overhead, and even for turning the DMC-GX8 on yourself for arm-length self-portraits. There's also the added benefit of folding the screen away against the camera body to protect it when stored in a camera bag, preventing it from becoming marked or scratched. The 1040K pixel, high-resolution screen delivers approximately 100% field of view (as does the electronic viewfinder). The Monitor Luminance function can be set to automatically detect the current lighting conditions and boost the LCD backlighting by up to 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, helping to keep the screen visible, or you can manually set it to one of three levels.

Just like every other Panasonic compact system camera, optical image stabilisation is supplied via the lens, in this case the top-of-the-range 12-35mm optic. But unlike every other Panasonic compact system camera except for its predecessor, the GX8 also offers image stabilisation built-in to the camera body too, with an improved four axes of compensation. And for the first time on a Panasonic camera, the two systems work together to combat camera-shake, rather than independently of one another.

In practice, the in-body system is always turned on when an image-stabilized lens is attached, with the usual modes available. There are two different modes, Mode 1 is on all the time including image composition, and Mode 2 compensates for up and down movements only (which in turn allows you to pan the camera). If a non-stabilized lens is attached, you also get the option to turn off in-body stabilization. If you fit a non-stabilized lens that the GX8 doesn't recognise, you need to enter its focal length from 8mm to 1000mm via the main menu system to benefit from the in-body stabilisation system.

The Wi-Fi function (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) lets you use your smartphone to change the DMC-GX8's settings (focus setting, exposure compensation, ISO, WB and Photo Styles) and even fire the shutter button remotely (including interval video recordings), while the auto transfer function automatically backs up your photos onto a tablet. You can also use GPS data from your smartphone to record the shooting location onto your images. The DMC-GX8 also features NFC (Near Field Communication) technology (the same technology that's used for mobile payments), which allows you to connect it to a compatible internet enabled device or another NFC-enabled camera by simply tapping them together. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 offers a time lapse function in which you can set the time interval and the number of images to take, plus a multi-exposure option that lets you combine up to four exposures in a single frame.

The top shutter speed has also been increased to a very impressive 1/8000th second, making the GX8 one of the first compact system cameras with a mechanical shutter to offer such a high speed, and great for freezing fast-moving objects or shooting wide-open with fast lenses, even in bright conditions. The new electronic shutter function also raises the shutter speed to 1/16,000 sec. as well as allowing silent operation for quick, inconspicuous shooting.

On the front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is a small focus-assist and self-timer indicator lamp, lens release button, metal lens mount and the already mentioned chunky hand-grip. On the bottom is a metal tripod socket, importantly in-line with the middle of the lens barrel, and the shared battery compartment and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot. The GX8 manages 330 shots using the supplied rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1200mAh, 8.7Wh).

Rear of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

The right-hand side of the camera, looking from the rear, is empty save for the small NFC symbol. On the left are ports for the Remote/Mic socket, HDMI and AV Out/Digital connections, hidden beneath a plastic flap. Underneath is a small microphone, with protruding metal eyelets on either side of the body for the supplied camera strap.

The top of the GX8 houses the tilting electronic viewfinder, a flash hotshoe, small stereo speakers, a one-touch movie record button and a new configurable Fn button, shoulder-mounted shutter button surrounded by a control dial for setting the aperture/shutter speed, and a shooting mode dial that's directly on top of a new exposure compensation dial, making it easy to change this key exposure setting. Note that the GX7's built-in pop-up flash has been sacrificed to make way for the new second control dial, which cleverly has a small button at its centre that makes the dial toggle between two configurable settings. Despite having so many controls in such a small space, Panasonic have achieved the no mean feat of making the GX8's top-plate feel relatively uncluttered and intuitive.

The shooting mode dial offers the usual selection of Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual for the more experienced photographer. An optional exposure meter can be displayed in the P/A/S/M shooting modes which graphically shows the relationship between shutter speed and aperture, with a color-coded warning that alerts users when the settings are not in the proper range.

Intelligent Auto mode tries to make things as easy as possible for the complete beginner. It allows you to point and shoot the camera without having to worry about choosing the right scene mode or settings. Intelligent Auto Mode automatically determines a number of key criteria when taking a picture, including selecting the most appropriate scene mode (from 5 commonly used presets) and ISO speed, and turning face detection (up to 15 faces), image stabilization and quick auto-focus on.

The Intelligent Auto Plus Mode also includes Intelligent Exposure, which increases exposure only in the under-exposed areas of the image, Digital Red-eye, which automatically detects and removes red-eye, and AF Tracking, which continually tracks a moving subject and keeps it in focus, without you having to hold the shutter button halfway down as on most other cameras.

More beginner-friendly Scene modes are also available. One scene mode particularly worthy of mention is the Peripheral Defocus option, which makes it easy for beginners to achieve a blurred background / sharp subject effect without having to understand what apertures are. For more advanced users, the GX8 offers a graduation curve which can be used to individually tune the contrast behavior of the camera. The highlights and shadows can be adjusted via the touchscreen or front and rear control dials to create your own unique look, which can then be stored on one of three custom settings (or one of the three presets can be selected). Additionally there are 3 custom shooting modes which allow you to configure your favourite camera settings and quickly access them via the dedicated C1, C2 and C3 modes.

Top of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

The DMC-GX8's range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist's palette, now offers a whopping 22 options - you can see examples on the Image Quality page. You can also fine-tune each effect via a series of simple on-screen sliders for color, saturation and contrast, complete with a real-time preview of your changes. The camera even provides filter recommendations and on-screen scene guides. The Panorama mode allows you create a vertical or horizontal panoramic image (standard or wide settings), which is easily taken by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed., plus there's the ability to apply any of the different filter effects to the panorama.

The DMC-GX8 offers both AVCHD video capture and MP4, with the latter offering 4K recording at in 3840x2160 at 25p (50Hz) or 24p in MP4 with full-time auto-focusing. Interestingly, if you want to shoot the maximum 4K video – i.e twice as high quality as Full HD – then a switch to MP4 mode is required before you can implement that setting on the Panasonic, with the choice of 25 or 24 frames per second capture speed. In other words 4K shooting is not available with AVCHD compression. You can also extract a still image from a 4K sequence, ending up with the equivalent of an 8 megapixel photo at 30fps.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 is an intriguing prospect for would-be videographers, providing access as it does to the same creative exposure P,A,S,M modes selectable when shooting stills. You also get access to all the Photo Style and Creative Control modes when shooting video. ISO settings, white balance and AF tracking are also all accessible when shooting movies. The normal bugbear of exterior location shoots is also dealt with thanks to a wind cut option among the four screen's worth of menu settings in motion picture mode.

The DMC-GX8's Intelligent Auto mode works for movies as well as for still photos. Simply select the iA shooting mode on top of the camera, then the Movie Record button. The Intelligent Scene Selector automatically determines the most suitable Scene mode from five options - Portrait, Scenery, Low Light and Close-up or Normal modes. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts the focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. The Image Stabilizer helps prevent blurring from hand-shake when using a compatible lens or via the camera body. One great benefit of the touch-screen control system is that Touch Auto Focusing is available in movie recording, enabling pro-level rack-like focusing simply by pointing at the subject on the LCD screen.

There are three 4K Photo functions - 4K Burst Shooting, 4K Burst (Start/Stop) and 4K Pre-burst which all record continuous 8 megapixel stills at a 30fps shooting rate. 4K Burst allows you to continuously record 8 megapixel images at 30fps, 4K Pre-Burst does the same but for one second prior to and one second after pressing the shutter button in order, giving you 60 frames to choose from, and 4K Burst (S/S) allows you to playback your video, pause at the chosen moment, and use the shutter button to mark a chosen frame from the video and save it as a single 8 megapixel frame.

The DMC-GX8 inherits the DMC-G6's clever touchscreen interface. Panasonic have wisely restricted the amount of things that you can do by interacting with the screen, and indeed you can still operate everything on the camera without having to push and prod the LCD at all. You would be missing out on a lot of genuinely useful functionality, though, which really improves the overall shooting experience. The DMC-GX8 has a feature called Touchpad AF which allows you to move the focus point area with your finger on the LCD while you're looking through the EVF.

Tilting LCD Screen

The most immediately noticeable function is the ability to use the 1-area AF mode to focus on your main subject simply by touching it on the LCD. If the subject then moves, the DMC-GX8 cleverly follows it around the screen using the the AF tracking function. If the subject exits the frame entirely, simply recompose and tap it again to start focusing. Impressive stuff that makes focusing on off-center subjects fast and intuitive. It is a little too easy to accidentally press the screen and set the focus point to the wrong area for the current subject, but a simple tap in the middle of the LCD will center the AF point (or you can turn this feature off altogether).

The size of the AF point itself can also be changed via an interactive onscreen slider. If Face Detection is enabled, the 1-area AF point can be manually set to a person's eye to help ensure that the most important part of a portrait is in focus. If Multi-area AF rather than 1-area AF is enabled, then you can select a group of 4, 5 or 6 AF points from 9 different areas, again providing some manual control over what is traditionally a rather hit and miss affair.

When Intelligent Auto is switched on, the DMC-GX8 changes the scene mode used when you touch the subject, for example selecting portrait mode if you touch a face and macro mode if you touch a close-up flower. If you prefer to manually focus rather than use the snappy AF, you can magnify any part of the subject by 1x, 5x or 10x by simply dragging the image around the screen. The final touchscreen ability from an image composition point of view is the ability to release the shutter, with a small icon on the right hand screen enabling this functionality, and then a single on-screen tap all that's required to take the picture.

All of the menu options can now be changed via the touchscreen interface. You can also control image playback by touching the screen, with the ability to tap a thumbnail to see the full-size version, scroll through your images by dragging them from side to side, and magnifying them up to 16x.

Above the LCD screen is the aforementioned electronic viewfinder, and to the right of this is a button for manually switching between the viewfinder and LCD screen (which can optionally be configured as a Function button). To the right again is a switch for choosing between the auto and manual focus modes, with yet another Fn button at its centre. The GX8 offers three auto-focus modes - AF Single, AF Flexible, and AF Continuous. AF Flexible is a relatively new mode which conventionally locks the focus when the shutter button is half-pressed, but then automatically resets it if the subject moves. Notably the GX8 can focus on a subject in very low light situations, such as under starlight, with Panasonic claiming an industry leading level of -4EV. A useful AF/AE Lock is located to the right of the rear thumb-rest.

Focus Peaking is also available on the GX8. When enabled, it graphically shows the peak of focus in the MF and AF+MF modes by displaying an outline around the subject. The detection level can be set to 'High' or ‘Low’ and a colour can be selected In ‘High’ these are light blue, yellow or green and in 'Low' blue, orange or white can be selected.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 In-hand

Directly to the right of the LCD screen is the Quick Menu button, which is again customisable to suit your way of working, although we can't see why you'd want to turn off the Quick Menu, which as the name suggests provides quick access to most of the principal controls via an onscreen menu. Depending on the current shooting mode, this displays up to 13 options that can all be changed via the touch-screen. You can also configure it to include up to 10 out of 19 available settings simply by dragging and dropping the onscreen icons. You can still access all of these options from the main menu system too if you wish.

Underneath is a self-explanatory Playback button alongside the Display button which toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed. Underneath again is a traditional 4-way navigation D-Pad system with Menu/Set button in the centre. Pressing left, up, right and down on the D-Pad buttons selects AF Mode, ISO Speed, White Balance and 4K / Burst / Self-timer options respectively.

The main menu system on the DMC-GX8 is straight-forward to use and is accessed by pressing the Menu/Set button in the middle of the navigation D-Pad. There are five main menus represented by large icons, Record, Motion Picture, Custom, Setup and Playback. As an indication of how configurable the GX8 is, the Custom menu has 42 different options, allowing you to fine-tune this camera to suit your way of working. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Unfortunately Panasonic have only chosen to supply a basic guide in printed format, with the full manual only available as a PDF on the product CD.

The DMC-GX8 employs the same Contrast Auto Focus system that is commonly used by compact cameras. Despite this, the DMC-GX8's auto-focus system is as fast, if not faster, than a typical DSLR camera's, with a claimed speed of just 0.07 second when used with certain lenses, and a still impressive 0.18 second with the 14-42mm kit lens. In practice we noticed very little difference in speed between the DMC-GX8 and a DSLR, and there were also very few occasions when the DMC-GX8 failed to lock onto the subject, especially when using the centre AF point.

The DMC-GX8 additionally boasts a mode called Low Light AF which allows the camera to focus even in moonlight without needing to use the AF assist lamp, while the Starlight AF mode allows you to capture individual stars and constellations in the night sky. There are a wide range of AF modes on offer, including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection, and AF Tracking. The DMC-GX8 also has a useful Quick AF function that begins focusing as soon as you point the camera.

The start-up time from turning the Lumix DMC-GX8 on to being ready to take a photo is very impressive at less than 0.5 seconds. It takes about 1 second to store a JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card. Storing a single RAW image only takes around 1 second. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 has a very good Burst mode which enables you to take 8 frames per second when using the mechanical shutter for around 100 JPEG images at the highest image quality, or 30 RAW images. There's also a faster 10fps mode when using the electronic shutter, and a 6fps mode at full 16 megapixel resolution with AF Tracking turned on to capture moving subjects. The electronic shutter function also raises the shutter speed to 1/16,000 sec. as well as allowing silent operation for quick, inconspicuous shooting.

Next Page Image Quality »

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Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX8

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX8 compact system camera offers Panasonic’s first Dual I.S (Image Stabiliser), a 20.3-megapixel sensor, large tiltable LVF and 4K capability. The LUMIX DMC-GX8 integrates a 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor to achieve superior image quality. With the combination of a Lens Optical Image Stabiliser and a Body Image Stabiliser, even severe hand shake can be corrected to provide consistently blur-free images. The Venus Engine image processor with a quad-core CPU also enables high speed signal processing at 8 fps (AFS) / 6 fps (AFC).

UK Pricing:

DMC-GX8AEB-K  (Black kit with 12-35mm/F2.8 lens) - £1699.00 DMC-GX8AEB-S (Silver kit with 12-35mm/F2.8 lens) - £1699.00 DMC-GX8HEB-K (Black kit with 14-140mm lens) - £1399.99 DMC-GX8HEB-S (Silver kit with 14-140mm lens) - £1399.99 DMC-GX8KEB-K (Black kit with 14-42mm lens) - £1099.00 DMC-GX8KEB-S (Silver kit with 14-42mm lens) - £1099.00 DMC-GX8EB-K (Black, body only) - £999.99

DMC-GX8EB-S (Silver, body only) - £999.99

Panasonic Press Release

New LUMIX DMC-GX8: Unbeatable photographic style and substance, without compromise  

Panasonic’s first Dual I.S (Image Stabiliser), 20.3-megapixel sensor, large tiltable LVF and 4K capability set a new benchmark for photographic control and consistency

16th July 2015– Panasonic today unveils the LUMIX DMC-GX8, the latest addition to its critically acclaimed LUMIX G range of high-performance interchangeable cameras. Building on the success of the LUMIX DMC-GX7, Panasonic’s new camera incorporates the latest 4K technologies and Panasonic’s first Dual I.S (Image Stabiliser) into a sleek and stylish design that you can take with you everywhere.

The LUMIX DMC-GX8 is yet another demonstration of Panasonic’s ongoing commitment to digital imaging innovation. Compact and mobile, the versatile new camera is ideally suited to those who like to shoot on the go, at street level,  professional and amateur photographers alike will appreciate the variety of shooting styles that the camera supports. The LUMIX DMC-GX8 also includes a wide array of easy-to-use creative functions, allowing photographers to capture and share their artistic vision with more control than ever before.

Breathtaking image quality every time

The LUMIX DMC-GX8 integrates a 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor to achieve superior image quality.  Images are captured with minimum noise, even in low-light environments, and the sensor’s improved level of light saturation results in increased image accuracy, plus wider dynamic range for authentic colour reproduction.

The new camera’s low-light shooting capability is boosted by a new Venus Engine image processor that achieves high resolution and sensitive image recording with minimum noise. This improved functionality makes it possible to remove blocks of noise that were formerly tough to detect, allowing you to replicate the image just as you saw it through the lens.   

The ability to capture consistently crisp and clear images is a key feature of the LUMIX DMC-GX8, and is further enhanced by the world’s first Dual I.S system. With the combination of a Lens Optical Image Stabiliser and a Body Image Stabiliser, even severe hand shake can be corrected to provide consistently blur-free images, from wide-angle right through to telephoto shooting even in low-lit situations.

The Venus Engine image processor with a quad-core CPU also enables high speed signal processing at 8 fps (AFS) / 6 fps (AFC), allowing you to focus on and capture fast moving subjects with accuracy and ease. It also improves colour reproduction with accurate evaluation of every frame, analysing not only the colour itself, but also saturation and luminosity. The LUMIX DMC-GX8 is also able to capture ‘Natural Texture Expression’ by dramatically improving resolution, sensitivity, colour reproduction and gradation.

Capture 4K images with complete control

One of the most significant upgrades since the popular LUMIX DMC-GX7 is the introduction of 4K video capability. The LUMIX DMC-GX8 records stunningly smooth, high-resolution QFHD 4K video in 3840x2160 at 25p (50Hz) or 24p in MP4, in addition to Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 at 60p (50 Hz) videos in AVCHD Progressive or MP4 (MPEG-4 / H.264) format with practical full-time AF.

The LUMIX DMC-GX8’s all-new 4K functionality not only allows for stunning quality video capture, it has also enabled Panasonic to totally reimagine the photographic process. Using 4K video recording capability, the 4K Photo function allows you to extract an 8-megapixel still with total control and precision, so even those magic moments that pass in the blink of an eye can be captured and enjoyed forever.

Three 4K Photo functions are integrated into the LUMIX DMC-GX8: 4K Burst Shooting, 4K Burst (Start/Stop) and 4K Pre-burst. Debuting in the recently launched LUMIX DMC-G7, these features allow you to capture and record that perfect picture by cropping the exact frame you want out of your 4K video footage:

4K Burst Shooting: allows up to 30 minutes of continuous shooting at 30 fps, which can be used just like a photo burst shoot mode by holding the shutter down. 4K Burst (Start/Stop): starts consecutive shooting with a single press of a shutter button and stops it with the second press, which is more suitable for shooting opportunities that require a longer waiting time.

4K Pre-burst: automatically records 30 frames the second before and after the shutter is pressed, giving you 60 chances to capture that perfect moment.

Both the 4K Burst Shooting and 4K Burst (Start/Stop) modes allow you to capture almost 30 minutes of footage at one time, giving you tens of thousands of image possibilities in a range of different image ratios: 3840x2160 (16:9), 3328x2496 (4:3), 3504x2336 (3:2), 2880x2880 (1:1).

Versatility for all shooting styles

The LUMIX GX range is renowned for its compact and stylish aesthetic. The latest addition builds on the successes of its predecessor and incorporates a host of exciting new features for superior usability. Built from magnesium alloy, the LUMIX DMC-GX8’s body is lightweight yet rugged and durable.  The camera is also splash and dustproof, which is achieved by tightly sealing the various sections of the camera’s body to enable shooting under extreme conditions.

The new 2360k-dot display Live View Finder (LVF) is able to tilt 0-90 degrees to give you the versatile shooting options to suit every environment. The OLED screens on both the LVF and accompanying monitor also offer superior response for shooting fast-moving subjects or videos with total control, while 10,000:1 High Contrast allows for superior colour reproduction without blown highlight or shadow clipping.

Thanks to the newly designed large eyecup, the visibility of the LVF has been dramatically improved, and with the largest 1.54x / 0.77x magnification (35mm camera equivalent) in the LUMIX G line-up to date, you can frame and capture images and video exactly as you intended. The rear monitor features a 3-inch, 1040K-dot Free-Angle touch screen display which can be moved both side to side (0-180 degrees) and up and down (0-250 degrees) to provide you with flexible shooting angles.

Both provide 100% field of view to ensure you’re not missing a better shot at the periphery of the frame, as well as Manual Monitor Adjustment – settings such as brightness, contrast and saturation can all be adjusted separately. Image output between the LVF and the rear monitor is also switched automatically with the eye sensor on the LVF, in order to conserve battery.

To further enhance user control, the LUMIX DMC-GX8 features a new Dual Dial Control for fast and practical customisable control. The front and rear dials control the main aperture and shutter speed settings as normal, however settings can also be temporarily allocated changed with the Dial Operation Switch. This allows you to activate modes such as 4K Photo more efficiently, allowing you to frame and capture photos and video faster and more accurately.

Capture moments in the blink of an eye

The LUMIX G Contrast AF system is incorporated into every LUMIX G camera and is capable of digital signal communication of up to 240 fps, resulting in breathtakingly quick and smooth auto focus.

The Contrast AF system in the LUMIX DMC-GX8 is further enhanced by Panasonic’s integration of Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology[1] which shortens the focusing time even further. DFD calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating two images with different sharpness levels while simultaneously analysing the optical characteristics of your composition. As a result, the LUMIX DMC-GX8 achieves ultra-high speed AF of just 0.07 sec[2]. This lightning-fast AF becomes increasingly beneficial as focal length increases and also enables significantly faster conventional burst shooting (8 fps AFS / 6 fps AFC).

Utilising a new algorithm, the LUMIX DMC-GX8 has improved AF tracking performance by 200% compared to the LUMIX DMC-GX7. Rather than conventional AF tracking which relies on colour alone, the new system also takes into consideration the size and motion vector of the target, locking onto the subject, and providing perfectly in-focus shots every time. What’s more, Low Light AF also makes it possible to set focus on the subject more precisely in extremely low-lit situations such as a night out with friends or photographing wildlife at dusk.

Practical connectivity

The LUMIX DMC-GX8 integrates Wi-Fi connectivity for a flexible shooting experience and fast and easy image sharing. Thanks to NFC, it is easy to connect the camera to a smartphone or tablet, allowing you to share images and clips to social media or email them to friends and family almost as soon as they’ve been recorded. Alternatively you can use your mobile device as a remote control for the LUMIX DMC-GX8, changing settings such as focus, aperture, shutter speed and ISO, before triggering the shutter release.

A host of other exciting features

New Max.1/16000 sec High Shutter Speed (Electronic Shutter) Improved Multiple Panorama Mode (Image quality priority or angle priority) 2.5mm Microphone Socket 21mm Eyepoint LVF for improved usability with glasses Focus Peaking / Eye Sensor AF / Touch Pad AF / Starlight AF P/A/S/M mode for Video Recording Silent Mode Creative Control In camera editing including: RAW Data Development and Clear Retouch

Time Lapse Shot / Stop Motion Animation

[1] Contrast AF with DFD Technology works only with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses.

[2] In AFS, at wide-end with LUMIX G VARIO 14-140mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. (H-FS14140) or LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm / F2.8 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. (H-HS12035) (approx.)

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

For a while, Micro Four Thirds cameras seemingly plateaued in terms of sensor resolution, with 16 megapixels being the standard for the past few years. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 ($1,199.99, body only) is the first model to break that barrier with a 20-megapixel sensor. It's since been joined by the Olympus PEN-F ($1,199.99), but the GX8 offers some features that the PEN can't match, including a titling EVF and 4K video recording. It's a strong performer, and an appealing choice for Micro Four Thirds photographers, but not our favorite premium mirrorless camera. That honor goes to the Sony Alpha 6300, which also records video in 4K, and delivers a faster continuous shooting rate.

DesignThe GX8 puts its EVF at the left rear corner, which makes the body a bit squatter than cameras that have a centered viewfinder. It measures 3.1 by 5.2 by 2.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 1.1 pound. It's not that far off in size from the Alpha 6300 (2.6 by 4.7 by 1.9 inches, 14.3 ounces), and like the Sony the GX8's body is sealed against dust and moisture. The slightly smaller Alpha 6300 does omit in-body stabilization, a feature that's included in the GX8 and Sony's full-frame line of Alpha 7 II mirrorless cameras. Panasonic sells the camera in two colors: all-black or silver and black. We received a black version for review.

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The slim body has a comfortable handgrip that houses the shutter button and the front control dial that surrounds it. Other top controls include a rear dial with a centered, customizable function button; the On/Off switch; Record and Fn buttons; and nested EV Compensation (adjustable in third-stop increments from -3 to +3EV) and Mode dials. There is a hot shoe, but not a built-in flash. That's a change from the previous model in the series, the GX7, which incorporates a flash.

It's not unheard of for a camera of this type to omit a built-in flash, but usually a clip-on unit is included in the box. That's not the case with the GX8—if you want a flash, you'll need to buy one. Both Olympus and Panasonic cameras share a lens mount and sensor size, so you can swap lenses between the two.

Panasonic uses a toggle switch to change focus modes between AFS/AFF, AFC, or MF—it's located on the rear plate just behind the hot shoe and has an Fn button at its center. AFS or AFF mode can be selected via the menu; the former locks focus after it's acquired, while the latter does the same but corrects for subject movement. A toggle button for the viewfinder (LVF) sits to the left, and an AF/AE Lock button is at the far right corner, sitting at an angle on a raised portion of the rear that serves as the boundary of the thumb rest.

The remainder of the controls are located to the right of the LCD. Q.Menu is at the top, with Play and Display below it. A four-way directional pad controls ISO (Up), White Balance (Right), Drive Mode (Down), and Focus Area (Left), with a Menu/Set button at its center. Below it are the Delete/Go Back button and another programmable Fn button.

The Q.Menu is an overlay menu that gives you quick access to shooting controls. By default it allows you to adjust the video resolution, image size and format, focus area, metering pattern, white balance, and exposure settings. But, like many of the functions of the GX8, you can customize what's included to suit your tastes. The menu can be navigated using the rear direction pad or via touch.

The GX8's control scheme is smartly thought out. Panasonic has made the most of the space on the camera's body, and it's easy to change shooting modes and adjust exposure settings via the system of dials, buttons, and touch-sensitive controls. The Touch Pad AF function, which lets you use the rear OLED display to select a focus point, even when using the EVF, is a big plus. It can also be used with the camera's Pinpoint AF, which allows you to select a focus point with extreme precision. Pinpoint AF is a slower than using a larger focus box, and doesn't work when shooting in continuous focus mode.

The rear display uses a vari-angle design. It's hinged at the far left, swinging out from the camera to face forward, up, down, or toward you. Videographers are used to this design, as it's standard issue on camcorders, but it's useful for photography as well. It makes working at a low or high angle a bit easier. The display itself is very sharp—it's 3 inches in size with a 1,040k-dot resolution. It's bright, with ample viewing angles and punchy colors.

The EVF is also an OLED. It packs 2,360k-dots into its small display. It's crisp when you bring it to your eye—a diopter adjustment is available to match it to your vision. And it's big; it's rated at 0.77x magnification (with a 25mm lens attached). That's noticeably larger than the 0.54x finder in the PEN-F, and just a bit larger than the Alpha 6300, which has a 0.72x EVF. The viewfinder is mounted on a hinge and can tilt to face all the way up. It also has an eye sensor that automatically switches between it and the rear display as you bring the camera to your eye.

Wi-Fi, with support for NFC, is built in. Using a companion app for Android or iOS you can copy images and videos from the GX8 to your handheld device. You won't be limited to using a typical, banal smartphone camera for Instagram shots if you're carrying the GX8. You can also use your phone as a remote—the app allows for full manual control of settings, and lets you tap on an area of the frame to set a focus point. It's one of the better remote control apps available.

The GX8 supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards. It ships with an external battery charger that plugs directly into the wall, without the need for an additional power cord. Connection ports include a proprietary data port that carries USB as well as standard-definition A/V output, a micro HDMI port, and a microphone/remote control port. The mic connection is a 2.5mm design, smaller than the more common 3.5mm port that most external microphones use. You'll need an adapter plug to use most microphones with the GX8.

Performance and Image QualityThe GX8 is quick to start, requiring just 0.9-second to turn on, focus, and capture an image. Its autofocus system is also quick, locking onto a subject and firing in an image in 0.05-second in bright light, and a respectable 0.4-second in very dim conditions. Pinpoint AF is a bit slower, requiring about 0.6-second to lock on to a target.

The focus system is purely contrast based, differentiating it from other mirrorless cameras that use more advanced hybrid contrast and phase detection systems. But it does leverage Panasonic's Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology, which detects how out of focus an image is based on the characteristics of the attached lens, a speedier method than typical contrast-based systems.

Burst shooting is possible at 8.3fps with locked focus, a rate which the GX8 can sustain for 29 Raw+JPG, 35 Raw, or 158 JPG shots. If you're shooting moving action you'll prefer continuous autofocus; enabling that function slows the burst rate to 5.7fps, with results that are consistently crisp. The Sony Alpha 6300 can shoot faster—11.1fps, even with continuous focus enabled—but its focus hit rate isn't perfect when shooting that fast. It produces consistently in-focus results at 8.2fps, though, faster than the GX8.

Setting itself apart from other cameras in this class, the GX8's mechanical shutter can fire at 1/8,000-second, with a maximum flash sync speed of 1/250-second. Most other mirrorless cameras, including the Alpha 6300, are limited to 1/4,000-second capture with the mechanical shutter. If you require an even shorter exposure you can utilize the electronic shutter, which supports 1/16,000-second image capture. 

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I used Imatest to see how well the GX8's 20-megapixel sensor handles shooting at higher ISOs, often used when working in dim light or at very short shutter speeds. The sensor has a native ISO range of 200 through 25600. When shooting in JPG format the GX8 keeps noise under 1.5 percent through ISO 6400, and shows just 1.6 percent at ISO 12800 and 1.7 percent at ISO 25600. The image sensor does incorporate a low-pass filter.

A close look at images from our ISO test scene on a calibrated display shows that image detail holds up quite well through ISO 1600. At ISO 3200 there's some slight smudging of fine detail, and that smudging is more evident at ISO 6400. Blur is more of a problem at ISO 12800, and images at ISO 25600 are worse. If you're shooting JPG, try to avoid shooting above ISO 6400.

Raw capture is also an option. When shooting in this format the camera doesn't apply any noise reduction. I took a look at Raw images, imported into Adobe Lightroom CC using default develop settings. Detail holds up better at high ISOs in Raw files, with the GX8 delivering results that are crisp through ISO 6400. Pushing the camera to ISO 12800 results in an image that is a bit grainy, but rife with detail. Noise overtakes the image at ISO 25600, but it's a useable setting if you don't mind a grainy image. When comparing Raw files with those from the Alpha 6300, you can see that the Sony camera shows a bit more detail and a little less grain at each setting through ISO 25600, and also offers ISO 51200 as a shooting option for extreme low-light photography.

Panasonic has long had strong video support in its Micro Four Thirds camera line. The GX8 follows suit, capturing 4K footage at 24 or 30fps in MP4 format. You also have the option of recording 1080p60, 1080p30, 720p30, or 480p30 footage in MP4, or 1080p60, 1080i60, 1080p30, and 1080p24 video in AVCHD. When recording footage at resolutions lower than 4K the full width of the image sensor is used, but 4K footage is cropped. It's a modest trimming at the left and right side of the frame, which slightly narrows the field of view of the attached lens, but one that is noticeable. This is a concern if you're a fan of wide-angle videography—the scope of an ultra-wide lens like the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 7-14mm f2.8 PRO is limited when paired with the GX8's 4K video mode.

Aside from the crop, video quality is strong. The 4K footage is crisp and clear, although there is some evidence of the rolling shutter effect during quick pans. If you opt to shoot in 1080p rolling shutter isn't an issue at all, and video quality is still quite strong, without cropping. The internal mic did a good job picking up my voice in our test studio, but it also picked up a lot of ambient background noise. For serious video work consider an external mic, and remember that you'll need to use an adapter to plug it into the GX8.

ConclusionsMicro Four Thirds photographers in want of a new camera should give the GX8 a close look. It combines the benefits of in-body stabilization found in most Olympus models with the 4K video capabilities that Olympus cameras don't offer. Add a speedy autofocus system, a weather-sealed design, strong ergonomics, and excellent image quality, and you have a camera that's easy to recommend, especially if you already have an investment in the Micro Four Thirds lens system. But as good as it is, it falls a bit short of being named Editors' Choice. The Sony Alpha 6300 omits in-body stabilization, but wins out with a superb focus system, 4K video quality, and better image quality.

www.pcmag.com


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