Hands-on preview: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

A hands-on preview of the Lumix GX1, Panasonic’s pocket-sized, enthusiast-oriented addition to the Lumix G range. View at 1080p to see close-ups of sample shots at 1:1 pixel ratio.

Visit Expert Reviews for more information about the GX1.

Panasonic GX1 at Panasonic.co.uk

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6 Responses to Hands-on preview: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

  1. mastakidd says:

    Hi, great blog. I’m new to photography, and enjoyed your sobering review of the Pentax Q which I was considering. If I want the best overall quality camera given (1) max $800 price point; and (2) the smaller the better but quality first — is Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 the best bet? How do Sony, Samsung and Canon compare?

    Thanks!
    Eugene

    • Thanks for the compliment!

      It’s a tough call… I’ve not tested all the competing models yet, but I’d say:

      – Sony NEX-5N best of the bunch for image quality, but relatively slow autofocus (review coming soon)
      – Panasonic GX1 not far behind for image quality, fast AF, very compact zoom lens if you pay for the more expensive GX1X – but that looks like it’ll be over budget – currently on pre-order from Amazon for $950. The GX1K with the non-collapsing lens is $800 though
      – Nikon J1 – Solid all-rounder, costs $600 (spare money for more lenses?) – review coming soon
      – Olympus E-P3 – I’ve not tried but it looks like it might be a strong all-rounder. I’m expecting the E-PL3 so I’ll hopefully be able to report back.
      – Samsung NX200 – don’t know much about this camera yet

      Hope this helps!

  2. mastakidd says:

    After more research, it is a tough call but leaning toward the GX1 for photography. However, video is very important to me and the GX1 doesn’t seem best there with limited functionality. Which micro four thirds would you say has the best video quality – closest to an HD camcorder?

    Thanks so much.

    • Pretty much all of these mirrorless system cameras beat any consumer camcorder for picture quality, thanks to their big sensors – it’s the same reason why SLRs take better photos than compact cameras.

      The GX1 captures great looking videos but the lack of manual control is a drawback for more advanced users. Most of the competitors have this function, including the new Olympus PEN range (E-P3, E-PL3, E-PM1), although their kit lens makes a purr-like clicking sound when autofocusing that leaks onto the soundtrack. The best Micro Four Thirds camera for video is undoubtedly the Panasonic GH2, but it’s not cheap.

      If you’re not committed to Micro Four Thirds and are happy to go with a rival system, I’d recommend the Sony NEX-5N. The best photo quality of any mirrorless system camera, plus excellent video quality with manual control. I’m hoping to publish a review soon.

  3. mastakidd says:

    NEX-5N looks really good, minus the blogged about clicking noise issue during video. A bad batch which Sony may still be selling; however, the fix Sony offers supposedly takes care of it.

    Below are 3 cons mentioned for NEX-5, but I can’t find reviews addressing whether the NEX-5N improved up on them?

    (1) Built in mic for video does not handle loud music well

    This is the most important issue for me. Any idea if 5N video can handle loud volume? I intend to take it to a house music festival.

    (2) AF sometimes misses, though says its confirmed
    (3) Lenses have distortion and are a bit “lackluster” in detail and oomph

    These are referring to the standard 18-55mm Sony lens kit. Are these issues other lenses can fix? Does this rival system mean I need an adapter to use all other brand lenses? What lenses would be a top choice for NEX-5N? Will the Panasonic Vario lens work (love its small collapsing size)? What about Leica lenses?

    Thanks so much.

    Eugene

    • Loud music – I haven’t tested this specifically on the 5N, but this is something that Panasonic always gets right in my experience, and few other manufacturers do.

      Sony AF speed isn’t as fast as Panasonic. It’s generally just as reliable, except when shooting moving subjects at close range, whereupon the subject has moved by the time the camera has focused.

      Same lenses on the NEX-5N, and same slightly soft focus towards the corners of frames. Yes, only Sony lenses can be used, although Tamron has just announced the first compatible lens for the Sony E mount. I’ve only tested the 18-55mm and 16mm kit lenses, and both are a little soft.

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