The Lumix GX8 One Week Later

While every new announcement from a camera company draws both praise and criticism, I don't recall a Lumix G that has had such love/hate from M43 shooters ever. Some people love the larger size and grip while others are upset that the GX8 is similar in size to the full frame Sony's. Those that expected a 3.5mm mic port were surprised to find a 2.5mm (me included) while others, that probably don't shoot video, could care less. Even when it comes to the new sensor many were hoping to stay at 16mp with substantial dynamic range while others welcome the increase in resolution.

I'm not going to argue which is right because that's up to each individual photographer with their own needs. What I think I'm getting at here - I hope - is that the only way to appreciate a camera is to shoot with it. Seeing the camera online don't really work and even holding the camera in a store is not the way to choose a camera. You really need to work with it to appreciate it or not.

I'm not going to have the GX8 much longer (you can see it on the Shoot Anything Tour ) I won't have the opportunity to talk about the camera again until this fall. That's fine because I really want to dig into the new Lumix G7 which I feel is the best value for any ILC on the market right now.

When I first saw the GX8 I was a bit taken back by the size of the camera even though I was told it was going to be sizable (for M43 small compared to a DSLR). You know that I love small cameras and personally I was hoping for something the size of the GX7 but this camera was not it. In use though the size proved quite usable since my fingers were not fumbling all over the body when I needed to capture the moment.

Since I took the camera on vacation I was wanting to be casual in my photography yet get good results and this is where the GX8 came into it's own. It took me about half a day but I fine tuned the JPEG engine to get some impressive results. The JPEGs were then sent to my iPhone via the built in WiFi which, thank god, has been much simplified on the GX8. That's it for my workflow.

While Panasonic claims the new sensor Venus engine combo yields about 1/3 stop better I'm seeing about a full stop. What I used to shoot at ISO 1600 I can do without worry at ISO 3200. Noise was handled well on the JPEGs - not mushy but still visible and I like the structure how noise looks with the GX8. Keep in mind that I set my in camera noise reduction to it's lowest setting.

ISO 1600, f/1.7, 1/30

ISO 3200, f/1.7, 1/60

Using a customized Natural Picture Style I was able to capture images with a film-like color response and tonal range. The GX8 was able to capture some delicate tonality even in mid-day harsh tropical sun. When the light was nice though, the images were really something.

ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/320

ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/320

In camera HDR hand held

In camera HDR hand held

My lens choice was the Leica 15mm f/1.7 Summilux which also helps. Both the Summilux and Nocticron have such character in how they render DOF and bokeh. Don't ever discount the value of quality glass with character. I kept my sharpness down one click as well. No need to make everything overly sharp when the lens does such a fine job as is.

I did not shoot any video but I did get a shot of my wife at a unique cross walk using 4K Photo which made capturing the perfect stance easy.

4K Photo - ISO 200, f/1.7, 1/2500

4K Photo - ISO 200, f/1.7, 1/2500

I guess after shooting with the GX8 for a week I'm appreciating the GX8 for what it is - a modern photographers camera. Size and mic port aside what I found was that because of the quality of the JPEGs out of camera and the larger size, I was able to put my efforts into capturing beautiful moments of a special time in my life. At the end of my life I won't be thinking about the GX8, the size or other quirks I'll be looking at the images and reliving my 40th with my wife. 

Giulio Sciorio