Thursday, October 8, 2015

Panasonic Lumix GX8, The Perfect Camera? My Personal Review (UPDATED)

Hello all, I finally took the leap of faith and bought a brand new GX8. As you may have read from my previous posts about the perfect camera, the GX8 ticks most of the boxes of my perfect camera requirements. I already studied the camera by reading a bunch of articles and watching tons of videos for a few months before I finally bought it. And now that it's with me, I want to share my experience of shooting the GX8 with you all.
I'm sure many of you have already read all the reviews and watched all the videos on the Internet about the GX8. This will be my personal review, and all the things that I said here are based on my own finding which is of course biased towards my needs as a photographer. So please treat this blog post accordingly. Have fun!
Behold, I am the king of MFT cameras!


Let's get the obvious out of the way, that 20MP new sensor is the most discussed thing of all the aspects of GX8. We'll get to that later, please be patient.


I'll start with the design. The body is definitely bigger than the GX7 but not by much. It's slightly heavier than the GX7, but also not by much fortunately. Keep in mind that the GX8 is now almost the same size as a Leica M camera, and it's as big as an OM-D E-M1 without the viewfinder.
It does feature a new grip with a cleverly designed front-positioned shutter on top of the grip to improve the handling of the camera significantly, but it still retained the cool rangefinder form-factor that I personally love. The new body is weather-sealed, which makes it more durable in harsh conditions.
Speaking of the GX7, the GX7 is smaller so it has the advantage of portability. Combined with intermediate lens like the Olympus 75mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8, Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8, Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6, or the Panasonic 7-14mm f4, the GX7 can actually offer a smaller package that packs almost the same punch with the GX8. This makes the GX7 a great second camera for utility lenses while the GX8 wields the main lens(usually the 12-35mm f2.8 or 14-140mm f3.5-5.6) and both will make a great dual camera setup that can still fit easily into my Billingham Hadley Small with lots of room to spare.
However, with the bigger form factor of the GX8, comes the advantage of better lens handling especially for bigger lens. My 100-300mm fits just nicely on the GX8 and I don't have any problem wielding it using one hand on the GX8. The GX7 and 100-300mm combination is a bit too front heavy and I have to hold it with two hands.


The main buttons(ISO, WB, drive, AF zone, LVF) are on the same places as on the GX7, so the transition to GX8 isn't difficult. The mode dial is now placed nicely on top of a newly added exposure dial. The two control dials are placed on the top right side of the camera and on the surrounding of the shutter button. The AF/AE lock button moves to the right on the thumb rest, making it quicker to lock exposure/focus. The AF/MF switch is now being upgraded with the option of selecting AFC too.


Function Buttons

There are plenty of new function buttons; two on the top, near the record button and on top of the control dial, one besides the LVF button, and one on the front side just beside the lens on the right side near the grip. These new function buttons provide a lot of customization options for the GX8. You got a total of 13 function buttons, 8 of them are physical buttons, and 4 of them are dedicated function buttons; that's a lot of buttons!!

Screen and EVF

The screen is as big as the one in the GX7 but with less border, so it's somehow displaying a slightly bigger image. It has good color, it's very sharp, and it's very good for chimping and to check for mis-focus or motion blur. The EVF is so much bigger than the one in the GX7, you can fit the GX7's viewfinder inside the GX8! It's definitely one of the best EVF in the market now, surpassing the comfort and reliability of an OVF for sure! It doesn't show any smearing artifact whatsoever, and it's bright and contrasty too! It's definitely as big or even bigger than the viewfinder of full-frame DSLRs.

Do I use the tilting EVF?

Yes. It's been very useful for me especially when I'm shooting in a small room at difficult angles. It's been a life-saving feature especially when there's glare in the room caused by sunlight through the windows, which happens many times during photo/video sessions. Many people don't need it, but now that I've used it on the GX7 and GX8 quite frequently, it is now an indispensable feature for me.


My GX8 comes in black, and the finish on it is very high-end. The faux leather on the grip definitely helps with the firmer handling but on the same time also makes it looks luxurious. The matte metallic finish on the rest of the body makes the camera look very tough and strong, especially with the all black finish. Combined with the rangefinder form-factor, it's the best looking mirrorless camera to date.
Aesthetic wise, there's so little logo on this camera, it doesn't even say GX8 on any noticeable sides! You'll have to reach the bottom side of the GX8 to finally be able to see a small GX8 text with the serial number on it. This is a wise decision in my opinion; less branding attracts less attention, the last thing you want to happen is to gain attention while shooting of course!
The 12-35mm fits perfectly onto the GX8.

Performance Report

The GX8 is a mighty camera designed to be a high end mirrorless camera. With the GX8, I think Panasonic has done a good job on making a statement that they are very serious in the development of their Lumix cameras. Here are my findings.



Autofocus is improved on the GX8. It never miss-focuses even in low light when compared to the GX7. The GX7 does well in all condition, but sometimes it miss-focuses my 12-35mm f2.8 on low light and it happened a few times during a critical shoot. The slight increase of speed isn't much and the GX7 is already faster than most DSLRs, but for me it's definitely helping a lot. Even a millisecond could make or break a shot! I'm definitely spoiled by the fast auto-focus speed of the GX7!
The continuous auto focus is also much more accurate in the GX8 compared to the GX7. The GX7's continuous auto focus hunts a lot and it's almost unusable in many condition. The GX8 tracks the focus well and it continues to adjust the focus precisely, and it's now very usable in critical shooting scenarios. Not perfect yet though, you'll still get miss-focused shots but not as much as with the GX7. Overall, I'm very impressed with the DFD auto-focus technology that's being implemented in the GX8, it really works!


Burst Shooting

The burst rate got raised significantly from 5FPS to 8FPS RAW capture, and the buffer actually can hold 32 RAW images with a regular class 10 SDHC card before it slows down. If you use the electronic shutter, the burst rate will increase to 9FPS. I haven't tried the JPG, but I got a feeling that it can shoot hundreds of JPGs before the buffer fills up. Yeah, I know. Holy. Forking. Shirt.
Update: Just tried JPG burst shooting on Fine JPG size, the buffer can hold 85 pictures before it slows down.
If that's not enough, there's a 30FPS 8MP 4K burst video-to-photo mode that you can activate through the drive button. It will take 8MP JPGs only, no RAW. It will give you a frame-by-frame video capture and you can select one of the frames that you want to use as the single picture.
Update: Keep in mind that the 4K Photo mode is actually a video, so you can capture until the memory runs out or until you hit the 29 minute limit mark. For every second, you will get 30 frames.
If that doesn't blow your mind yet, there's a Super High 40FPS electronic-shutter JPG burst that you can activate manually through the picture quality setting and the drive button. You'll get 120 images for every single burst. Your images will look like a hi-def video when you scroll through them, and you can select as many as you want. This is actually nothing new, as the GX7 already has this, but the GX8 is able to capture more images and it doesn't have to be in medium JPEG.
I personally haven't tried the bulb mode, so I will have to get back to you on that later. But I have tried the long exposure shooting using the GX8 and I can say that it has slightly less noise compared to the GX7! Hooray!
The RAW burst rate improvement on the GX8 is a crucial factor that made me purchased it. The new improved burst rate will help me during event photography to capture moments without having to worry about buffer limitation or slow burst speed. The GX7 does have a nice enough 5FPS, but I missed a few shots because it's too slow for event photography.



Now onto the stabilization. The new Dual IS works really well. I upgraded the firmware on my 12-35mm as well as the 14-140 and both got significantly more stable especially on the longer end of the focal length range. As with the 14-140, I can get down to 1/8 second sharp images at 140mm. With the 12-35mm, I can go down to 1/4 second and still get a sharp image. Heck, I just tried again and I got a sharp image at 1/2 sec with the 12-35 at 35mm. Again. Holy. Parking. Sheep.
But keep in mind, the Dual IS only works with compatible lenses. The IBIS on the GX8 by itself without the Dual IS mode also works wonderfully. It's definitely a little bit better than the GX7, but definitely not by much.



The video just got upgraded significantly with the introduction of 4K. There also Cine-V and Cine-D profiles for pro-level footage that can record some extra dynamic range by reducing the overall contrast, so that you can have more flexibility in the post by color grading your footage manually. Granted, they are not V-log, S-log, or other high-end cinematic flat profile, but they are enough for what I need for my video works. The GX7, while it also shoots great video, it doesn't have these profiles, and sometimes I'm shooting at really difficult and contrasty lighting scene and I need the flexibility to be able to recover more dynamic range from my footages. On the side note, I don't really care too much about 4K right now, but it's nice to have the option in the GX8. I might going to learn to shoot with 4K and downscale the footage to 1080p in the future, and see if it makes a significant difference to my video shots. Overall, the new added video features are very welcomed in the GX8, and even if the GX8 doesn't go totally pro like a GH4 with a more serious video options, these features are still overkill enough for most people.
There's an introduction of E-Stabilizer for the video that is only compatible with compatible Panasonic lenses that will help smooth the motion during recording. It's using digital manipulation on the sensor, so it's not the most ideal solution, but it works and I don't see any drawbacks of using this E-Stabilizer on my footages. It's definitely better than applying Stabilization in the post production for sure. Sadly, it doesn't work with non compatible Panasonic lenses. Also it's kinda weird, the stabilization menu is in the "Photo" menu; if you're in the "Manual Video" mode, you'll have to change the mode dial to any picture mode (M, A, S, P) to be able to access the E-Stabilizer menu, which is weird.
Update: I've tested the video aspect of the GX8 more extensively these past few days and there are some things that I noticed. First, the 4K video is cropped heavily, I think it's now doing at least 1.3x crop on top of the original crop factor of the GX8, so that's like 2.3x crop factor compared to a 35mm full frame sensor. This isn't bugging me so much because I don't always do wide-end video shooting all the time. Also, the added crop factor actually combats moire, aliasing, and noise in less than ideal lighting condition because it actually makes the pixels in the sensor "appear bigger" relative to the actual sensor read-out size.
It goes without saying that the 4K footages themselves are very good. The 100MB/sec 24/25fps MP4 files are just gorgeous and the extra details being recorded compared to the details in regular 1080p footage are just really more noticeable. Downsample that 4K clip down to 1080p, and you'll still have that extra detail being shown, even in smaller resolution. The regular 1080p modes are available in both AVCHD or MP4 with up to 28MB/sec bitrate in 24/25/50fps, and they are just as good as the GX7's 1080p. But with the new Cine-D and Cine-V profile, it should be able to hold more dynamic range compared to the flattened Standard/Neutral profile, which is the only video profile with the highest dynamic range on the GX7.
Here's a sample video that I made, recorded in 4K, downsampled to 1080p:



The GX8 doesn't have a built in flash, but I don't care anymore. I used off camera flashes these days, the built in flash on the GX7 is simply no longer up to the task. If built in flash is important for you, definitely go with the GX7.
Flash sync speed? 1/250 works just fine, 1/320 is a little dodgy already. I really wish Panasonic could implement a built-in digital ND of some sort for the next iteration of the GX series... or a leaf shutter, please (I don't think it's mechanically possible to implement in the body though). But 1/250 is good enough, I can live with that. I have my 4 stop ND filter anyway, let's have a good excuse to justify the cost of buying that filter, shall we?
Update: I just re-tested the sync speed again with my YongNuo YN510EX, and I can still get to sync the flash at 1/320. I tried 1/400, there's a subtle black bar on the upper part of the image, but it's not yet fatal. However, 1/500 is unusable and anything up from there is pretty much just black bar across the whole image.


Battery Life

I haven't got any issue with the battery life. I'm sensing that it's slightly longer than the GX7 but I'll have to test it further to clarify it. The battery is definitely bigger than the GX7's battery, so I'm hoping it could last longer than the GX7. It's definitely gonna last very long if you shoot with electronic shutter.
Update: I just tested the battery life of the GX8 on a very demanding shooting session during a concert last night. I shot around 1800 photos using the GX8, the first 1000 photos were using electronic shutter, while the rest used the regular mechanical shutter. The shooting session lasted for about 5 hours, and the battery indicator only showed a single drop of bar. O. M. G!

GX8 and 100-300mm.

Update: RAW to JPG in Camera

This is a feature that I use more and more everytime I pick up the GX8. I can now take all RAW pictures and if I need to transfer it to my phone, I can just export that picture into JPG using a feature built in the menu in camera, so I don't need to specifically shoot JPG for the picture that I want to send to my phone. This feature isn't available with the GX7, with the GX7 you have to shoot JPG if you want to send the picture to your phone.

Performance Cons of the GX8

Some minor hiccups are present: There's still that LCD-to-viewfinder switch delay, it's a bit shorter than the same delay on the GX7, but it's still too long in my opinion.
There's still that "Jello effect" due to the rolling shutter when you are shooting stills using the electronic shutter, but the rolling shutter is less apparent in video.
There's a weird thing going on with the exposure locking mechanism that I just recently encountered, but also happens in the GX7. With my Olympus E-PL6, I can just lock the focus and the LCD preview exposure as well as the real metering exposure will lock together with the focus lock and when you press the shutter you'll get a spot-on image that looks like the locked preview exposure just before you shoot it. But with the GX8, the LCD preview exposure doesn't lock although the metering locks in.
To temporarily combat this weird exposure thing, I have to manually AE lock the metering exposure to trigger the LCD preview exposure to lock itself by pressing the AF/AE button that I assigned for AE lock. I'm guessing this is just a menu option that I couldn't find yet.
There's also another minor "lack of option" that hasn't been corrected that's also present on the GX7. It's the bracketing mode. It works well on burst mode, but there's no real way to shoot burst bracketing mode with a timer that will automatically shoot the exposures without holding down the button or clicking it one by one. Sure, I can use the shutter delay option, but it will still require me to click the shutter one by one after each exposure is done, and for long exposure work it's very potential to cause mis-aligned exposures or ghosting. The only workaround right now is to use remote shutter, or to use your smartphone as a remote via wifi.
The GX8 is a bit bigger than the GX7, but not by much.

Image Quality

Okay, now this is the most interesting part of all the things on the GX8. The brand new 20MP sensor. You can read all the technical things on how big you can get more resolution out of it, etc. But in my opinion, it's not that much of an improvement. Here are my findings.


High ISO

So far, on the base ISO, the GX7 can match the GX8 perfectly. At high ISO, around 1600 or so, the GX8 provides a slight advantage of less noise, but it's very very insignificant and only noticeable at 100% pixel peeping level. ISO 3200 on GX8 is still manageable, it does keep slightly more detail when compared to the GX7.


Dynamic Range

The extra dynamic range isn't really noticeable in my opinion. But it's safe to say that I can pull 2 stops of blown highlight from an image without making it look fake. I can also pull the shadow at around 2 to 2.5 stops without adding too much noise. Not too mindblowing, the GX7 performs as good on the shadow pulling department with just a slight less advantage on the highlight pulling department. Definitely not a huge difference between GX8 and GX7. But keep in mind, the GX8 has slightly more pixels, so it's safe to say that if you downsize the resolution to match the GX7, the GX8 will show superiority in the dynamic range department. For a person like me who downsize all my pictures to fit 3840 x 3840 pixels, this is simply a minor but still considerable advantage.


Issues: Shutter Shock

Shutter shock is still present in the GX8, especially when you are using the Panasonic 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 on 140mm. I've compared side by side images shot at 140mm with electronic shutter and with mechanical shutter, all at 1/100 of a second. The ones with e-shutter is sharper, and there are some motion blur on the mechanical shutter. But keep in mind that it's a bit better compared to the GX7's shutter shock. The 140mm mechanical shutter images from the GX7 is ever-so-slightly more blurry in my opinion.


Update: Electronic Shutter

I compared my GX8 E-shutter images with the GX7 E-shutter images, and it seemed that finally the banding artifact that was present on GX7 E-shutter images is now gone on the GX8. Shooting under any lighting condition will not generate banding artifact. So the only drawback when you are shooting with the E-shutter on GX8 is the rolling shutter effect. This is quite a huge bonus for me, especially because I prefer to shoot using E-shutter all the time.

Overall Image Quality

In my opinion, Panasonic had done an excellent job on the GX8 by balancing the higher 20MP resolution with more advanced image processing so that the extra resolution doesn't cause problems especially in the noise department at high ISO or long exposure. I think it's safe to conclude that the image quality produced by the GX8 is definitely improving, but not by much.
Overall, this is not a deal breaker for me, an improvement is still an improvement, and no matter how small the improvement is, it can still cause a potential improvement in the overall IQ on the right application. But since the headline of the news are "20MP OMG HIGH RESOLUTION FTW", don't get sucked by it. We photographers, amateurs and professionals alike, shouldn't be the type of people that easily acknowledge all the marketing hype that the manufacturers try to tell. Your camera purchase decision should be based on the requirement of your photography, since your camera will degrade its value over time. I have my reasons for purchasing the GX8 so I don't just buy it because it's a cool new camera or whatsoever.
So now you might ask, why increase it to 20MP instead of developing revolutionary technology at 16MP? In my opinion, the simple answer is because of the competition. Mega pixel race isn't dead yet, and the new camera offerings from Canon and Sony just went crazy with the mega pixel count. There's the Canon 5DS and 5DS-R that goes up to 50MP(jeez, that's medium format's territory for Pete's sake!!) and the brand new Sony Alpha A7R Mark II that goes up to 42MP; both of them are full frame cameras and they offer fantastic image quality despite of the high mega pixel count. MFT has been 16MP for quite a few years, and it's time to show the world that MFT can accommodate more megapixels.
Yeah, the extra 4 MP isn't much, and compared with the High-Res mode of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, which is 40MP in JPEG or 60MP in RAW, it just doesn't mean anything. But as far as I know, the lenses in Micro Four Thirds format are as sharp as any professional chef's sashimi knife, as proved by the images from the High-Res mode on the E-M5 Mark II. They could handle high megapixels with no problem, and unlike full frame lenses, MFT lenses don't need so much glass to cover so much sensor area so they can have better edge-to-edge sharpness and excellent center sharpness. With the addition of a small but meaningful 4MP in the resolution, we can slowly further unlock the true potential of the MFT lenses and potentially lurking new MFT users who need the extra MP boost.


Where the GX7 Wins?

I mentioned many months ago that the Panasonic GX7 is the right camera for me. It has the features that many cameras on the same price range don't have, and the overall form factor of it really suits my photography needs. After using it for a full year, it is definitely the best camera that I've ever owned, and it can outperform some of the high end cameras that I've tried in the past.
I bought the GX8 not to replace the GX7. The GX7 will stay, the Olympus E-PL6 of mine will also stay, for a very long time for sure. The GX8 simply has more features that I need and want, but it also has some limitation compared to the GX7. So it feels like the GX8 isn't the successor or the replacement of GX7, but rather a totally different camera built from the ground up but being placed in the same GX line. So there's still some advantages that the GX7 has that the GX8 doesn't have. Here are some of what I found:
The GX7 has the non-swivel tilt-only LCD screen that is actually more useful for street shooting than the swivel screen of the GX8. The swivel screen of the GX8 works really well for video, and it works equally wonderfully when shooting stills at weird angles too, but you have to take it out from its housing to start swiveling the angle, and when it's out from its housing, it's on the side of the camera and it'll be very noticeable when you're shooting. The GX7's LCD stays behind the camera while you mess with the tilting angle, and it's much more inconspicuous.
The GX7 is much easier to hold and operate with one hand, especially with the assignable exposure compensation button on the rear. Everything is easy to press with your thumb and doesn't require a lot of thumb-travel to get to the button that you need. The GX8 can also be operated with just one hand but it's not as comfortable to access the buttons with your thumb. The dedicated exposure dial on the GX8 is also very nice, but sometimes it requires me to hold the camera with my left hand so that I can access the exposure dial easier.
The image quality, once again as I already discussed about it in the above, aren't too different between the GX7 and GX8. This means that the quality of the GX7 pictures won't go obsolete in the near future. If you already have a GX7, definitely don't upgrade to GX8 just for the increase of image quality.
GX8 holds the 12-35mm f2.8, while the GX7 holds the 75mm f1.8. The perfect dual body setup.

How Should I Setup My Function Buttons?

You may just bought yourself a brand new GX8 and now you're confused as hell trying to figure out what functions do you want to use on your GX8. Fear not, I can give you my example of the usage of the function buttons!
(Fn Button Set Menu is on the Custom Menu, page 7/9)
Fn1  : Touch AE
Fn2  : Q. Menu
Fn3  : Metering Mode
Fn4  : AF-On
Fn5  : 1 Shot RAW+JPG
Fn6  : Electronic Shutter
Fn7  : Preview
Fn8  : Wifi
Fn9  : Quality
Fn10: Digital Zoom (JPG only, I use it to shoot moon pictures)
Fn11: Unused, whatever you want
Fn12: Unused, whatever you want
Fn13: Focus Area Set
With this setup, you can lock exposure, and change focus point easily, just by pressing Fn1 and Fn13, which are always near your index finger. Metering mode and Back Button AF can be accessed using your thumb on the bottom right buttons. Preview button is always accessible using your middle finger. Electronic shutter doesn't need to be switched on very quickly, so it's a bit far on the LVF button and can be accessed using your left hand's finger. Same with one shot RAW+JPG, it's just in case you want to wifi the picture to your smartphone and Instagram it quickly.
Update: It seemed that there's a built in RAW editing in the GX8. That means you don't need the RAW+JPG option, simply just export your RAW to a separate JPG file using the "RAW Conversion" option inside the camera's menu. It's not as extensive as a dedicated RAW converter program on your computer, but it does the job very well for such a quick enhancement.

How Do I Set My Custom Menu?

On the Custom Menu, I set the following on my GX8.

Page 1/9

AF/AE Lock: AE Lock
AF/AE Lock Hold: On
Shutter AF: On

Page 2/9

Half Press Release: Off
Quick AF: Off
Eye Sensor AF: Off
Pinpoint AF Time: Mid
Pinpoint AF Display: PIP

Page 3/9

AF Assist Lamp: Off
Direct Focus Area: Off
Focus/Release Priority: Off
AF+MF: Off
MF Assist: Focus

Page 4/9

MF Assist Display: PIP
MF Guide: On
Peaking: On, Detect Level: High
Histogram: On, and then I moved it to the bottom left of the Rec screen
Guide Line: Rule of Thirds

Page 5/9

Center marker: Off
Highlight: Off
Zebra Pattern: Off
Monochrome LV: Off
Constant Preview: Off

Page 6/9

Expo meter: On
LVF Disp Style: Full Screen
Monitor Disp Style: Full Screen
Monitor Info Display: On
Rec Area: Still Camera

Page 7/9

Remaining Display: Camera and Burst
Auto Review: One Second
Q Menu: Preset
Dial Set: Default

Page 8/9

Video Button: On
Eye Sensor Sensitivity: Low
Touch Settings: Touch Screen: On, Touch Tab: On, Touch AF: Off, Touch Pad AF: Offset.
Touch Scroll: L

Page 9/9

Menu Guide: On
Shoot w/o Lens: On
This is my personal preference and you're welcomed to try my settings. Basically, the main highlight of this setup is that I can't touch/focus on the LCD to avoid unwanted LCD touch, unless I'm using the Fn button to AF Touch. However, in the viewfinder, I can just use the screen sort of like a laptop's touchpad to set the focus. Other than that, the AF/AE button is now working only to lock the AE, the overall camera's feedback is more stealthy, and the histogram is now available on both the LCD and viewfinder.


The Panasonic GX8 is definitely my new "perfect" camera. It's not 100% perfect, but it's definitely the missing puzzle piece of my photography arsenal that I've been searching for more than a year. The GX7 is still here with me, the E-PL6 is also still with me too. The GX8 is definitely a great camera, but it's not by any means a replacement for the GX7. Instead, it now lives together with the GX7 and provided me with functionality that's not available in the GX7, while the GX7 also lives together with the GX8 to cover what the GX8 can't do. The E-PL6 is now acting as a compact camera that I can always carry where the GX7 and GX8 can't fit.  Each of my 3 cameras now serve three different purposes in my photography toolbox.
The GX8 is a monster of camera that can almost do anything that I want. It has all the features that I need, sometimes I feel like it's a pro camera like the GH4 but in a smaller form. Keep in mind, although the headline of the GX8 is the 20MP sensor, you shouldn't buy the GX8 simply because of the image quality by itself. Instead, judge all the factors in the GX8 and determine for yourself if it's the right addition for your photograph arsenal. Please note that the GX7 is also now cheaper than ever, and if you don't need many of the features in the GX8 and just want a small compact mirrorless with a lot of punch, it's still a good buy for the money.
In summary:
GX8 Pros
- New sensor improved the image quality in almost all aspects.
- Heftier body with more substantial and comfortable grip.
- More function buttons.
- Manual mode with auto ISO capability.
- Huge EVF.
- Swivel screen, perfect for video and more flexibility for shooting at tough angles.
- Weather sealing.
- 4K UHD video.
- Cine D and Cine V profiles for video.
- RAW to JPG in camera.
- Unlimited video record time.
- E-shutter doesn't produce weird banding anymore.
- Improved buffer for continuous shooting, and improved continuous shooting speed.
- Slightly better continuous AF compared to GX7.
- Blazing fast single AF that works in low light, a bit better than the GX7.
- 2.5mm mic jack.
- Exposure compensation dial.
- Good IBIS, dual IBIS works well on select lenses.
GX8 Cons
- Bigger, heavier body.
- Swivel screen is not the most ideal for shoot-from-the-hip street photography.
- Image quality improved only ever-so-slightly, but still good enough.
- 1080p video bitrate and quality not improved from GX7.
- Shutter shock is still present.
- No headphone jack, 2.5mm mic jack isn't ideal.
- No built in flash, but honestly I don't need it.
- Expensive launch price.
Where GX7 Wins
- Smaller, lighter, compact body.
- Tiltable screen, perfect for shoot-from-the-hip street photography.
- Very straight-forward and quick operation.
- Smaller, but still substantial grip to handle medium-sized MFT lenses.
- Couples nicely with MFT primes.
- More inconspicuous.
- Cheaper price.

Sample Pictures

All of these images were taken using the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8
Off camera flash, one gelled behind the flowers, one in front of the flowers.
Blended long exposure images, testing the bracket mode of the GX8.
Geetar picture is mandatory for every new photo gear.
New selfie, thanks to the swivel screen. Off camera flash, one gridded behind me.
Off camera flash, one behind the subject, gelled with some red gel.
Single long exposure, ND filtered image. Look at how much shadow and highlight that I can recover.
I hope this post helps! I will update this post with more pictures taken with the GX8 in the future. Cheers and God bless you :)


  1. Chronic excellent! I'm curious what you think of the ability to extract still images of 4K videos?

    1. Hi, thanks for the comment! I think the 4K photo mode is good to capture a really critical fast moving object. It can definitely record longer than the 40FPS Super High burst JPG, so you can have a lot more frames to choose the best moment. I haven't use it that much though. Cheers!

  2. Hi - great view and insight into GX8, which i just got..
    I previously had a GX80 but wanted a bigger body to use with the 100-400 lens - now i am not sure if the image quality is any better than the gx80 and whether i now get shutter shock...any idea of quality between the gx8 and GX80? Thank you. Bilbo

    1. Hi Bilbo, thank you for your comment. The image quality is comparable between GX8 and GX80. Though the megapixel is slightly higher, you won't really see that much of a difference when you compare the images taken from those cameras. However, the GX8 does take the edge when you shoot using long exposure, it does have significantly lower noise than the GX80.

      Shutter shock is there, but electronic shutter on the GX8 does not present any real compromise except rolling shutter(unlike GX80's electronic shutter which reduces the bit depth of the RAW).

      Hope this helps :)

    2. Thanks Gary. Just tried some GX8 shots comparing Electronic and Mech shutter, wow all the Electronic shutter shots i find to be sharper at any shutter speed i have tried so far -definitely use electronic by default now. Really pleased has given me the confidence in the camera again.
      Hopefully a GX9 will use the new shutter mech, remove the AA filter and increase stabilisation inline with the GX80, and maybe add some phase detect points to improve subject tracking.
      Then it would be my perfect camera. However i see i can work around all these points comfortably and enjoy all the great things about the GX8. Gotta love the EVF! Thanks again, Andy

    3. Good to hear Bilbo. I also use Electronic Shutter almost exclusively with my GX8, except when I am shooting with flash. It just makes a lot of sense for me to use it all the time.

      I hope so too. Both the GX9 and the LX200 will be the two cameras that I am going to anticipate the most. I also hope the GX9 does offer better low light performance than our current GX8 by at least a stop or so, just for that extra confidence since I am using the GX8 professionally nowadays.

      Cheers Andy!

    4. ....Yes low light noise i forgot that your right, but the low light focus is amazing i must say. I will re-read your review now! Andy