I’ve had the fortune to be using a pre-production sample of the exciting Panasonic GX8, which I’ve had the pleasure of testing out for a little while. Having spent a few days with the GX8 – I took it for a spin in Belfast for the weekend – I can honestly say I’m really impressed both with image quality and with the way it handles.
For me, it’s the perfect size, weight and shape for my travels. I have a DSLR which I use for planned photoshoots, marketing and commercial work, but lugging around a heavy camera all day is not my idea of fun.
I’ve long been a fan of compact system cameras, and I’m particularly enthusiastic about Micro Four Thirds models, both from Olympus and Panasonic. I have owned an Olympus PEN, a Panasonic G5, and the camera I currently use for most of my travel shots – a Panasonic GH3.
So, when Panasonic asked me if I’d like to take a look at the GX8, I jumped at the opportunity. Despite the fact it has a flatter style body than the DSLR like styling of my GH3, I still very much enjoyed using it. In fact, the grip on this is pronounced enough to still feel substantial in the hand.
The viewfinder is one of the headline features of the new cameras, and it’s easily one of, if not, the best, electronic viewfinder I’ve used. Bright and clear, looking through it really is a pleasure. The fact that it tilts upwards also proved useful on occasion when trying to frame an awkward shot. I’m a fan of viewfinders, but if you prefer to use the screen (and there are times when I do too), then the one found on this device is great, and the fact that it is articulating also makes it handy for those awkward shots.
Although the camera I’m using is a pre-production model and therefore image quality is not necessarily indicative of the final build, I have to say I’m impressed. I need to test it a bit more in low light, but what I’ve seen so far is very promising. Have a look at the photos in the gallery below to get a good idea of what the camera is capable of. Just to note – these photos are directly from camera and haven’t been edited in any way. Normally I would edit all of my shots, but I want to give a good idea of what the GX8 is capable of producing directly from the camera. These are all JPEG images – the raw files are not yet editable in ACR. They have been resized for web, but that’s it.
I spend most of my travel time with the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 attached. It’s a fantastic walk around lens for travel, but I’m also a big fan of the 7-14mm f/4.0 which I also used here quite a bit. If I had room in my kit bag, I also took out the 25mm f/1.4 Leica optic, a personal favourite of mine, and a 45-150mm for those out of reach shots.
On a side, but important, note, this was my first visit to Belfast or Northern Ireland and I loved it! The weather was not always my friend, but having lived in Cardiff for the past 10 years … I’m used to having to be prepared for four seasons in one day. There’s a lot more in Belfast than I was expecting, and I didn’t get to do a lot of the things I would still love to do – I will be back, especially as you can now fly directly from Cardiff airport. Do visit if you get the opportunity, it’s a great little city which seems to only be getting better and better with time.
As always, let me know what you think of these shots in the box below – any and every comment most welcome. I’m looking forward to using the GX8 more over the next few weeks, and if you have any questions about this camera, you can also leave them in the box below – or send me a Tweet.