Lumix GX80 a pretty high tech camera...

August 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Motivation

I travel a lot. For Business. The trips bring me throughout the civilized world - mainly into high tech destinations. But I carry camera gear with me. And the compromise in size and image quality should be minim.

The Lumix GM series is my "always with me" gear - in combination with some excellent glass - typically a collection of the Leica branded lenses... which are awesome by the way. When the rumor came up that panasonic is going to kill the GM product line I decided to check wether the GX80 will fit into my normal bag in which I carry everything. 

The GX80 is  - name wise- a chameleon amon the cameras: In the US it is called GX 85 and in Asia GX7MkII. Why: I have no idea. I work in marketing and sales - but I do have no idea what´s the strategy behind that - sorry to say Panasonic. 

But let´s talk about the camera itself. Having the same sensor in 3 different cameras now (GM5, G7 or G70, and the GX85) it is interesting to see how is the handling of the camera and how is the camera working.

First of all: there is a mayor upgrade against both cameras: And this is named IBIS: In Body Image Stabilisation. And the GX85 offers the most sophisticated version of it: It is working together with the OIS, the optical image stabilization.

Body size

Well, the body size is much larger than the body of the GM1 (or the GM5). Here I show some crappy but informative iPhone shots what´s about: the sunglasses compartment of my backpack which I use daily for business...

Yes: its seems to be made for a tiny camera like the GM´s. 

 

But the GX80 is much more bulky. Especially if the Summilux 15mm f1.7 is mounted - my alway on lens... But it seems to work..

Yes it does. Had my bag with me when I went to my camera store for most of my Lumix stuff... http://www.photo-planet.de  There I saw it fits - and bought the body....

 

Handling

The GX80 lays fairly in your hand. for me the best feeling is still with the G7/70 which fits perfectly. Even it the G7 feels a bit cheap - but the ergonomics are benchmark. For all of my camera gear. Only the GH4 - which I do not own - seems to be a bit better.

Here on the top view you see most of the functionality of the camera. The mode dial is there and you have the access to the other dials as well: one below the mode dial on the back and the other one is located around the shutter button.

For experienced Panasonic shooters the rear site is pretty well known. 4 function buttons you can program which is great. But I typically leave it as it is. In combination with the logics of the menus and the soft buttons on the screen: well this just works great.

 

The mode dial. Below the mode dial you see the power switch. And below this you find the rear wheel for adjustments. 

The mode dial is easy to use. The switch below: yes it works. But i found while shooting: Whenever I took the camera out of my bag and have it switched on I was in another setting: typically in "S" than "A" or so. Here I miss that button which blocks the dial. The G7 is organized better...  

And the rear wheel: it seems to work similar to the other panasonic cameras...

The tilt screen: mmh. on one side: yes a great advantage against the GM - series. But it is only half the way - if you are used to the fully articulated of the G- or GH series: this is how it should be. Here you see the max tilt for the top view. 

And this is the maximum for the up view: This helps definitely for shots which you make holding the camera up. As well: great improvement over the GM´s... But still half the way against G-/GH- Panasonics...

Connectivity

First of all: the Image App from Panasonic is just great. Meanwhile it works. It replaces a lot of functionality from the camera to the app. For instance: with the Image App the functionality of a cable release: not needed: you can release the camera remote from the app (but honestly: you scarify battery life time...

One topic you see in this image: it is possible to recharge the camera with a µ-USP cable. From a docking station, a power bank whatever.. This is nice and great: Whenever you do not shoot: reload the battery. This helps a lot because the battery life time is fare away from being great. And the GX 80 has e specific battery. which is annoying. to some extend....

Viewfinder

The electronic Viewfinder is a big improvement against all others i know. I use it much more often - and it is fun to use. 

And - against the GM5- the wheel for the adjustment is back... it works...

Build in Flash

Flash is another improvement against the GM5. 

The Flash is little. The position is not optimum: the lens hoods are shadowing the image, even with the Leica 15mm f1.7. But it helps to improve the light conditions.....

Image Stabilisation

One big topic of the GX80 is the Dual IS. The GX80 has the newest version of image stabilization. It stabilizes the sensor in 5 axis - typically called IBIS: In Body Image Stabilisation. But it is able to take benefit of optical image stabilization as well, called OIS: The combination is named Dual IS. Does it work? Yes. I made a simple (?)  test:

 

  • I have chosen 50mm focal length for the comparison: My old Zeiss Planar 50mm f1.4 lens, fully manual
  • And the Elmarit 45mm f2.8 where I updated the firmware to the newest level to be able to work with dual IS
  • I took the G7 as body without IBIS
  • And compared if the both lenses on the GX80
  • As reference I started with 1/100s: following the classical rool: the effective full format focal length in mm is the shutter speed you should be able to hand hold. And than i stopped down: 1/50th, 1/25th up to 1/3.2....
  • I made 3 series: close by, medium range as well as infinity.
  • For each setting I took "only" 10 images.... totally 720 photos... Maybe not enough for a scientific evaluation but it gives you an impression....

And here is the result:

 

Summary

camera

G6

G6

GX80

GX80

time

50 mm

45 mm

50mm

45mm

100

83,33 %

96,67 %

96,67 %

100,00 %

50

73,33 %

83,33 %

83,33 %

96,67 %

25

33,33 %

56,67 %

86,67 %

96,67 %

12

10,00 %

43,33 %

53,33 %

73,33 %

6

3,33 %

23,33 %

43,33 %

53,33 %

3

0,00 %

10,00 %

30,00 %

43,33 %

Summary

33,89 %

52,22 %

65,56 %

77,22 %

 

Or graphically:

I am not a shooter with the most reliable fix holding of a camera. But it shows some points very clear:

  • OIS works
  • IBIS works even better
  • Dual IS tops it all!!!!

Believe me: The dual IS is a feature which is really convincing: It´s a game changer. It allows you to take photos in low light at lower ISO-levels which brings you closer to larger sensor formats.

Shot with the ELMARIT 45mm f2.8@ 1/5s...

Again the Elmarit 45mm f2.8 but with 1/8th of a second.....

Sample Shots taken with the GX80

The GX 80 delivers. Here are a couple of shots i made with it recently: You will find these shots in the sample shots for the 12mm lens shoot out as well as in the (upcoming) review of the Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2....

I think these photos are speaking for themselves.... 

Video

I am not a video guy. really not. But sometime I do it. On Family events or in special occasions. Like the one I did recently:

 https://youtu.be/0mw4pJOcUeg

In this case: the video was shot with the Nocticron 42.5mm f1.2: pretty challenging under these lighting conditions... (EV2...)

For me the slight focus hunting at the is not perfect, but I can live with it... I hope the musicians can live with it too ;-)

The shooting experience is great: it is really fun and easy to use: a real appetizer to do more video stuff.. especially with high end and fast lenses.

 

Complains

If you have light you will have to face shadows, too. there are a couple which you cannot work around:

  • battery lifetime
  • missing HDR possibilities
  • mode dial is not fixable.

Especially the missing HDR feature sucks: it is just 2 or 3 lines of software. easily upgradeable with firmware: please do it panasonic.

Verdict

The GX80 (or GX85 or GX7 MkII - where ever you are) is a great camera. The Dual IS is a killer feature! A must have! Period! It opens new possibilities for street photography in the blue hour....

The rest: it is another great µ43 camera. It is definitely worth the money. The ergonomics: well here is some space for improvement, but considering the price point: This is a really fair package.  

Additional Remarks

Most of the photos of the camera were taken with the Lumix G6 and the Elmarit 45mm f2.8. The photos of the camera in the bag were taken with the iPhone 6splus. 

Here is the link to the product shots:

http://delightphoto.zenfolio.com/p750171302

And her for the sample shots:

With the Nocticron 42,5mm f1.2: http://delightphoto.zenfolio.com/p393688581

With the Summilux 12mm f1.4: http://delightphoto.zenfolio.com/p830433512

 


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