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back to article Panasonic DMC-GX1 compact system camera

Panasonic’s DMC-GX1 camera is the Lumix model many Micro Four Thirds enthusiasts have been waiting for since the release of popular DMC-GF1 back in 2009. This 16Mp shooter will appeal to seasoned users with easily accessible controls for customisation on an enticingly compact aluminium body – a combination that will take it …

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Anonymous Coward

Looks good, but why buy a half way there camera when you can buy a proper camera at a similar price?

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@OP

Funny that because I was thinking that this appears to be the first compact system camera that might be worth the money.

Oh, almost forgot, go away

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Facepalm

[rolleyes] Not everyone wants to lug a DSLR around.

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Anonymous Coward

People need to get over the SLR snobbery. Compact system cameras are now a choice rather than a compromise. I use both, according to my needs and the latest Micro Four Thirds cameras are easily as good as mid range SLRs from a few years back. If you're in this price range, anything will give you the quality you need unless you're working at the extremes - maybe you take photos in disused coal mines? More important are how the camera feels, the choice of lenses (like the fantastic Panasonic 20/1.7), how comfortable you feel with the controls, etc. And no I don't own a Panasonic.

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Anonymous Coward

It's not snobbery just that some SLR cameras are far superior and yet cost the same or close to this one.

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Anonymous Coward

If you want a small compact, a decent one like the Nikon P 300 costs a third less. Of course e may be snobbery in this, at the end of the day it's not the camera, it's the photographer that creates the picture.

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A decent set of lenses ...

... is probably more important than the photographer in most circumstances.

So is size - there are many, many circumstances where having a smaller, non-pro but fully capable camera will get you much better pictures that the most expensive DSLR (c.f. photojournalists in Libya with only iPhones...).

Quite frankly, DSLRs are more of a fashion statement (as in "look at me, I'm a pro photographer!!") than a necessity for quality photos.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A decent set of lenses ...

I don't agree with the fashion statement remark. I moved from an APS-C to a full frame DSLR and I can tell you that the step up in image quality is astounding. Jam a nice prime such as the 85mm f1.8 (that doesn't cost the earth) on the end and I challenge you to get close with a compact system, especially in low light. It's not a fashion statement it's a functional one.

You may also want to note how fiddly it is for those with large hands when trying to use even the entry level DSLRs (that seem strangely small) comfortably let alone a miniature such as a mirrorless compact. The more stable way to take a photo is with the camera held up to the eye - a bit hard to do when you need to fork out another £200+ for the viewfinder, making this a £1,000 camera i.e. fucking expensive for what it is.

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Cost is a little out

It has come down quite a bit since launch and I saw it on sale with kit lens + external viewfinder for less than £700 last time I looked inside my local Jessops. In terms of value, it's probably best to compare it to the Olympus E-P3. The Panasonic camera is in the same quality bracket, quite a bit more capable and costs less!

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smx

I bought one of these as a step down from a DSLR as i wanted something more compact and easier to travel with, really good camera once you find your way round the menu's, lenses can be a bit pricey though.

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Genuine Question Time(!)

Do you find that it's sufficiently more "compact" to make a noticeable difference? It won't, after all, go in a pocket so it still needs to be stored in the same kind of bag and carried in the same way as a compact DSLR.

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Re: Genuine Question Time(!)

I usually carry a Canon SX10 bridge camera which you could consider a compact DSLR and the GX1 is smaller, lighter, more versatile and produces technically better quality pictures for not much more than what the updated SX40 would cost. All in all I think that's an overall win. Granted you'd probably need the same size bag but if you don't mind being mistaken for a bus conductor or parking attendant then it's no great inconvenience, after all you can keep other odds and sods in it and it will save pocket wear.

As an aside, it's still uncommon to see men carrying shoulder bags in the UK but on mainland Europe it's not given a second thought so even if I didn't always carry a camera I'd probably still have a similar sized bag anyway. I suppose it might come down to how self conscious you feel with a "man bag" as I believe they are termed.

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Re: Genuine Question Time(!)

My olympus ep3 fits in a jacket pocket and it's basically the same size as this.

Compared to a full-frame DSLR with an equivalent lens, it is significantly smaller. You can stuff it amongst your socks in carry-on baggage.

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Re: Genuine Question Time(!)

My Olympus E-PL1 (about the same size) fits into the front compartment of a slim laptop case (Panasonic 14mm pancake attached) or, in the front compartment of my rucksack (kit zoom attached) when I'm going shopping. I can do neither with my DSLR. So yes, there is a significant advantage in size.

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Bags

I have a Lumix G3 and a Crumpler Cupcake 1500 (crumplers marketing shows a GF1 inside), this is a good fit with the default 14-42mm lense and has a section for a second lens of similar or smaller body length. I actually this compartment for a spare battery, lens cover and lens hood in.

Have just got the 45/200mm lense and that is too long to fit when attached to the body, so will need a bigger bag at some point.

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smx

Re: Genuine Question Time(!)

Hi, Yes I do find it much more compact, especially if you use the 20mm pancake lens, I don’t have it but I did try it and I could fit the camera in the back pocket of my jeans without a struggle, even with the normal 14-42mm lens it still fits in my jacket pocket fine. The best thing for me though is if you’re walking the streets you can hold it in your hand discreetly without people really noticing it, I tried that with my Nikon DSLR and some guy attacked me for it.

The biggest annoyance for me is the cost of the EVF as an addition, (if thats what you prefer) it doesnt use the same one as the other Panasonic models so you cant upgrade and keep your old one and there arent any second hand ones around yet.

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Re: Genuine Question Time(!)

I have an Olympus EPL1, which is roughly the same size. I usually carry it in a jacket pocket with either the kit 14-40 zoom or an old Minolta 50/1.4 manual focus lens. Occasionally both...

I often just throw it in my messenger bag with a couple of small lenses (the 50/1.4 Minolta, a 40/1.8 Konica & the kit 14-40). I've been looking at the 20mm 1.7 pancake mentioned upthread, but it's expensive and there's also a Leica 25/1.4 which is fantastic (but also $$$). Finally, you've got a couple of ultra-fast (0.95) Voigtlander wide-angle lenses, but at twice the price of the camera. This kit replaced a Sony A100 and several Panasonic compacts.

A couple of things to keep in mind if you go this route:

1. M4/3 format has TONS of adapters, more than any other mount

2. Panasonic does image stabilization in lens, Olympus does it in camera

3. Metal bodies significantly heavier & small grips are tiring to hold for long periods

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On Pocketability

Okay, so we've determined these things are pocketable if a) you accept the limitations that using a single pancake prime dictates and b) you're wearing a jacket.

And that a µ4/3 system is smaller than a "full frame" DSLR system, but nobody has ever suggested otherwise.

I'm not entirely unconvinced by the luggage-friendly system size argument however.

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Re: On Pocketability

With a pancake lens the E-PL1 is almost pocketable in a jeans pocket. Large, yes, but dimensionally it's about the same footprint as an iPhone (and smaller than my wife's Android), about 5x thicker, however. The Sony's are somewhat smaller, but the lenses are larger.

As for a case, I use a Lowe Pro Impulse 110 when I need it, although if I'm doing a shoot that requires lots of lenses, I use a Crumpler photo backpack. Just because the body is small doesn't mean that all the lenses are as well. But like I said, I usually put in my laptop back without any protection, although I do have two old school leather covers.

If I'm actually carrying it around to take pictures, I usually use a Black Rapid quick-draw strap (http://www.blackrapid.com/product/camera-strap/rs-7/). If you're wearing a coat, you can actually wear it under the coat and make the camera just about invisible, even with large lens. The body size really helps as it doesn't stick out six inches like a DSLR.

Anyway, for me one of the driving factors was the number of adapters available allowing the use of old glass. It's also why I have a Pen as opposed to another 4/3rds body. You can get some adapters for full-size DSLRs, but nowhere near the numbers available for 4/3rds.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it worth an upgrade from the GF1?

I've got a GF1 - should I be interested in the GX1? It's a lot of money to sell one and buy the other.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Is it worth an upgrade from the GF1?

The GF1 is still a great camera so unless you're struggling in low light, or want to make bigger prints, I would stick with it.

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Re: Is it worth an upgrade from the GF1?

dpreview reckons it's an upgrade but not a revolution so I'd be inclined to stick with what you've got unless you're feeling flush or have issues with the GF1.

Although things with "X" in the name are clearly better than things with "F" in the name.

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Re: Is it worth an upgrade from the GF1?

Yes and no. If you shoot raw and don't normally shoot hand held in low light then probably no (the GF1 is fine and that 12MP sensor is easily good for 12x18" prints in my experience - perhaps larger). If you need the ISO capabilities, then it's a nice upgrade. Also, it has Panasonic's best JPEG output to date so maybe worth it if you prefer not to play with raw files.

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re: the flash?

This appears to be a pretty impressive offering by Panasonic if the quality of the sample is anything to go by. I curious, though ...

Ten pictures of the camera in the article yet not one showing the built-in falsh extended (open). Curiously, Panasonic's own site also neglects to illustrate this.

Is the flash mechanism appallingly flimsy (on what otherwise seems a finely-built comera) or does it just look flimsy, enough so as to not want it seen by prospective purchasers?

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Re: re: the flash?

Looking at images online the mechanism looks almost the same as my GF2 - double spring hinged in a sort of Z arrangement.

It is quite flimsy when it's open but the sprung hinges do allow you to hook a finger behind and point the flash up at the ceiling rather than directly at the subject.

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Nev

Still waiting for the built-in Electronic Viewfinder.....

C'mon someone: come out with a MFT body which has an integrated EVF, for a good price and I'll buy it!

Don't give a fudge about touch-screens on the back.

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Pint

Re: Still waiting for the built-in Electronic Viewfinder.....

Might check the Olympus E-M5. Robin says it better than I can. http://robinwong.blogspot.com/p/olympus-e-5-review.html

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Re: Still waiting for the built-in Electronic Viewfinder.....

Nev: A major UK supermarket's online division was offering the Lumix G2 with kit zoom lens for £200 a few weeks back... and it was similarly discounted elsewhere too. It has a built in EVF, hot-shoe, manual controls and an articulated touch screen (like this one, you find yourself forgetting to use it).

The G2 doesn't do full HD (720 only) and looks more like a bridge camera than a rangefinder (so is less pocketable if fitted with a pancake) - the big discount on its price was probably to clear stock before the arrival of new Lumix offerings. It has so far shown itself to be a handy camera.

Otherwise, I hear good things of Sony's EVFs on their 'SLT' cameras (like DSLRs, same sensor, but omitting the moving mirror).

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As has been said

£230 to make the bloody thing usable ?????No EVF-no sale as far as I'm concerned

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Re: As has been said

There is a range of Lumix Micro 4/3 cameras... Simply choose one that has the EVF built in.

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Panasonic has the G3 if you want a built in viewfinder and it's actually cheaper than the GX1. It's LCD is even articulated and the camera itself isn't that much bigger. For the money, it is probably one of the best mirrorless you can get. The GX1 is still nice though, especially if want something small.

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Anonymous Coward

Not quite there yet?

Things are advancing at a good pace now and I'm hoping that some time soon I can get an ideal (i.e. minimum trade-off) camera to replace my DSLR for those carry everywhere situations or take SLR, get robbed locations. I'm stuck at the Canon S100 currently. It seems to have the best trade-off of take absolutely everywhere and image quality. The Canon G1X looks fabulous but I fear the size having already had a G9 that didn't go too many places as I figured if I had to carry that I'd need a bag in which case stuff the bad boy into a rucksack. This seems a good alternative to the G1X apart from the price - £700 for a usable portable variant is rich. I'm also loathe to buy another multi-lens camera as you inevitably just keep adding to it. The f1.7 would be a must.

However I'd definitely recommend something such as this to anyone trading up from a compact. To carry a DSLR takes a certain level of dedication especially on holidays and a camera is only useful when it's with you.

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