Micro Four Thirds is going from strength to strength as the two main companies, Olympus and Panasonic take it in turns to announce great new gear and technologies.
This week it was Panasonic’s turn.
The Panasonic Lumix GX-8 camera
image courtesy of http://www.imaging-resource.com
This is a significant upgrade to the GX-7 model and includes many of the features of the new Panasonic G7 including its 4K video features, its Starlight AF mode, Clear Retouch, and its new button which enables the user to toggle functionality of the camera controls in a similar way to the Olympus 2×2 switch.
I am liking very much that Panasonic has finally started adding sensor based image stabilisation (IBIS) to some of their cameras such as is the case with this one and the GX-7 before it. Furthermore, Panasonic is taking it further by allowing it to be used in tandem with their optical IS mechanisms in many of their lenses for even better performance, hence “Dual IS” which is similar to Sony’s approach in their A7R II. Note that and the dual IS is not available in 4K video recording.
Another nice feature is that the GX-8 is now weathersealed and although it is somewhat larger than the GX-7 it does sport a better articulating EVF with higher resolution (2.36m dots) and magnification (1.54x magnification or 0.77x in full frame terms), while the rear screen is now an articulating OLED instead of a tiltable LCD which makes the Touch Pad AF (uise the rear screen to select AF point while viewing through the EVF) and there is an added dedicated exposure compensation dial to further improve ergonomic use.
It is also the 1st Micro Four Thirds camera to boast a 20mp sensor (up from 16mp), which Panasonic says gives 1/3rd EV more dynamic range and a faster readout, plus it has a few new image processing tricks such as
Unlike the Panasonic GH-4, one cannot use the HDMI out video to simultaneously record uncompressed video as well as record internally, but you do get a 2.5mm mic jack, and time lapse and intervalometer features, and it uses DFD technology for fast C-AF.
It should also be compatible, via a firmware upgrade, of Panasonic’s new post-focus technology which essentially shoots 4K images at 30fps at a range of different focus points so that the user can later select which focus point they wish. It is meant to be somewhat like the Lyttro camera but we will have to see how useful this function really is.
All in all, it is a camera that ticks most of my boxes – the important ones to me being compact size (but not too small), nice EVF, IBIS, weathersealing, great image quality and fast, accurate AF but at $US1199, I suspect it won’t be exactly cheap for us in Australia.
See my wiki page for more details and links.
The Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 Power OIS ASPH zoom lens
image courtesy of 43rumors.com
This lens will be to Leica’s optical standards and thus promises to be a very nice super-telephoto hand-holdable zoom lens giving 200-800mm telephoto reach in 35mm full frame terms.
It will be weathersealed, have Power OIS for effective optical image stabilisation, and fast AF thanks to the 240fps AF signal rate and compatibility with Panasonic’s DFD AF system.
The Panasonic Lumix 25mm f/1.7 lens
This is the third 25mm lens by Panasonic – the 1st was a large, heavy, extremely expensive but optically superb Leica-D 25mm f/1./4 lens for Four Thirds which I really love, and then this was replaced with the much more compact, lighter, more affordable Leica DG 25mm f/1.4 lens.
The new lens however, adds faster AF by offering the 240fps AF signal rate and compatibility with Panasonic’s DFD AF system.
Just a little gripe
One of the main powerful reasons to buy into Micro Four Thirds is that there are multiple companies contributing to the system, each bringing their own ideas and perspectives to design.
I wish they would share their technology more so that minor incompatibilities are eradicated such as Panasonic’s DFD fast C-AF technology only working with Panasonic lenses and the few Panasonic lenses with aperture rings which are only recognised by Panasonic cameras – I do like aperture rings but unfortunately Olympus has decided to ignore them.