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Photography Reviews

Panasonic GX1 Review

The original Panasonic GF1 is easily one of the most enjoyable cameras I’ve ever used. I got it two years ago and it quickly replaced both my Canon G11 and Nikon D90 DSLR. Size wise it was slightly larger than the Canon G11 but the quality of the shots easily matched that of the Nikon D90. The camera was very well built and had a fantastic and bright 20mm f/1.7 lens and really my only issue with the camera was that the image got fairly noisy once it hit ISO 800 and above. The new GX1 is the GF1 replacement and it’s better than the GF1 in practically every way. I’ve been using it for sometime now so here’s what I think of it so far. This isn’t a comprehensive review, you can find those reviews online, this is just a review of the things I liked.

What I like about the GF1 and GX1 is the size since they’re small enough to fit into a jacket pocket and light enough to sling over my shoulder without noticing the weight. The reason I always stuck with the 20mm lens and never got a more practical zoom lens is because of the size. The 20mm lens is very compact while all the zoom lenses were pretty big and so added bulk to the camera and made it less pocket-able. But, with the launch of the GX1, Panasonic introduced a new series of lenses called X Lenses. These lenses have powered zooms and are a lot more compact than their regular lenses (Here is a comparison picture). How compact? Well the 14-42mm lens is now exactly the same size as the 20mm lens when closed. It’s super compact!

There are a few changes in the over look and feel between the GF1 and GX1. The GX1 is slightly smaller but now has a larger rubber grip on the front which makes holding the camera a lot more comfortable. The buttons have been shuffled around slightly in the back and they’re now made of metal instead of rubber. The rear screen was also replaced with a touch screen which I thought I would hate but I actually like a lot. The main reason I like it is because it makes focusing faster. I like to shoot with the “rule of thirds” so I can now frame my subject anywhere on the screen and then tap where I want it to focus. The touch screen also makes it easy to change various options and settings. Actually that’s one of the best things in this camera, the ability to change various options and settings without having to go into the camera menu. The camera has two customizable physical buttons on the rear and two more buttons on the screen which I can customize and if that’s not enough I also have a “Quick Menu” which I can access with a click on the rear screen which also pops up a bunch of other buttons which I can also customize.

ISO performance is a lot better compared to the GF1 and noise isn’t noticeable until you pass ISO 1600. The camera focuses much quicker as well not that it was slow before. Really everything about the camera is either slightly improved or better than the GF1 which I thought would be impossible to do. The only thing I’ve noticed that is actually worse is the battery life but that’s probably because the X Lens consumes more power than the regular lenses.

When the original GF1 came out it really didn’t have much competition other than the Olympus PEN series but now things are completely different with Fuji, Sony and Canon all coming into the picture with their own variations of the same idea. The only other cameras I was considering were the Sony NEX-7 and the new Fuji X-Pro 1. The NEX-7 is a great camera but Sony doesn’t have that many great lenses and they’re all really big which makes the camera not very portable. The X-Pro 1 is also a really great camera with really good lenses but the size and price put me off as well. In the end I don’t have any regrets and I would highly recommend this camera to anyone looking for a great carry every compact camera.

I got mine from Amazon and they have three different kits:
Panasonic GX1 Body Only $699
Panasonic GX1 with the 14-42mm Lens $799
Panasonic GX1 with the 14-42mm X Series Lens $950

15 replies on “Panasonic GX1 Review”

I tried out your old GF1 yesterday at the track and found that the multi-point focus was super quick. The only negative I felt was the lack of a view finder as it was too sunny to see the LCD clearly.

Btw nice review.

Well you can buy an external view finder for both the GF1 and GX1. I had it for the GF1 and used it specifically when it was too sunny. The GX1 has a much better viewfinder which I tried while I was in London. But it costs like $250 and adds bulk so for now I’m not considering getting it.

After seeing how good the GF1 is, I have also decided to upgrade to GX1.
Hongkong sellers have better deals on this camera. I am thinking of trying DigitalRev.com
They are selling the kit with the PZ lens for only $769.00 – a big difference from Amazons $950.
Also, besides shipping directly to Kuwait, their product is (as per their website) provided with local warranty. i.e. if anything goes wrong, we must send them an estimate from the local dealer and they honor the warranty. Sounds good to me.
Also, I love their reviews/video clips on Youtube with Kai. Hilarious.

Mark I thought you recently sold a bunch of your stuff to buy a different camera that cost $3000 or something.

yeah, the D800. My camera lineup will be

iPhone 4S – Panasonic GX1 – Nikon D800

– my carry around camera is my phone

– the GX1 is my vacation/going to a restaurant/nat can touch it camera

– Nikon D800 is for the serious shit

BTW, how is the PZ lens in terms of performance?. I know it cannot match the 20mm..but is it fast in focusing?

Yeah focusing is fast. My 20mm is still my primary and favorite lens on it but whats great about the 2 lenses is they’re very very light and very compact so I could carry both of them with me and just choose whichever I want. They fit into a jeans pocket easily!

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