Panasonic Lumix GX1 Review

 
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Panasonic GX1 Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally very good speed for a Compact System Camera, though a few sluggish numbers.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.4 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~3.1 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
2 seconds after
20 Large/Fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
17 seconds after
10 RAW files*
18 seconds after
8 RAW+ L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time wasn't bad for a Compact System Camera, but shutdown was sluggish. Numbers for the G3 were 1.4 and 2.2 seconds respectively. Buffer clearing times were good with JPEGs, but slow with RAW files. Buffer sizes were similar to the G3.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.6 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~2.0 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.3 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was reasonably fast. Play to Record was a hair faster than the G3's 0.8 second. Record to play was slower at 2.0 seconds, but a bit faster than the G3's 2.2 seconds. Displaying a recorded image took slightly longer than the G3, at about 0.3 second versus the G3's 0.2 second.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.259 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All AF timing done with new Panasonic 14-42mm X PZ kit lens.)
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
0.260 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode,
Flash enabled
0.477 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, auto flash enabled.
Continuous AF
0.250 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.082 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.072 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Panasonic GX1's autofocus was very fast for a camera that uses contrast detection. The GX1 produced full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) of 0.259 second using 1-area (center) AF with the 14-42mm X kit lens. 23-area AF was very slightly slower at 0.260 second. These times are still just a touch slower than the average consumer SLR, but faster than the G3, which took about 0.29 second to focus with the older 14-42mm kit lens. (The new X lens likely makes a difference here.) Enabling the flash increased lag quite a bit to 0.477 second, but that's still faster than the G3 which took 0.567 second. Shutter lag was 0.250 second compared 0.318 second for the G3 in continuous mode AF. When manually focused, the GX1's lag time dropped to 0.082 second, which is a touch faster compared to the G3's 0.091 second lag. The GX1's prefocused shutter lag time of 0.072 second was also a bit faster than the G3's 0.080 second lag.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.56 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots with no signs of slowing, 2 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.53 second

Time per shot, averaged over 12 shots, 17 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.54 second

Time per shot, averaged over 9 shots, 21 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H
Large Fine JPEG

0.24 second (4.13 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, with no signs of slowing.

Continuous H
RAW

0.24 second (4.13 frames per second);
10 frames total;
17 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 10 frames, then slows to an average of 1.38s or 0.72 fps.

Continuous H
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.24 second (4.12 frames per second);
8 frames total;
18 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 8 frames, then slows to an average of about 1.71s or 0.59 fps.

Super HS mode
4-megapixel JPEG

0.05 second (20.41 frames per second);
40 frames total;
13 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer size of 40 shots.

Flash Recycling

5.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45 MB/sec SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were pretty good, and a bit faster than the G3. We measured 0.56 second for large/fine JPEGs, 0.53 second for RAW and 0.54 second for RAW+L/F JPEGs. The G3's results ranged from 0.64 to 0.67 second.

Continuous High Speed "H" mode was faster than the G3's, at about 4.1 frames per second for JPEG, RAW or RAW+JPEG files, compared to the G3's 3.4 frames per second. Please note that Live View is not available during a burst in H mode. In Super HS mode, we managed 20.4 frames-per-second (about the same as the G3), though resolution is only 4 megapixels in that mode.

Full resolution buffer depths were generous for large/fine JPEGs, at over 20 frames (we suspect there is no limit with a fast card), but when shooting RAW files buffer size dropped to 10 frames, and 8 for RAW+L/F JPEGs. This is on the shallow side for an enthusiast model, but a bit better than the G3's 7 frame buffer for RAW and RAW+L/F JPEGs. Buffer depth in Super HS mode was very good, at 40 frames. Buffer clearing was a little sluggish when RAW files are present, though.

The flash recycled after a full discharge in 5.8 seconds, which is a bit slower than average for its class, and a bit slower than the G3's 5.5 seconds.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

9,234 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were fast, quick enough that you probably won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45 MB/sec SD card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Panasonic GX1's performance is very good overall for a CSC. Autofocus is very fast, and full resolution burst speed quite good, competitive with most consumer SLRs. Startup, shutdown, some mode switching, and buffer clearing times were a little sluggish, but reasonable for its class.

Battery Life

Slightly below average battery life for a Compact System Camera.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture, CIPA standard
(H-FS014042 lens)
300 shots
Still Capture, CIPA standard
(H-PS14042 lens)
310 shots
Still Capture, CIPA standard
(H-H014 lens)
340 shots

The Panasonic GX1 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The CIPA rated 300-340 shots per charge depending on the lens is a touch below average for a Compact System Camera, and much lower than a typical digital SLR when using the SLR's optical viewfinder. We strongly recommend getting a second battery for your GX1 if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

Panasonic GX1

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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