Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
Resolution: 20.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: 4/3
(17.3mm x 13.0mm)
Kit Lens: n/a
Viewfinder: EVF / OLED
Native ISO: 200 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/16000 - 60 seconds
Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.1 x 2.5 in.
(133 x 78 x 63 mm)
Weight: 17.2 oz (487 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 08/2015
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic GX8 specifications
20.30
Megapixels
Micro Four Thirds 4/3
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
Front side of Panasonic GX8 digital camera Front side of Panasonic GX8 digital camera Front side of Panasonic GX8 digital camera Front side of Panasonic GX8 digital camera Front side of Panasonic GX8 digital camera

GX8 Summary

With its new 20-megapixel sensor, impressive AF performance, high quality 4K video, as well as excellent, robust wireless connectivity, the Panasonic GX8 wears a lot of hats, so to speak. It's perfectly situated for travel and street photography, capturing lots of fast action and high quality video. With this combination of features and performance, the Panasonic GX8 certainly deserves consideration if you're in the market for an all-around, enthusiast-level mirrorless camera.

Pros

Highest resolution Micro Four Thirds camera yet; Great high ISO performance; Very fast autofocus; Fast burst mode with deep buffers; Impressive Dual I.S. system; Great 4K video.

Cons

No built-in flash; Slow buffer clearing; Below average battery life; Limited I.S. for 4K video.

Price and availability

The Panasonic GX8 began shipping in the US market in mid-August for a suggested retail price of US$1,199.99 for the body-only configuration in both an all-black style or a two-toned silver and black version. Panasonic is also offering three kit options in other regions, including a 14-42mm kit lens configuration, a 14-140mm kit and even a kit option with the fast 12-35mm f/2.8 lens. Unfortunately for US consumers, the GX8 is only being offered as a body-only configuration.

Imaging Resource rating

5.0 out of 5.0

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Panasonic GX8 Review

by , Jeremy Gray, Dave Pardue and Zig Weidelich
Overview originally posted: 07/16/2015

Updates:
10/14/2015: Production unit lab shots posted!
11/17/2015: Field Test posted
: Image Quality Comparison and Print Quality

12/23/2015: Review Conclusion posted

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image

---
Special update: The Panasonic GX8 was awarded a Camera of Distinction in the Best Enthusiast Mirrorless Camera category of our 2015 Camera of the Year awards!
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Back in 2013, Panasonic made a big splash with their GX7 rangefinder-esque enthusiast mirrorless camera. Sporting a cool, retro-inspired design and packed with the latest Micro Four Thirds technology and plenty of external controls, the GX7 was, and still is, a high-performance, reasonably-priced and highly portable camera that appeals to advanced photographers. From street photography and landscapes to portraits and general walk-around shooting, the GX7 is a versatile piece of equipment.

The GX8 takes the reins over the well-loved GX7

But now, two years later, Panasonic is taking it up a notch with the larger, more powerful, higher-resolution DMC-GX8. Sitting near the top of the food chain next to Panasonic's professional-level GH4, the new flagship 'GX' model replaces the GX7, and offers a number of serious improvements and enhancements to both image and video quality as well as to image stabilization, build quality and controls.

Big image quality boost with new sensor and processor

At the heart of the Panasonic GX8 is a brand new 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS imaging sensor -- the highest resolution 4/3" sensor yet. Upping the resolution and dynamic range performance from their long-used 16MP Live MOS sensor, the GX8 combines this new sensor with the same Venus Engine image processor of the GH4. This combination is said to allow for improved image resolution, tonal gradation and color reproduction, as well as better high ISO noise sensitivity with more natural noise reduction processing.

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image
(Please note: this image and all other GX8 images in this review are of a pre-production model with production-level firmware.)

According to Panasonic, the GX8's improved image resolution is thanks to a combination of the new higher-resolution sensor and the more powerful image processor. The camera has a new "Aperture Filter" that uses more natural edge processing, which aims to more intelligently sharpen parts of an image's details while leaving other, smoother details untouched or not over-sharpened. The GX8 also has diffraction compensation processing, which will help counteract the image softening effects from shooting at small apertures. And the GX8's improved color processing takes a three-pronged approach, separating hue, saturation, and luminosity value adjustments. The new sensor is also said to offer about a 1/3 stop improvement in dynamic range.

High ISO performance is also claimed to be improved. In a high ISO image, after conventional noise reduction is applied, noise can sometimes appear "blocky" and unnatural. With the GX8, Panasonic incorporates a random noise filter to smooth out blocky noise into a more film-like, natural-looking grainy appearance. The GX8's sensitivity can also be extended slightly lower than the GX7's, to ISO 100 equivalent versus 125 for its predecessor.

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image

Capture fast action with better burst and AF performance

Sheer speed is another one of the GX8's hallmark features. Thanks to the added horsepower from its new image processor, the GX8 is able to chew through 20-megapixel images at up to eight frames per second without continuous AF (up to 10fps with electronic shutter), or 6fps with AF-C -- up from the 5fps and 4.3fps on the GX7, respectively. Mechanical shutter speed tops out at 1/8000s, and the GX8 also offers exposures as fast as 1/16,000s using an all-electronic shutter.

While the GX8 still uses contrast-detect autofocus, as opposed to often-snappier hybrid phase-detect AF system used by other manufacturers, the new Panasonic model gains the GH4's highly-regarded Depth From Defocus technology for blazingly quick AF performance with Panasonic lenses. According to the company, the GX8 is able to acquire focus in just 0.07 second, compared to 0.11 second for the traditional contrast-detect-only AF system in the GX7.

Like the G7, the GX8 uses new AF tracking algorithms that combine not only subject color information but also subject size and motion vector to help in subject-tracking prediction. All combined, the GX8 is able to provide up to approximately 200% faster AF tracking compared to the GX7.

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image

Like the earlier GX7, low-light autofocus sensitivity is rated down to -4EV, which are impressively dark focusing conditions. The GX8 also borrows the G7's new Starlight AF mode, which can detect the precise, small contrast differences in stars compared to the night sky for easy focusing.

The GX8 offers a similar array of other autofocus features found in recent Lumix cameras such as the GH4 and G7, including focus peaking, Pinpoint AF and Full Area AF, which lets you focus on anything within the field of view. New to the GX-series, however, is the 49-Area/Custom Multi mode, which lets you freely select a custom group of AF areas as you see fit for the subject you're photographing. Also new to this GX-series is Panasonic's Face/Eye Detection AF, which automatically detects the face and left or right eye of your subject.

The GX8 further borrows other image processing improvements from the recent G7 model, including Clear Retouch (utilizing the touchscreen to select and automatically clone out unwanted objects), creative filter effects while in PASM shooting modes, and expanded in-camera panorama options (the GX7 had only standard 8176 x 1920 panoramas, but now you also have an 8176 x 960 resolution wide angle panorama mode).

Smooth sailing with new Dual I.S. stabilization technology

In addition to its many image quality and performance improvements, the GX8 also introduces some all-new hardware technology not seen in other Lumix cameras: Dual I.S. While the GX7 was the first and only Lumix camera to have in-body image stabilization, the GX8 introduces a dual image stabilization system that combines Panasonic's long-offered lens-based O.I.S. technology with sensor-shift, body-based stabilization.

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image
Panasonic Dual I.S. -- Graphic courtesy of Panasonic

Similar to how Sony's new 5-axis Image Stabilization works in their new A7 II and A7R II, the Panasonic GX8's Dual I.S. system combines the compensation of lens-based optical image stabilization and in-body sensor-shift stabilization to provide a more powerful, better-performing stabilization system than either I.S. system can deliver alone. According to Panasonic, their O.I.S. lenses correct for two axes of motion, while the sensor shift mechanism can compensate for four, which altogether provides 3.5x better stabilization performance at wide-angle and 1.5x better performance at telephoto compared to the earlier GX7.

The caveat to the GX8's Dual I.S. system is that it needs a compatible Panasonic O.I.S. lens to take full advantage of the system. Nearly all of Panasonic's Lumix lenses are, or will be, compatible, with many current lenses, such as the Nocticron, Leica 45mm macro, 12-35mm f/2.8 and 35-100 f/2.8 already updated through new firmware releases. Only three older zoom lenses from Panasonic's lineup will remain unsupported with the new Dual I.S. system: the 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 MEGA O.I.S., the 45-200mm f/4-5.6 MEGA O.I.S., and the 100-300mm f/4-5.6 MEGA O.I.S.

Lumix Lens Dual I.S. Lens Compatibility
Firmware Update Timeline
Lens
Aug.
Nov./Dec.
Feb.
12-35mm / F2.8 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
X
14-42mm / F3.5-5.6  II ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
X
14-140mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
X
35-100mm / F2.8 / POWER O.I.S.
X
30mm /  F2.8 ASPH. / MACRO / MEGA O.I.S.
X
42.5mm /  F1.7 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
X
12-32mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
X
35-100mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
X
45-150mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
X
NOCTICRON 42.5mm / F1.2 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
X
MACRO-ELMARIT 45 mm / F2.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
X
PZ 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
X
14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
X
HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
X
PZ 45-175mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S.
X
14-45mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.
Unsupported
45-200mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S.
100-300mm / F4.0-5.6 / MEGA O.I.S.

Of course, for lenses without O.I.S., including various third-party lenses from Olympus, Leica -- including M- and R-mount lenses with Panasonic's DMW-MA2 or MA3 adapter -- or other manufacturers, the GX8 will still offer body-based image stabilization.

Enhanced video capabilities, but GH4 still top dog

For video recording, the Panasonic GX8 offers a version of Dual I.S. here as well. The sensor does not physically move in this case, but the GX8 provides an electronic image stabilization system that works in conjunction with the lens-based 2-axis system for a combined 5-axis Hybrid O.I.S. system. There's a caveat here as well, in that the video Hybrid O.I.S. does not work for 4K recording mode; only Full HD and lower resolutions.

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image
Panasonic Dual I.S. Photo & Video Comparison -- Graphic courtesy of Panasonic

And speaking of 4K, while the Panasonic GX8 is aimed primarily at still photography, it does include both 4K video recording capabilities. And like the G7 and LX100 before it, the GX8 also includes Panasonic's new 4K Photo feature, which offers a variety of 4K video capture modes and the ability to extract 8MP still images from video clips in-camera.

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image

While the GX8 shares the stage as a "flagship" model, the beefier GH4 still reigns supreme as when it comes to video recording features for a Lumix camera, as it offers both Cinema 4K and Ultra HD resolutions, a higher 200Mbps bitrate option, 4:2:2 10/8-bit uncompressed HDMI output with simultaneous internal recording, and a headphone jack -- none of which the GX8 offers.

The GX8, on the other hand, offers only Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) resolution at 30p or 24p (25 and 24p in PAL regions), though it is captured at a bitrate of 100Mbps. The GX8, of course, offers additional video resolutions including 1080/60p at up to 28Mbps. Additional video feature include a choice of MP4 and AVCHD recording formats, 4:2:2 8-bit HDMI output at up to 4K resolution, though without simultaneous internal recording of 4K video, and unlimited video recording (though European countries are still limited to 29:59 minutes). Lastly, unlike the G7 and GH4, the GX8's microphone jack is of the smaller, less common 2.5mm variety that does double-duty as a remote input, which means a Panasonic-brand microphone or a 3.5-to-2.5mm jack adapter will be needed.

Wi-Fi and NFC keeps you connected

As with many modern cameras, the Panasonic GX8 features built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for easy sharing of images and videos, as well as remote control capabilities with manual exposure and various settings adjustments. By using NFC, if your phone or device supports it, you can quickly tap your mobile device to the camera to establish a connection, but for iOS users, the GX8 offers a QR code interface for somewhat easier setup than fully manual. The GX8 also adds a new "Jump Snap" remote trigger feature that was first introduced on the GF7. Using the phone's built-in accelerometer, the sensor can then trigger the shutter release when it detects a jump -- think jumping group self-portrait shots.

Panasonic GX8 Review -- Product Image

Pricing and Availability

The Panasonic GX8 began shipping in the US market in mid-August for a suggested retail price of US$1,199.99 for the body-only configuration in both an all-black style or a two-toned silver and black version. Panasonic is also offering three kit options in other regions, including a 14-42mm kit lens configuration, a 14-140mm kit and even a kit option with the fast 12-35mm f/2.8 lens. Unfortunately for US consumers, the GX8 is only being offered as a body-only configuration.

Panasonic GX8 Field Test

Great design & great sensor make for a fantastic camera

by Jeremy Gray |

Panasonic GX8 field test photoIntroduction
The Panasonic Lumix GX8 is Panasonic's new flagship GX-series camera and it includes many improvements over the popular GX7. Compared to the predecessor, the GX8 features a new 20.3-megapixel Four Thirds imaging sensor, improved autofocus performance and a new image processor from the Panasonic GH4 camera, a tilt-swivel screen, and 4K video. While the GX7 is still available for sale, the GX8 has a strong feature set and provides very good performance across the board.

A well-built camera body with many easy-to-use controls
Despite using a Four Thirds sensor, the GX8 is a decent-sized camera. Weighing in at 17.2 ounces (487 grams) with the battery inserted, the GX8 is quite a bit larger than the GX7, but this extra size makes the camera more comfortable to use for extended periods of time, in my opinion, and also affords space for more manual controls and dials. With its deep front grip and numerous physical controls, the GX8 feels excellent to hold and use. The GX8 looks great, too, with styling reminiscent of old rangefinder cameras.

Panasonic GX8 Walkaround

Get a hands-on tour of the GX8's design

by William Brawley |

Panasonic GX8 product image By and large, the new Panasonic GX8 is not all that dissimilar to the earlier GX7, as it maintains the overall rangefinder-esque design with top-left EVF. It is, however, noticeably larger than the earlier model as seen in the comparison image below.

The GX8's dimensions are 5.2 x 3.1 x 2.5 inches (133 x 78 x 64 mm) versus 4.8 x 2.8 x 2.1 inches (123 x 71 x 55 mm) for the GX7. Body-only weight with card and battery is naturally also greater, at 17.2 ounces or 487 grams versus 14.2 ounces or 402 grams.

Bigger body, beefier construction
Everything about the GX8 is bigger and better, in a sense, compared to the GX7: the EVF is substantially larger and higher-resolution with a 2360K-dot OLED screen providing a 0.77x magnification over the 0.7x field-sequential LCD viewfinder in the earlier model; the rear display is now a fully articulated as opposed to the simpler tilting design; and the handgrip is deeper with a repositioned shutter release button and front control dial.

Panasonic GX8 Image Quality Comparison

Pitting the GX8 against its predecessor and rivals

by Zig Weidelich |

Panasonic GX8 image qualityHere we present crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Panasonic GX8 image quality to its predecessor, the GX7, as well as against several premium mirrorless models at similar price points or in similar categories: the Fuji X-T1, Olympus E-M5 II, Samsung NX1 and Sony A6000. (Okay we admit the A6000 isn't at a similar price point being significantly less expensive than the rest, but it's currently Sony's top-of-the-line sub-frame mirrorless, and their least expensive current full-frame mirrorless costs significantly more than the GX8.)

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera.

Panasonic GX8 Conclusion

Taking what made the GX7 great & making it even better

by William Brawley |

Beefing up the GX7: higher-res sensor & faster processor
Following up on the highly successful GX7, the new Panasonic GX8 offers a similar, retro-ish rangefinder design, but with a number of big technological improvements. Sporting a new 20-megapixel sensor, the GX8 is the highest resolution Micro Four Thirds camera currently on the market. Combined with the GH4's Venus Engine image processor, the GX8's image quality capabilities as well as high ISO performance are top-notch for this class of camera.

Very good high ISO performance despite smaller pixel size
Indeed, in both our lab testing and real-world experience, the image quality we saw from the Panasonic GX8 was thoroughly impressive. Despite the smaller pixels with the higher-resolution sensor, high ISO image quality was very good, allowing for larger print sizes at several ISOs compared to the GX7. The fine detail resolving power was also very good, though you can squeeze out a bit more detail using RAW files. The dynamic range performance is very good for this class of camera as well.

 

In the Box

The Panasonic GX8 retail kit contains the following items:

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera body (in black or silver)
  • DMW-BLC12 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack
  • Battery charger
  • AC cable
  • Body cap
  • Hot shoe cover
  • USB cable
  • Shoulder strap
  • Software DVD-ROM

 

Recommended Accessories

  • Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. 32GB Class 10 should be a minimum, UHS-I U3 type recommended.
  • Extra Panasonic DMW-BLC12 battery pack (7.2V, 1200mAh) (~US$45)
  • Assorted Micro Four Thirds lenses
  • Panasonic DMW-FL360L or similar flash unit
  • Medium camera case

 

Comparison Shopping?

The premium mirrorless market has heated up to the point you'll surely need our new camera comparison tool to help keep all the specs sorted out! Clicking on any of the following will take you there, where you can see features, specs, pros and cons listed for virtually any pair of cameras you'd like to compare. Here are a few obvious choices to compare to the Panasonic GX8 to get you started:

Panasonic GX8 vs Panasonic GX7

Panasonic GX8 vs Panasonic G7

Panasonic GX8 vs Panasonic GH4

Panasonic GX8 vs Fuji X-T1

Panasonic GX8 vs Olympus E-M5 II

Panasonic GX8 vs Samsung NX1

Panasonic GX8 vs Sony A6000

 



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