Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 hands on review

Back in 2009 Panasonic released their first Micro four thirds system camera, the well received, Lumix GF1. This 12.1 megapixel camera, fitted with one of Panasonic’s superb 20mm f/1.7 lens gave the GF1 a period rangefinder type appeal. The GF1 was very popular and the hope was that the replacement GF2 would be everything and more that the GF1 was.

Sadly although a very good camera the LUMIX DMC-GF2 lost the mode dial and retro appeal. Things got even worse for some when the DMC GF3 was released, with round edged design and lack of hot shoe. In answer to many requests from GF1 owners, Panasonic have released the DMC-GX1 - which bares a resemblance to the original GF1. On the outside we have a solid square looking body with a decent sized grip and the visual aesthetics reminiscent of a bygone age. The mode dial is also a welcome return and sets the camera off perfectly, regardless of whether you choose the black or silver body colours.

Not long before the LUMIX DMC GX1 was released, the DMC-G3 launched, containing many improvements to previous compact system cameras in the G range. Most importantly the G3 had a similar live MOS sensor from the acclaimed DMC-GH2. At 16megapixels the DMC-G3’s sensor saw an improvement in image quality, image detail and low light performance. The Panasonic GX1 shares many of the LUMIX G3’s components giving the same high quality images. ISO levels have risen to a maximum of ISO 12800 for high quality low light images.

Although the DMC-GX1 does not have an articulating 460,000 dot rear screen, it is touch-sensitive with approximately 100% coverage. The metal buttons on the back feel very solid to the touch, indeed as does the entire camera. The re-introduction of the mode dial is a welcome return and that too feels solid and unlikely to be easily knocked onto another setting.  As well as the usual PASM exposure mode functions there are some improved scene and photo style modes covering almost every eventuality.

The DMC-GX1 can produce 20 frames per second at 4Mp and 4.2 fps at full resolution. The buffer can handle a run of 9 RAW files in one burst and unlimited Jpg files providing a fast card is used. The Jpg files from the camera look very natural with good colour replication but it’s the RAW capture where the G series of cameras really shine. The RAW files produced by the GX1 are a pleasure to process, producing accurate images with very fine detail. With the 20mm f/1.7 lens fitted you have the perfect street camera, producing superb sharp images with the ability for shallow depth of field. The joy of an interchangeable lens system camera means you are not restricted to one lens only, Panasonic produce a large range of lenses to fit, but you can also fit micro four thirds lenses from Olympus, Sigma, Voigtlander and soon to be released Schneider series.

For those looking for a stylish, well made, high quality camera that can produce quality images with a large range of lenses then look no further than the DMC-GX1.

Andrew West
Park Cameras

CLICK HERE for full details and specification, or to purchase the PanasonicLUMIX DMC-GX1.

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