- Product Name
Panasonic DMC-GX1 Body Black Compact System Camera (DMC-GX1GN-K)
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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 bears more than a passing resemblance to its predecessor - the Lumix DMC-GF1. It also carries the advanced controls and feature set of the Lumix GF3 into its premium-build body.
The GX1 looks like a duplicate of the early GF-series camera. It feels solid and well contoured when held with its chunky rubberized handgrip. It has a rubber thumb rest around the camera's rear that gives the camera a more secure feel. The camera's top panel sports a polished finish that gives it a more premium look. Located at the top-left side is its flash, which can be tilted 90 degrees upwards that helps in providing a softer and diffused lighting compared with the harsh lighting of a direct flash.
Found at the rear of the camera is a 3-inch, 460k-dot touchscreen display. The touchscreen controls features an in-camera menu interface that is more responsive than the GF3, thanks to its improved firmware. The metallic four-way keypad also feels more tactile, making cycling through the menus done more swiftly. The keypad has no markings though and the scroll wheel was removed which could have come in handy for quick scrolling, just like in the GF3. The GX1 also has four function buttons that can be customized to a wide range of frequently-used settings. When it comes to autofocus feature, the GX1 has definitely something good to offer.
It has a lightspeed autofocus system that obtains focus under 0.1 second. Its focus modes' variety and ability are also the best of any Lumix G camera yet. The camera has 23-area auto, face detection, subject tracking modes and two user-controlled options in the form of 1-area and pinpoint. The 1-area and pinpoint help in obtaining a more precise focus as the edges of the frame are accessible and positioning the focus can be anywhere around the screen. Its pinpoint feature goes one step further by zooming in on images to actual size prior to ensure that the exact area is in focus. The touchscreen allows pressing onto the screen itself that making adjusting a focus point's position quicker and more accurate. The GX1 adds a flexible mode (AFF) to its single (AFS) and continuous (AFC) focus options.
Although its AFF is somewhere between AFS and AFC, the camera will only continuously focus if the degree of the subject movement prompts the camera to maintain focus. The camera's continuous focus glides between focal lengths with ease and the accurate focus seldom drifts beyond the required focal point. This adds in to the great capability of the GX1 in capturing videos, especially in using its 1080i HD movie mode. Audio may be recorded using the camera's in-built stereo microphone. There is no microphone unit though, and the 1080p capture will not be seen. The GX1 has a 16-megapixel sensor, which is also found in the GF3. The GX1 has high ISO sensitivity, ranging from ISO 160 to ISO 12,800 at full resolution.
Image quality is good, whether the camera is in ISO 100-800 or ISO 1600-3200. The ISO 6400-12,800 setting though provide images with muted colors, softness and excess noise. The GX1 delivers impressive image quality with lower ISO settings. It may not be as good as a larger-sensor DSLR, but the smaller size of the Micro Four Thirds sensor provides a smaller build and selection of smaller lenses. The GX1 kit has a new 14-42mm power zoom lens, which extends to full size when the camera is turned on. It does not need a zoom or focus ring, instead, it uses two small toggles to the side of the lens, making it feel more like controlling a compact camera.
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 looks expensive with a super built and fault-free layout and controls. Its autofocus is very impressive and the variety of focus options is capable. The image quality may not be the best a compact system camera has to offer, but it is still pretty good.