How on earth are you meant to know which camera to buy? So much jargon, and they all kind of seem the same, in that they take photos, but different, in how good said photos are. And who knows whether the outcome is user or camera error anyway?
This last month I’ve been playing with the Panasonic Lumix GX80. On first impressions it’s a strong looking camera, at a nice price (compared to DSLRs) of around £600 and with a whole blurb of functionality. But what do all those fancy words mean in theory and in practice?
Panasonic Lumix GX80 review
Anyone understand this description?
“The Panasonic Lumix GX80 is a new mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, 5-axis in-camera sensor based image stabilisation, 4K video recording, and a sensor without the optical low pass filter, for improved resolution, contrast and colour reproduction.” – Panasonic
I didn’t. But with the help of a month to play with the camera, and some Google searching, here it is broken down in our English.
(If you do understand it, scroll on to see the
’11 Reasons Why the Panasonic Lumix GX80 is a Great Camera’)
– up a little street in Kotor’s Old Town, Montenegro
… new mirrorless…
Mirrorless cameras don’t have the mirror and optical viewfinder you’d find in a DSLR, which means they can be packaged as smaller cameras. Nowadays these mirrorless cameras have the same sized sensors as DSLRs, have similar quality lenses and the images can be just as good. Basically ‘mirrorless’ is a way to make camera technology smaller and more affordable.
… interchangeable lens camera….
Olympus and Panasonic decided to create a range of cameras where you could swap the lenses around. That way you can pick and choose to create your ideal camera. I can use my Panasonic Lumix lens on both my Olympus PEN EPL-7 and this Panasonic Lumix GX80.
… 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor…
Basically, this is again so that you can have a smaller and more efficient camera for your money. It makes it easier to use smaller lenses and auto focus, so you don’t need to carry as much technical equipment with you.
… 5-axis in-camera sensor based image stabilisation…
Even when moving the in camera sensor technology keeps the image as stable as possible. Check out the video below if you don’t believe me.
… 4K video recording…
4k means you get approximately 4,000 pixels of width of the footage – basically super detailed photos and videos in really high quality.
More on the 4k tech further down.
… sensor without the optical low pass filter, for improved resolution, contrast and colour reproduction…
There’s image stabilisation, both in the lens and in the camera, meaning it’s pretty damn good. It’s apparently the first camera to be so stable while recording 4k video. If you’re planning on any long lens work, you’ll really notice this, but I’ve just been working with the kit lens, and my Panasonic Lumix G 20mm/F1.7 Pancake Lens.
So, here’s what I all that tech speak means in practice.
Panasonic Lumix GX80 in review
I just expect Wi-Fi from cameras now, being used to the Olympus PEN and the GoPro, but still when I started transferring images between the Panasonic Lumix GX80 and my iPhone, a few people around me were amazed. There’s no way I’d buy a camera without this. It makes it easy to transfer images to upload instantly to social media.
2. Touch sensitive screen
There’ve been times in the past when I’ve tried to touch my laptop screen to do things. I’m not joking. To touch screen or not to touch screen, it’s hard to remember what’s what.
Well thankfully the Panasonic Lumix is both. I can zoom into images, set the aperture with the on screen barometer and scroll for the next pic too, as well as operating the whole system with the buttons, depending on how I’m feeling at the time.
3. Panasonic Image App
Download it! From here you’ve got a whole master station from where you can use remote control, geotagging, snap movie, photo collage, and more. You can also link it up to your home monitor to view the pics on the big screen.
4. Easy focus
The touch screen functionality on the camera means you can use the settings to assign different focuses, including Face/Eye Detection AF, Pinpoint AF, One-shot AF and advanced Low Light AF (-4EV). To be completely honest, I’m yet to master this, but it’s totally on my to do list. I mean, I know I can tap the touch screen and it’ll do what I want, magically, but I don’t know any of the theory behind it.
5. Video recording skills
As I said, the camera is one of the few on the market and in the price band to record 4K video, and with stereo sound too. You can also record in full HD. Here’s my video from the Pedi-Bus I went on, and another from my weekend road trip in Montenegro.
You can see the stabilisation at work here, and the vibrant colours the kit lens managed to pick up.
Unfortunately Coldplay was playing in the background so YouTube have muted the sound on the below. You can still get the visual though…
6. Quick functions
There are two buttons on the back of your camera, above the screen, that you can assign as ‘quick access’ buttons to whatever function you like so you don’t need to go through the whole menu screen.
7. Panoramic photos
When the landscape is too beautiful and too vast, and just won’t fit in your screen you can use the panorama function.
Just be careful to go slow, or at least check your photo after, you don’t want the likes of exhibit A (with the disjoint), when you could have exhibit B.
– Loving the detail in that 7am panorama there
7. 3-inch tilting screen
Honestly, the only problem for me with this camera, so far, is the fact that the screen doesn’t flip all the way round for selfies and vlogs. Y’know, all those vlogs I plan to do one day but haven’t quite got round to? The screen does tilt three inches, but why not go all the way with today’s narcissistic world Panasonic?
The 3-inch tilt can help with awkward angles though, especially when you want to go low, or the sunlight is glaring back at you.
8. The feel
– Still does well on a rainy day, with no flash
One of the reasons I don’t like DSLRs is because they’re too big, too valuable and as soon as I got it out, when I owned one, I felt like a target. They are sturdy though, which is why I like the feel of the Panasonic Lumix. It still has the rigidity of a strong, expensive camera, but it doesn’t cost it.
It does feel sturdier than the Olympus PEN, but at the same time fragile too. I’m used to bunging the Olympus PEN in my bag as an after thought but this is one of those cameras you need to actually think about carrying round with you as it’s slightly bigger.
– I like the way it picks up the detail in the background, when the attention is on the foreground
I LOVE the fact you can charge the camera from USB, that’s a huge thing for me as you can just carry battery packs around, which I have for my phone, and you don’t have to worry about the charger pack. So useful.
I could also charge it off the cigarette thingy in the car on our road trip.
Although, I can see that it would be a problem if you needed to charge a battery and use your camera at the same time as the camera has to be off and connected to charge. Could be worth keeping a spare charged one with you to get over that.
11. Post focus selection
You can choose the post focus option when you shoot in 4k, which means the camera will take a few photos of the subject, layer them up, and then you decide afterwards where you want the focus to be depending on the outcome, or what you need it for.
12. 4k photo
I was totally sick of hearing about 4k photo when it came to cameras, especially when I realised my GoPro just had it as standard, but from my road trip in Montenegro these last few days I’m starting to see the point of it.
Thanks to the steadiness and stabilisation of the camera you can point and use the 4k burst to take photos even when you’re moving as fast as a car. This meant I didn’t have to click at just the right point but would have a selection of 4k pixel, high quality photos to choose from, and then I can choose which one(s) to save.
4K photo mode means you can extract the perfect shot from the 4K Ultra HD video. Continuous shooting means you’re sure to capture the exact moment that you want.
13. And more…
I’m yet to understand completely what the following means, but thought I’d include it for your interest…
- ISO200 – ISO25600, Extends to ISO100
- 8fps continuous shooting, 6fps with C-AF
- RAW image development in-camera
- Silent Mode, Multiple Exposure
- Time Lapse Shot / Stop Motion Animation
- Built-in pop-up flash (GN6)
Questions about the Panasonic Lumix GX80?
If you have any questions about the Panasonic Lumix GX80, just let me know in the comments box below.
The Panasonic Lumix GX80 with the kit lens is currently £599 on Amazon.
I have the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm/F1.7 Pancake Lens, any good photo you see on my blog has been taken with this either with this camera, or my Olympus. As you can see from the 5-star reviews on Amazon, everyone else loves it too.
I was given a Panasonic Lumix GX80 camera in return for writing about the functionality and capability on my blog ^.