Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

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Reviewed by sidepocket (Currently owns)

First off, the size. Wow, I can literally put the thing in my pocket with the 20mm f/1.7 prime lens attached; very cool! I can also simply use a small wrist strap instead of a larger neck strap. That being said, it's heavier than I thought it would be; feels very substantial.

Second, the video (1080p). This was like a breath of fresh air. No longer do I have to fiddle with three different switches and knobs to take a simple movie (as with my Canon 7D). Also, continuous (and silent) autofocus during video makes it so much easier to chase my child around with it.

Third, the 20mm f/1.7 prime lens. This lens is so nice, it's basically a 40mm full-frame equivalent. It focuses fast and silently. It also has a full-time manual focus ring for those who care about that sort of thing. The bokeh (a.k.a. background blur) is very nice. I never thought I would be able to get such nice bokeh out of a smaller sensor, but you definitely can.

Fourth, the ISO. This seems to be what everyone is interested in. I haven't been able to dig deep into my raw files just yet, but I can definitely say that it's very impressive for a camera this size. I would venture to say that it's not quite up to the 7D's standards, but it's close; and it's a little better than my older 50D, which is impressive in itself. It shoots all the way up to ISO 12800, but I probably wouldn't go past 3200. Luckily the Auto ISO lets me set the ceiling limit (I wish my 7D had this feature). This is where shooting Raw is important, because the camera applies automatic noise reduction to the JPG images. I'd rather remove the noise myself in Lightroom, unless I'm just posting to Facebook or something.

A couple brief notes--the flash. It's the first pop-up flash I've ever seen that you can bend back (it's spring loaded) and bounce the light off the ceiling for more-flattering light distribution. Very neat!

The only downsides I can think of are the lens selection (still no 2.8 zooms), and the touchscreen (it's kind of gimmicky, it's resistive, and you won't use it much since you can pretty do everything with the buttons anyway). Also, you probably won't be using it for sports since it'll only shoot at around 4 fps in high quality mode.

Bottom line--I will probably use this camera for 99% of my travel and family photography. I'll probably keep my Canon 7D around since I have so many Canon lenses, but I doubt I'll ever replace it with another DSLR. Micro Four-Thirds will only get better and there are fewer and fewer reasons to need a DSLR anymore.

The Breakdown

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  • Hardware / design 9
  • Image quality 8
  • Video quality 8
  • Interface / controls 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 9
  • Lens ecosystem 7
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