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Panasonic's Lumix GX8 comes with a new sensor, 4K video, and a hefty price tag

Panasonic's Lumix GX8 comes with a new sensor, 4K video, and a hefty price tag

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Panasonic is updating its two-year-old Lumix GX7 mirrorless camera to the Lumix GX8, a similar camera that includes a number of new upgrades across the board. The GX8 has an all-new, 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, 4K video capabilities, and a new image stabilization system that can combine both in-camera and in-lens systems for better results. It's also coming with a steep new price tag: $1,199.99, which gets you just the camera without a lens. It will be available in mid-August.

A free-angle LCD and tiltable EVF offer more versatility

The design of the GX8 is largely unchanged from the GX7 — it's still a retro, rangefinder-like design with an integrated viewfinder and a fair number of buttons and dials. Panasonic has added a couple more dials, including one for exposure compensation, as well as a free-angle LCD and tiltable EVF. The EVF has greater magnification, making it appear larger and more engulfing than the GX7's viewfinder. But overall, the body of the GX8 feels cheap and plasticky despite its internal magnesium frame, which is not what most people would expect for a camera at this price point. It's also particularly large and bulky, especially compared to mirrorless cameras from Sony and Fujifilm that have larger image sensors.

Panasonic says the new sensor and processor in the GX8 offers improved color reproduction, better dynamic range, and better high-ISO performance over the GX7's sensor. The new dual image stabilization system — a first of its kind — is said to be more effective at both wide and telephoto settings. Panasonic claims the GX8 also has an autofocus system that's the fastest of any mirrorless camera and even rivals DSLRs. It can shoot up to six frames per second in continuous focus mode, or up to eight frames per second in single focus mode.

But the real appeal that Panasonic is hoping photographers see in the GX8 is its 4K video recording capabilities. It can shoot full, 4K video at 30 frames per second, and can save 8-megapixel still images from the captured footage. Photos that are pulled from the 4K video retain their EXIF data for the exact moment they are from, which makes it easier when organising photos later on. For audio recording, the GX8 has a 2.5mm microphone jack (the GX7 lacked one entirely), which works with Panasonic's optional microphone.

The GX8 also has standard features like built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, and is compatible with the many lenses available in the Micro Four Thirds system. It can also process RAW images in camera, a new feature over the GX7. The GX8 will come in black or silver and will be available direct from Panasonic or through camera retailers across the country next month.