Hey everyone! Look, the opinions are pretty polarized in regard to Panasonic’s newest m4/3 camera, and I feel that both sides are right. On one side, we have those of us that are excited to see the form factor shrink a little bit with the cost coming down to a remarkably reasonable level. On the other side, we have those of us that are lamenting the lack of ergonomics, weather sealing, fully functional, high spec EVF and general feel that the GX8 has been downgraded.
As someone who has owned every GX model made (less the GX80/85 which I have shot with fairly extensively, however) I do feel I’m in a position to throw my opinion around a bit. Not that you have to agree, nor even listen, but here’s what I think…
Well, my friends, I have been enjoying the comparison between these two great cameras, and in this article I would like to present my opinions and findings regarding how they directly compare to each other in regards to performance and file output, once and for all (for my purposes, anyway). Here’s my disclaimer… I don’t work for Panasonic. I’ve always researched and purchased my own gear, and do these tests in an attempt to help others like myself see what I wish that I could have seen in cases before buying stuff. Enjoy and I hope this shows you something you’ve not yet seen.
I’ve been looking at the comparison from the angle of one who is curious about replacing my historically favorite micro 4/3 camera in the GX7, with it’s intended upgrade in the GX8. I’ve now had the GX8 for a couple months and have shot a few thousand images with it, so I have been able to get a good feel for how it handles, performs and how the files look when digging into them. With the GX8, Panasonic has given us an increase in size, resolution and features, which have all looked good on paper, and I’m now wanting to really see that come through in practice, which in most cases, it has.
Here is what I’ve seen, and what I’ve found…
Stabilization. A term that, before a handful of years ago meant “tripod,” or physical bracing technique, has grown to provide various hardware solutions within our camera system of choice. We as consumers have been lucky to have stabilization options within most all digital camera systems, and while image stabilization isn’t going to remedy all problems, it is certainly a nice feature to have.
I’m awaiting a new Panasonic GX8 to arrive within the next couple weeks which will boast a new, dual IS system incorporating both an on sensor IS and lens based IS solution, but before that time, I wanted to really see how the first full frame, 5 axis on sensor/in body image stabilization (IBIS) system from Sony compares to a very good lens based image stabilization (IS) system in the Canon EF lenses, and a better than often credited 2 axis IBIS system from Panasonic’s first foray into on sensor stabilization, in the GX7.
Come on in to see my three different comparisons between these three different offerings, and see if there is a clear winner.
As is always a bit of fun, I’ve gone through and pitted these two cameras against each other to see if I could tell much in the way of a difference in the file quality. DXO says there’s a 4 point difference in the performance between these two sensors (in the GX7’s favor) yet they seemingly employ the same sensor and processor… Seems a little weird, and while I feel DXO does a good job at giving all of us a great resource from which to compare different cameras, it didn’t seem to add up on paper. C’mon in, We’ll have a look at files from each of these micro 4/3 cameras…
Okay, much like the “effective focal length” discussions, there seem to be many “effective aperture” discussions going around as many of these mirrorless interchangeable lens compact system cameras begin to really round out their lens offerings. Well, I guess the micro 4/3 system has while the Samsung NX is getting there and Sony NEX system users still have a small handful of options, but not really here nor there. The fact that so many lenses can be adapted across various formats can complicate the discussion. Along with those who shoot with APS-C DSLR cameras, all references for focal length and depth of field seem to fall back to a full frame/35mm sized sensor as the benchmark. There are some misconceptions as to how the aperture, or focal length affects the exposure or depth of field in these varying formats.
C’mon in, we’ll straighten this all out.
The Micro 4/3 system has really grown up in the last year. Sensor tech has taken a substantial step forward and the lens lineup has rounded itself out very nicely. Much has been eluded to regarding the origins of the OM-D E-M5 sensor, is it a reworked Panasonic sensor, a Sony sensor, an inhouse super secret sensor??? Oly came out and admitted that Sony is the manufacturer of the sensor in the OM-D E-M5 quelling the rumor mill, and of course, the G3/GX1 (and quite possibly the soon to be G5) sensor, built by Panasonic, is in fact different. That all said, I really wanted to see how these two sensors compared to one another as I have been very impressed by the G3. C’mon in and we’ll take a closer look at a few files.
How does sensor size actually affect focal length?
Focal length? Effective focal length? Actual focal length? Crop factor? Do you get more reach with a crop sensor? Is it equal to a longer focal length? There are some misconceptions surrounding what happens when a lens is used on cameras with different sensor sizes. Let’s have a look at the differences between a full frame, APS-C and micro 4/3 sensor.