Panasonic has had a two-pronged approach to the ILCC market – the G-series with the D-SLR look and the GF-series – which are more like compact cameras in size and appearance.
The new GX-1 continues with the design ethics of the GF-series but is christened differently perhaps because it also introduces the new X-series of Lumix lenses. The new GX-1 along with the new X-series 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical Mega OIS Power Zoom lens forms the subject of our test. The camera has now been in the international market for over six months and rumors abound that a GX-2 will be in the market shortly.
Design & Build Quality
The design of the GF-series saw outstanding success in the market place. In fact, the GF2 was the best selling ILCC in Japan in 2011. The GX1 follows the same formula. Notably, the GX1 sports an aluminum chassis. At 272g, it seems just right as far as weight is concerned. The dimensions of 116 x 68 x 38mm also seem at par for the course. The curved hand grip on the right hand side completes the design and make it an attractive camera from the aesthetic point of view.
The GX-1 comes with a 16MP Live MOS sensor. Panasonic offer a 23-area TTL contrast autofocus system. The system also allows single point selection and includes face-detection and focus-tracking. On the metering front, the GX-1 offers a 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system with options for spot metering and center-weighted metering. The 3-inch LCD features a 460,000 dot touch-screen. There is no viewfinder in the camera. However, an optional LVF2 electronic viewfinder can be purchased separately. The camera has a built-in flash with a Guide Number of 7.6 metres at ISO 160. Movies can be recorded in full high definition using AVCHD or MPEG4. Other features include depth of field pre-view (with shutter speeds simulation), 100% field of view of the LCD, touch-focussing anywhere in the frame, intelligent auto mode, 17 scene modes and an auto-leveller that helps the user keep the camera absolutely in level with the ground. The GX-1 comes with a rechargeable lithium battery which Panasonic say is good for up to 310 shots.
Along with the optional electronic viewfinder, the GX-1 does give a slight retro feel. The camera is available in both gray and black finish and the quality of finish in both versions is of high order. The two function buttons at the rear of the camera add to the level of customisation available. So does the Quick Menu mode. Once you are familiar with the controls of the camera, the GX-1 proves to be a pleasure to use. The touch-control functions worked quite well and are an added bonus.
The GX-1 acquitted itself honorably on our test bench. Autofocus was quick and precise and metering was also of a high order. The 14-42mm lens attached showed vignetting up to f/4. We also noticed pin-cushion distortion upwards of 35mm. As far as White Balance was concerned, the camera acquitted itself extremely well. Noise levels were controlled up to ISO 800 after which noise reduction comes to play rather vigorously, thereby sometimes affecting image quality. Highlight and shadow details were of a high order. Overall, a very good performance.
Value For Money
The Panasonic Lumix DMC GX1 is available at an MRP of Rs.49,990. At this price, in spite of its good performance, we would consider it a tad expensive.
+ Auto Leveller
+ Good overall performer
+ Very good White Balance
Design and Build Quality 16/20
Key Features 16/20
Noise Control 3/5
Auto White Balance 4/5
Extra Features 5/5
Value for Money 6.5/10
Grand Total 77.5/100
The GX-1 is a new series from Panasonic that is aimed at retro enthusiasts. It is a high quality camera. However, it is very likely that the GX-2 is in the offing in a few months.
H. S. Billimoria