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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Full Review - Performance

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Panasonic Lumix GX8 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Photos are generally well exposed with bright saturated colours and are biased towards a warm result with good levels of detail particularly when shooting in bright sunny conditions. The camera's metering system is likely to under-expose an image rather than produce an image with blown highlights. Shadow areas occasionally show signs of noise when viewed at 100%. The HDR mode takes a number of photos at different exposures and combines them in-camera into one photo. This produces good results with expanded dynamic range, and can be used handheld. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The camera automatically corrects for lens distortion, as well a purple fringing, and as a result there were hardly any issues with purple fringing or distortion visible. The 12-35mm f/2.8 lens is prone to lens flare when shooting with a bright light source such as the sun in the frame, although the majority of the time this wasn't an issue as the provided lens hood gives additional protection. There are options for vignetting / shading compensation in camera, as well as diffraction correction in camera.

It's not possible to switch off the in-camera sensor based image stabilisation system. We used the Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 lens to test the image stabilisation, at 35mm, 70mm equivalent.  

  • IS Off completely (GX7*) - slowest shutter speed - 1/25s most shots sharp.
  • Lens based IS (GX7*) - slowest shutter speed - 1/20s
  • Sensor only (GX8) - slowest shutter speed 1/20s most sharp
  • Sensor and lens combo (GX8) - slowest shutter speed - 1/15s
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - slowest shutter speed - 1/8s

*With a Panasonic lens that features OIS mounted to the GX7 and optical image stabilisation switched off, it's not possible to use the in camera sensor shift image stabilisation. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO1600, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO3200 to ISO6400 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO12800 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO25600 is best avoided as noise is high, and detail is low.

Noise performance is better at ISO6400 with the GX8 when compared to the Panasonic Lumix G7, despite the increase in megapixels, however it would have been good if the camera was capable of keeping a little more detail in images at ISO3200 and above with cameras like the E-M5 Mark II and X-T10 offering slightly better detail retention. At the lowest ISO setting of ISO100 (extended) dynamic range is lower, and by default the camera shoots at ISO200.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs gives a warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a more accurate result, although it is still quite warm, and for better results custom white balance is recommended. AWB performs reasonably well under fluorescent lights, with a slightly warm result, and again, for better results custom white balance is recommended. Images are occasionally slightly under exposed on default settings, although often appear correct on the (bright) screen of the camera. This is easily corrected using exposure compensation. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Creative effects let you apply a number of digital filters to the images, and you can shoot JPEG and raw so that you can go back to the original if you want to. There is also an option to save the original, unedited JPEG image as well. There are several preset colour modes, these can be customised letting you alter the contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, and saturation levels. The monochrome colour option lets you choose a black and white filter.

Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/5.6 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/5.6 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode - The camera features an automatic panoramic mode (120°/360°), where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are very good, and well stitched together, with a high-resolution image produced.

Video - Video quality is very good, with lens based optical image stabilisation helping keep the video steady, even when recording hand-held, as shown in the video below, however for the best results a tripod is recommended. Sensor based image stabilisation isn't available while recording videos, however electronic image stabilisation is an option when recording FullHD video, but not 4K video. 

There are Snap Movie options, filter settings, highlight shadow options, diffraction compensation, luminous level settings, mic level adjustment display (four levels), and wind noise cancellation options, meaning there are slightly fewer options available when compared to the G7. 

4K / UHD video options include: MP4: 3820x2160, 25p or 24p, 100Mbps, AAC. Full HD 1080p video options include AVCHD or MP4 compression, with the camera offering AVCHD: 50p, 28Mbps / 25p, 24Mbps / 24p, 24Mbps, MP4: 50p, 28Mbps, AAC / 25p, 20Mbps, AAC and there are lower resolution options including 720p (at 25p), and VGA (at 25p). Additional sample videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.

 



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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8

FuchsiaSILVER MACHINEPapa with FeedEDITING PHOTOS ON THE IPAD OR IPAD-PRODancer ROJIA WONDERFUL COMBINATIONDOG LEGBluebells in the woodBY JUPITER !Caerlaverock CastleChihuly glass sculpture 'Reeds'WHEN THE LIGHT IS RIGHTThe Lonely TreeREFLECTIVE REFLECTIONSDAPPER CHAP

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Comments


Andy_Curtis 5 808 United Kingdom
16 Jul 2015 9:28AM
This will be mine! OMD, gx7 and XPro 1 all rolled into one. (Well, the bits I like from those 3)

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mikehit 9 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2015 3:53PM
Are you sure those IS figures are correct?


Quote:IS Off completely (GX7*) - slowest shutter speed - 1/25s most shots sharp.
Lens based IS (GX7*) - slowest shutter speed - 1/20s


The lens IS gives an improvement from 1/25 to 1/20 sec?


Quote:Sensor only (GX8) - slowest shutter speed 1/20s most sharp
Sensor and lens combo (GX8) - slowest shutter speed - 1/15s


The sensor-only in GX8 is about the same as lens IS on the GX7
But combining them in the much-vaunted Dual IS (lens+ sensor) improves it to a mind-boggling 1/15

Neither of those sets of figures are very impressive over no IS at all.
joshwa Plus
8 885 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2015 4:05PM
Hi Mike, the ability to handhold a camera steady will vary from user to user, lens used and subject photographed. I took the photos using the same lens and subject and hand holding position. Albeit the testing wasn't particularly scientific (ie, I didn't use a robotic camera shaking system and remote triggering), but shows that there is a slight improvement from the image stabilisation system in the GX8. Although it doesn't quite match the system in the E-M5 Mark II, which is known to be one of the best (perhaps even the best) IS systems around.
mikehit 9 8.0k 13 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2015 5:08PM
Thanks, Joshwa
It was the 'no IS at all' bit that makes it all look a bit off. If someone less stable (such as myself!) gets their mitts on it, I guess the whole set of numbers may well show a greater spread between the different situations.

But comparing the 2-axis IBIS in the GX7 with the 4-axis IBIS in the GX8 (and both of them with the E-M5) the development that seems to be touted for the IBIS in the GX8 seems to be rather disappointing and has a fair way to go for usability with non-stabilised lenses.
dannyr 9 46 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2015 12:33PM
It looks like a very good upgrade from my GX7 (when it drops in price!).

Can I ask, its mentioned the shutter is louder, but does it have a nicer shutter sound than the shutter on the GX7? I always hated the shutter sound on the GX7 it sounded like somebody slapping a wet fish!
joshwa Plus
8 885 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2015 1:12PM
There is a video of the shutter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_pw6SxAfxk




dannyr 9 46 United Kingdom
24 Jul 2015 1:51PM
Cheers Josh, ill check that out.
24 Jul 2015 5:51PM
I see a lack of critical sharpness in the samples. The 'loud' shutter might be suspect. It looks to me like vertical shake, or maybe it's a mediocre lens. I would love to download RAW files shot with the 42.5mm Nocticron lens with the GX8 on a tripod, to see just how good this baby is, but for now these pics do not rival what I've seen from Olympus's top cams.
24 Jul 2015 5:57PM
To the reviewer(Josh?):
Two questions:
1. Is the test lens's firmware updated to work with the new Dual I.S.? As far as I know, the new lens firmware hasn't been released. The latest available (to public) is version 1.2 dated May 2015. Could you pls check the version you use? Also what's your camera's firmware version, production or early release?

2. When you compare the images details for ISO3200, you said EM5 II retains more details. Could you pls comment on your methodology? Compare OOC JPEG, or using RAW? If using RAW, what converter(s)?
TIA
Chris_L 5 5.0k United Kingdom
25 Jul 2015 1:49AM
In pros and cons review says a con is that there is no sensor shift IS in video mode but earlier it says "The Dual Image Stabilisation system is a 4-axis in-body sensor shift system, which works in conjunction with the optical image stabilisation in Panasonic lenses, which feature a 2-axis system. In video mode, the camera uses a Hybrid image stabilisation system to give 5-axis image stabilisation. The dual image stabilisation system is said to give comparable image stabilisation performance to Olympus' 5-axis image stabilisation system found in the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II"

If I buy this and I use it in video mode with a non-IS lens, with an Olympus lens or with a Panasonic lens with OIS when do I get stabilization and when don't I? I can't work it out.

Also the specs say framerates of 24 and 25 in video. What about 50 (as in my GX7), your YouTube video seems to be shot at 50?


Kawika 5 7
25 Jul 2015 4:52AM
Thank you for a very useful and comprehensive review, especially for buffer depth figures (all too often ignored by other camera review sites).
As a happy GX7 user, I look forward to seeing results of IQ with the new 20MP sensor. And of course 4K video with 8MP frames is a bonus.

Chris' question about IS is a good one; my understanding is the with a non-IS lens you will still get IBIS, but not 5-axis. Also, as I understand it, with Panny "Mega-OIS" lenses (such as the 100-300mm), you won't get the combined effects of IBIS and lens IS, although you will get the lens IS (which I have found to be very good). For the full IS combination, you need Panny "Power OIS" lenses.
joshwa Plus
8 885 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2015 8:13AM
Hi Chris_L

Review updated to clarify that the Hybrid IS works for FullHD video, but not 4K video. Specs also updated to show that 60/50p is available for FullHD video, and 25/24p for 4K video.

Thanks
J
joshwa Plus
8 885 United Kingdom
28 Jul 2015 8:15AM

Quote:To the reviewer(Josh?):
Two questions:
1. Is the test lens's firmware updated to work with the new Dual I.S.? As far as I know, the new lens firmware hasn't been released. The latest available (to public) is version 1.2 dated May 2015. Could you pls check the version you use? Also what's your camera's firmware version, production or early release?

2. When you compare the images details for ISO3200, you said EM5 II retains more details. Could you pls comment on your methodology? Compare OOC JPEG, or using RAW? If using RAW, what converter(s)?
TIA



Camera firmware 1.0. The lens firmware version was 1.3.

Comparing JPEG OOC images.
Kawika 5 7
29 Jul 2015 3:39AM
Question for the reviewer:
The GX7 has a great sensor crop feature that creates a greater zoom. Does the GX8 have this?
GX7 Video teleconverter; 1920x1080 crop from the middle; ~2.4x magnification with no loss in quality. GH4 has same feature (but not in 4K mode). Stills with ETC are 2x @4mp (S@4:3).
(Information found in GX7 Manual, p. 211)
joshwa Plus
8 885 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2015 8:12AM
Hi Kawika, yes it does have the same feature, thanks Josh
29 Jul 2015 1:30PM
I've had the GX7 for almost 2 years. I will skip this upgrade and may go back to Olympus. I am not happy with the "Look" of the Panasonic files. The colors just do not appeal to me in JPEG. The RAW can be processed to a decent level. My old EM-5 just seemed to pull more depth and richness out of the scene. Olympus has a different way of presenting the finished JPEG. The menu on the Panasonic is why I switched in the first place. But for picture quality, the Olympus seems to suite my tastes better.
Kawika 5 7
29 Jul 2015 3:43PM
Much as I like my GX7 (I passed on the EM1 due to mediocre video) I have to say that FoToEdge has a point. It is disconcerting to see that Panny lenses score much higher with DxOMark when used on Oly cameras. (For example, see the DxOMark review of the Lumix G VARIO 14-140mm /F3.5-5.6 ASPH.)
Score with Olympus OM-D E-M1: 13
Score with GX7: 10
I'm going to wait until DxOMark has tested with the GX8. I know that their tests are not the only measure of a camera, and that there are significant variations amongst individual units, but the tests do provide some indication.
(That said, I once went through 2 very poor Pentax 55-300mm lenses before finally, on the third try, getting a very good one. The difference was night and day. And I've had similar experiences with cameras. Every one is a bit different, even though they are the same make and model.)
29 Jul 2015 4:02PM
As Kawika mentions, it won't hurt to wait. Even if interested, the price is out of this world. There are other quality choices with Fuji, Sony and Olympus. As an early purchaser of the GX7 I feel the camera was not given much of a chance before Panasonic slashed the price dramatically and hurt all the initial purchasers. I do not feel that they try in our Kansas City Marketplace. There are no dealers selling their products. Also, I have spoke to Fuji and Olympus service departments on the phone myself and I received respect and attention. I have never been able to connect with a real human at Panasonic. Fuji and Olympus know photography and I am starting to feel just more comfortable with either of these companies and their products. Panasonic may still be inwardly viewing their cameras as just appliances. Time and Reviews will sort this all out. Keep your Credit Card in the wallet and investigate and then decide for yourselves, in the meantime the price will drop in 1 or 2 months.
Kawika 5 7
29 Jul 2015 10:06PM
At the risk of straying a bit off topic (evaluation of the GX8 and its feature set), Amen to FoToEdge's comment about price. When the GX7 came out I loved the spec sheet but simply couldn't justify paying that much for an MFT (even though, as a GH3 owner, I had all the MFT lenses I needed and was very fond of the GH3). Waited a year, pretty much forgot about the GX7, and then it came back on my radar and I bought it for under $700. I'm hoping that the GX8 will (1) live up to its promise and (2) be offered at a very reduce price sometime next year. Meanwhile, I can use the GX7.
30 Jul 2015 7:00PM

Quote:To the reviewer(Josh?):
Two questions:
1. Is the test lens's firmware updated to work with the new Dual I.S.? As far as I know, the new lens firmware hasn't been released. The latest available (to public) is version 1.2 dated May 2015. Could you pls check the version you use? Also what's your camera's firmware version, production or early release?

2. When you compare the images details for ISO3200, you said EM5 II retains more details. Could you pls comment on your methodology? Compare OOC JPEG, or using RAW? If using RAW, what converter(s)?
TIA



Camera firmware 1.0. The lens firmware version was 1.3.

Comparing JPEG OOC images.
--
Josh:
Thx for the details! The ver 1.3 has not been released to the public, so its existence is new. Now knowing the result was done using the latest lens' firmware tailored to the Dual I.S. but not seeing much advantage, I'm not too thrilled. Panasonic needs to go to the floating sensor route in order to have better stabilization capability.
Chris_L 5 5.0k United Kingdom
5 Aug 2015 2:21PM
I just sussed something out about this. Looks to me that they use sensor shift and OIS for stills. But for video the IBIS is electronic stabilization, which means it is done in software, scrolling the image left, right, up or down to compensate for shake. You can only do this at 1080 though because when 4k shooting you won't have enough pixels. It can't use decoupled sensor during video due to heat. OIS should still be feasible.

It does mean there may be more of a crop in some video modes, not certain on that.
8 Aug 2015 8:21PM

Quote:Much as I like my GX7 (I passed on the EM1 due to mediocre video) I have to say that FoToEdge has a point. It is disconcerting to see that Panny lenses score much higher with DxOMark when used on Oly cameras. (For example, see the DxOMark review of the Lumix G VARIO 14-140mm /F3.5-5.6 ASPH.)
Score with Olympus OM-D E-M1: 13
Score with GX7: 10
I'm going to wait until DxOMark has tested with the GX8.

You see I am a little sceptical, these tests carried out were done at a time everybody thought the E-M1 contained a Sony sensor. When chipsure took it apart, they found out it was a Panasonic. I am struggling to understand how these marks can be so different. Tony Northrup advises DxO place too much emphasis on colour. Either way, both these scores are poor, and whilst I suppose it is handy to have a benchmark, for all practical purposes, we are in the realms of nitpickery. The choice between Panasonic and Olympus is about whether you do video and or whether your nerves can handle the frustration of operating the Olympus machines, last only to Fuji's.

Kawika 5 7
8 Aug 2015 9:16PM
Montymouse says:
"Either way, both these scores are poor"
Actually, for the category of long zoom they are average or better. The typical 55-300mm long zoom for APS-C usually scores 11 or 12, and can go into single digits with certain cameras. That seems to be the price paid for long reach and flexilibity.
That said, I can hardly wait to see the 20MP GX8 coupled with the recently announced Panny 100-400mm OIS zoom lens. Whether stills or video (or 8MP frame grabs from 4K video) this should be an amazing kit for outdoor sports, wildlife, birding, etc.
19 Aug 2015 6:17PM
Does it really drop that low, the overall score for the 35-100mm is 19. Don't get me wrong, the 14-140mm is my favourite long zoom lens, my point is, why the difference between using it on the EM1 and the GX8, because I can't see any perceivable difference between images taken on the EM1 and the GX7 or my new G7, which I would say was even better. Everybody on the forums picked on me for saying this, constantly supporting their criticisms with the fact that it was obviously going to better given it's superior Sony sensor, so I ask now, given the sensor turns out to be a Panasonic... what now? Is DxO more subjective than we think?
Kawika 5 7
19 Aug 2015 7:33PM
All I can say is, go to DxOMark and see for yourself. Possible factors:
1. 55-300mm (nearly 6x) is a much greater focal length difference that 35-100mm (less than 3x). Typically there is a severe IQ penalty for greatly increased focal length difference, especially at or near a given price point.
2. 300mm is much greater than 100mm. Typically there is a severe IQ penalty for greatly increased focal length, especially at or near a given price point.
20 Aug 2015 4:36AM
The 300mm is known to be poor, I have reviewed the images and they are noticeably soft. But I am talking about the 14-140mm, this is a sharp high quality lens, if a bit slow. I have stopped looking at DxO scores along time ago because they add no value to my decision making, the charts on this site are far more informative along with the reviews. This doesnt answer my question regarding the improved scores on the EM1 wich i speculate is subjective.
Kawika 5 7
20 Aug 2015 6:35AM
I was answering this question:
"Does it really drop that low, the overall score for the 35-100mm is 19."
Your point about DxOMark is well taken, since especially with consumer-grade lenses there can be a huge variation from one copy to the next.
27 Sep 2015 3:20PM
Stabilization works best at higher shutter speeds for coffee drinkers like me. Try shooting everything in Shutter Priority for a change and keep that speed up above 1/250 and let the Auto ISO fly up to 3200 if needed. Grain is better looking than any blur from camera or lens movement with any camera.

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