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Featured forum post: GX1 Initial Impressions and a Sample ISO 1600 Image

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by pawzitiv, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    So, despite being very happy with my pair of GF1 bodies, I had to see if there was credence to Panasonic's claims regarding the GX1. I picked up a black GX1 body this past Tuesday.

    Getting the GX1 customized to the same settings that I use on my GF1 took some doing .. the menus are much the same but there's no Dynamic B&W setting and I found it took some effort to get accustomed to the touch screen.

    I definitely don't like the touch screen shutter release but being able to move the single focus point (my preference) around with my finger is handy. The touch screen is also handy for making Quick Menu selections.

    The "pin-point" focus option is something new (compared to the GF1) and is useful for critical focus but slows down the AF significantly as it first enlarges the focus point (much like when manual focusing) before you can recompose to trip the shutter. I see this focus mode being most useful for macro photography on a tripod.

    It also took me awhile to figure out which settings to assign to the 4 function buttons (2 physical buttons and 2 icons onscreen)

    I don't shoot video but for still photography here briefly are my GX1 pros and cons compared to the GF1 ...

    +1 slightly smaller with better grip
    +2 higher quality feel (subjective)
    +3 faster handling
    +4 faster AF
    +5 improved sensor for shooting at sensitivities higher than ISO800
    +6 highlight roll-off a bit smoother

    -1 More menu options (mostly for the touch screen) add to UI complexity
    -2 Touch screen is love/hate
    -3 Buttons FN1, Disp., Q.Menu & AF/MF are flush with camera body (can't find them with tactile touch .. you have to look)

    For me, the GX1 improvements over the GF1 are worth the cost of admission.

    Here is an ISO1600 shot with the 20mm f/1.7 lens. This is Buddy; he always help me test the dynamic range of my cameras. This is a straight JPG conversion from raw using the default LR 6.6RC conversion settings ...

    DMC-GX1    ---    20mm    f/2.0    1/60s    ISO 1600
    • Like Like x 27
  2. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks for doing this Arie. I'm pretty sure when the GX1 arrives in Australia I'll be purchasing it to compliment my GF1.

    In terms of build quality in what way do you reckon it feels different compared to the GF1?

    Also regarding the screen, does it take more of a push to operate than say an iPhone or GPS? And how do you find the clarity and brightness of the screen?

    The detail in the picture you posted looks great.
  3. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    Thanks for the post Arie. I've just sold out of :43: for the second time. I am afraid the GX1 may pull me right back in...

    Your list of Pros with the GX1 are attention getters for me. Can you give them some weight? For example, is the improvement slight, moderate or signficant?

    Regarding Buddy, did you look for a black & white pup specifically for DR evluations, or is that just a convenient coincidence? :) 

    Thanks again!
  4. Livnius

    Livnius Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jul 7, 2011
    Melbourne. Australia
    Thanks for the informative post, really great to getting early user reviews. Appreciate the effort :bravo-009:

    I'll wait until you clarify further or until more user reviews like this filter through...but it seems to me that the Pros are significant whereas the Cons appear to be more quirks that will be easily overcome with time and familiarity.

    This thing is looking like a winner.....early days yet.
  5. betamax

    betamax Mu-43 Regular

    May 7, 2011
    NSW, Australia
    Thanks for the post pawzitiv. I have my own DNR test subject, a black and white cat. Judging by Buddy, DNR is a little better than my E-PL3.
  6. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    My pleasure, Brady. You'll find the GX1 is a good step better than its' older sister.

    Regarding build quality, it feels and handles smaller than the GF1 but it's not cramped .. ergonomics are as good as on the GF1. It's an all-metal body, save for the grip, so it feels "cooler" in the hand. I find the overall finish and fit a bit better than on the GF1.

    Yes, the touch screen does indeed need a bit harder push or tap than what you'd need on a smartphone or GPS receiver. The screen brightness is user setting .. full bright hurts the eyes under normal lighting but would be useful in bright sun. Screen clarity is equal to the GF1 and its' reflectivity is less.

    Indeed, I'm pleased with with detail, reduced noise and slightly improved DR at ISO1600. Thinking back to colour film, this result was impossible and it's a worthy evolution to what the GF1 can do. And the GF1 is very good .. I'm going to keep at least one of my GF1 bodies.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010

    Sure .. I'll rank the "pros" on a scale of 1 to 5. Bear in mind, you may weight things differently ..

    3/5 slightly smaller with better grip
    2/5 higher quality feel (subjective)
    4/5 faster handling
    3/5 faster AF
    5/5 improved sensor for shooting at sensitivities higher than ISO800
    5/5 highlight roll-off a bit smoother

    Buddy is simple pure luck; he is a rescue and he picked us as his "forever" people.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    My pleasure, Livnius.

    Yes, there's really very little to criticize with the new GX1 and the 3 things I mentioned may be of no consequence to others. It does produce a cleaner image than the GF1 and shedding a few millimetres in size plus the all-metal build are all significant enough for me to move up the GX1.

    It's a gloomy winter and running the GX1 further through its' paces will have to be a deliberate exercise .. mostly indoors.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    Well, I guess we both are blessed (or cursed) with challenging photo subjects.

    I'd hazard to guess that the GX1 dynamic range at base ISO is on par with the E-P3.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. zerotiu

    zerotiu Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 13, 2011
    wow, that's amazing detail! I have an issue with high ISO with my ep3. I don't process mine with lightroom. Do you mind to upload the JPG version of that? or you only shot raw? I mean the unprocess one. My ISO 1600 has some nasty purple noise :frown:
    • Like Like x 1
  11. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    Well, since I shoot RAW+JPG and my JPG is set to Monochrome, I can't provide an out-of-camera colour JPG. What I can provide is a LR-processed JPG that has had a slight curve adjustment and a small measure of both luminance noise reduction and sharpening. This GX1 ISO1600 image cleans up very nicely and there's no visible noise when printed at 13"x19".

    I'm sorry to hear your E-P3 disappoints you with regards to noise. You should try to process a few E-P3 images through LR (borrow from a friend maybe??) .. LR's noise reduction is very effectual without destroying detail.

    Anyway, here's the processed JPG image:

    • Like Like x 1
  12. battleaxe

    battleaxe Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Wow that is impressive. Almost has me tempted to get one, or at least wait until body only prices drop a bit. It seems like they have done a little work with high ISO even vs G3(though most of maybe due to the tweaked processor).

    How do you find WB and metering accuracy vs the GF1?
  13. Camerafrog

    Camerafrog Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 12, 2010
    Thank you for the nicely done review!

    I wonder why they have dropped the Dynamic B&W setting. It was one of my favorite settings when I had a Panasonic.
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Thanks for the early impressions. Have you tried any at iso3200? That's always been a step too far for me with any m43 camera I've used (the best have been the GH2 and EP3/EPL3, with the edge to the GH2). I've been fine up to 1600, but not 3200 and 3200 has really saved my bacon for evening shooting with the X100. Once m43 sensors get to that place and I can shoot in really low light with an f2 or f2.5 lens at a reasonable shutter speed, I may not need anything else. I can already do it with the 25mm f1.4 but I don't like that focal length for very much.

  15. gfspencer

    gfspencer Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 24, 2011
    North Carolina
    Thanks for the very good review! I'm going to get one to go along with my GF-1. I hope that the GX-1 will go well with my new 25mm F1.4 lens.

    I really like your photos! :thumbup:
  16. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    This was shot with a G3 at 3200 (second shot is a 100% crop) in very low light:

    DMC-G3    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/10s    ISO 3200

    DMC-G3    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/10s    ISO 3200

    Pawzitiv: one thing that I don't like about the G3 is that it feels too thin front-to-back for my taste, while the GF1 feels just right. I know that the GX1 is slightly thinner, but with the chunkier grip, does it still feel more substantial between the thumb and fingers?
  17. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    I am unable to open GX1 raw files using the current version of Adobe Camera Raw (6.5) in Photoshop. So I'm stuck using Silkypix, which is an abysmal experience. I assumed that Lightroom and Photoshop use the same raw developer. Am I wrong about that, or is there some beta version of Camera Raw of which I'm unaware?

    Thanks in advance.

  18. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010
    Not having a G3, I can't comment on whether or not the GX1 is an improvement over the G3 sensor/imaging engine. I do like what I see with the GX1 at high ISO but it's still not quite in the same league as my Pentax K-5.

    I never give white balance much thought. I always shoot RAW+JPG and my workflow is predominantly B&W .. I seldom stray from AWB. Still, I think the white balance of my Buddy image is bang on.

    As for metering accuracy, I see no difference from the GF1; I'm sure I'll often dial in -0.3 EC to preserve highlights with the GX1 just as I do with the GF1.

    Dynamic B&W is my most used JPG setting as well, right from the time I picked up a D-Lux 4. This setting is often just to my liking for straight OOC B&W images. Agreed, it's a disappointment that the GX1 doesn't offer this.

    Ray .. ask and ye shall receive. Here is a quick and dirty ISO3200 image from the GX1. Please bear in mind that this image was taken handheld at 1/25 sec. The first is a straight JPG conversion from RAW using LR 6.6RC default settings and the second is tweaked a bit with mild exposure/noise/sharpening adjustments. IMHO, ISO3200 images from the GX1 are perfectly usable and will have a nice "tooth" when converted to B&W.



    ... and the cropped image

    DMC-GX1    ---    20mm    f/2.0    1/25s    ISO 3200

    Thanks for the props. I've yet to try my GX1 with my 25/1.4 but I'm sure it will be a great combination and, I suspect, no "rattlesnake" annoyance.

    To me, the GX1 doesn't feel any more substantial than the GF1 .. they're about the same. I use half cases with both my GF1 bodies because the grip on GF1 is almost nonexistent whereas the grip on the GX1 lends to having a good firm grasp on the camera.
    • Like Like x 2
  19. pawzitiv

    pawzitiv Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2010

    LightRoom support for the GX1 raw files is in the works. For now, you'll need LightRoom's version 6.6 Release Candidate in order open the GX1 raw files:

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.6 Release Candidate | photo management software prerelease - Adobe Labs
    • Like Like x 1
  20. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2011
    Ashland, OR USA
    Thanks for the info, Arie. I've downloaded the Photoshop plug-in, and it works a peach!

    • Like Like x 1
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