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New GX1 first impressions

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by chicaboo, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
    Hey gang,

    I just thought I would share my initial impressions of the GX1.

    Pros:
    - snappy quick AF, even in dim lighting [hello AF-assist lamp!].
    - quality construction, good feel/resistance to buttons/dials.
    - clean JPG files, good AWB even with CPL filter attached.
    - LVF2 is brilliant, snug fit in hotshoe, rigid hinge & clips shut.
    - grip is OK, very similar to the E-PL1, better with half case.
    - touch screen is very responsive, hasn't reacted to my nose.
    - seems to choose faster shutter speed over higher ISO.
    - improved dynamic range, more detail in shadows, still noisy.
    - pop-up flash has good range, but tends to underexpose.

    Cons:
    - thumb grip is smooth, would've preferred textured finish.
    - etched buttons hard to read at times, will learn over time.
    - 1/160 flash sync is locked for auto flashes, unlike E-PL1.
    - UI has no Olympus SCP equivalent, will learn over time.
    - FL28 and FL-36R tend to underexpose, but not consistent.
    - iA seems to soften details with aggressive NR in low light?

    The only thing I'm really not crazy about is the external flash performance. Just like the pop-up flash, they tend to underexpose, but not consistently so. I tried a Panasonic FL-28 [auto aperture] and Olympus FL-36R [FP-TTL], and I couldn't get any form of consistency. Panasonic have locked the hotshoe flash sync to 1/160, even for auto flashes. It's not a deal breaker and can be worked around, but if anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to volunteer them! 1-0 to Will Crockett, hey?

    The JPG files look fine to me. The AWB is more true to life than my E-PL1 is or E-620 was. Even with a CPL filter on the 25/1.4, it didn't bother the AWB. Occasionally I will see a cool image in shaded areas, but it's a step up from what I'm used to. RAW files might have a bit better highlight recovery than the EPL1, not quite sure yet.

    I played around a bit with iA, but I think I will stick to A and M mode and just PP RAW in LR. However, I haven't looked at the dynamic range option, but it's something I'd like to check out. If it's anything like the E-PL1, it will just reduce contrast and produce flat images. Currently I'm using -1 NR and +1 Sharpness, but I might bump up the contrast or saturation +1, too.

    I've installed the SilkyPix software, but I haven't given it a go yet. I used to use Olympus IB for a long time before moving over to LR 4.1, but I definitely want to see what the included software can do in comparison. It's unlikely I will ever use the other software for organising and movies.

    The LVF2 is fantastic! It's an ugly thing, but dam it works well. The hinge and clipping it into place is just so reassuring - unlike the VF-2 which is somewhat loose [I have two, this is how they are]. The EVF gives such a smooth, noise free preview. The VF-2 in live-view under-saturates and gets noisy when you use a fast prime in bright conditions, but is just as good as the LVF2 in preview or playback modes.
    [*edit - after further testing, the framerate on the LVF2 drops off in low light*]

    In closing, I'm really happy with the GX1. I miss Olympus SCP, but learning the Panasonic UI is all part of the experience. External flash performance is the only real let-down, but it should be fine for static subjects. Maybe I've been spoiled by the E-PL1's unlockable auto flash sync and consistent exposure? All in all, this makes a nice walk-about camera and backup unit for something bigger. But I might have to go back to the Nissin Di466 or a Metz to get the flash performance I want.

    Gav.
     
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  2. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
    So I've spent some time in Lightroom after a session with the 45/1.8. I have to say that I'm very happy with the results. I'm not seeing blown highlights, so I can still pull highlights from clouds to give them more depth. I haven't needed to adjust the WB on any of the shots, which is just amazing. Working with RAW files, I typically like to add contrast, so this is a change I will make in the camera to affect my JPG files. Exposure was generally where I like it, but there were a few occasions I had to make adjustments for shots with challenging light conditions.

    One criticism - the dreaded double image shutter shake. I don't have the steadiest of hands, so this tends by an issue for me with longer lenses under 1/320. I will experiment with putting a large gorilla pod under it and see if that dampens out any shake.
     
  3. Brodie337

    Brodie337 Mu-43 Regular

    63
    Jun 1, 2012
    I'm glad I'm not the only one that's annoyed by this! I'd love it if the thumbgrip and down the right hand side of the body were finished in the same rubber as the finger grip on the front (which I adore).

    It kinda does. Hit Q.MENU on the back and you can set up a custom pop up menu with the stuff you need in there.
     
  4. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
    Hey Brodie,

    I find I work faster with SCP than Q-Menu. I haven't customised the Q-Menu or Fn buttons yet, but over time I'll work out what I want to put there. ATM I'm having a hard enough time trying to remember where the existing functions buttons are. :tongue: I'm already considering mapping flash exposure and colour correction.
     
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  5. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Great first impression ..I also love this camera I agree on shake thing . IBIS in Oly is wonderful and u get spoiled .THis GX1 is Panny's reply to EPL2 with one stop better performance .
    Cheers
     
  6. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
    Hey Bhup,

    I've found IBIS to be a bit hit and miss on my E-PL1 [read: I don't trust it], so I'm not particularly worried about the lack of it on the GX1. I think most camera shake is due to me using a light camera body with my wobbly hands. I could never get a clean shot with my 40-150II lens, but the IBIS might've been helping me with the 45/1.8 on the E-PL1?

    Brodie, you'll be pleased to know that I have mapped my Q-Menu and Fn1 button [AF spot]. I feel a lot more comfortable with the accessibility of the controls now, although I still prefer SCP - as it shows all settings on one screen at a glance.

    I haven't tested it yet, but I am hoping I can trick the FL28 into working with slow flash sync, but using a faster shutter speed than 1/160. This trick doesn't work with the pop-up flash... Anyhow, if I can trick the flash beyond 1/160, I'm hoping for full flash coverage at 1/400 or better. The E-PL1 can manage 100% cover at 1/320, and about 80%+ at 1/400!
     
  7. Brodie337

    Brodie337 Mu-43 Regular

    63
    Jun 1, 2012
    I used to sell cameras as my job and the difference between Panasonic and Olympus controls did take quite a bit to get used to. Made for some embarrassing moments when I was demonstrating to customers. :p
     
  8. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
    Oh mate, you would've been all over the place with all the different camera makes and models!

    Update: I tried tricking the GX1 into fast flash sync with the FL28 auto flash again, but no dice!. This thing is hard locked to 1/160 until you put a FP-TTL flash on it... But some good news, I was getting consistent results from the FL28 in a very dark environment with no mixed lighting. The moment I put a dull lamp on, I would get screwy results. Next time I will try forcing the WB to "Flash" and see how I go. I'm getting there. :smile:
     
  9. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
    Hey gang,

    I tried the 14-54II on the GX1 today, and it focuses reasonably quick at around 0.5 seconds. For the time being I have decided to hang onto this lens until I see what the GH3 pricing is.
     
  10. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
  11. lamlux

    lamlux New to Mu-43

    9
    Aug 16, 2012
    Hmm tempted to exchange my E-PM1 for a GX1 locally.. always heard about the better ISO qualities.
     
  12. danska

    danska Mu-43 Top Veteran

    945
    May 21, 2012
    Portland, OR
    Joe
    Welcome to the GX1 club! :bravo-009:
     
  13. chicaboo

    chicaboo Mu-43 Regular

    69
    Sep 7, 2012
    Logan, QLD, Australia
    Gav
    Thanks guys!

    Lam: The GX1 sits about midway between the Oly 12mp and 16mp sensors in ISO noise and image quality. It's greatest attribute is low black noise, which is the easiest to spot. The quick access to manual controls and the touchscreen is a vast improvement over the E-PM1.
     
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