GX8 adventure conclusions
It is time to conclude my GX8 adventure - I have written too much about machines and too little about photographs lately. In my defence, I did not plan this adventure; it was mostly a response to the exceptional customer friendliness I experienced (which I have provoked a little). So here are my final GX8 impressions; both as text and in the form of photographs.
Before picking up the GX7 and GX8 for the first time, just a few weeks ago, I had never worked with a rangefinder-style camera. Luckily, no getting used to was necessary at all and I adopted the “new” (for me) ergonomics immediately - they are of course much more sensible.
The Lumix GX7 and GX8 both share functions and features that I did not know and seek, but appreciated immediately. The tilting electronic viewfinder (EVF) and the electronic shutter are the most noteworthy for me. The upgrade to the newer model brings small improvements or different design solutions that may require getting used to, but that do not make a big difference overall (different kinds of dials and switches and supposedly a more durable and protected body). A few specifics are of course very different. The GX7 is clearly smaller and lighter than the GX8, but this is, in my opinion, a double-edged sword. Smaller hands, those of our children for example, clearly prefer the GX7, but my paws (which are not that big) favour the GX8. Although there is not a single feature that I am missing in the GX7, there are a few that I strongly prefer in the GX8. The EVF, for example, is a pure delight. It is so much larger and more “realistic”, that it is almost impossible using the GX7 and GX8 side by side. Just as the EVF, the rear screens are miles apart as well. While the GX7 screen is only tilting, the GX8 display is fully articulated; like the one on the GH1. I cannot emphasize enough how much I like this feature. When I photograph, I mainly use the EVF and the rear screen is “closed”. Only with the camera on a tripod or at low angles, I am using the display. I much prefer having the screen tucked away, not disturbing me and neither collecting scratches and marks from my fingers and face. Finally, maybe unimportant, the GX8 lacks a built-in flash - a welcome omission for me!
A camera review is normally expected to include a pixel peeping section with quantitative measures and comparisons of all sorts. I gladly leave this to the many professional reviewers. As far as I am concerned, the image quality of all current m4/3 cameras is sufficient for my needs, because I neither print very large nor expose my photographs for very long. There is no reason to expect the GX8 to be an exception. Although it has a slightly higher resolution (about 4 Megapixels more; 20.3 instead of 16 MP), this is hardly decisive for preferring the GX8 over the GX7 - the above-mentioned features are more important. Irrespective of which camera you own or buy, you should be happy; both machines are capable of producing photographs with a technical quality that suffices most.