The Panasonic Lumix GX1 Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) has been officially announced. We first saw the true successor of the venerable GF1 in October, while yesterday we managed to catch a good look of the high-end compact GX1 in Panasonic’s presentation video. Specifications are exactly as we had initially reported.
The Lumix GX1 has a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the same that can be found in the Panasonic G3. This would mean more detail but less high ISO noise than the 12-megapixel sensor found in the GF3 (and of course the much older GF1). On the back ,you’ll find a 3-inch 460k dot touchscreen LCD; similar to other Panasonic offerings, you can touch-focus using the screen. You can also control the Lumix X Power Zoom lenses with the touchscreen. The camera uses contrast autofocus, with Panasonic claiming its as fast as 0.09 seconds. The GX1 can shoot up to ISO 12,800 and supports 1080p video in MP4 (20Mbps) and 1080i60 in AVCHD (17Mbps). We’re glad to see that it includes a stereo microphone and an accessory shoe which can host an electronic viewfinder or external flash.
Together with the camera, Panasonic announced the DMW-LVF2, a new 1,440k dot, 90 degree tilting, electronic viewfinder (EVF). The LVF2 offers more than seven times the effective pixels of the older LVF1 (with 202k dots). Unfortunately the LVF2 will not be compatible with any of the current GF-line cameras, (GF3, GF2, GF1); the LVF2 has a different set of connector which are essential in order to support the higher data transfer rate necessary for its higher resolution.
The GX1 is housed in an aluminium body, similar to the GF1, has metal buttons and a substantial textured handgrip. In terms of controls you have a typical Panasonic arrangement with two physical customizable function buttons, a mode dial, while it’s only missing the drive mode selector from the GF1. Though, remember, you can control aspects of the camera using the touchscreen as well, if you so choose. Panasonic has, for the first time, included a horizontal and vertical angle level gauge which will be displayed both in portrait and vertical use.
The GX1 manages 4.2fps burst shooting at the full 16-megapixel resolution — compare that to the Sony NEX-5N’s 10fps. Of course the camera can shoot in RAW, and there are new digital photo effects like ‘low key’ and ‘toy effect’ and a ‘miniature’ effect in video. Panasonic is claiming 11% longer battery life compared to the Lumix G3 which also uses the same battery pack, DMW-BLD10.
The GX1 weighs 318g (0.7lbs), body including SD card and battery. Both black and silver versions of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX1 start shipping mid-December, with the body-only priced at $699.99 (UK: £499.99). The DMC-GX1-K with 14-42 standard zoom kit is priced at $799.99, while the DMC-GX1-X will come with the LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 collapsible zoom power lens for $949.99 and will ship in January. All the above are already up for pre-order here, so you may want to put your order in quickly if you want a lovely MFT camera under the tree. The LVF2 electronic viewfinder will also be available in December for $249.99 (£229).
Although the original GF1 MFT camera was unmatched when it was released, the new GX1 is coming into a whole different competitive environment. Most of the big names now have an MILC competitor. Sony has its full APS-C sensor NEX line, made-up by the NEX-C3, NEX-5N and the NEX-7 with built-in OLED EVF. Samsung is competing with the NX200, Nikon has announced the V1 and J1 cameras and Fujifilm has revealed that it’s prepping its own MILC system. Of course Olympus, Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds partner, also has it’s own highly renowned PEN series cameras.
What we are seeing as an advantage to the Panasonic line, is the new premium X series line of lenses, and particularly the LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, a collapsible zoom, which we’ve covered here and offered as a kit lens with the GX1. While everyone is competing at the same level in terms of shrinking the camera body, Panasonic has actually went ahead and shrunk its zoom lens. So the entire package, camera and zoom lens, is much more compact than any other interchangeable lens camera out there. The X lens should also be feeling some love from video enthusiasts; because it is a power zoom lens, it should offer smooth video zooming.
Panasonic also plans to launch two more G series lenses next year.
Panasonic Lumix GX1 quick specs:
- 16-megapixel MFT 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS sensor
- ISO 160-12,800
- 3-inch 460k dot touchscreen LCD
- 4.2fps burst shooting
- 0.09 seconds contrast autofocus
- Aluminium body & metal buttons
- New horizontal and vertical angle level gauge
- Up to 1080p video in MP4 (20Mbps) and 1080i60 in AVCHD (17Mbps)
- TTL hotshoe & accessory port
- Dust reduction system
- 318g (0.7lbs), body with SD card and battery
- 116.3 x 67.8 x 39.4 mm / 4.58 x 2.67 x 1.55 inch (excluding protrusions)
- Battery Life (CIPA Standard) about 300-340 shots