For all that the Lumix GF7 was compact, it wasn’t the prettiest camera around. Hitting the UK in early 2015, the slightly-updated GF8 skipped the UK and the US, but added some features that find their way into this new GX800.
One of the important moves, however, is tidying up the design for a better-looking camera overall. For the smallest and cheapest model in the Lumix G family, that’s an important point and well executed. Announced at CES 2017, we had our hands on this dinky CSC prior to launch for a quick preview.
Panasonic Lumix GX800 preview: Design
Following the narrative we’ve already started, the GX800 presents a simpler design than previous GF models, ditching the bump that houses the flash for a more seamless top line. This gives the illusion of being a more compact model, moving on from the mock DLSR design, to something a little more like Olympus’ E-PL models.
With a flattened line ranging from the left and filling two-thirds of the top, that line then drops, giving way to the various buttons and controls. There’s still a pop-up flash (but no hot shoe), and a simple collection of top controls, comprising a mode dial, on/off switch and shutter button and a 4K Photo button.
This is a change-up from the previous GF models which put Panasonic’s iA (auto) shooting mode on a button. Now it sits on the mode dial, which makes more logical sense, making way for one of the features that Panasonic is pushing across a number of cameras – the fast-shooting 4K Photo mode.
There’s no viewfinder, instead you’re given a 3.0-inch 1040K touchscreen on the back, which is tiltable. There’s range of controls to the right for quick changing of major settings, but as soon as you grip the GX800, it feels a little more like a point-and-shoot sort of CSC, rather than one aimed at those wanting to change the settings frequently.
As with the GF models, there’s a range of colours on offer, now expanding to silver (pictured), black, tan and orange, the latter two offering a lifestyle highlight that you don’t get on many cameras, and should add appeal for those who want something a little different.
Panasonic Lumix GX800 preview: Hardware and features
Sitting at the heart is 16-megapixel sensor with a range of advanced shooting features, expanding on the remit of Panasonic’s previous compact CSC. One of the new additions is 4K video shooting at 30fps, but doesn’t attempt to match the wide range of options of higher spec Lumix cameras, like the new Lumix GH5.
The 4K Photo mode gets top billing with its own button. This is the mode that will let you shoot “4K photos” (8-megapixel photos) in quick succession at 30fps, the idea being that you can capture fast moving action and then extract the perfect photo. It will do this for 5 seconds, meaning a burst of 150 photos. It’s a great options for things that won’t stay still, like kids or pets.
When the GF7 launched the pitch was that it was a perfect camera for selfies. That’s something that continues into the GX800, with the addition of a Self Shot mode. When you flip that screen all the way up so you can see yourself, it automatically enters this mode. There are options for background blurring or panorama in selfies too.
The Lumix GX800 sits on the Micro Four Thirds platform, so aside from the headline features built into the camera, there’s also all the functionality you’d expect from an interchangeable lens camera. It’s compatible with a huge number of lenses offered by Panasonic (and others), meaning plenty of creative options, as well as all the manual controls you’d expect from a proper camera.
We’ve only spent a short time with this new diminutive model, so we can’t judge the performance or the quality of the photos it takes, nor the battery life, which is often the downside to these smaller camera models.
If nothing else, the Lumix GX800 wins in its design, being compact and much nicer looking than the model it will replace. Priced at £499.99, including the lens, means you’re getting a lot of (almost) pocketable Lumix camera for your money.
The GX800 might not offer the full feature set of its larger Lumix brothers, but the compact nature makes it easy to handle, light to carry, a get companion to ensure you’re getting quality photos and video wherever you are.
The Panasonic Lumix GX800 will be available in March 2017.