Panasonic Lumix GX800 Review

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Pros
  • 4K video recording
  • 4K photo modes
  • Great image quality
  • Good noise performance
  • MicroUSB connection and charging
  • Dual-axis electronic level
Cons
  • MicroSD memory
  • Short battery life (210 shots)

Panasonic Lumix GX800 In Hand (3)

Panasonic’s entry level Lumix GX800 sits at the bottom of the Lumix GX range, replacing the GF7, with a new design and styling. The camera features a 16 megapixel sensor, 4K photo and video, a 3inch tilting touch-screen and built-in pop up flash. The GX800 will be available in a number of different colour combinations, with an RRP of £499 with the 12-32mm pancake zoom kit lens.

Features

Panasonic Lumix GX800 In Hand (6)
The Panasonic Lumix GX800 offers a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, like the Panasonic Lumix GF7, however the camera now offers 4K video recording, and an updated design. On the back of the camera is a 3inch tilting touch-screen. The Panasonic Lumix GX800 is also known as the GF9 and GX850 in other countries.

Here’s a comparison table showing the differences between this model and the other cameras in the GX range:

GX800 GX80 (GX85) GX8
16mp sensor 16mp sensor 20mp sensor
5-axis in-body IS 4-axis in-body IS
EVF (2.76m dot, 0.7x) EVF (2.36m dot, 0.77x)
3inch selfie screen 3inch tilting (dual-angle) 3inch vari-angle screen
4K video 4K video 4K video
5.8fps continuous shooting
(10fps with electronic shutter)
8fps continuous shooting 8fps continuous shooting
£499 with lens £549 with lens £799 with 12-60mm lens

There are numerous shooting modes, including intelligent Auto, creative effects, scene modes, auto panoramic shooting, HDR, as well as full manual controls, plus A, S and P.

Panasonic Lumix GX800 Silver In Hand (2)

The GX800’s updated design makes it look more like the other GX cameras in the range, and the camera is available with the compact 12-32mm pancake zoom lens. As part of the Micro Four Thirds system, it is compatible with all Micro Four Thirds lenses.

Wi-Fi is built in to allow setup of Wi-Fi connections with smartphones. The smartphone can be used as a remote shutter control, or setup for instant transfer so that photos will automatically transfer to the smartphone after shooting. Wi-Fi can also be used to setup auto backup of photos and video to your computer.

4K video is included, letting you record 4K UHD (3840×2160) resolution video, which looks great on a 4K TV. You can also record FullHD video at 60fps, and the camera has stereo microphones built-in.

The camera has Panasonic’s 4K photo features, that now include:

  • 4K photo – burst shooting (30fps, 8mp), burst start/stop, and pre-burst
  • Post Focus – select or change the focus point after shooting, or use focus stacking to combine images

Panasonic Lumix GX800 Silver (4)

The GX800 screen tilts 180 degrees, and the camera has face shutter (takes a photo when it detects a face), buddy shutter (takes a photo when two faces are detected), and beauty effect, all designed to make taking the “perfect selfie” possible. In addition the Fn3 button can be used as a shutter button in selfie mode.

Key Features
  • 16mp Micro Four Thirds sensor (w/o LPF)
  • 3inch tilting touch-screen, 1040K dots
  • 4K Photo at 30fps
  • 4K Video with stereo sound
  • ISO100 to ISO25600
  • 5.8fps continuous shooting
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Post focus / focus stacking
  • HDR, Panoramic shooting
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Silver/black, Black/black (all-black), Orange/silver, Brown/Tan/silver

Handling

Panasonic Lumix GX800 In Hand (1)

The camera looks better than the GF7 it replaces, with a better feel in the hand as well. The different colours (brown and orange) feature a different textured pattern for the “skin” of the camera. The build quality is good, although the plastic construction does not feel as high-quality as cameras that feature a metal body, such as the Olympus PEN E-PL8, or the discontinued GM1. The rubberised grip on the back of the camera gives a bit of extra purchase, although the front of the camera can sometimes feel a little slippery so use of a strap is recommended.

On top of the camera is where you’ll find the mode dial, which will make selecting modes easy, as well as the sweep panoramic mode, that will automatically stitch the photos together as you pan the camera. Surrounding the shutter release button is the on / off switch. There’s also a 4K photo button, and an Fn3 button that is set as the Post-Focus button on default settings.

The camera uses an electronic shutter over 1/500s, which is worth noting when shooting in artificial light. The shutter is very quiet. The screen is very clear and has good viewing angles, and the Q. menu button gives quick access to settings on the rear screen.

Panasonic Lumix GX800 Silver (3)

The menus are easy to navigate, and clear with built-in help. You can use the touch-screen to select different options, however the menus haven’t benefited from the same refresh as the new Panasonic Lumix GH5.

There are 49 focus areas, face/eye detection, as well as AF tracking. You can even setup custom focus areas, which is something you don’t normally expect to see on an entry-level camera.

Panasonic Lumix GX800 Vs GX80 (2)

The built in Wi-Fi connectivity lets you remotely control the camera using the Panasonic Image App on a smartphone or tablet, and is available for iOS and Android devices. There are a large number of options and settings that can be accessed and changed, making the app extremely useful, there are also time-lapse options, and you can view and share images, as well as tag photos with GPS information.

Panasonic Lumix GX800 Silver (6)

Battery life – Battery life is rated at 210 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA test results, which is quite low for a mirrorless camera. The camera does benefit from MicroUSB charging, which helps, although we’d recommend a spare battery just in case.

Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Speed – We took a number of shots to test the camera’s responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide – Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Full zoom – Focus / Shutter Response  0.2secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.6secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.45secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.7secs
Continuous Shooting – JPEG
(shots before slow down)
5.8fps (47 shots)
Continuous Shooting – Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting – RAW 5fps (20 shots)

Shutter response is fast, as is focus. Continuous shooting is good at 5.8fps using the mechanical shutter, or 10fps when using an electronic shutter, and you can take a good number of shots before the camera stops shooting.

Sample Photos

Sample Photos – The GX800 has reliable exposure, and to extend dynamic range you can use the iDynamic or HDR options. There is a good level of detail in photos, and when using flash for portrait shots, there are minimal signs of red-eye. The selfie features are good, with the blurred background feature being particularly good, creating a blurred effect around the subjects face. Buddy mode automatically takes a photo when two faces are detected next to each other.

Lens test images

Lens Performance – The compact 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens performs well and is capable of recording high levels of detail, even into the corners of the image when shooting wide-angle or with zoom, and you can read our full review of the lens here. There is a slight hint of vignetting in the corners, which can be corrected in camera by switching on shading compensation. Purple fringing and chromatic aberrations are very low with the camera automatically correcting for these problems.

Macro performance of the kit lens is a weakness, with the closest focusing distance 20cm from the lens, and for more serious macro photography a different lens is recommended. When shooting with the sun in the frame it is possible to see some lens flare, however this wasn’t a huge issue the majority of the time.

ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance – For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO800, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO6400 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO12800 and above is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is low.

White-balance test images

White Balance Performance – Auto White Balance (AWB) performs fairly well under tungsten lighting with a warm result. Unfortunately the tungsten preset also gives a warm result, and it would be good if there was stronger colour correction here. AWB performs well under fluorescent lights, and there is no fluorescent preset available.

Panasonic Lumix GX800 Panoramic P1000026 | 1/200 sec | f/4.0 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200

Panasonic Lumix GX800 Panoramic | 1/200 sec | f/4.0 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode – The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are quite good, although any movement in the frame will be shown in the picture. The resolution is reasonably good, and stitching is good. There are numerous effects available, and you can edit raw files in playback mode.

Video – You can record 4K UHD video at a resolution of 3840×2160, at 30, 25, and 24fps, with stereo sound, and video is recorded at 100Mbps as MP4 files. The camera doesn’t feature in-camera image stabilisation, so if you want your videos to be steady, then you will need to use a lens with optical image stabilisation or a tripod. You can switch on Zebra pattern display, and monochrome live view. Video quality is very good, and there are a good range of options available.

Value For Money

Panasonic Lumix GX800 In Hand (5)

The Panasonic Lumix GX800 is available for £499/$748 with 12-32mm lens, and goes head-to-head with the Olympus PEN E-PL8. The GX800 is one of the cheapest mirrorless cameras available with 4K video recording, and as part of the Micro Four Thirds system benefits from a wide range of compact lenses. Other alternatives to look at can be found below:

  • Olympus PEN E-PL8 – 16mp, in-camera IS, FullHD video, £499/$748 with lens
  • Fujifilm X-A10 – 16mp, FullHD video, £499/$748 with lens
  • Sony Alpha A5100 – 24mp, FullHD video, £399/$598 with lens
  • Canon EOS M3 – 24mp, FullHD video, £419/$628 with lens

Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix GX800 offers a compact and stylish camera body, a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, and 4K video recording. Built-in Wi-Fi ensures you can quickly and easily transfer photos to your smartphone, and the tilting selfie-screen and built-in flash will make it great for anyone who wants to take high quality portraits. If you’ve recently invested in a 4K TV, and want to start recording 4K video, then the GX800 makes it very easy to get started. As part of the Micro Four Thirds system there’s a wide range of lenses available to suit every budget as well.

The Panasonic Lumix GX800 is available for £499 with 12-32mm kit lens, making it good value for money as one of the cheapest 4K capable mirrorless cameras. However, if you spend a little more, then the GX80 is available and offers 5-axis image stabilisation, a built-in electronic viewfinder and a screen that also tilts down. But for those on a tighter budget, the GX800 offers a lot of features, fast performance, and excellent image quality, all for less than £500.

(ephotozine.com, https://goo.gl/2zwJoz)

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