When it was introduced back in 2009, Panasonic’s GF1 created quite a fuss at least in part because it was one of the first mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras to reach market. But beyond that the GF1 generally garnered very positive reviews for its image quality and overall design and performance. Since then Panasonic introduced other “G” models that some would say tinkered with the basic recipe or moved off in a different direction altogether from the path first blazed by the GF1. Panasonic has apparently felt an undercurrent of sentiment for a return to a GF1-like platform and so we now have the GX1.
Shutter lag and autofocus acquisition times are better than the GF1 (and towards the top of the heap with regard to latest generation cameras), and the new camera can record full HD 1080 video with stereo sound. ISO sensitivity now ranges up to 12800; resolution is up to 16 megapixels. Power up and shot-to-shot times are a bit slower than the GF1 but still among the quickest in the class; the continuous high-speed shooting rate is much improved. Pretty much everywhere you look the GX1 bests the GF1 on the specifications sheet.
I think Panasonic missed the boat by not including a built-in electronic viewfinder on the GX1 and if the Lumix G series lenses don’t meet your shooting requirements there are any number of legacy Four Thirds lenses as well as Leica M and R lenses. But just as with the GF1, legacy lenses require an adapter; M and R lenses each have their own adapters and if you include the Panasonic electronic viewfinder these add-ons are pushing your system cost toward the $1500-1700 level before you order your first piece of legacy or Leica glass. As it is, a body-only GX1 is going to run you about $700 and there are any number of kit lens equipped DSLRs available for less than that.
I reviewed the Panasonic GF1 for this site and liked that camera then; I like the GX1 now. If you’re in the market for a performance-oriented mirrorless interchangeable lens camera but can’t bear to part with the price of admission for a Sony NEX-7, give the GX1 a look.
- Good still image quality, color and sharpness
- Good shutter lag and focus acquisition times
- One touch video recording, generally good video quality
- Good selection of manual controls for enthusiast shooters
- No built-in EVF
- Rolling shutter effect in video a bit more pronounced than in competitive cameras