Taking much of its inspiration from one of Panasonic’s earliest CSCs, the GF1, the Panasonic GX1 is designed as a premium, compact model and features a more resilient metal body than its lower-spec cousin, the GF3.
Adopting a Micro FourThirds lens mount, the GX1 is supported by a total of 14 G-series lenses, covering focal lengths from 14mm through to 600mm in film equivalent terms, not forgetting the option of using Olympus FourThirds lenses, too. The 14-42mm lens tested with the GX1 is the company’s latest Power Zoom ‘X’ optic, designed as a more compact solution to complement the size of the body.
The 2x crop factor gives it a 28-84mm equivalent in film terms and as well as being able to control the zoom from the barrel of the lens, it can also be controlled using the GX1’s 3in, 460k-dot touchscreen. Adding to this, the focal length is clearly displayed on-screen and there’s the option of firing the shutter by simply tapping the display.
The GX1’s 4:3 native aspect ratio is augmented by 3:2,16:9 and 1:1 square formats and behind the hotshoe is an accessory port ready to accept Panasonic’s all-new LVF-2 viewfinder (£209), offering 100% frame coverage and an impressive 1.44million dot resolution.
With a rubberised and neatly moulded handgrip, the GX1 was comfortable to hold, weighing 413g in the hand with the kit lens attached and the flush-to-the-body flash rises ingeniously from the corner of the camera. The command dial at the rear lets you switch between shutter speed and aperture, but our favourite feature is the GX1’s touchscreen that complements the layout of metal buttons making the GX1 fast and easy to use.
Full HD video (1920x1080 pixels) is also present and a dedicated movie-rec button can be found on the top-plate.
Testing the contrast-detect AF system resulted in a breathtaking performance. Supporting 1-area AF, 23-area AF, Face Detection, AF tracking and Pinpoint AF, its lightning-fast response locked onto subjects incredibly quickly, even as lighting conditions darkened. AF points can be positioned at the far edges and corners of the frame – unlike many of its CSC rivals – and though it’s expensive at just shy of £750, its muscular build, rapid performance and classy appearance make it a serious photographer’s tool.
- Street price: £148 (Secondhand price as of July 2016)
- Visit: www.panasonic.com/uk
This review was first published in the February 2012 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.