News & New Products
Making news in this issue are Canon’s plans for a 120 MP D-SLR and an 8K video camera, Panasonic’s Lumix GX8, Olympus’s upgraded entry-level OM-D camera, a swag of lenses from Nikon, and much more. As usual, we also publish a calendar of the important imaging events happening locally and overseas over the coming months. For the latest news from the imaging industry visit www.avhub.com.au
Panasonic continues to demonstrate it’s in tune with what photographers want in a mirrorless camera. Following the SLR-style Lumix G7 launched a couple of months ago comes the Lumix GX8, the company’s latest rangefinder-style model.
The GX8 replaces the highly popular GX7 and retains that model’s novel tilting viewfinder arrangement, but has an all-new sensor, the advanced ‘4K Photo’ modes introduced with the G7, an adjustable-angle monitor screen, faster continuous shooting speeds and an upgraded autofocusing system.
The EVF tilts through 90 degrees and employs an OLED-type panel with a resolution of 2.36 million dots. The magnification is increased to 0.77x (35mm format equivalent) and the scene coverage is 100 percent. A larger eyecup addresses the issue of ‘light leakage’ which was problematic on the GX7. The 7.62 cm monitor screen is also an OLED panel and adjustable for both tilt and swing, with a resolution of 1.037 million dots. It also provides touchscreen controls.
The GX8’s ‘Live MOS’ type sensor boasts the highest resolution yet seen in a Lumix G Series camera with 21.77 million pixels (20.3 MP effective). The ISO range is equivalent to 200 to 25,600 with a one-stop ‘pull’ to ISO 100. The new sensor is matched with the same ‘Venus Engine’ processor as is used in the flagship GH4 giving a maximum continuous shooting speed of 8.0 fps with the AF/AE locked to the first frame, 6.0 fps with continuous AF/AE adjustment. As is becoming standard on Panasonic Lumix G Series cameras, the GX8 can record Ultra HD 4K video at 3840x2160 pixels and 25fps, giving a bit rate of 100 Mbps. It can also record Full HD video in either the MP4 or AVCHD formats. Other video features include the ‘Cinelike’ D and V profiles, a zebra pattern generator, focus-peaking display, stereo audio input and an uncompressed (8-bit, 4:2:2) video output at up to 4K from the HDMI terminal.
A first for the Lumix G range is sensor-based image stabilisation which can be combined with the optical correction provided in the system’s lenses. With both body-based and lens IS working together, Panasonic claims stabilisation is 3.5x more effective at wide-angle focal lengths and 1.5x at telephoto focal lengths. The bodybased stabiliser provides correction over four axis and, particularly useful, is available when using non-stabilised ‘legacy’ lenses.
As on the G7, there’s a choice of ‘4K Photo’ which leverage the 8.3 MP resolution of a still frame extracted from 4K video footage. The ‘4K Pre-Burst’ mode captures 60 images in two seconds (i.e. at 30 fps); 30 prior to shutter release and 30 after, the idea being that you’ll never miss that ‘decisive moment’. In ‘4K Burst’ mode, the camera shoots at 30 fps for as long as the shutter button is held down for up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds. The third option – called ‘4K Burst S/S’ – does the same except that it works like a ‘T’ setting so one press of the shutter button starts the recording and a second press stops it (S/S is short for Start/Stop). These ‘4K Photo’ modes can be used with any exposure control mode and, with the latter two, there’s a choice of aspect ratios, namely 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1.
Also inherited from the G7 is the ‘DFD’ (Depth From Defocus) contrast-detection autofocusing system – which enables a response time of just 0.07 seconds – and employs a new control algorithm which uses the target’s size and motion vector as well as its colour. Also new is a ‘Starlight AF’ mode which employs much smaller measuring points – so it can work with pinpoints like stars – and increased low-light sensitivity down to -4.0 EV.
The provision of a sensor-based shutter allows for a top speed of 1/16,000 second (and continuous shooting at 10 fps) plus GX8 has a built-in WiFi module (with NFC connectivity), 22 ‘Creative Control’ effects settings, an intervalometer for time-lapse photography, and a silent shooting mode. The magnesium alloy bodyshell is now fully sealed against the intrusion of dust or moisture, features an updated control layout which now includes a dial for setting exposure compensation (up to +/-5.0 EV), front and rear input wheels and eight programmable ‘Fn’ buttons (plus five accessed via the monitor screen).
Available in either black or silver, the Lumix GX8 is priced at $1399 for the camera body or $1499 packaged with the G Vario 14-42mm f3.55.6 ASPH Mega OIS zoom. A second kit option provides the G X Vario 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS superzoom (equivalent to 28-280mm) and is priced at $1999. The third kit option has the G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH Power OIS Pro zoom and is priced at $2399.