I had a chance to drop by the Panasonic launch event for the GX1 at Jacobs Digital today. The GX1 is a great little camera. If you liked the GF1 you are going to love the GX1. Panasonic are excited about the camera but have positioned it at the high end so it’s not going to be for everyone. They admitted that they’ve had lots of feedback about the lack of built in EVF (so they are listening). Even so, the GX1 is an important part of Panasonic’s future vision for semi-pro micro four thirds cameras. Of course, my main question was “What is it like as a camera for street photographers?”
The touch screen, thumb wheel and overall style owe a lot to the GF2. Which as you know, I think is heavily underrated. My prediction is that the GX1 will be underrated as well, until it gets into the hands of enough people. Then it will become a roaring success. It’s a try before you buy camera. You’ll know instantly if you love it or hate it.
The Jacobs Digital staff were nice enough, but obviously not used to reviewers, journos and bloggers invading their store. They’ve recently redone the store layout so that things are more open plan. They also have lots more Micro Four Thirds lenses on display so it’ll become a bit of a mecca for street shooters. If you’re in London then do drop by. These guys know their kit.
For me, the GX1 itself is pretty much perfect. The autofocus is fast (not EP3 fast) but it’s fast enough for most street photography. The build quality is solid so it’s a bit heavier than it looks. Every dial, button and lever is tight.
I tried out the GX1 with my trusty 14mm Lumix prime. It’s a match made in heaven. Fast to focus, wide aperture, nice wide field of view. These two would fit into a coat pocket. – And pack a serious punch. The 14-45mm X lens and 45-175mm X lens balance nicely on the Panasonic GX1 but it will do its best work with primes.
I got to take a lap with the GX1 on Oxford Street. The thumbwheel gives you instant full manual control of shutter speed and aperture. The ISO is easy to change. It’s a nod to the LC1 and the GF1 all rolled into one. The GX1 does suffer the GF1 and GF2’s tendency to wash out the highlights a little. But on balance the image quality was impressive.