I’ve had a few more questions from readers about the GX1 about elements specific to street photography. I think the GX1 is going to be an important camera for street photographers. It meets my main criteria of fast, light and discrete. It also takes great quality photos.
With the GX1 you are buying into a standard that is growing and developing with ever more lenses and a community of passionate street photographers. However, no camera is perfect and you need to pick a tool that suits your usage. A couple of common questions so far have been:
The external EVF is not really any better than the G3, so if you really want an EVF then just get a G3. The GX1 with viewfinder attached is taller than a G3. On the street this will mean bumping the EVF against your chest, pulling it off to fit in your coat pocket and generally flaffing around. Not conducive to the decisive moment.
The G3 is smaller and more subtle than most people realise. It can be used perfectly well on the street. The X100 also has a great viewfinder. Or plump for what you really want and get a Leica.
The real problem is that whatever EVF you use, it’ll never be as clear as an OVF. Kai from DigitalRev put it best (although he was comparing a Sony transparent mirror to a Canon mirror SLR); “The [EVF] feels like looking at what the camera sees, the [OVF] feels like looking at the subject.“ So until EVFs improve I’d take that off the table as a reason for or against the GX1.
As a street photographer you’ll want to experiment with hotshoe OVFs, EVFs and maybe even an SLR style like the GH2 or G3. But in the end you may find that an LCD is just fine.
As tough as it is, the GX1 is not a weather-proof camera. The build quality is better than the GF series. But not by much. I said in my original review that I’d be happy dropping the GX1 in a puddle or using it in the rain. But this is more about the fact that it’s good value and if it broke, then it’s not too expensive to replace.
I also think that the GX1 will be like the GF1 in that it’s not technically waterproof, mud proof or dust proof. But that it’ll stand up to most of those pretty comfortably. So test it out for yourself. I think the all metal body will pleasantly surprise most street photographers.
High ISO noise
From what I can tell so far, the JPG engine is better, but the high ISO RAW files will still be pretty noisy over 800. I’m starting to think that this is just the curse of M43 because the EP-3 is no better. ISO noise isn’t a reason not to get a GX1, but if you’re upgrading from another M43 camera just to get better ISO, I’d be wary. On the street, better ISO is great because it gives you more options, but I’ve found that I can live with up to 800 in almost any conditions.
In the end, I’m a street photographer and can only comment on the GX1 for that purpose. I’m guessing that the GX1 would kick all kinds of ass as a travel camera. Especially paired with the X lenes. As a street camera, the GX1 is a worthy successor to the GF1. If you’re new to street photography, the GX1 is a camera that will grow with you and you’ll get years of good shooting out of.