Bernie's '35 Ford, a GX8 picture from this post
...And by "little" I mean 13x17.3mm!
With all the current excitement about the oversize-sensor Fuji GFX-50S and Hasselblad X1D-50c, I probably shouldn't mention this, but my favorite sensor at the moment is the new 20.3-MP Live MOS sensor making its way into the top end of Micro 4/3 offerings. (If you would like to read about the technology, here ya go, knock yourself out.)
Is it "better"? Well, I confess to not being too concerned about that. I like it, though, which concerns me more.
I like it a lot. I love the "grain" at ISO 3200...what I mean is, its noise looks a lot like film grain. And the images at all speeds have a certain "bite" to them that bigger sensors with "smoother tonality" seem to struggle with. I've only used the GX8 with the Panasonic 12–35mm (currently on sale for $300 off because it's being replaced with a slightly revised version).
It must be the most flexible sensor yet in Micro 4/3, too. It corrects easily. I even (gasp!) like the look of mildly HDR'd images (like the Impala in the "Go, Bernie, Go!" post linked in the first caption). Finally, it might not have the most detail, but it's got a really nice way of rendering detail that I find pleasing. I've always liked high large-structure contrast (the lowest lp/mm line in an MTF chart), and this new sensor is good at that "look." Maybe that's the lens, too.
Note that the blog software kind of tromples the value of these illustrations qua evidence, but if you accept them as mere illustrations and just take my word for it you'll get the basic idea.
Crop of the raw file with the "sliders slammed," the intention being to
match the visual impression of the scene. The file holds up well.
I'm not saying the dynamic range is endless; it's not like a top Nikon FF sensor. In fact, this Micro 4/3 20.3-MP Live MOS sensor is not the ultimate, or perfect, or the best at this or that. (Doesn't do quite as well with B&W as Fuji's X-Trans, for example; the color isn't quite as luscious as Canon's FF sensors; you won't be able to dive into distant detail like you can with the A7rII. Et cetera.) But...
It's just that I really like the look of the pictures. And it seems to do all the technical-checklist things well enough. No shortcomings that I discovered during the time I had with it, or while geeking-out over the files of the pictures I took.
The pictures have a crispness and a "filmlike" contrast
and noise/grain that I find appealing.
(Rats, this detail just looks a lot better on my monitor
than it does here. Oh well.)
Please note I'm not saying I don't like the look of other sensors. (The one in your camera is particularly nice, so no worries!) Just saying I really do like this one.
Original contents copyright 2017 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Nigel: "One way the sensor tromples all over the competition is readout speed; in the Olympus E-M1 Mark II it enables 60 frames per second shooting. Looking forward to the GH5 when it comes out...."
John Sarsgard: "I think I've mentioned in an earlier post that I love my GX8 and this sensor. I do not expect it to compete with my 4x5 in rendering detail, but I love it like I would likely love the new Leica digital if I had the money.
"But maybe I love it more because it is a democratic camera. One does not have to be wealthy and attracted to the artifacts of wealth to enjoy a camera this good that has a sensor this good. And it feels wonderful in the hand. If you don't like the way it works, almost everything is customizable. The silent shutter is elegant. People that know a little about cameras see me shooting on the street with it and ask if it is the new Leica. I tell them it's the democratic version."
Kivi Shaps: "Been using the GX8 for four months now. Got it in the 12–60mm zoom lens deal. Promptly sold the zoom and started to experiment with different primes. Settled on the Leica 15mm ƒ/1.7 (30mm equivalent). Love it for street shooting and even did two indoor events with pleasing results. I came over from a Nikon D7200 and a Leica M9. Peachy."