Just wondering if any Panasonic GX8 users have reports about the effectiveness of the Panasonic Dual Image Stabilization in the GX8 with properly modified lenses?
If you haven't heard of Dual I.S. [sic—Panasonic uses the periods], Panasonic claims to have perfected a method of combining the effects of in-body IS with in-lens IS.
The best breakdown of the feature's capabilities I've found so far occur in an excellent review of the GX8 by Richard Wong. The graphs about Dual I.S. start about halfway down.
In passing, let me note that it's difficult to write a really good review of a camera. The tendency is to vapor on with vapid banalities or else to create a turgid list of all the features and specs such that the review has about the same entertainment value as reading a manual. I've noticed a tendency in recent years—I think it started with Steve's Digicams—of expanding the "conclusion" section into almost a standalone mini-review in and of itself. If research shows that most readers skip to the conclusion anyway, then that seems to make sense. Although one slight oddity that then arises is that conclusions have to have conclusions. :-)
Sometimes the best reviews are amateur reviews. It requires a certain amount of passion and enthusiasm towards a camera on the part of the writer just to have the energy and diligence to do all the work to create a proper review...otherwise it's just too much of a grind. It looks like Richard did due diligence in his review of the GX8—it's nicely done. Kudos.
Years ago I ran across a very nicely-done review of the Leica M6. (Where was it, Photo.net maybe?) When I read it I thought, damn, I would have published that in the magazine. It was written by a guy from Texas I'd never heard of but whose name you might know—one Kirk Tuck.
Richard Wong's data abut the GX7's IBIS match my experience—good for a stop or a stop and a half maybe, or, in other words, not very good. His review implies that Dual I.S. in the GX8 is about as good as, and possibly a little better than, the IBIS in the OM-D E-M5 Mark II, by general consensus currently the gold standard in IBIS across brands and formats. If so, then it marks a giant step forward for Panasonic in that regard. Just wondering if any of our readers have opinions about that from real-world use.
I like Panasonic, having owned a GF1, GX1, and GX7. The latter two didn't break into the heavy use category for me, through no fault of their own, but the GF1 was one of my two most-used digital cameras since I first went digital 13 years ago. The other being my beloved Konica-Minolta 7D of sainted memory. I've asked for a GX8 to review. (I'm still in the queue for an Epson P600 review unit but have no other reviews on the horizon except one for a camera bag.)
One last comment about the GX8: seems to me that Panasonic has solved the riddle of size. I found the GX1 to be just too small for comfort for me, and although I know a great many people absolutely love the Fuji X100 and I certainly don't argue with them, I find that to be too small and fiddly too. (I wonder about the Pen F, pretty as it indisputably is.) Speaking of the M6, I remember a comment made by Andrew Matheson eons ago in his book Leica M6 to M1: Rangefinder Practice. The Leica, he said, "is a camera you can get to grips with." The GX8 seems to be a camera you can get to grips with.
Again, any users want to comment on that? I held a GX8 on a tether in New York, but I haven't shot with one.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Michael Walsh: "Regarding camera size—am sitting here with a brand new, just arrived Pen F. I was very worried it might be too small, but having played with it for a few hours it feels just right. One thing though—everyone says 'modelled on the original Pen F,' but have to say it far more reminds me of my (very) old Leica IIIf ! Anyway, a lovely camera and I am (in Yorkshire-speak) chuffed."
Mike Peters: "The GX8 is so far the most satisfying digital still camera that I've shot with. I'm not a small or huge person, six feet, and it fits my hands perfectly.
"The GX7 was far too small, but I liked the tilting viewfinder and touch screen, but missed the articulation of the rear screen. Plus the battery was too wimpy. The GX8 uses the GH2 and FZ1000 battery, and so far at events I have put over 1200 shots on one and not killed it.
"The still image quality is a cut above the last generation of 16-MP chips, and it's very usable with judicious processing at ISO's over 3200, up to 12,800 in a pinch.
"The IS is a bit of an unknown to me. I don't use many stabilized lenses. My main zooms are the Olympus 12–40mm and 40–150mm 2.8's. What I can say is that I can shoot at 150mm at 1/60th with confidence. That being said, I've also shot with confidence at 1/125th without IS for a long time before the GX8.
"The other lenses I use are the fully manual Voigtlander ƒ/0.95's and a full complement of Panasonic and Olympus primes, only one of which, the 42.5mm ƒ/1.7, is stabilized in the lens. And when I shoot video, I rely on a 3D gimbal for stabilization.
"I have two GX8's for all of my still work, and two GH4's for my video work, and previously owned GH2, GH3 and GX7 cameras. I've always found the Olympus bodies too small, and the same for the batteries. And once you get used to moving focus points with your thumb on the rear screen while peering through the viewfinder, there's no going without it.
"Last, but not at all least, being a right-eyed user with a big nose and glasses, having the viewfinder on the left edge of the body allows me to peer into it straight on, as opposed to looking through the very top of my glasses. It's a big help, trust me.
"All in all, it's a very well designed tool for making photographs, and once you get used to the layout, it will disappear in your hands."
Massimiliano Marchetti: "I believe most camera reviews have usually a fatal flaw: they are very detailed and useful but are based mostly on first impressions. Especially with the current level of complexity of digital cameras, I do not believe spending a few days or a couple of weeks with a camera is enough to get a proper experience and understanding of it. That is why, in my opinion we often see a lot of focus on the camera features while at the same time the review misses to drill down how and if these features visibly improve the shooting envelope."
Mike replies: Back in my idealist and impoverished youth, reviewing cameras for magazines, my personal standard was that I had to use a camera for three months, including for real work, before I'd write about it. That's impractical now, of course, but you're right that too many review go too far in the opposite direction.
Edward Taylor: "I have a GX8 that I originally bought as a 4K b-roll camera to use for video along side my GH4. But I loved the camera so much that now I use it for stills and video, and find its ergonomics to be great. Image stabilization is amazing. I have pretty stable hands, but there is a real difference of at least 2–3 stops when using the GX8. Try this camera, and I think you will have a hard time putting it down. It is solid, weather resistant, and has all the bells and whistles and does everything well. I, too, used the GF1 and loved it, but this camera blows it away. I have a lot of nice cameras to choose from, but now, the GX8 always seems to be the one I grab on my way out the door."
[Edward has written a number of camera reviews for TOP. —Ed.]