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Friday, 08 April 2016


"f------" stands for "fine", am i right?

What do the colours look like out of the box? That's the question for me. Fuji and Olympus are lovely. I had a GF1 and the colours were tepid and shifted.

Have you tried the finder on the A7rii yet? That might reach a gold standard. Very big and clean, and manual focus automatically activates an enlarged view that is clean enough to outperform autofocus. One thing about this Sony I've never seen before: the depth of field preview is live in the viewfinder. I looked for a button to do it, looked in the manual, cursed this omission, and then realized it was just always on. The EVF auto-compensates the brightness; it's a live view of the exposure. One thing the Sony does not have is decent highlight (or shadow) blowout blinkies or a hit-the-edge-of-the-histogram red-line warning as the Olympus does. How about these kind of mirrorless amenities on the Gx8?

I can see from the first photo that you don't now, and probably never have, owned a cat. [Why? --Mike]

At the Digital Equipment Corporation telephone support center in Colorado Springs, "RTFM" stood for "Rad the manual", because if the "F" stood for something it wouldn't be professional. It was frequently used to close simple call reports, where we just read them the manual over the phone.

However, on Fidonet, it was definitely the "Fine" manual. (And BinkleyTerm had about the simplest free software guarantee I remember: If you break it, you own both pieces.)

Very pleased to see some appreciation for the GX8's excellent viewfinder. I recently rented one to compare its EVF and controls with my Olympus M1 (I no longer care about the minor differences among today's sensors). The GX8's viewfinder was noticeably better than the M1's and probably the best of all M43 cameras, though I do think it will be another generation or two before they have the clarity of an SLR viewfinder. I also preferred the menu system and control design of the GX8, with one exception: the DISPLAY button. It's positioned where my right thumb was constantly hitting it, inadvertently throwing garbage onto the screen. It got very frustrating to swing the camera up to my eye and see a viewfinder full of distracting function icons and the virtual horizon.

Our cat regularly unrolls toilet paper if left on the holder. He bats and bats until it's all on the floor, then walks away. Funnily enough, he only does this in the downstairs washroom, not the others.

We have to put the rolls in the cupboard and only place them on the holder when guests visit.

That's great news for us glasses-wearing left-eyed shooters!

The pleasures of a tilting EVF are familiar to me from using an Olympus VF2 accessory finder on an EPL1 for a year or two. A couple of camera generations ago, but one of the best EVFS at the time. It added a bulky blob to the camera, though, and used up the hot shoe, plus, we had to mix our own emulsion for the glass negatives... (That last part is a joke, kids.)

Better get your review done quick, Mike. Panasonic just introduced a younger, less featured sibling to the GX8: the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85. It's smaller, lighter, and has no swiveling eye-level viewfinder. It's also not available yet, but when it is, the starting price will be around $800.

To answer your `Why?' above... because of the way you have your toilet paper roll hanging.

It is commonly held that cats find it much more difficult to unravel roll that is in the `under' orientation. This is why we switched over (to under - see what I did there?) several years back. But we have an over achiever (under achiever?) in our household who can unravel a full roll in seconds when the mood strikes her, whatever the orientation.

"I can see from the first photo that you don't now, and probably never have, owned a cat. [Why? --Mike]"

Loose toilet paper roll in the bathroom, I'm guessing.

I tried an early EVF on a Minolta A1 about ten years ago or so and hated it for its lag and general unpleasantness. Now I'm totally convinced by EVFs. The ability to see the subject in very dim light, the live histogram, focus peaking, etc. I was trying to use my Pentax DSLR the other evening in failing light as the sun set and just couldn't see enough to compose.

The Minolta A2 had a tilting EVF ... I loved it and have wanted another ever since.

The viewfinder is much like my old Ricoh TLS 401 from 1970.


Something about the toilet paper?

A cat would pull that toilet paper from the roll in your first photo. That's how he knew. A tilting finder would be of no use in cleaning up that mess.

I used to be in the "As long as I can reliably get a good photo from a camera I don't care if it's OVF, EVF, or rear LCD" camp. But I just got a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with a stunning 5.5" Quad HD AMOLED display. The display has a mind boggling 534 pixels per inch, which actually exceeds a high quality print. When I'm taking a photo (with the 1/2.3" 12 megapickle sensor mated to a 26mm F1.7 lens) the great screen literally draws me into the scene. It's like composing while looking at a high res print.

I'm now of the mind that camera makers have to get on board here and really start upping the resolution of their EVFs and LCDs. I don't know how the GX8 2.36 million dots converts to PPI, but the Samsung has set a new benchmark for me.


Something about the toilet paper?

He,he, I'm guessing Mark's Cat reference is due to the roll of toilet paper, a cat wouldn't allow that to exist unmolested....

I completely agree! The GX8 feels fantastic and the viewfinder is a pleasure to look through (and the fully articulated screen is a feature that I like a lot too). I have only owned and used few cameras, but then use the ones that I eventually buy for a long time; until I loose or destroy them (which may happen after many many years or already after a few weeks...). The GX8 is definitely the best camera that I have been using and if I can prevent any mishaps I am sure that it will serve me well for a long time!

I didn't get the cat thing either, until I realized that the toilet paper roll is in the roll holder... Ha!

"I can see from the first photo that you don't now, and probably never have, owned a cat. [Why?]"

Heh, I suspect it's the t.p. roll hanging down peacefully!

Mark - "I can see from the first photo that you don't now, and probably never have, owned a cat. [Why? --Mike]"

The toilet paper roll...

One problem with tiliting EVFs is they sometime tilt when you don't want them to tilt (especially when pressed again eyeglasses). Like many others I found myself using tape to keep it from tilting. A locking mechanism at 0/45/90 degrees would be nice.

The tilting EVF in the Panasonic also seemst obe a "making lemonade out of lemons" idea: the EVF optics are quite large to get the good eye relief so the optics won't fit in the body thickness. So you make the EVF overhand the back. The next step is to make the whole EVF assembly tilt then the overhang is a feature not a bug!

The Olympus VF-2 which I think was the first tilting EVF for mirrorless ILC cameras in early 2010

The Olympus VF-2 seems to share some design ideas with the Ricoh VF-1 for the Ricoh GX100 (as Steve G mentions) and that was the first tilting EVF for a compact (AFAIK).

The Ricoh VF-2 GXR EVF (which is or isn't a mirrorless ILC depending on module!) also tilts looks very similar but not identical to the Olympus VF-2.

Leica also used the Olympus VF-2 design on the Leica X2 and Leica M (type 240) and the Olympus VF-2 would function on those cameras.

I'm not sure if this series of EVFs was designed by a third party or if similar ideas were used by different companies. I'm guessing it might be the former.

I'm still waiting for Ricoh to make a GX100 replacement with GD/GRD UI and body with type 1 inch sensor and a 24-85mm or 18-50mm. Like the announced Nikon DL range which updates that old idea). I don't mind if it has an EVF. Perhaps at Photokina in Fall? Or perhaps not.

Neither here nor there, but as far as camera aesthetics are concerned, I thought the GX7 one beautifully styled and crafted body successfully integrating both classic and modern lines and styling. This clunky, boxlike iteration looks all business and no fun...

I think Panasonic is pretty underrated. Their ergonomics and usability are usually really great. For me they are some of the best in the current market. They consistently innovate with features big and small (4K video, touchpad to move the focus point while looking through the EVF, DFD focusing, etc). They have great contrasty glass (some a bit prone to flare, but there are always trade offs). All in all they are durable, capable, fast shooting and very user friendly cameras that produce a fairly good file.

They tend to be often overlooked, but if the m43 sensor meets your needs, people should have a look. (I have no professional connection to Panasonic, but I have looked at a lot if cameras, and made the choice to go with Panny. I have zero regrets)

What about shutter shock?

I've had my E-M5 for almost four years now and feel myself drifting heavily into reading about gear, so obviously I probably need to take more photos OR dump money into gear.

The main things against the E-M5 is how it has problems working with my favorite lens, the Panasonic 20mm, and that it doesn't have "0 second shutter delay" or whatever it's called. Also, the current crop of top of the line mirrorless cameras all have nicer viewfinders.

The Panasonic looks good and in a year the price should have dropped suitably, but shutter shock scares me.

Turn the roll around and don't let the end dangle. Problem solved.

Diminutive-ness is always relative, of course, Japanese or otherwise, but I would point out that the GX8 is .9mm (= nothing) taller than a Leica M3, is several mm's less wide, is quite a bit thicker, but only because of the hand grip which the Leica probably needed, and is quite a bit lighter than an M3. Leica people will tell you that an M3 is about the perfect size for a camera, and who wants to argue with them, because they know it all?

You talk a lot about the flip up viewfinder, which is nice, but I find that the flip-up screen is a neater viewfinder when shooting from collarbone-height down to belt line, as long as you don't get too much reflection. By squeezing your arms against your ribcage, you get a nice steady hold, as well.

I'm happy to hear that you're accommodating to EVFs. I think I'm ten years away from saying the same, if ever. And my standard for comparison is the same, the a900. But any OVF beats the best EVF in dynamic range, which is my critical criterion.

I tested the X-I1's EVF once again last month. Sure, it's sharp, smooth and big, but it's simply incapable of reproducing highlight and shadow details on sunny days. And this was in Seattle, not up in Denver, where lighting conditions can make for near-lunar contrasts at midday. In Zone System terms, an EVF seems to deliver every value from Zone III to Zone VII (and my environment extends to Zone XII). Everything brighter or darker is lost.

I can see the usefulness of an EVF in dark environments, like the club scene or theater. I can see its power as an information delivery device about framing, focus and exposure. But too often it would rob me of the colors and details that allow me to enjoy the scene before I choose to shoot. It's just a target acquisition device, and too much like taking a picture of an artificial picture.

Maybe in five or ten years, EVFs will eliminate this flaw, but I doubt it. The photo industry always seems to be concentrated in low, cloudy places, from Kodak (and you) up in the upstate, to Seattle (DPR), or the motherships in Germany and Japan. If you don't experience many bright days, maybe you just don't notice?

I haven't handled either the GX7 or 8 but prefer the styling of the 7, which when it was first released made me jealous of that tilting VF. The other specs weren't on par with the X-T1 however and as I has invested in the Fuji system I could only hope that they would do something similar in the future. I have read the GX8 has a shutter shock problem, I think in the 1/15 to 1/200 sec range. Have you experienced this at all Mike?

Rolleiflex 6008AF body!!!
do you still use it?

[No, sorry to say. I last tried them about five years ago. And I have two bodies, both new old stock, plus two chargers, five batteries, the 45-degree finder, one hand grip, two backs, and the 80mm AF lens. I'm very well equipped to not take pictures! --Mike]

The VF on my GX7 is the main reason I dislike the camera. Out of the box it was defective---soft with doubled characters (F-stop etc) along the bottom. What exactly was wrong wasn't immediately noticeable, but I knew something was bad the first time I looked through it. Darned near went cross eyed. I had it sent back, but the next was/is still distractingly soft around the edges compared to the old VF-2 from Olympus. Plus, on the GX7 you had all the video game features that'd pop up in the EVF: The tilt-o-meter, the repeated f-stop information in manual mode, the inaccurate histogram---and all topped off with the lack of blinkies. Blinkies, the only one of those flight-simulator effects that I needed, and Panny left it out. I suppose the GX8 is the same.

But yes, the tiltable VF is one of the most useful features I have used on a cameras. I doubt there is a future though as even the "creatives" who reviewed the GX7 on YouTube could not figure out how to take advantage of a tiltable EVF. They preferred to use the ultra-shiny flip-out LCD to admire their own reflections in bright sunlight.

Speaking of imaging-resource.com, have a look at the ISO 1600 comparision between the GX8 and X-T1. No thanks, Panasonic.

About the cat thing - having had a cat, but never allowing him in certain rooms, I never experienced the effect described. From an ease of use viewpoint, I much prefer the "over" orientation.

I bought the LVF1 EVF for my GF1, and got to really like that tilting viewfinder. Then I got a GX7, with built-in tilting EVF, but found to my delight that the LVF1 also worked on my LX5 (but not on its successor, the LX7). Currently, my go to "good" camera is the LX100, while my wife mainly uses the GX7. I just wish the EVF on the LX100 tilted.

Have you looked closely at the LX100? I like that it has externalized the key settings, such as aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. Also aspect ratio, AF/MF/Macro. Flash is an add-on, but I almost never use flash. It's a really nice camera.

I recall reading that the X-T1's "faux prism hump" doubles as a heat sink.

I can see from the first photo that you don't now, and probably never have, owned a cat. [Why? --Mike]

Or maybe Mike means "'Why'own a cat?"

[Why? --Mike]

Like the people above said, it's the toilet paper going over and not under. If you've ever had a cat, you know that over is not a good idea.

Mike, how responsive is the EVF? Is there any noticeable lag? How suitable do you think is it for shooting action?

When testing an EVF I usually take pictures of people walking at a right angle to the camera and try to capture the moment when their feet connect with the pavement (you know, the HCB Gare Saint Lazare sort of thing). I make about 50 exposures, count my hits and misses and adjust my timing. With regular and therefore predictable movement such as this, however, getting it right is not a big problem after some practice, even with my sluggish Panasonic G3 EVF. I would like to know how useful the GX8 EVF would be in fast-changing situations where split-second reactions are necessary, such as when a sitter unexpectedly flashes a smile or pulls a face. (I'm sure that Kirk could tell us a thing or two about the usefulness of EVFs in such situations.)

Your phrase "I'll let you know about the VF in bright sunlight once the sun comes out." reminds of the observation that Scots made a major contribution to world religion - we were the first agnostics. When everyone else was worshiping the sun, we were wondering if it really existed.

It sounds as if you have not tried the extra eye cup that is available. Please ask Panasonic for one to try. It replaces the existing one completely. I found it difficult to remove the original, but then I am a clutz :-)

The new eye cup is simply a revelation. If you don't use glasses (I do) then your eye fits completely into the eye cup (very thin soft rubber)and the EVF and sunshine problem is totally fixed. With glasses still a vast improvement on anything else I have used.

I am in the UK and unbelievably Pano UK do not sell it and I had to order from Japan (EBAY)- best few dollars (pounds) I have spent :-)


No, don't promote them. Give them praise, give them a raise and a bonus, but don't promote good people up and out of the job they are doing well. More often than not you will lose a good worker and gain a not-so-good manager. Sometimes you get a lousy manager and the whole team collapses and the good product development with it.

I was so eager to get the GX8's predecessor, the GX7, specifically for that tilting EVF. I was so sure that it would be as wonderful to use as you proclaim for the GX8. After all, I do most often shoot with the camera away from my face and either above or below my eye. To that end I've long considered a tilting LCD as an essential feature in cameras. So a tilting EVF seemed to make so much sense.

But, surprisingly, for me that tilting EVF was not very useful at all. I just could not seem to get comfortable with angling that EVF when out-and-about. I much preferred simply using its tilting LCD away from my face, OR using the EVF in its normal right-angle position. Perhaps all a matter of personal preference, eh?

[Yes indeedy! --Mike]

Yeah, yeah, GX-whatever....can we talk about the boiling camera envy I have over the Rollei 6008 that you have there? 6x6, AF and has a meter usable with a waist leave finder. Who ever designed that was a genius! Too bad some other schlep ruined it with that bloody battery system. Film died before they could fix that, and that's a shame. One of the great and oft overlooked cameras of all time IMHO.

I've lived with a lot of cats in my life - they've never gone for the tp, over or under. That said, it's good to see that you are hanging your roll the correct way - under is all wrong.
Oh, and cameras- the GX7 is a nice little camera and replaced my Fuji as my everyday carry some time ago owing to the fact that it can focus and the Fuji can't. The QoF isn't as good but focus is focus. (OT: I tried an XPro 2 in a shop the other day and the focusing issues seemed as bad as ever - hunting, choosing a different point each time the shutter was pressed, the green square apparently covering too much of the subject for the camera to make up it's "mind". A review in the current edition of the British Journal of Photography points out the same thing - I wish Fuji could sort this because in terms of ergonomics and the aforementioned QoF they are streets ahead of other firms efforts and their cameras are a joy to hold).

GX8 or Pen-F?

[Having not seen the Pen F, I can only give you my standard answer: yes! --Mike]

Recently I took my Pentax K-5 out on a sunny day to try it out after a long spell using the Panasonic FZ1000 as my primary camera. I very soon found that in bright light, I just couldn't see the readouts in the K-5's optical glass v/f. Almost any information was invisible. (It's always bright and sunny here :-) ).

By contrast, the FZ1000's electronic v/f is perfectly visible, no matter what the light. I use the electronic level indicator a lot, and that's very visible.

I also used the live view on the K-5 and soon found the 1 second mirror flipping delays unacceptable. Likewise shooting video - loss of optical v/f as the mirror's up, and in the bright sun, I could barely see the LCD, so shooting video was a complete toss up.

I loved the colour I got from the Pentax, gorgeous jpgs right out of the camera, but I'm afraid I ruled it out as a camera to travel with. I'm finding the FZ1000 brilliant as a travel camera. It just does everything. There was a total solar eclipse in Indonesia, Bali, where I was, and I set the intervalometer to capture the dark transition. Easy.

You've sure got me salivating over the GX8, since I'm a m4/3 user as well, and I looked up your NY friends' price - it converts to A$1330. But I can buy it in Australia for A$1100, full retail Aussie stock. If I go the grey market, direct HK import route, A$889. I never thought I'd live to see the day when Australia was cheaper than the US, but it is.

My cats never touch the toilet roll. I suspect it's the closed door. No cat would ever let you have any peace in the bathroom with a closed door. There would be lots of howling and little paws coming under the door.

Is this a newer version of the GX7 or is it fundamentally different?

I have used the GX7 for a couple of years and still love it ( the articulating VF and the tillable screen).It is and exceptional camera.

It seems to be a bit larger. Is this an improvement and related to newer functions? I wonder why they felt it necessary to increase the dimensions.

Data point - I've made over 2,800 shots with my GX7. I would be surprised if 3 (0.1%) were made with the EVF tilted above horizontal. We are all different.

It does prevent straps on other gear from catching on the rear protrusion and pulling the GX7 out of the bag in error, though.

(I don't believe I've used tilt with my Oly VF-3 aux. EVF, either.)

"What about shutter shock?"

AFIK, all µ4/3 cameras when used with mechanical first curtain and no shutter delay suffer from shutter shock. The effect varies with model, shutter speed and lens.

"The main things against the E-M5 is . . . that it doesn't have "0 second shutter delay" or whatever it's called."

The sensor in the E-M5 doesn't allow electronic first curtain (EFC). Starting with the E-M10, and retroed to the E-M1 in firmware, "0 second shutter delay" is Oly speak for EFC.

The 1/8 sec shutter delay setting on all Oly bodies from the E-P1 on is quite effective at suppressing shutter shock. Not perfect, but darn good.

On Panny GX7 & 8 and GM1 & 5, the Silent Mode uses both EFC and ESC to eliminate shutter shock. ( I don't know about other models.) It has other effects, which are minor to non-existent for my uses.

The recent test of the Oly 300/4 on IR shows that Silent Mode is slightly more effective at such long focal lengths at eliminating shutter shock on the E-M5 II than EFC alone.

"The main things against the E-M5 is how it has problems working with my favorite lens, the Panasonic 20mm"

How so? I heard about banding issues, but could only find it with mine if I tried to bring deeply underexposed areas up a lot. It's not been a problem for me. Deciding between the 20/1.7 and the Oly 20/1.8 is tougher.

The GX8 viewing system sounds great Mike. Just one small question:

If it replaces all these removable viewfinders does it also come with interchangeable focusing screens?

"Speaking of imaging-resource.com, have a look at the ISO 1600 comparision between the GX8 and X-T1. No thanks, Panasonic."

I read the IR comparison. They also state that Panasonic offers more lens choices giving photographers more options. No thanks Fuji!

Thanks, Moose, for an excellent response. I use the 1/8 second shutter delay with my E-M5 and that seems to work very well. Before I learned about shutter shock and the shutter delay settings I had a lot of not-quite-sharp photos. This is very much need to know information for at least the E-M5.

The reason I brought up shutter shock regarding the GX8 is that some review, I suspect DPReview's, mentioned this expressly as a fault. Don't remember seeing it mentioned for another M43 model.

Regarding the 20mm lens…

How so? I heard about banding issues, but could only find it with mine if I tried to bring deeply underexposed areas up a lot.

The banding issue will usually not rear its ugly head that much, in my experience, unless one sets ISO to 6400 or higher. Something that I do very rarely. Partly because the sort of things I photograph and the excellent IBIS mean I don't need to much and partly, to a lesser extent, because I don't like banding :)

It can appear at lower-than-6400 ISOs and I've had a photo where it'd show where I really had to expose for highlights and then bring up shadows, but in that case the banding wouldn't show in screen sizes or on a smallish print (I'm pretty certain that a bigger print wouldn't have suffered either), so non-issue.

GX8 looks good but just want to put a word in for the G7. It is very good for video but at half the price of the GX8 it is a great camera for stills as well.

Twin wheels with multiple uses. A good EVF and fully mobile screen. When going lightweight I take it and the Panasonic 20mm and the 14-140 which is a remarkable good consumer lens.

Compared to the GX8 it has imho a much better grip, very good controls. Really at a very low price a great walk around camera. It is odd that they give the more budget canera the more adjustable LCD screen and one which turned around when not in use is far better protected

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