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Wednesday, 28 September 2016


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The irony of all of this; the shutter-shock failure mode in the GX8, is that it was entirely and completely preventable. If Panasonic had done a "Design FMEA" (failure-mode effects analysis), they would have caught it and dealt with it while the camera was in the design stage.

The other possibility is that they did perform a design FMEA regarding this failure mode, and still shipped the camera. In which case, they got everything they deserved.

Speaking of cameras plagued with shutter shock (and ameliorated to a large extent through a firmware update), Olympus has been offering the EM-1 bundled with the f/2.8 12-40 zoom for $1299. The lens sells for $899, which even I can see means they've been dumping the EM-1 for only $400.

I bought the GX8 when I first saw the free lens offer. When I started using it myy immediate reaction was to wish I had bought it when it first came out. I've been using Panasonic since the G1 and the GX8 is, for what I do, the best effort yet. And by far the best image quality.

I am also very much liking the 12-60 lens, which I had dismissed because of the f5.6 limit at the long end, despite the 12-60 range being near perfect for my use.

I should have ignored the online gripes and bought both as soon as they hit the market.

As for the "shutter shock," there are smoother cameras but I have also worked with much worse. I found it difficult to consistently produce shock effects, but I also fell immediately in love with the electronic shutter. I rarely do action so I can leave the camera on electronic shutter for almost everything except when using flash. In that mode it is the smoothest camera I have ever used, even beating my M-series Leicas.

I don't know why the price has fallen so low, but I am seriously tempted to pick up a second body.

My only real complaint is the dedicated exposure compensation dial. Why oh why did they not make the third dial assignable? I'd love to have it for ISO when working in manual exposure, and in A mode (my usual state) I'd much rather have ex comp on the right-hand dial. Not to mention there is no provision for exposure compensation with wifi remote. So I almost need another body just for use on tripod with wifi.

As for the Panasonic 12-60 zoom, I've heard very good things about it, and it might be very well worth keeping, especially for trip & travel purposes.

Keep in mind that Panasonic's new faux-DSLR, the G85, which seems to be aimed squarely at the Olympus E-M5 Mk II, is priced at $900 for the body-only, or just $1,000 with the kit 12-60 zoom.

The G85, as well as the GX85, has a newly designed electromagnetic shutter that has all but completely wiped-out the shutter shock issue.

Hence, the special deal on the GX8, especially with the free 12-60 zoom tossed in, might just be Panasonic's way to keep that camera body selling. Other than the fact that the G85 has the older 16mp sensor in it, it is probably one of the very best micro43 cameras that Panasonic has made to date, with lots of nifty upgrades and a magnesium alloy weather/dust sealed body. Just a shame they didn't put the 20mp sensor inside.

I had a bunch of mysteriously unsharp photos with my E-M5 until I heard about shutter shock and set the camera to that 1/8th second shutter delay, or what it's called. Don't remember any review saying anything about that, which makes me highly cautious of the GX8.

The GX8 is now selling locally for about 7000 SEK now, which would probably be comparable to it selling for around $700 in the US. Given that I think you're being highly optimistic regarding the price of the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, which I eagerly await, I should perhaps be thinking about the GX8 instead, but I'd need some assurances that shutter shock wouldn't be a problem for me.

One thing, of many, that looks promising with the E-M1 Mark II is the high readout speed of the sensor, which I assume will make the electronic shutter even more useful.

Remember the early days of SLR 35mm cameras? Remember unsharpness caused by mirror slap? They reckoned it would never be resolved and Leica would remain supreme for sharp 35mm pix. It took a few years, but pretty soon even the cheap SLRs had effective mirror damping.

Shutter shock is inherent in all m43 cameras and always has been, because the shutter is open before the picture is taken (to provide viewing of the image), then the shutter slams shut, then opens again for the exposure. That double whammy causes the vibrations that translate into shutter shock -- generally seen as a slight double image.

Why it became such an issue for reviewers of the GX8, I don’t know. Perhaps because Olympus had managed to reduce it a fair bit in their top of the line cameras and the GX8 was a top line contender which didn't leave much else to criticize (as you know!).

SS is not simply the camera, it is an interaction between the camera and the lens. I use m43 cameras exclusively, the Panasonic G6 and the GX7 (a predecessor of the GX8). I also use both quite a lot with the tiny Panasonic 12-32 very cheap lens which is a very good performer! Now this is a lens that IS very subject to shutter shock, but oddly, in testing it shows up but in general use, not so much. Not never, but not so much. See for example: https://www.dpreview.com/galleries/5951224179/photos/3322013/15-11-10-p1780689-uc-singers and a 100% crop https://www.dpreview.com/galleries/5951224179/photos/3321847/15-11-10-p1780687-32-100 both taken at shutter speeds where SS might have shown up. In any case, I work around SS by generally avoiding the shutter speeds where it would be a problem and using eShutter when that is suitable, e.g. for landscapes.

I don't see SS with either camera with the top of the line 12-35 lens fitted. And so on. It is a mixed bag.

Both Olympus and Panasonic have worked hard on solutions to this problem, with Olympus initially taking the lead by introducing a tiny delay in tripping the exposure sequence of the shutter after the initial closing of it to let the vibrations die down.

Panasonic did well first with its tiny GM1/5 cameras which had an entirely new shutter and no SS at all under any circumstances, but it had limitations in top speed (about 1/500th and then it switched to eShutter with the associated rolling shutter problems).

Now Panasonic has taken the lead with a new shutter first in the GX80/85 range (a GX7 replacement in size and general spec terms) and now, developed a step further, in the G80/85 range (the G7 SLR style body) announced at Photokina.

This G80/85 is an amazingly well specced camera. Puzzling was the decision to retain the 16 MPX sensor in it without the anti-aliasing filter (the same sensor as the GX80/85).

Panasonic is not talking about the GX8 replacement although it was very vocal at Photokina about the GH5 (with video specs that are practically mind-boggling -- but they have to be to beat the G80/85!). The lack of discussion of the GX8+ combined with the market activity suggest to me that it will be coming sooner rather than later. (Olympus tends to go in for a drip feed of "leaks" -- Panasonic keeps its cards close to its chest.)

For guidance on what it will be, I would suggest you look at the G80/85 capabilities, add in the 20 MPX sensor, and surf through the promoted specs for the GH5 for the bits that would apply to stills rather than video (I would suggest the video capabilities of the G80/85 are as much as Panasonic would want to put into the GX8+) and which surpass the G80-85.

One point -- you suggested the Olympus E-M1 II would use the Panasonic 20 MPX sensor. I don't think so. I seem to remember that has been ruled out.

Cheers, Geoff

The "shutter shock" has been going on in various Panasonic and Olympus models for a while now; with plenty of model changes to "fix" it, but no one ever seems to! I get it intermittently in my images as well and it's annoying. Sometimes it's even "lens dependent".

As an FYI, my e-comm photo studio uses Nikon D7000's, and continuous light, virtually all in "live view", so the shutter is working the same way it would in a mirrorless. I've had plenty of problems with busted shutters being repaired by Nikon, and seeming OK, except when used in live-view they exhibit the same "shutter shake" that the Panasonic has, except encompassing even more shutter speeds!

When I send the stuff back, Nikon refuses to even admit there's a problem, they probably only test the camera for "normal" shutter function! Now when a shutter breaks, we just trash the camera...

Shutter shake is the Achilles Heel of mirrorless!

My million dollar idea is to build a mirrorless camera for e-comm photography only, based on M 4/3rds, with multi aspect rations (like 1:1 and 4:5), and entirely shutterless: no shake, and an articulated view screen on the back.

Leica has shown that it is possible to sell cameras with known defects (my own much loved and sometimes hated M8) and limitations as long as they stir some kind of passion with their design.

Sadly, the GX8 looks like a chalk board eraser. It is the opposite of man jewelry and as such is offered no sympathy for its faults, no matter how inconsequential.

I have two GX8 bodies and use them all the time, and have yet to identify anything that I think is shutter shock -- but then, I don't do testing, and I'm a poor enough photographer that I get blurry photos all the time, that I *know* are my fault. On the other hand, some people apparently think the shutter shock issue is mostly a problem seen when using the 14-140 lens, which I don't have. I dug around the Internet looking for actual tests, and found a few, but they seem to break between "real issue" and "no issue" results. For me, the bottom line seems to be that even in tests where there was an issue, the problem was so small that I wouldn't see it anyway since I mostly hand-hold, and I'm willing to take the softer images that you get while hand-holding.

I was going to buy the 12-60 zoom anyway and when I saw it was free with a discounted GX8 i couldn't resist. I have shot quite a bit with this lens/camera combo with the work around that you recommend and have to say I am quite impressed.

Hi Mike,
I've been using two GX8 cameras for the past three months with no shutter shock issues. Before buying them I borrowed three separate GX8 cameras from friends and tested them thoroughly for this problem but it never occurred. So, that's five different cameras with no shutter shock. That's not to say that the problem might not exist in some cameras, or batch of cameras, and Panasonic's unwillingness to address the issue is hardly helpful. However, the fact that they have issued a firmware upgrade will certainly fuel the no smoke without fire contingent.
My cameras cost £480 each, after a cash back deal from Panasonic. To put this in perspective, I shall have had eight months of use out of these 20 megapixel cameras by the time Olympus release their EMI Mk 2 bodies, with an equivalent sensor, at approximately three times the price. On that basis I think the GX8 is a marvelous working tool for those whose main interest in cameras is their ability to shoot good pictures.

You have stepped into a minefield here, the subject of endless bad tempered threads on DPR.

As far as I can see it is an interaction between camera, lens and how the camera is used.

The problem is caused by dynamic resonance where the shock of the shutter opening and closing sets up vibrations. When the vibration is at a certain frequency measured in Hertz the vibrations caused by the shutter hitting the stops get magnified to a very great order (in theory infinity).

The problem is that with a certain camera with a certain lens with the camera held in a certain way firing the shutter will cause resonance and thus we get "shutter shock". If I hold the camera another way or change lenses it will probably disappear as the critical frequency of the setup changes.

This is why some see it with certain camera/lens combinations and others do not with the same setup.

Another factor is the disinformation and ignorance rampant in photo forums. I have seen far more pictures posted claiming shutter shock with movement that is really good old camera shake than I have seen real evidence of shutter shock.

You can have fun with structural resonance. For example in Salzburg there is a long footbridge weighing hundreds of tons that spans the river. Bouncing up and down at a certain rate will cause the bridge to vibrate. We adapt naturally to this rate so it is quite easy to find the right frequency. One can with a bit of patience get the bridge moving quite well if you are alone on it without the step frequency of other users to break up the effect.

Adorama, at least, is throwing in a nontrivial gift card with that camera/lens bundle, so it's even better.

Hi Mike, ever since Panasonic released the GX80, which made it obvious that they have redesigned the shutter unit for less vibration (and which should have ended debate about whether shutter shock is real in earlier models), I expected a short-term release of a GX8 II with that shutter unit incorporated.

Re shutter induced vibration, as Ron Zack said it is not unique to the GX8, but some cameras seem to be affected more than others.
It is also a side effect of making cameras ever lighter, mass helps with things like vibration. Another factor is resonance, different systems will be affected at different shutter speeds. And some shutter speeds are more important than others ( like 1/30 )
With DSLR's it was 'Mirror slap' -so much so that Canon introduced motor driven and braked mirrors. It's Ironic that mirrorless cameras eliminated that problem only to become light enough for shutter vibration to become noticeable .
I also wonder if perhaps part of the image quality that people like so much about the Fuji 100 series cameras might be attributable to the crispness of the leaf shutter files ?

I purchased the GX8 + 12-60mm lens when they were first advertised. I do use the camera mostly with the electronic shutter, a wonderful feature for nature photography. It's one of the nicest handling cameras I've owned.

My interest in the camera is its Dual IS with my Panasonic-Leica 100-400mm, which is my principal use for the camera. To be able to consistently handhold at 800mm with good results is simply wonderful.

A recent example



- Richard

[Wow. Nice. --Mike]

SS is a real issue but as far as I know it only appears when using specific bodies and lenses in combination. For example I have a GX7 and a G7 and several prime and zoom lenses and as far as I can see SS only occurs with the 14-42mm mega OIS zoom lens, unfortunately with both cameras.

The way to avoid SS is to use a different body and/or lens, to shoot outside of the SS affected shutter speed range or to use the electronic shutter but this is supposed to be a system and we shouldn't need to pick our bodies and lenses and settings with an eye on what gives us problems in what situation, these cameras and lenses should work together. It's not too much to ask is it?

SS isn't an issue for me much of the time as I can use the electronic shutter for daylight shooting but if I want to shoot under artificial light there's no way out as I'll be shooting in the SS shutter speed range and changing to the electronic shutter may produce banding so in that scenario the combination of either my GX7 or my G7 with the 14-42mm mega OIS is pretty much unusable. This is IMO a disgrace for a system and doubly so as Panasonic see fit to ship SS afflicted cameras and lenses as kits.

All in all it amazes me that a company the size of Panasonic has managed to create this shamble. Shame on them.

No shuttershock issues. It is mentioned in relation to the 14-140mm lens, which we don't own. With the 12-35mm and 35-100mm lenses and with our primes me and my wife have no issues, the GX8 works like a breeze and is a fine camera.

I dunno nuttin. I just a dumb pro that use's the hell out of my pair of GX8's on jobs all the time. Shutter shock has never raised it's ugly head as far as I can tell. Hasn't been an issue on the GH3 or 4's, or on the GX7's either.

For me, they are the best shooting stills camera I've ever owned, and I've owned many since I first got into photography in 1975, including Leica M and R bodies, Nikon, Canon, Contax, Olympus, Mamiya, Rollei, Hasselblad and Bronica. And I must say that each and every one of those other camera companies made cameras that had problems.

My Leica M's rangefinders were always a concern as to accuracy, I was on a first name basis with the men at Leica HQ who used to fix them. Shutter speeds were a mere approximation, often up to a half stop off. The R's were no better when it came to focus issues, and then there were the electronic gremlins. Fun. Contax cameras would suddenly not work, and it didn't matter the body, RTS II's, 139's, 167's, all problematic, and then the company just said screw it and bolted. Nice. Nikon's had shutters that bounced in the F2's, and exploded in the FM/FE series.

Canon was probably the least problematic with regards to bodies if you don't count having to have your AF adjusted for each lens so it will be in focus, but at least they made focus screens that worked for manual focus since the AF was so unreliable with the fast lenses. And then there's the big L zoom lenses that would get de-centered every few years, causing one side or the other to look smeared.

I won't mention the problems that every medium format camera had, there are too many and my hands will cramp up trying to type them all.

Is Panasonic perfect? No, but neither is any other camera company. Find a camera that you like, doesn't matter who makes it and just go out and make photos. If you spend your life looking for problems with your gear, you'll find them no matter who makes it.

I'd rather spend my life looking for photographs. Haven't had a photo ruined by shutter shock yet. If my photos suck, it's the fault of the person I see in the mirror every morning. My gear is the most reliable part of the image making chain, and in all probability so is yours.

I just sold a Nikon D810 today for a good amount. Once I had three, now down to one as I expect Nikon to update in 2017 and after 15 years or so with Nikon DSLR's I never had one fail. Same for Canon and Sony ML.

I had D800's - worked around the shutter shock issue many times.

If you like the Panasonic GX8 buy it on Craig's List when the sellers freak out and decide to quickly dump it.

The Nikon D810 that I sold today to a very smart and nice person was purchased a few months ago from CL from a extremely impatient seller. I tried to convince him that he was way too low on price, he would not agree, so I bought it from him and now I've made $300 over a few months by simply watching CL and re posting an undervalued item.

When you see a lens or camera, system that you like but is getting bad media, go to CL and perhaps find extreme value. Even if you simply want to re-list it. I do this all the time. It's a easy way to make a bit of extra money for almost no cost if you know the value and typical selling price of whatever you are dealing in.

I think this is due mostly to the fact that the introduction of two most recent Panasonic models (the GX80/85 a few months ago and the G80/85 this week are superseding in a lot of areas this GX8, including the new mechanical shutter which is suppose to have gotten rid of the shutter shock issue. This is what happens when new cameras leapfrog the previous model even if it is supposed to be higher up in the camera line-up. I expect a GX9 from Panasonic early next spring

Dammit Mike. I've been having a serious case of GAS in regard to the GX8 and this just pushed me over the edge. Emily even agreed that it was too good a deal to pass up. It's on the way from B&H (ordered through your link, of course). It's supposed to be here Wednesday. I'll let you know what I think after I've played with it a while.

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