The GX80 is great all around compact system camera that packs a lot of camera goodness for a decent price. For around £600, you get a lot for your money.
You get a 16-megapixel four-thirds sensor, 4K video recording capability, Wi-Fi, built-in 2.8m-dot electronic viewfinder, tilting touch-sensitive TFT LCD monitor and a 12-32mm kit lens included as standard.
This Panasonic’s CSC camera is one that is designed to be user-friendly; both the hardware and software are well thought through and you have everything you need to get started straight out of the box.
It takes great pictures whether you’re using it in auto mode for the casual shots, shooting 4K videos or you get serious and use the manual controls. You can even take 4K photos or use it to re-focus on your subject after taking your pictures.
when it comes to design, its build quality feels premium and solid, you almost forget you’re holding a £600 compact system camera.
The GX80’s retro-style design makes it almost perfect for the bloggers out there, in fact, it’s one of the cameras I recommend based on design and all the way up to the likes of the RX100 from Sony for better image quality.
For the bloggers or those into street photography – whether uploading to Flickr or Instagram – the GX80 is perfect when it comes to size and offers a stealth look that isn’t intimidating. Its weight is spot on for steady shots and leather placed in the correct places for a good grip.
Besides the leather-textured hard plastic used in most places, the important bits are covers in metal and although I’m not encouraging you to drop your camera, but if you do by mistake, you’ll be ok – as long as it’s not too high.
The GX80 will fit in most bags and with its shoulder strap, you can just wear it around your neck or across your body like a messenger bag. The bundled 12-32mm, f/3.5-5.6 kit lens doesn’t protrude too much unless in use and when you start zooming in and out.
Retro camera body with modern design and easy to use features
On the back of the GX80, there’s a touchscreen where you can control everything and customise to suit your photography style. There’s also an electronic viewfinder which is questionable at times, as I sometimes struggled with it in different lighting situations.
You can tilt the screen up and down, however, the articulation of the display might not be completely suitable for all as you can’t fully adjust to face you, for example, the vlogging type wouldn’t find it useful.
Having said that, though, I found it useful for getting shots from awkward angles or when I don’t want to move my body where I can easily flip out the screen and still see what I need.
When it comes to its controls, you have the option of using the touchscreen or using the manual controls. Personally, I found the manual controls placed conveniently in a perfect reach for my hands and I quickly got familiar with where everything is.
Overall the GX80’s design is just about right, you can’t really fault it. Every camera manufacturer will make their product unique in some ways, but Panasonic has managed to cater to many people here. It can be the casual, second camera for the professionals, and it could be the first camera for the enthusiasts too.
Image and Video Quality:
Thanks to a Micro Four-Thirds sensor, autofocus is fast and accurate; it doesn’t just apply when taking stills, but also very much the same when shooting videos. With an EVF present, I found the real-time preview of exposure, white balance, and tone to be better than on my DSLR.
When you really dive in deeper into what the GX80 is all about and what Panasonic has done here, you begin to notice all manner of clever tricks working together to ensure you capture awesome images without compromising detail, brightness, contrast and accurate colours.
When it comes to lower light situations, noise control is very good. You hardly get noisy images except in extremely dark conditions. Stabilisation is also something that’s vital for photography and the GX80’s 5-axis image stabilisation keeps photos and videos blur and grain-free.
What’s interesting is the loss of a low-pass filter which is usually useful for sharper details; it’s interesting because Panasonic has managed to still keep things sharp and detailed in all light conditions without.
When it comes to videos, you can join the new wave of videography. The GX80 is capable of shooting 4K videos at either 24, 25 or 30fps, however, unless you have a 4K TV to watch it on afterwards, it may not matter much to you. I’ve certainly found it useful as YouTube allow 4K uploads and makes a delightful content for viewers.
What I also like about the GX80’s 4K capability is the different 4K modes available for photography too, for example, you can shoot 4K videos and then go through it frame by frame to pick high-quality stills from it.
You can also use it to pick stills from different focal points, which I used for creating images with a nice blurred background.
Overall the image and video capabilities of the GX80 is impressive for its price point, compact size and interchangeable lenses on. If you don’t want the hefty size of a DSLR, but still want something with a great performance, then this is one to consider.
The GX80 is usually about £600 to buy, but at the time of this review, it’s listed for around £550 on Amazon. For that price point, you could also consider Sony’s RX100 with a 1-inch sensor, although, to get the 4K version, you would be spending more.