In late 2009, Panasonic released the Lumix GF1, which turned out to be a wildly popular camera. Panasonic subsequently released the GF2 in late 2010 and the GF3 in June 2011. Even today, you can still find owners praising their two-year old GF1s and recommending it to others. Why?
Besides the fact that the GF1 was a great little camera, Panasonic took the GF line in a different direction with the GF series, dropping the physical controls which enthusiasts desire in favor of a touch-screen and smaller body sizes. We appreciated the new GF models for what they were - easier to use and easier to carry cameras for the everyday user. But it wasn't what the people who loved the GF1 were clamoring for.
Five months ago, a new hope appeared when Panasonic’s Director of DSC Business unit Ichiro Kitao revealed that they had plans to split the GF series into two separate lines; and release a GF camera for the more experienced photographer. Rumors abounded of a 'GF Pro', and the GF1 faithful saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
What Panasonic has released isn't named the GF Pro or the GF4, but a new GX series. The GX1 comes with a 16MP Live MOS sensor, which Panasonic says is brand new, and not the sensor found in the G3. The high-speed Venus engine promises quick AF speeds of 0.09 seconds, slightly faster than the G3 and GF3's already quick AF speeds of 0.1 seconds. It shoots up to 4.2 frames per second at full resolution, and 1920 x 1080 pixels full HD video with stereo sound. The touch-screen introduced in the GF2 remains, with a new feature called the Touch Tab.
Battery life is shorter than the GF1 though (based on official specs), which was rated good for 350-380 shots at full charge, while the GX1's battery is rated to last 300-340 shots (to Panasonic's credit, the GX1 has approximately 11% longer battery life compared to the G3 which uses the same battery). The GX1 and the GF1 have similar dimensions; the GX1 is slightly smaller by about 3mm on each side, and lighter than the GF1 by about 13g. The GX1 includes even more physical controls than the GF1; the physical Mode dial, which went missing on the GF2 and GF3, makes a comeback with two Custom modes.
These are impressive specs, but does the GX1 measure up to the expectations laid down by the success of the GF1? Is the wait for a spiritual successor to the GF1 finally over? Or has it been too long, and has the GX1 appeared too late? We delve deeper in the following pages to show you what the new GX1 can achieve.