Home / Opinions / Panasonic Lumix GX8 vs GX7 – 12 ways the new GX8 is a much better camera

Panasonic Lumix GX8 vs GX7 – 12 ways the new GX8 is a much better camera

Andy Vandervell


GX8 5

Lumix GX8 vs GX7 – A quick specs and feature comparison

Panasonic has a shiny new camera, the Lumix GX8. It's the follow-up to the popular GX7, which was released in 2013, so the GX8 has been two years in the making.

It's clearly been time well spent as the GX8 is a big upgrade. Here are 11 ways the GX8 is a better camera versus the GX7.

1) It has a more detailed 20.3-megapixel sensor

Micro four thirds cameras have been stuck on around 16-megapixel for a while. There are worse things in the world, but it did mean that mirrorless cameras based on the APS-C sensor, like the 24.3-megapixel Sony A6000, had a large resolution advantage.

The new 20.3-megapixel sensor in the GX8 should capture more detail than the GX7's 16-megapixels, and that extra resolution will give you a little more creative control when re-framing photos in post.

GX8 39Pre-production: A cropped shot taken on 20mm, f1.7 lens

2) Innovative 6-axis Dual I.S system

Panasonic cameras have typically relied on lens stabilization, but the GX7 was the first to have an in-body system as well. That was useful progress, but Panasonic's system wasn't as advanced as Olympus' highly-regarded 5-axis system.

In response, Panasonic has developed a 'dual' system that combines lens stabilization and in-body stabilization into one system. Panasonic says this equates to a 6-axis system, though it's only a 5-axis system when shooting video.

It remains to be seen if this new system can match or surpass the Olympus one, but it should be a big step-up from the GX7's.

GX8 2The view from inside the new, larger OLED viewfinder

3) Larger, more accurate electronic viewfinder

The tilting EVF on the GX7 received mixed reviews, but we doubt the GX8 will have that problem.

The GX7 had a 2,764k dot LCD viewfinder with a 1.39x magnifcation, but the GX8 opts for an OLED viewfinder with a larger 1.56x magnification. And, while its 2,360k dot resolution is lower, the fact it's now OLED should mean smoother motion, better contrast and more accurate colours.

GX8 28 GX7 (left) and GX8 (right)

4) Fully-retractable OLED monitor

Panasonic has swtiched to OLED for the main monitor, too, but that's not the most interesting change. The GX7 had a tilting monitor, but the GX8 has a full, flip out screen that's far more versatile.

GX8 25GX7 (left) and GX8 (right)

5) Dedicated exposure compensation dial

One of the best design changes is the addition of a dedicated exposure compensation dial – it just makes quick, fine changes so much easier. We also like how the second dial is now a large and top-mounted, making it far easier to use.

6) Faster and more reliable focus system

The GX7 had a fast autofocus system, but it only used contrast detect AF – not the more advanced and reliable phase detection, or the hybrid system favoured by many.

Panasonic addresses this by introducing its Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology, which was introduced on the Lumix GH4. It solves many of the problems of the contrast detect system, so the GX8 shouldn't suffer from focus 'hunting' quite so often.

You also get double the focus points – 49 vs 23 – and the GX8 can focus in just 0.07 of a second compared to 0.11 on the GX7.

GX8 24 GX7 (left) and GX8 (right)

7) 4K video and photo support

As a keen 4K advocate, it's no surprise to find Panasonic has added 4K video to the GX8. Like the Lumix G7, it also supports a trio of 4K Photo modes that let you take 8-megapixel stills from a 4K video stream. This effectively gives you an infinite 30fps burst mode at 8-megapixels.

The three modes – 4K Burst, 4K Burst (Start/Stop) and 4K Pre-Burst each have their own uses, which you can read more about in our hands-on with the GX8.

8) You now get an external mic input

This was one of the more annoying oversights of the GX7, so it's good to see the GX8 has an external mic input. It's a 2.5mm input, so you might need an adapter to use it, but it's another reason to consider the GX8 a far more serious video camera than the GX8.

9) It's dustproof and splashproof

Yet another sign that the GX8 is a rather more serious camera than the GX7 is that it's weather-sealed – it's a good thing to have for those momentary downpours and dusty treks.

GX8 30GX8 (foreground) and GX7 (background)

10) The screen doesn't block the flappy bit on the side anymore

On the GX7, you had to tilt the screen back to remove the flap covering the HDMI, AV-out and remote input. It was an annoying niggle more than anything, but that's resolved on the GX8 – happy days.

11) You get a faster burst mode

If you'd rather not employ the 30fps 4K Photo mode, the full-resolution burst mode now shoots at up to 8fps – up from 5fps. That's good news, though it's worth remembering the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II shoots at up to 10fps.

12) It has a nice, chunky grip

The GX7 handled well for a relatively slim camera, but the GX8 has a larger, more substantial grip that's easier to wrap your fingers around. It's the difference between it feeling comfortably in your hand and being gripped by your fingers.

GX8 27GX7 (left) and GX8 (right)

Are there downsides?

There are two obvious ones, though we've only seen a pre-production version so we can't speak to ultimate image quality and performance just yet. One is that the the GX8 is larger and heavier than the GX7 – it's 85 grams heavier including body, battery and SD card, though it still weighs less than 500 in total.

The other is the lack of a built-in flash and the fact no external one is included in the box. Most people considering the GX8 won't want or need a built-in flash, but the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II mentioned earlier includes a rather fine hot-shoe external flash in the box.

GX8 7The GX8 will come in silver/black and black like the GX7

When will we know more?

The GX8 goes on sale in August starting at £1,049 – we'll bring you a full review just as soon as we get a final, production version of the camera.

BG Davis

August 5, 2015, 3:37 pm

Thank you for a very useful comparison. Not only hits the high points but includes some useful detail (number of focus points, burst rate, etc.). Might have included burst depth, as well. Also really should have included the much greater range of shutter speeds on the GX8, including a 30-minute bulb--a huge plus for night photography and other uses (with ND filter, etc.).

Marinus H.B. Vesseur

December 24, 2015, 8:31 am

It's not like a successor of the GX7, but more like a whole different model, especially because of the size difference. I stick the GX7 with 20mm 1.7 in my coat pocket. It doesn't look like you can do that with the GX8, which means I would not bring it with me, which means I would not use that much anymore. The weather sealing, if it's any good (are there affordable weather-sealed Lumix lenses?) would mean it's good for different applications I would not want to use the GX7 for, but I already have a sturdy DSLR for those. Unless the GX8 can completely replace my DSLR, this is actually a step back for me.


March 30, 2016, 12:33 pm

For a new camera, if the price goes down, and if you dont already have GH3/GH4, GX8 could possibly be better buy. But GX7 is still a terrific camera, and I'm sure it will stay so for a while. It's got all it needs (really, just think about it) except the GH line battery life, and that's where GX8 fails too, anyway. I was thinking, because I own both GX7 and GH3+4 cameras, that while I still take GX7 for a larger, but still pocketable camera that is great for social events and street where GHs would look awkward and it easily complements GH line, the GX8 size and approach makes it look like GH wannabe and having both cameras makes less sense than with GX1/7 + GH3/4.

With GX7, once you have the original Panasonic EVF adaptor applied to GX7's EVF and lowered saturation a bit, it's near perfect. And you can still carry it in original Panasonic leather case, that suits camera with EVF adaptor well and easily covers 20mm, 14mm and 12-32mm lenses with filters and caps.

GX8 for me, is by no means an upgrade for GX7 owners. Upgrade from GX1 - sure, but from GX7 - no way, the added value is very, very small, and you are staying without flash, that might be less needed nowadays as most large sensor digital cameras ISO performance is already great, but there are certain situations there you just dont get along without flash and having one or not simply means taking a photo or not. Also not just weight, but overall size make GX8 bulky and while GX7 screams for small lenses like 20mm 1.7 or 12-32mm kit from GM1, GX8 you would automatically fit with large 12-35 2.8, and there we are again -- going to GH territory, rather than staying as compact rangefinder.

As for 20mpx vs. 16mpx, does it really matter? I don't say going from 16 to 28 or 36, that you actually see and use (and feel in cash when your old PC is suddenly too slow to handle workflow). But 16 to 20? Yes, it's just an upgrade, but more meant for increased video resolution in GH5, and tested in GX8. We see professional full frames for pro shooting that cost several thousands to go as low as 12mpx just to achieve superb image quality and ISO performance. More megapixels doesn't make you photos any better and photocells in m43 sensor are already rather smaller at 16mpx. Those 20mpx will need some serious noise and dynamic range tweaking in coming years, that imho would be spent to better performance at 12 or 16mpx. I personally wouldn't complain if next GX was 12mpx, but with clean ISO at 3200 and usable 12800 - it would mean much more to me. I still export 5mpx size for most of my clients, because of the file size anyway and nobody ever complained.

Autofocus in 0.11 or 0.07s, does it really matter? Not at all, both are plenty fast.
Tilting screen vs. vari angle, does it really matter? Well, with video-centric camera like GH, it does. For example, NX1, which is superb camera from Samsung didn't get just this thing right - for videographer vari angle is a must. But for a rangefinder camera and stills shooter, who prefers EVF anyway? No, you actually don't need any LCD tilting/shifting at all, even more if your camera is sitting in some leather half-case and any LCD movement is blocked by it ;)

Dual IS? For video, right. For stills? Good, sharp photos always need fast shutter, and for clean, professional landscape or architecture you use tripod. Image stabilization helps, but is not an universal saver. And the GX7 IBIS is already actually pretty good, I use it to complete satisfaction with both modern lenses like 20mm 1.7 and also with vintage M42 lenses - you just need to shoot with it, not just reading s**tty reviews.

As for dustproof and splashproof, the GX7 already had superb build, feels great in hand and I used it in moderate snowing with no damage. Having some added insulation surely helps, but worth an upgrade? Not really, besides, I rarely shoot outside when it's raining or snowing, might be hardly few times a year and even there I wouldn't trust weather sealing even on GH3 or GH4 to be perfect and leave it uncovered, collecting water. I can imagine how they reply to the warranty claim if camera breaks in harsh conditions... :D

So is there 12 ways the GX8 is much better camera than GX7? No, in my opinion. It is slightly better somewhere, worse elsewhere. At the end like I see it, it's a par, but might depend on your needs. 4K video I haven't considered, because I take GX line as and advanced stills camera, not GH-like videocentric hybrid. Maybe, as Marinus stated before me, GX8 is not a successor, but I left off the GX concept to be more like .... what?- a cheaper rangefinder-ish GH alternative? Well, who knows - I think Panasonic could come return in next generation, as I would really like to see true GX7 successor, as much as I would like to see some true LX7 successor. Size and usability over peaking performance and hightech for me, because size and usability stays, but performance and hightech vanish quickly.

And the one, main and above all truth in photography is that photos are only as good as your skills are. You can have million dollar camera and your photos will suck big time, if you don't have skills, and as opposite, an experienced pro will take award winning shots with as much as hundred dollar four year old refurb. Always remember this when you'll be in a **desperate** need for gear upgrade - there is zillion ways money is better spent on photography than partial year-to-year body upgrades.

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