When Panasonic unveiled the GF3 last year there was a palatable sense that the company might have missed a trick. Of course, that probably had more to do with our expectations that any inherent flaws with the new model. Indeed, as a beginner-friendly compact system model, the GF3 is a very good little camera. However, those of us who’d secretly been hoping for something a bit more enthusiast-orientated couldn’t but help feel a little disappointed.
Thankfully, Panasonic did have something along those lines in the pipeline and so what we have here is a camera that takes the compact rangefinder design cues of the Lumix GF1 and GF2 and combines them with the enthusiast-centred feature set and customisation options of the Lumix G3. Of course, with the GF-series now clearly aimed at more casual photographers, a new series name was required; step forward the all-new GX range.
On paper at least, the GX1 looks to have just about everything covered. It’s small and portable, yet extremely well built; it offers plenty of physical controls, thereby enabling fuss-free, on-the-fly changes to regularly used settings; resolution is a very handy 16MP; it offers the same intuitive touch-screen control employed by other G-series models (including Touch Focus and Touch Shutter); and last but not least it’s a very adaptable and flexible camera that comes with an ever-expanding range of quality lenses and accessories.
That said, the days when Panasonic (and their Micro Four Thirds partners, Olympus) enjoyed almost free reign in the CSC market are long over and there are now plenty of excellent models from rival manufacturers, making this sector of the CSC market extremely competitive.