The GX1 is built around the same 16.1MP LiveMOS sensor that’s used to such good effect in the G3. As with the G3, the GX1 also benefits from the latest generation of Venus Engine image processor. In theory, this should mean that it is able to deliver the same high level of image quality we saw in the G3.
Sensitivity ranges from a baseline ISO 160 up to ISO 12,800 in standard mode, which is actually a stop above the maximum ISO 6400 offered by the G3. Able to shoot lossless Raw images (.RW2 format) or JPEG, or indeed both simultaneously, maximum output at full resolution in the native 4:3 aspect is 4592 x 3448 pixels, with reduced resolution settings of 8MP (Medium) and 4MP (Small) also available. There are two levels of JPEG quality: Fine and Standard. You can also choose to shoot in alternative aspects of 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1, which can help enormously with creative framing.
The GX1 hosts all the shooting modes you would expect to find on a Lumix G-series model, including the regular creative quartet of Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and fully Manual. These are backed up by Panasonic’s ever-reliable intelligent Auto Plus (iA) mode that can be accessed directly from a button on the top plate. When set to iA the camera goes into fully automatic mode, however simplified on-screen slider controls do allow novice photographers some degree of control to alter exposure, depth of field and colour temperature. Rounding things off are 17 individual scene modes and two user-defined Custom shooting modes.
In addition, the GX1 also gets eight Creative Control digital filter effects, including two new ones that didn’t make it onto the G3 in the shape of Toy Camera and Miniaturisation. All of the regular shooting modes, including iA, are supplemented by the regular array of Photo Styles that can be used to give your images a certain look and feel – from Standard to Natural, via Vivid, Monochrome, Scenery and Portrait.
In addition to the two physical Function (Fn) buttons it’s possible to add two extra Fn shortcut icons to the touch-screen monitor. The range of functions that can be assigned to these shortcut buttons has been increased too. This should allow you to set the camera up exactly as you want it, with one-touch access to all of your most used features and functions – something that enthusiasts will doubtless appreciate.
New for the GX1 is an easy-to-use level gauge that, once switched on, looks a bit like the artificial horizon display inside an aircraft’s cockpit. Simply rotate and/or tilt the camera until the lines meet up and turn green and you’ve established a level horizon. It might sound like a minor feature, but if you regularly shoot landscapes then it could well prove invaluable.
Movie capabilities have received a boost over the G3 and GF3 too, with the GX1 offering a maximum recording quality of 1920 x 1080/50i Full HD with sound recorded in stereo via twin microphone inputs on the camera body. As with previous G-series cameras, movies can be stored in the space-efficient AVCHD format, although in a new move Panasonic has also included the option to save movies directly as MP4 files.