In this article, I’ll compare the Panasonic Lumix GX8 versus Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Sony Alpha a6000. I’m sure that you are interested to know how well the GX8 compete against the E-M1 and a6000 in features and performance. In this article, you’ll learn about the key features, cons and pros of each camera. I’ll first start with a short introduction to the Panasonic GX8 for those of you who haven’t digged for information about it yet. I’m sure that after you finish reading this comparison article, you’ll have a better idea that camera is the best for your particular needs.
Panasonic Lumix GX8
- GX8: ~$1200
- E-M1: ~$1200
- a6000: ~$550
* prices for body only offering, rounded prices as of 8/3/2015 via amazon.com. Check amazon.com for latest prices.
As you can see, the Panasonic GX8 costs around the same as the E-M1, and this is why many people are comparing between the two. Both are also Micro Four Thirds cameras, whether the a6000 is not. The a6000 is one of the most popular interchangeable lens cameras on the market. It won DPReview Gold Award, and it undoubtedly offers the best value. You can actually buy two a6000 cameras for the price of one GX8 or E-M1. That being said, the GX8 and E-M1 provides some significant advantages that we’ll talk about later on. You need to understand that buying the most expensive camera isn’t always the best choice. You might feel that you made a good investment, but at the end of the day what matters is whether you will take advantage of those extra features and performance. I usually recommend for both beginners and enthusiast photographers to consider buying a cheaper body and spend more on a second lens or buy a better first lens.
Before we continue, I recommend watching this Panasonic GX8 hands-on field test by TheCameraStoreTV.
So the Panasonic Lumix GX8 is yet another Micro Four Thirds camera. But this is not just “another” camera. Panasonic packed this camera with some exquisite features. The first big feature is the innovative Dual I.S. image stabilizer. The GX8 features a built-in sensor-shift image stabilization. Usually a camera that has IBIS can’t take advantage of both the IBIS and the lens stabilization. The photographer needs to decide which one gets priority. This is not the case in the GX8, which can take advantage of both the lens IS and the IBIS at the same time (4-axis IBIS and 2-axis lens-shift for photos). The dual IS doesn’t work in video recording mode. The camera will use a 3-axis electronic IS and 2-axis lens-shift. The GX8 is the first MFT camera to utilize this technology.
The GX8 features a full magnesium alloy body with a splash- and dust-proof weather sealing protection. The camera has a more prominent grip, a larger body compared to the GX7 and redesigned button placement. At the heart of the camera you’ll find a 20.3-megapixels sensor; finally Panasonic moves from the 16MP to a higher resolution. I personally prefer lower resolution cameras in favor of better high-ISO performance. But recent sensor technologies have significantly improved, and camera manufacturers can elevate the resolution at a small or no impact at all on image performance.
At the back, you’ll find a 90-degree tilting 2360K-dot OLED LVF with 10,000:1 contrast ratio and high 0.77x magnification (35mm equivalent). Other mentionable features include a 49-point -4EV Low Light Auto Focus, 4K video recording with the ability to extract 4K photos from videos, free-angle touch OLED monitor, 12 fps burst, 1/16000 sec shutter speed and much more.
Panasonic Lumix GX8 was designed to offered a wide array of features for both stills and video capture, with no hard compromises on either shooting modes. It’s fast, durable and reliable for both indoors and outdoor shooting. I’m pretty sure that it happened to you when you wanted to buy a camera, but there was always something missing. I know how it feels, and the GX8 seems to be more of a complete package with a few compromises. This fully-packed ILC camera doesn’t come cheap, though, but in this case, you can be 100% sure that you get what you paid for.
As a Micro Four Thirds camera, you’ll have access to a wide selection of interchangeable lenses to choose from. It’s very interesting to see how the GX8 competes against the E-M1 and whether the a6000 can offer the GX8 a good bang for the buck, and serve as a suitable alternative.
Regarding size, I personally don’t see that as an issue at all. This camera isn’t going to fit in your pocket, and it’s smaller than most entry-level DSLR. Maybe not in terms of width, but it is shorter. What I’m trying to say is that it shouldn’t matter much. I personally think that ergonomics and button layout design can make it more enjoyable to take pictures and videos; especially if you plan to shoot for a long session. Bigger cameras also provide better stabilization when mounting long and heavy lenses. There are smaller cameras out there, but my recommendation is to first analyze and compare the features and prioritize the size last. If you are searching for a pocket camera that takes great looking photos and has manual controls, you probably should be looking at large-sensor compacts, not an ILC.
GX8 vs a6000 vs OM-D E-M1
OK, now that you’ve got some information about the GX8 key features, let’s see how this fully-packed MFT camera compared to Sony a6000 and Olympus OM-D E-M1.
|Panasonic GX8||Olympus E-M1||Sony a6000|
|Announced||July 16, 2015||September 10, 2013||February 12, 2014|
|Mount||Micro Four Thirds||Micro Four Thirds||E-mount|
|Build Quality||Full magnesium alloy body||Full magnesium alloy body||Magnesium alloy with composite extrerior|
|Weather Sealing||Dust and Splash proof||Dust, Splash and Freeze proof (down to 14 °F)|
"Rain or snow, mud or dust "
|The E-M1 has the most durable build among the three cameras. It has both a full magnesium alloy body and it's freeze-proof, which the GX8 is not. The GX8 operating temperatures are 0℃ to 40℃ (32°F to 104°F). So if you mainly shoot outdoors and in hard weather conditions, the E-M1 and GX8 are probably the cameras you should shoot with.|
|Sensor||Live MOS sensor|
20.30 MP (effective)
Supersonic wave filter
Micro Four Thirds
(17.3 x 13 mm)
Supersonic wave filter
Micro Four Thirds
(17.3 x 13 mm)
|Exmor APS HD CMOS
Charge protection coating on Optical Filter and ultrasonic vibration mechanism
|Both the E-M1 and GX8 utilize a Micro Four Thirds sensor, but the GX8 has a newer sensor which is finally different with all the 16MP senor we've seen in recent years on MFT cameras.
The question is how well this new sensor performs at high ISO compared to the E-M1 and whether it can beat the a6000 sensor which is significantly larger. See next section for results!
|I used imaging-resource.com comparometer tool to inspect the high ISO performance of all three cameras, and here are my conclusions (based on the GX8 prototype)
GX8 vs E-M1:
Until ISO 6400 both cameras perform almost equally well, with a slight edge for the GX8. At ISO 12800 the GX8 performs better with less chrome noise and cleaner image overall. It's not a huge different, but considering the GX8 smaller pixels, I'm very impressed with the results. In fact, both cameras shown amazing high ISO results up to ISO 6400 and at ISO 3200 it was hard to notice noise in the image - VERY IMPRESSIVE!. So overall, the GX8 wins here, but by a slight margin.
GX8 vs a6000:
Up to ISO 3200 (included) images are super clean on both cameras. At ISO 6400 both shown different type of noise patterns. The a6000 has small dot pattern whether is more like an oil painting noise pattern. In my experience it's easier to remove noise of the dot type than the more smudgy one of the GX8. At ISO 12800 the a6000 image is slightly better. Both cameras perform amazingly well ad it's hard to choose a winner. The a6000 applies stronger NR above ISO 3200 while the GX8 does not. The a6000 wins by a slight margin. Considering the fact that the GX8 uses a smaller sensor, this certainly shows the strength of the GX8 sensor.
So to sum things up: a6000 first, GX8 second and E-M1 last. Because the differences are not that high, I personally wouldn't base my buying decision on the high ISO performance, but I'm glad to see the GX8 having a higher resolution sensor and still showing better performance than the 16MP sensor that of the E-M1.
|ISO Range||200 - 25600|
Boost: ISO 100
|100 - 25600||100 - 256000
(512000 with Multi-frame NR)
|Image Stabilization||Dual IS (with selected lenses)|
body 4-axis sensor-shift and 2-axis lens-shift (utilizes both)
Video: 3-axis electronic IS and 2-axis lens-shift
|in-body 5-axis (improved)|
sensor-shift image stabilization
|Both the E-M1 and GX8 offer a built-in image stabilization. The E-M1 has extra axis compensation (5-axis vs 4-axis) compared to the GX8, but the GX8 can utilize the lens-shift stabilization at the same time to further improve the IS effectiveness for stills.
In video the E-M1 should have an advantage because it can take advantage of the 5-axis stabilization. The a6000 lacks any IBIS.
The IBIS can certainly help improving the low-light performance of the camera when shooting static subjects. You can shoot at lower shutter speeds and still get a sharp image. So if you combine the IBIS with the GX8 amazing high ISO performance, you get a superb camera for low-light shooting.
EV -4 - 18 detection range
- DFD technology
- Starlight AF
- New AF tracking algorithm
|Phase detection: 37 focus points|
Contrast-detection: 81 focus points
EV -2 - 20 detection range
Used separately depends on the lens attached. Phase detection for Four Thirds lenses and contrast for Micro Four Thirds
|179 points phase-detection AF
25 points contrast-detection AF
aka "Fast Hybrid AF"
EV 0 - 20 detection range
|The GX8 is the only camera among the three that doesn't employ phase-detection AF. That being said, it does utilize DFD technology that vastly improve the contrast-detect AF performance.
The GX8 also has the best low-light AF detection range among the three, which makes it more suitable when shooting under dim lighting conditions. As you can see, the GX8 continuously shows its strength with better features dedicated to low-light shooting.
The a6000 on the other hand is the only camera that offer "True" hybrid AF. The Oly has two AF modes available, but the camera can utilize only one depends on which lens you use. The a6000 therefore should provide very quick AF performance when shooting stills and videos.
For subject detection ,the more AF points the better. In this case, the a6000 seems to be able to deliver better results, followed by the E-M1 and than the GX8. This still needs in-depth testing, but all three cameras will provide you with superb AF performance for general use, with the GX8 being better in low-light according to its specs.
OLED touch screen
LCD touch screen
Tilting (up 80 degrees, down 50 degrees)
LCD (not touchscreen)
Tilting (up 90 degrees, down 45 degrees)
|The GX8 has the best rear LCD among the three using OLED technology, fully articulated and the highest resolution. The a6000 is the least advanced one, with not touch control, lowest resolution of the three.|
0.77x magnification (35mm equiv.)
0.74x magnification (35mm equiv.)
0.70x magnification (35mm equiv.)
|GX8 has the best viewfinder among the three, it's OLED, highest resolution (shared with the E-M1), it's the largest and has tilting mechanism as well, so you can tilt the viewfinder up 90-degrees.|
|2160p / 30fps, 24fps|
1080p /50 fps, 30fps
720p / 60fps, 30fps
480p / 30fps
- mic input
|1080p / 30fps|
720p / 30fps
- mic input
|1080p / 60fps,24p
1080i / 60fps
1440x1080 / 30fps
480p / 30fps
|The GX8 is the only camera among the three to offer 4K video recording and 4K photo mode. The E-M1 is the least impressive because it offers less frame-rate option to choose from, but it does feature a mic input which is absent on the a6000. It really depends what video features you need. The GX8 is no doubt the best camera for video recording, and if you plan to shoot lots of videos or have a 4K display at home, you'll love the quality that comes out from the GX8.|
+ 4K photo mode with Burst S/S (Start/Stop) and 4K pre-burst
|10 fps |
(6.5 fps with C-AF)
|All three feature super fast continuous shooting speed.|
|Pop-up Flash||No||No (inc. FL-LM2 compact flash*)|
*depends on area sold. Flash is rather weak compared to other external flashes, but useful for those who used it as wireless trigger.
|The a6000 is the only camera among the three to have a built-in pop-up flash. All three have a hot-shoe which you can connect an external flash. The E-M1 does come with the FL-LM2 which is included in the package.|
|AF Assist Lamp||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Shutter Speed||60 - 1/16000 sec||60 - 1/8000 sec||30 - 1/4000 sec|
|The GX8 has the fastest maximum shutter speed. It gives photographers more control over the exposure and better helps to freeze motion when shooting very fast moving subjects.|
|Exposure Compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)||±2 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)||±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)|
|Wireless||WiFi + NFC||WiFi||WiFi + NFC|
|NFC makes it easier to bind your phone with your camera by just touching the two devices.|
|330 shots||350 shots||420 shots|
|Dimensions||133 x 78 x 63 mm (5.24 x 3.07 x 2.48″)||130 x 94 x 63 mm (5.13 x 3.68 x 2.48″)||120 x 67 x 45 mm (4.72 x 2.64 x 1.77″)|
|Weight||487 g (1.07 lb / 17.18 oz)||497 g (1.10 lb / 17.53 oz)||344 g (0.76 lb / 12.13 oz)|
|Timelapse Recording||Yes||Yes||Yes (via installable app)|
|Flash X Sync Speed||1/250 sec||1/320 sec||1/160 sec|
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 certainly shown its strength against the E-M1 and a6000. It offers an amazing high ISO performance that closely matches an APS-C sensor performance. It’s the only camera in the group to offer Dual-IS, has the largest EVF which is also tiltable, has the most robust video features including 4K video recording, fastest burst among the three, fastset maximum shutter speed and it has weather-sealing. So compared to the E-M1, it’s not freeze-proof, has slightly shorter battery life, it doesn’t have a 5-axis IBIS, but features it’s own implementation which is excellent for stills, but behind in terms of video compared to the E-M1.
You can clearly see that the Panasonic GX8 is Panasonic’s answer to the E-M1, and it competes very well against it. In fact, if I had to choose one, I was more tempted to get the GX8 because of its excellent stills and video features; and as I said, there are less compromises with the GX8.
The a6000 still remains and excellent ILC. You can clearly see what it’s such a popular camera. For half a price you get lots of features. The GX8 is in no doubt the better camera of the two. The GX8 offers 4K, better ergonomics, fully articulated touchscreen display, faster maximum shutter speed, larger viewfinder, weather-sealing and more durable body and built-in image stabilization with Dual I.S. Not everyone will find those features useful, but the GX8 certainly earn its place in Panasonic’s ILC lineup while offering a huge selection of advanced features that enthusiast photographerrs are looking for. The a6000 is certainly a great alternative, but lacks some features that in my opinion, many experience photographers and videographers will find useful.
Which one do you prefer? – share your opinion in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to LIKE our Facebook page to be notified the moment we post a new comparison.
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