Panasonic GX8 vs Olympus E-M1 vs Sony a6000

August 3, 2015

Panasonic Lumix GX8 camera banner

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

The Panasonic GX8 was announced on July 16, 2015. The GX8 sits above the GX7.  Before we start talking about its key features, let’s see how it compares in the price against the E-M1 and a6000.

  • 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.

Panasonic Lumix GX8 micro four thirds camera

Panasonic Lumix GX8 micro four thirds camera

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.

GX8 vs SL1 vs D3300 camera size comparison

GX8 vs SL1 vs D3300 camera size comparison (via camerasize.com)

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.

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Conclusion

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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