Just how quick is the Panasonic GX8? And just how good is it overall?

Just how quick is the Panasonic GX8? Well as you can see from the above BIF (Birds in flight) shot, pretty damn quick. This wasn't a pre planned shot, I saw them coming, swivelled round and pressed the shutter. Here's the exif data:-

Now there really isn't much to complain about here. The camera and lens has locked onto focus, most of the birds are 'frozen' and I got a nice shot. And it made me wonder about all the column inches dedicated to to AF speed and the various brand orientated, contradictory arguments about why this gear is better than that. Because unless you want something very specialised and very quick indeed, this camera / lens combination seems to be right up there with the best that DSLR's can offer.

I have to admit, it did surprise me how well the outfit performed. I took three shots in sequence of the flock of birds and they were all the same, spot on. The problem for me is that I shoot things like this very rarely. In fact I really can't remember the last time I attempted a BIF shot. So I really don't have anything to compare it with, but I'm impressed. I've written in the past about how I still like DSLR's because of the very short time they take to complete getting the image on the card. Many mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L cameras for instance have that shutter down>up>down>up sequence that delays getting the image, but the electronic shutter on the GX8 seems to have reduced that considerably. These birds were travelling pretty quickly. 

I have to concede that the more time passes and I use the GX8, I find it more and more difficult to find any flaw with it, apart from the poor battery life. It really does seem to cope with pretty much anything. The images look great, as does the 4K video and it's easily quick enough for me. Considering it's size and the weight of it, it does amaze me that so much good stuff can be crammed inside it. (This does of course lead to the battery drain, but I'll leave my perennial carping about that to one side for the rest of this post!!) And I have no hesitation in saying that this is the best mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L I've ever used and indeed one of the best cameras full-stop. While it certainly isn't actually the best at everything (anything?) as an all-round package it's hard to beat. My Leica Q (Typ 116) has the best image quality I've ever achieved, but that camera doesn't have interchangeable lenses, nor 4K video. My Canon 5Ds has incredible resolution, but again no 4K and in terms of size and weight somewhat less 'photographer friendly' to work with. So the GX8 works well for me.

If I was being very picky I'd like it a bit larger and I'd love a battery grip. I keep looking for something from China to turn up on ebay, but there is nothing as yet. I have got my butchered 3rd. party Sony A7 II grip, but that's for handling only. Incidentally, I was reading Kirk Tuck the other day for the first time in a long time and he was making some great points about many reviewers, bloggers etc. all assuming that camera manufacturers should make cameras just for them. Like me, he was saying that he would like m4/3 to be bigger, but that everybody else he knew liked them precisely because of the reduced size. So all of this is very personal and always will be, but, with that in mind, I am very pleased with the GX8. Incidentally, the soundimageplus awards for 2015 (yawn!!) are almost upon us and it will come as no surprise that the GX8 is in the running for camera of the year. I'll announce the 'runners and riders' in the next few days.

Finally on a different note, I should explain the lack of blog posts for a week. Previously I was sorting out my IT and have now finished that, but last week I was getting my first piece of fiction (you mean this blog isn't!!!!) a short novel, ready to go on sale via Amazon / Kindle. I've been writing a good deal over the last few years and thought it was about time to actually publish some of it. I'm sure this will be to massive and overwhelming indifference, but I thought I'd do it anyway. So expect an announcement on that soon. At least now you know what the plus in Soundimageplus stands for.