Lumix for Second Body GX8 or GH4 Question from NE Explorer Meggi Raeder

Posted Sep. 22nd, 2015 by Daniel J. Cox

Hi Dan, I have been following all your blogs on the Lumix cameras with great interest. I have an Olympus m10 with some Olympus (12-42mm, 40-150mm, no the pro lenses) and Lumix lenses (100-300, 14-140mm).

I am traveling in Africa – not safari or wildlife – for 2-3 months and am gearing up to only take the 4/3 equipment. [I am not discarding my Nikon stuff yet D750, D700, plus long lenses – and take it for wildlife photography so far.] I would like to add a 2nd 4/3 body and am considering the new Lumix Gx8. – or maybe the GH4?? – —

Comparing those 2 cameras, they seem to be very similar and the Gx8 is lighter and smaller. both have 4K….although 1080 seems to be enough for my home use video.

Would you have any advice why I should buy the GH4 over the Gx8? Is a GH5 on the horizon? I saw your theater blog using the Gx8 and it did fine in low light.

My travel will be cultural with very little wildlife in Morocco and Namibia/Botswana(some wildlife there of course, but minor part of the travel) and potentially some volunteering in Africa for 2-4 weeks. So my overall travel is varied, and I want to travel light for the 2-3 months.

Any input from your experience with the Lumix cameras is much appreciated.

I follow your travel and specifically Svalbad with its polar bears – impressive, wanted to be there.

Pl say Hello to Tanya!

Best wishes,

Hi Meggi,

Great to hear from you. Glad to hear you’ve been following my journey with the new Lumix MFT system. Since most of your work with be travel photography, your MFT system will be fabulous. I personally feel there are many advantages to the Lumix system but overall you will be well served by smaller, lighter more mobile cameras to help you ENJOY your photography.

Regarding adding a second body. My absolute favorite MFT camera is the Lumix GH4. Although I’m currently testing the GX8 and find it to be a marvelous option, the GH4 is still my favorite. Why? Mainly because it’s EVF is directly over the lens AND I love the layout of the +/- Exposure Compensation, White Balance and ISO buttons on the GH4. I honestly feel this is THE BEST laid out camera of any I have ever shot. That includes all Nikons. These three buttons control tools I use constantly while shooting in almost any situation. They are places right behind the shutter finger and are exceptionally easy to access and manipulate while the camera is to your eye. I can’t say enough about how important this is for working quickly without having to think about where your tools are.

Secondly, as much as I like the files and others things about the GX8 there’s one thing that bothers me a little. The GX8 has it’s Electronic Viewfinder over to the far left side of the camera. On the GH4 it’s placed directly over the lens. This seems to be a trend with some mirrorless cameras. I’m actually working on a detailed review of the GX8 which will be out in probably October but I’m going to share a chunk of the text from that review here so you can better understand this design difference between the GH4 and the GX8. Below is text from my upcoming review on the GX8:

Ergonomics of the GX8

The GX8 is not designed in the typical DSLR fashion, where the viewfinder is placed in the center of the camera. No, on the GX8 the EVF window has been moved flush to the left upper corner of the camera body. This seems to be a trend for some manufactures with Sony starting the concept with their A6000 line of camera bodies. I’ve never been a big fan of this design but seemed to get used to it while shooting the Lumix LX100 and the Lumix GX7 which both incorporate this feature. Though it seems to not be a problem on the smaller cameras, on the GX8 I found it quite difficult to use and I had to really analyze why.

Here’s my theory. On the smaller cameras I never attached any lens longer than the 12-35mm F/2.8 since I never used them for my wildlife work. With a shorter lens, the off center EVF does not present any problem since the angle of view is relatively wide when compared to the Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 and the 1.4X teleconverter I’ve been mainly using with the GX8. With a telephoto of 420mm’s I found myself struggling with parallax whenever I had to pull the camera quickly to my eye. Not having my eye, looking through the viewfinder directly over the lens barrel, challenged my ability to quickly find my subject. Several times I was forced to zoom out, widening my field of view to find the jaguar, then zoom back in, once I had the cat located. Having an issue like this when photographing wildlife can cost you precious pictures.

Actually, taking this camera on a serious wildlife shoot really wasn’t fare since I think Panasonic would most likely agree that it really isn’t built for nature shooters. My hunch is this camera would be most at home as a people camera, working well in the hands of a travel or street photographer. But I was desperate to try the new sensor, the updated Auto Focus, the advanced 4K Photo Mode, Panoramic Mode and other new tools. So I took a street camera to the field.

So thats a few of my thoughts about the GX8. However, as you see I mention that I actually think this camera was built for the kind of shooting you plan to do in Africa so this may very well not be a problem for you. That said, my absolute favorer MFT camera is definitely the GH4. One thing to keep in mind however is that the GH4 is almost two years old. I predict we see a GH5 within the next six months as the latest. Not sure how soon you need your new body but these are the considerations with the options we currently have.

A black-collared hawk shot with the Lumix GX8 and Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 in 4K Photo Mode. * megapixel still pulled from 4K video clip.

A black-collared hawk shot with the Lumix GX8 and Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 in 4K Photo Mode. 8 megapixel still pulled from 4K video clip.

One other option I often forget about is the new Lumix G7. The G7 came out just a few weeks before the GX8 so it’s also the new kid on the block. It’s very much like the little brother to the GH4 but not as well built, though I’ve not had any issue with it’s durability. The G7 is actually the camera I shot the theatre Blog post you mention. It’s even lighter than both the GX8 and GH4, does fabulous Panoramic’s, 4K Photo Mode, 4K Video and many other amazing tools. You have to see 4K Photo Mode to really appreciate it. People are starting to realize the huge potential for this toll changing the way we all shoot stills. Here’s a link to my first attempt with 4K Photo Mode. I’m currently writing an extensive Blog that shows lots more samples of this phenomenal new technology.

Overall I’m a big fan of what Lumix is doing as you can probably tell. Their Touch Screen AF is the fastest way to change your AF sensor of any camera on the market.

The GH4 is a bit larger than what Olympus is doing but it’s equally as light but not too light. Believe it or not, a camera can be too small. I believe Lumix has hit the sweet spot for size and weight. Which ever camera you get I honestly believe you will see a staggering difference in ease of use for finding dedicated buttons on the camera and a much, much easier menu system to navigate that makes much more sense than that from Olympus.


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There are 2 comments on this post…
  1. gary brownOn Mar. 22nd, 2016

    Thanks for the gh3 touch screen tutorial
    Does the gx8 have the option of moving the focus will looking through the view finder

    • Hal KnowlesOn Jun. 14th, 2016

      Yes, indeed it does! I believe most every Panasonic body with an EVF offers this since about the G5 model year. I certainly know that my previous GH3 and GX7 both offered it, as do the newer G7, GX85, GX8, and GH4. It’s a great feature for sure!

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