Panasonic LUMIX GX880: an interesting entry-level Micro Four Thirds camera

The main feature of the new LUMIX GX880 is its AF speed, but with this camera Panasonic confirms that Micro Four Thirds is not dead, and that entry-level cameras can offer top features for photo and video.

Panasonic LUMIX GX880

The LUMIX GX880, now announced in Europe, is a new MFT interchangeable lens system camera from Panasonic, able to record high-resolution 4K UHD videos at 30p / 25p(50Hz Area) or 24p in MP4.

The LUMIX GX880 does not have a launch date for the North America market, but the specifications of this model make it an interesting product to mention to readers.  With its 12-32mm kit lens, the camera will be available in Europe from the end of June 2019, with a price of €449.00. This model signals that Panasonic continues committed to the Micro Four Thirds format, although this is not the G model some want to see. Still, this entry-level model, which is designed to attract audiences  moving from smartphones and compacts, suggests that Panasonic still wants to grow its presence in the MFT market.

Being an entry-level model does not mean a camera has to offer a poor list of specifications, and the LUMIX GX880 is a good example of a simple mirrorless model with a lot of features that Panasonic has developed and applied to more expensive cameras. Not only that, in terms of speed this camera this camera scores high. The Contrast AF System features DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology and, says Panasonic, excels in both speed and accuracy by exchanging digital signals between the camera and the lens at a max. 240 fps, resulting in ultra-fast auto focusing of approx. 0.07 sec.

Shooting 4K UHD video at 24p

It’s obvious that the numbers above are from tests done under ideal conditions and, one should add, the Contrast AF with DFD Technology works only with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses. Still, it’s a welcome addition to a model that records smooth, high-resolution QFHD 4K videos in 3840×2160 resolution at 30p / 25p(50Hz Area) or 24p in MP4. One important note: recording stops when the continuous recording time exceeds 5 minutes with MP4 in 4K. Panasonic is well aware of the limitations of the compact bodies and anyways, not many people will use the camera to shoot takes longer than 5 minutes.

The presence of 4K and all the technology around it is essential, because users can enjoy 4K PHOTO as well as variety of related functions such as Focus Stacking, Post Focus and Light Composition. For more creative freedom, Creative Control, Creative Panorama and Photo Style including L.Monochrome mode are included. Furthermore, the LUMIX GX880 is capable of shooting images in RAW format and developing them inside the camera.

No viewfinder, a big tiltable screen

There is no viewfinder on this camera, as Panasonic believes the intended public for the LUMIX GX880 will be happy with the  3.0-inch 1040K-dot static type touch control monitor that boasts a 180-degree tiltable structure. When the monitor is flipped up, the camera automatically activates Self Shot mode. In conventional selfie pictures, users have to stretch their arms to hold the camera, however, the hands-free selfie capability of the GX880 allows users to use their hands as they like, resulting in freer, more expressive posing. Face Shutter and Buddy Shutter functions can also be used to trigger the shutter release when a face is covered for a moment with a waving hand or when two faces come close together in a frame.

Don’t let these popular features fool you. The LUMIX GX880 is a serious photography tool that will allow you to explore creatively the kit lens and any other lenses you may buy. Its 16.0-megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor without low-pass filter and Venus Engine combine to achieve crisp, high-resolution images in fine detail with high-contrast, impressive colour reproduction and max. ISO 25600 high sensitivity, similar to what you’ve seen coming from previous Panasonic models.

For enthusiasts and beginners

The LUMIX GX880 achieves high speed burst shooting at 5.8 fps (AFS) / 5 fps (AFC) to capture fast-moving subjects in crisp focus, thanks to its multi-processing capability. The camera is not just fast, it also can focus on the subject more precisely even without an AF assist lamp in extremely low-lit situations down to -4EV, which is as dark as under moonlight, thans to its Low Light AF function.

It does not stop there, as the LUMIX GX880 features Starlight AF which allows users to shoot a star in the sky at night with auto focus. This is achieved by accurately calculating the contrast value in a smaller AF zone. A total of 49 focus detection areas enable more flexible composition together with the Custom Multi AF mode in which users can freely select the blocks to focus on out of these focusing areas. In addition to conventional face recognition AF, the LUMIX GX880 incorporates face/eye detection AF which automatically focuses directly on the eye of a human face. With Pinpoint AF, users can magnify the target area for a more precise focus.

If you’re an enthusiast who knows how to explore manual modes, the option is there, but the camera comes with a variety of shooting assist functions such as iA (Intelligent Auto) mode and Scene Guide for people who are new to digital interchangeable lens system cameras. In terms of connectivity, the camera integrates Wi-Fi connectivity (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n) to offer a more flexible shooting experience and instant image sharing with easy operation. Once connecting the camera and smartphone/tablet installing Panasonic‘s dedicated application software Panasonic Image App for iOS / Android, users can shoot, browse and share images remotely.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…