It’s no surprise that the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera category is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. These compact, pro-featured ILCs undoubtedly have a strong future, with mass consumer appeal and a widening assortment of price points. We’re particularly taken with the technology’s compact footprint — we’re focusing our camera reviews on mirrorless models, and even outfitted our entire CES team with Sony’s NEX-C3. But long before the likes of Sony and Fujifilm launched their first cameras, Olympus and Panasonic dominated the then-infant mirrorless category, developing the Micro Four Thirds sensor standard, that, for better or worse, has failed to catch on among other manufacturers. Surprisingly, Panasonic’s pioneering days were far stronger than those of recent past, with the company’s GF1 melting the hearts of compact-seeking professionals. But following that successful first model, Panasonic opted to take the GF series in a different direction, launching a dumbed-down GF2 (and later GF3) in what was likely an attempt to appeal to the much larger amateur category. This left the GF1 faithful without a worthy successor — until now.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 looks pretty standard on paper: there’s a 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor, a choice of body colors, RAW shooting, HD video and a top sensitivity of ISO 12,800. Just as it did with the GF2 and GF3 body designs, Panasonic took a different direction with its new X-series lenses, swapping the traditional manual zoom for a motorized version, enabling a much more compact footprint. The difference when positioned alongside the NEX-C3’s 18-55mm zoom is staggering, but Panasonic didn’t arrive at this slick design without compromise, particularly noticeable when it comes time to swallow the $950 kit price. Still, one look at the hardened matte black metal body is all it takes to know that this is no GF4 — this is it, the long-awaited successor to the GF1 has finally arrived. So, will the GX1 be our new top pick for the mirrorless category? Join us past the break to find out.
Gallery: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 review