I bought a new camera & lens recently, the Panasonic Lumix G80 and the Panasonic G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens. The camera has loads of great features and I am loving the fast auto-focus, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, articulated touch screen and the ease of use. The lens is great too covering a wide range, which means there is no need for me to swap lens (for now). 😉
I am no stranger to this camera model, as I own a previous model the Panasonic Lumix G2 from 2010, which is very similar in size, design and usage, despite the many years between the two models.
In the photo above is our cat Indy. Like all cats he is a keen explorer. He goes where man can’t follow unless you have a camera with an articulated screen. He had jumped onto the shed at the bottom of our garden. I couldn’t see him so I raised the camera above my head and rested it on the shed roof. I opened the articulated screen and titled it down so I could see what was going on. Indy was creeping towards the camera and I was able to capture this photo. It has such wonderful detail. F4.5 160, ISO 200, P mode, no flash.
Panasonic Lumix G80 Specifications:
- 16-million-pixel Four Thirds sensor.
- ISO 200-25600; ISO 100-25,600 extended.
- 2.36-million-dot OLED EVF, 0.74x magnification.
- Fully articulated 3″ touchscreen.
- Viewfinder 100% coverage, 2,360,000 resolution.
- 5-axis in-body image stabilisation.
- Weight 525 grams.
- Dust and splash proof.
- Continuous Drive 9.0 fps.
- SDHC, SDXC UHS-I/UHS-II speed class 3.
- 4K video recording.
- Detailed specifications
APS-C versus Micro Four Thirds.
I spent weeks reading reviews & watching dozens of YouTube videos on all types of cameras. My main criteria were based around:
- Budget – £1200 max,
- Size & weight – needed to be similar to the Panasonic Lumix G2,
- Features – in-body stabilization, articulated, touch sensitive screen, weatherproof body.
- Reviews – what did the professionals and masses think?
At one stage I was looking at Nikon and Canon APS-C cameras, since they have released a lot of smaller cameras in recent years, while keeping all the cool features and functionality of their bigger brothers. However when I visited camera shops and held the cameras in my hand, it always came back to the same thing; size & weight of camera and the lens together. The lenses for APS-C cameras are not small. They are like big mugs, which require more space in the bag. Back home after countless video reviews and reading photography review sites, I realized that the camera button placement were different on Nikon and Canon to what I was use to on the Panasonic and to learn new menus and button positions was going to make the upgrade a massive learning curve, which I didn’t want.
In the end I decided to stick with the Micro Four Thirds and specifically the Panasonic G range. The G80 matched my budget, size & weight and features and so all that was left was to find some positive reviews. 😀
Size and weight matter.
Size, weight, look and feel are all key for me and luckily the G80 is only slightly bigger (literally a couple of millimeters difference on width/depth/height) to the Panasonic Lumix G2, and slightly heavier (70 grams), which was ultimately the reason why I went with this camera. The hand grip is slightly larger on the back and deeper in the front, making it a lot easier to hold.
The G80 has a lot more function buttons and dials, on both the top and back of the camera, which is fantastic. There is even a function dial around the shutter button, which I hadn’t noticed until I read the manual. (Bowen always reads the manual for fun). The camera is surrounded in a grippy rubber coating, which feels tough and is splashproof.
Standard lens versus new lens.
I didn’t go for the standard lens kit, instead I bought a new Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Lens. The kit lens is a 12-60mm, perfect for landscapes being so wide, but given that I already had a 14-44mm and a 45-200mm, I figured I would be better off with a lens that could almost replace both lenses. I am not a fan of changing lenses. This lens has so far not disappointed me. It cost almost as much as the G80 itself, which is crazy, but I think it was money well spent. It is slightly bigger than the 14-44mm lens that I have and comes with stabilisation and coupled with the 5-axis-in-body stabilisation does a fantastic job at keeping the image still and in focus.
4K focus stacking on a 5-axis in-body image stabilisation is really cool.
One big area the G80 excels in is 4K picture and video. 4K offers a lot more crispier photos and thanks to the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation video is buttery smooth. There are some nifty post focus editing tricks, which at first I thought was a gimmick, but it actually works really well. It takes a 3-4 second 4K mini video / photos (multiple shots) and then one can choose the focus areas with the option of saving the newly created photo or merging all the selected focus areas together into a new photo. These changes can be done anytime as well (e.g. minutes, hours or days later on the camera). It is a fantastic option.
WIFI onboard / Panasonic Image App controls the camera remotely.
The Panasonic G80 has WIFI built into the camera, which is useful for quickly copying photos from the camera to a mobile device, making it easy to share, edit or upload to friends or social media. There is also an Android/Apple app, which can be used to control the camera remotely. I’ve not used it yet to control the camera, but I can see how handy it would be if the camera was on a tripod.
About those positive reviews.
Video reviews by David Thorpe, James Popsys, Gordon Laing.
Best Prices are at Amazon.