“Recently we visited the 2018 CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan and booked an in-depth interview with Panasonic. Among the topics covered were the company’s new twin flagships, the Lumix GH5S and G9, as well as how Panasonic hopes to grow their appeal to professional and advanced amateur stills photographers….”
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 professional rangefinder-style camera with Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Aspheric Power OIS lens. Note the tilting EVF, turning the GX8 into a waist-level viewfinder camera on command, enabling discrete waist-level shooting as on long-gone classics like Rolleiflex’s normal, wide and telephoto lens-equipped twin lens reflex aka TLR cameras, for example.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 with fixed Leica DC Vario-Summilux f/1.7-2.8 zoom lens.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 with interchangeable Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS zoom lens.
Panasonic’s Lumix DC-G9 DSLR-style stills-oriented camera and the Lumix DC-GH5S DSLR-style video-oriented are remarkable achievements of which the company can be justly proud, but it is good to read that Panasonic does not intend to rest on its laurels when it comes to new stills photography camera offerings.
… Our business philosophy is based on ‘changing photography.’ And any change we make must be a benefit for the customer, and for the last two or three years, we’ve really focused on our video capabilities. But we still want to satisfy stills-focused users with our philosophy….
I really want to see Panasonic adhere to that philosophy and to change photography as much as it has changed video for independent documentary photographers and videographers like me.
I hope that coming Lumix stills-oriented cameras will not suffer the fate of Panasonic’s professional rangefinder-style flagship Lumix DMC-GX8, which was “replaced” with the non-professional Lumix DC-GX9 aka Lumix GX7 Mark III rangefinder-style aimed at enthusiasts and street photographers.
DSLR-style cameras do not and cannot “replace” rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras.
I will repeat that.
DSLR-style cameras do not and cannot “replace” rangefinder and rangefinder-style cameras, and so the Lumix DC-G9, no matter how great it may be for sports and wildlife photography, does not and cannot “replace” the Lumix DMC-GX8.
Panasonic, we are waiting to hear that you will be coming up with a professional rangefinder-style successor to the Lumix DMC-GX8.
Meanwhile we are also waiting to hear what you intend to do to come up with successors to two cameras which fill a currently unfulfilled need, that of eminently portable compact rangefinder-style cameras with fixed or interchangeable lenses small enough to carry anytime anywhere in any general-purpose bag or dedicated small camera bags such as the attach-to-anything Think Tank Photo Little Stuffit! V3.0.
Right now there is no successor to either the Lumix DMC-GM5 or the Lumix DMC-LX100 and there needs to be, just as there must be a real successor to the Lumix DMC-GX8.
“… At the Cp+ show Panasonic is displaying that history tree table….”
Panasonic’s latest action in apparently replacing the professional-quality Lumix DMC-GX8 with the enthusiast-level Lumix DC-GX9, more accurately named the Lumix DC-GX7 Mark III in Japan, has the many professional users of the GX8 asking questions that are simply not being answered.
Two recently published graphics, the Panasonic camera family tree displayed on a wall at the CP+ trade show in Japan and a different Lumix G camera family tree distributed as part of the company’s celebrations of the launch of the first Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) camera, the Lumix DMC-G1, back in 2008, are inducing even more questions that remain unanswered.
Is Panasonic’s professional rangefinder-style camera line really now dead, with the GX8 the very last of its kind?
Where is the update for the GM5, the best small, discrete, near-invisible camera for street photography and unobtrusive documentary photography I have ever seen?
I missed out on buying my own GM5 and have been searching fruitlessly ever since for a tiny but top-quality camera equipped with interchangeable pancake prime or zoom lenses to be carried at all times wherever I go.
Until Panasonic shocked and disappointed its professional stills and video user base with the GX9 aka GX7 Mark III, I had been planning on adding a GX9, what should have been the real GX9, to my kit for use in documentary moviemaking and photography.
Now that may never happen.
Now I am wondering if I should be spending my money on Fujifilm cameras instead even though there are no direct substitutes for the GX8 and GM5 in Fujifilm’s otherwise promising camera collection.
Fujifilm’s rangefinder-style X-E3 does not have the GX8’s unique tilting EVF nor its more pro-quality stills and video features although it is reportedly a great little interchangeable lens camera for stills and video though crippled by Fujifilm’s bizarre aversion to exposure zebras.
The X-E3 might otherwise make for a good, discrete, near-invisible documentary and street camera when equipped with Fujifilm’s only pancake lens, the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8, though I have yet to obtain an X-E3 review loaner to put this hope to the test.
There is also the fact that Fujifilm does not make other equally good pancake prime lenses and nothing like Panasonic’s amazing though awfully under-rated Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Mega OIS zoom lens.
Fujifilm’s real-rangefinder fixed-lens APS-C-sensored X-100F makes for a great little documentary and street photography camera though it badly needs its own version of the Fujifilm MHG-X100 hand grip, a crucial accessory given the X100F’s small, slippery body.
Panasonic’s recent design, manufacturing, marketing and naming decisions and lack of communication about them have thrown me and not a few other professional users into a quandary to the point where we are wondering if we should be looking at other makers’ products even though the Micro Four Thirds Super 16 format has its many advantages and those other makers also have their own bizarre blindspots and weird omissions.
Then there is the question of the GX8’s unique and irreplaceable tilting EVF, the one thing that allows me to shoot in the magnified waist-level viewfinder manner of great classic analog cameras like the Rolleiflex TLRs and that no other camera maker emulates in the digital era, not even with tilting monitors you have to squint at and shade with your hand in order to have a hope of seeing well enough under bright outdoor light.
If Panasonic no longer makes the stills cameras I need and my GX8 finally wears out after too many shutter actuations, I face kissing goodbye to a way of seeing and photographing upon which I built my style, my career and my life.
There is so much more to the GX8 and the technology it gave me and that is mostly absent from the GX9 than an homage to some of the best of the past, as I was reminded on absentmindedly picking up and handling my GX8 just now.
Its combination of fully-articulated touchscreen, touch focussing, tilting viewfinder mechanism and beautiful, brilliant EVF screen is an incredibly potent one for unobtrusive, immersive documentary and portrait photography often at times mere centimetres away from your subjects.
If you are lucky enough to have a GX8, pick it up, turn it on, flip up its EVF, open its monitor to the left and tilted slightly flat, place your left thumb on the touchscreen to perfectly nail focus, operate the camera’s buttons and dials with the fingers of your right hand, all simultaneously, and feel the power and control in your hands, the GX8’s uncanny ability to help you capture the perfect moment.
Now consider what has been lost to us with the GX9.