NEARLY two years after Panasonic introduced its retro-inspired GF1 Micro Four Thirds camera, the camera maker has finally unveiled its spiritual successor - the GX1.
While Panasonic's GF1 started off on a great note, both the GF2 and GF3 dropped many elements of the GF1 that we loved, such as the physical mode dial, accessory port and flash hot shoe.
The new GX1 clearly distinguishes itself from the original GF series, with a body that clearly looks more like the original GF1 and comes with a host of features that will please advanced camera enthusiasts and those looking for a secondary camera to complement their DSLRs.
We liked the look and feel of the GX1 almost immediately - the build quality felt solid and the aluminium chassis was definitely a step above the plastic feel of the latest GF cameras. The camera is available in either a silver or black finish, giving retro-loving users a choice of colour.
In terms of size, the GX1 is slightly smaller than the GF1. The biggest physical difference we found between the two cameras is that the GX1 has a significantly smaller pop-up flash.
To add to that, the pronounced rubber handgrip really improves the camera's handling and more importantly, feels comfortable to hold. The accessory port for attaching the optional viewfinder is back and so is the flash hot shoe.
One thing to note though is that the new accessory port is designed to take on the new LVF2 electronic viewfinder that cannot be used on previous GF series cameras and likewise, you can't use the old LVF1 on the GX1.
Little has changed with the camera's physical controls. The button layout remains familiar to anyone who has handled a GF1. The two customisable function buttons are great for making changes on the fly.
In fact, it is still an easy to use camera with the Quick Menu button helping you to get around the camera's many settings. Now with the addition of a 3in LCD touchscreen, it is even easier and the Touch AF and Touch Shutter features are admittedly useful for snapping quick shots.
One improvement made to the touchscreen is the Touch Tab that nearly hides up to five icons, keeping the screen clear and clean.
All the usual shooting modes are present on the GX1's mode dial and this makes them very easy to access.
It has the usual P, A, S and M modes as well as Creative Control options for applying fun filter effects over your photos.
As you would come to expect, there's an Intelligent Auto mode for those can't be bothered with complicated camera settings.