I am mere hours of work away from posting my GX7 vs GX8 final comparison, but going through images from my work trip last week, I came across a snapshot I took while rushing to catch the tram. The sun rise was begging to be recorded, and I quickly pulled my GX8 (on sale for $200 off right now DOH! see it at B&H HERE and Adorama HERE) with the PL15mm out of the bag and literally stopped walking for a second to take this shot. The sky dominated the exposure, as it should have in this case, and just now I tried bringing up the shadows to see what I could get as I’d not really pushed any of the GX8 frames quite this far, in this way. Well, color me frigging impressed… have a look:
Above is the original, unedited shot. Taken, as mentioned with the Panasonic GX8 and the Pana-Leica 15mm f/1.7 Summilux lens. ISO 400 (not even base ISO!), f/2.8, 1/640 sec Feel free to click to see it larger. Dark, and entirely overpowered. Here is the histogram:
Most of the pixels are stacked up, and in many cases clipping the far left, shadow side which for many sensors means lost info, or extremely compromised recovery.
In Aperture, I merely pulled the shadow slider all the way up from 0 to 100 (the first time I’ve seen any reasonable result when doing this) because I wanted to keep the sky as it was captured, and then ran Topaz DeNoise 5 and Topaz Clarity through Photoshop (if you’re waiting for a Topaz sale, it is coming very, very soon 😉 stay tuned), and this is what came out the other side:
Here is the adjusted histogram:
Personally, I wouldn’t go quite this far under normal circumstances, and would just let some of the lost shadow stay lost to more realistically preserve the scene as I saw it, but wow. Where I’d normally see a mottled, noise riddled, detail-less grey mess in the darkest of areas, the recovery is pretty remarkable and I’m very impressed with the GX8 here. Here are before and after (both pre and post Topaz treatment), 100% crops of an area along the lower right hand side of the image that was entirely dark in the original (click any to see 100%):
Looking more closely at the noise in the image, it is certainly not devoid of artifact and luminance noise, but we’re looking at areas that had 0 information in the original image. They were pure black with no discernible detail whatsoever. The yellow bike or red car? The ability to see individual bricks in the bridge? I’m pretty amazed as I’ve not seen this level of recovery on any of the micro 4/3 cameras out of the shadows that were this far gone that I’ve used thus far. Kudos Panasonic, kudos indeed.
For those who have patiently waited, and may be waiting to pull the trigger, the Panasonic GX8 just got a temporary $200 discount with other major discounts to some lenses if bundled. You can see it via my affiliate links at Adorama HERE or B&H HERE. If you do buy through these links, it kicks a small fee back to me, which is greatly appreciated. I know that many of you know this, but I really appreciate any contribution to the blog, and while I don’t have it monetized through ads or the like, these are little ways that cost nothing extra, but end up helping me, or folks like me keep this (or their) site going, so thank you very much. I’m happy doing this stuff for free, but happier when I can more easily justify/afford buying gear to review. Very appreciative for the consideration.
I have my GX7 vs GX8 comparison article almost finished and should have it up within the next week or two, so stay posted for that here, or via the socials. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram. If you would like to receive email notifications as I post new articles, please feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here as well.
INCREDIBLE! I’m absolutely blown away by your dynamic range “experiments,” and will be very eager to read your full comparison. Thank you for your always-informative posts!
Thank you Heather 🙂
Yes, it does seem to work very well. The DxOMark numbers don’t seem to show it as all that great. I’m thrilled that it works about as well as the GH4 for my skate park videos.
The Post Focus firmware update seems fun.
I’ve yet to update, is it out? I’m still upside down from traveling and have a bit of catching up to do. 🙂
We’ll wait for you to catch up.
It was out for an hour or two when I posted the comment. The Olympus E-M1 update should be out Thursday, so I’ll have two bodies that have similar functionality but I’ll have to wait months for the GH4 to get it.
Thanks for this! As much as I would love a GX8, my GX7 is still more than enough camera for me at this point. I will say that I’ve always been gobsmacked at how impressive the shadow recovery at low ISOs is with the GX7. I can happily recover 2-3 stops without excessive noise. I’m sure your comparison article will go into some of this, but do you find the dynamic range to be noticeably better with the GX8?
I still like the GX7, and while I think the GX8 has improved in most all ways, most of those are pretty incremental improvements. I didn’t have the 7 to compare this particular scene, side by side, but I hadn’t ever had this kind of result in regard to pure shadow recovery, to my memory with the 7.
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