Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Who are best at firmware upgrades?

When a manufacturer releases a camera, it is not finished. You can still expect to be able to upgrade the firmware, the software inside the camera, to fix bugs, and even to add more features.

For example, it was a firmware upgrade which added the 4K Photo feature into the Lumix GH4, a feature which is now standard in all new Lumix M4/3 cameras. About a year ago, there was a rumour that a firmware upgrade would add 4K video recording to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 (which never materialized), and we are now waiting for a firmware upgrade which will add the V-log video format to the Lumix GH4.

The cynical view to firmware upgrades is that the manufacturers use their customers to do the testing: When they find mistakes in how the camera operates, they issue a firmware upgrade. But the positive view is that being able to upgrade all cameras out there allows the companies to stay competitive, and offer more features.

However your view on firmware updates, there are opinions out there that certain manufacturers are better at keeping their old cameras up to date with new firmware, whereas other companies neglect their older cameras and prefer to sell new ones. Specifically, people often say that smaller manufacturers like Fujifilm and Pentax are good at releasing firmware upgrades for older cameras, while the big two, Canon and Nikon, are not as good.

To put this to the test, I have examined two cameras from each manufacturer. I chose one camera which is about 2-3 years old, and one which is around 5 years old. I kept to fairly expensive models, cameras which are often used by amateur photography enthusiasts.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Lumix GX8

Panasonic recently released the Lumix GX8. So what is it all about?

The Lumix GX7 was a ground breaking camera. The first from Panasonic to feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS) through moving sensor, and the first to have a "rangefinder layout", with the eye level viewfinder on the top left side. The Lumix GX8 is essentially the same camera, but brings the specifications up to date, and becomes the first Micro Four Thirds camera with a 20 megapixel resolution.

CameraLumix GX7Lumix GX8
AnnouncedAug 1st, 2013July 16th, 2015
PriceUS$650 incl lensUS$1200 body only
Flash X-sync1/320s1/250s
Max shutter speed1/8000s1/8000s (mechanical), 1/16000s (electronic)
Resolution4592 x 3448 (16MP)5184 x 3888 (20MP)
Max video resolution1080p4k
Built in flashYesNo
Weight402g487g
Dimensions (mm)123 x 71 x 55133 x 78 x 63
In-body image stabilization (IBIS)YesYes