It feels like everyone in the camera world is busy pumping out CSCs oozing with retro charm.
Everyone, that is, apart from Panasonic. Going by looks alone, the Lumix G80 is practically pedestrian. Dull as dishwater. Distinctly average.
Get beyond the plain Jane styling, though, and you’ll realise this is a mirrorless marvel that's almost overflowing with features.
A weather-resistant body? Check. 4K video recording? Yep, that too. Throw in clever focus stacking tech and 5-axis image stabilisation to keep your shots lookin sharp, and it’s clear you shouldn’t judge this book by its cover.
Panasonic G80 body: IN ITS ELEMENT
Panasonic calls the G80 a “classic style” camera - which basically means it’s a diddy DSLR.
It has the same chunky hand grip, top-mounted viewfinder and manual controls as larger cameras from Canon or Nikon, only you can comfortably hold this svelte snapper in one hand.
It won’t win any style prizes, especially if you line it up against an Olympus Pen-F, or anything from Fuji’s line-up, but does that really matter? I was perfectly happy not having a bling-tastic mugging target hanging round my nect while I was testing the G80. It does a great job at not demanding attention when you’re out and about.
The body is quite a bit larger than the GX80, which shares the same 16MP Micro Four Thirds image sensor, 5-axis image stabilisation and maximum 25,600 ISO speed. The smaller brother might stand more chance of slipping into the pocket of your skinny jeans, but the G80's bigger bulk means more room for dials and buttons on the top plate.
It’s also splash and dustproof, so you don’t have to worry if the skies open just as you’re about to press the shutter button. This is one of the cheapest weather-sealed CSCs going right now, making it a great choice for photographers that spend more time on location than in a studio.
Panasonic G80 EVF: EYES OPEN
The bigger body also makes room for a centrally-mounted electronic viewfinder, and it’s an absolute beauty.
Panasonic has ditched LCD for a faster, brighter and more colourful OLED EVF, which looks absolutely pin-sharp thanks to a 2,360k-dot resolution. It’s perfect for bright daylight shooting, where the flip-out touchscreen would otherwise be tough to see.
It gives a 100% field of view, so you're seeing the entire captured frame, and the 0.74x magnification is a lot higher than many rivals - especially at this price.
There’s basically no lag between what you point the camera at and what the EVF displays. Panasonic reckons it’s less than 0.01sec, which is so quick it’s impossible to notice. You’ll have no trouble tracking fast-moving subjects with this raised to your eyeballs.
The eye sensor shuts off the touchscreen as soon as you bring the camera up to your face, too - so no wasted battery power.