The GX8 is a very high specification model, with a range of features designed to appeal to the creative photographer. Its key selling points, apart from its sheer pixel-power, are its 3x optical zoom, 28-85mm (35mm equivalent) lens and its high-speed performance. It is ready to take pictures in just 1.3 seconds from a cold start, and is equipped with a hybrid autofocus system that can lock onto a subject in one tenth of a second, virtually eliminating shutter lag. Its shot-to-shot times are equally impressive. In maximum resolution mode (3,264 x 2,448 pixels, fine mode) it can shoot at 1.7 second intervals until the memory card is full, and in high-speed burst mode it can shoot 16 frames in two seconds, displaying the results in a single image as a 4×4 grid - useful for analysing high-speed action such as sports performance. It also has a second burst mode that can capture three frames in a second. In 640 x 480 resolution mode it can keep this speed up until the card is full.
The GX8 is also compatible with a wide range of accessories, including a wide-angle adapter that increases its already impressive 28mm maximum to 22mm, ideal for landscape shots. An accessory adapter allows the camera to be attached to telescopes, spotting scopes or microscopes, plus there’s an external USB equipped cable release which would be useful for self-portraits as well as preventing camera shake during long exposures. Unusually for a compact camera the GX8 has a hot-shoe for attaching an external flashgun, which improves the flash range and recharge time. It has no metering connection, so a non-dedicated flash will be your safest bet. The GX8 also connects directly to a personal computer or a PictBridge printer with a USB connector, so stored pictures can be downloaded or printed with ease.