Lumix Explorer – inside the menu
Exposure compensation in the Lumix DMC-GX8
What a camera looks like isn’t of primary importance to me, but it’s great when you can combine good looks with a model that works particularly well. The Lumix DMC-GX8 is just one of those cameras, and is actually one of my favourites from the G range. I like the neat top plate that steps down to the main controls, and the arrangement of buttons and dials suits my hands very nicely.
The exposure compensation dial on its top plate is also pretty cool, and the GX8 is the only camera in the Lumix line-up that offers access to this feature using a dedicated physical dial. The dial on this camera was obviously designed by someone who is good at making things that look good, but unfortunately to make it look good the designer decided that it couldn’t house the full range of exposure compensation settings that the camera is capable of delivering.
The top plate dial has markings for +/-3EV but the camera can operate at +/-5EV – you just have to go in to the menu to activate the extension and then learn how to use it.
In the custom menu go to page 7 where you will find a menu item called Dial Set. In the Dial Set menu there is an option called Exp Comp Setup which is marked Off by default. Go into this menu and assign responsibility to either the front or the rear dial – I use the rear.
With this done you’ll find that when you turn the exposure compensation dial the exposure bar at the bottom of the screen extends from +/-3EV to +/-5EV.
Turning the manual dial will get you to any of the settings between -3EV and +3EV, but to get any further you need to bring the second top plate dial into action. Turning the dial to the -3EV position makes the bar light up in yellow, and while it is yellow you can turn the second dial to take the exposure compensation to -5EV.
It takes a little while to get used to this way of working, but once you have activated the mode it will remain active until you switch it off or reset the camera. I can’t think of a reason you would want to turn it off, unless you wanted to customise the rear wheel for something else, so once you have it switched on you can leave it that way.
And yes, while -5EV sounds like quite a lot of exposure compensation there are plenty of situations in which it is needed. Nearly all DSLRs have +/-5EV but only a few compact system cameras do. This of course makes Lumix an exception, as all its G models have +/-5EV – which is one of the reasons I use Lumix.
Here are a few examples of situations in which lots of exposure compensation was useful.