Lumix Explorer – inside the menu

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 harder the light the more exposure compensation that’s needed – here we have -4.6EV to create a dramatic effect

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.

Even in quite low light it can be necessary to use lots of exposure compensation. This shot needed -4EV to bring out the light on the man’s face

The sun on the girl’s face lifts her from the background, but we need to tell the camera to rein in the exposure so she doesn’t get burnt out. For this shot I added -3.3EV exposure compensation


exposure compensation

This portrait needed -4.3EV exposure compensation

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Member Comments

  1. alanb posted a comment on 7 September 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Damien thank you for these tips and the photos showing the effects I can feel confident to make the changes.

    • admin_damiendemolder posted a comment on 7 September 2017 at 9:04 pm

      It’s a pleasure Alan. Very pleased you found the article useful 🙂

      Let’s see the results now.

  2. posted a comment on 20 October 2017 at 10:14 am

    Thanks, I really must dig out the manual and read it again to find all these useful little things the camera can do.

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