We took the Panasonic Lumix GX80 out with the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH lens, to see just how good the 5-axis Dual IS is when used at a 800mm equivalent focal length

The key new feature of the Panasonic Lumix GX80 is, of course, the Dual IS system. We have previously seen this system on the GX8, where the cameras 3-axis sensor stabilisation could work in tandem with the optical lens based stabilisation of some Panasonic lenses. The Lumix GX80 takes this a stage further by employing  5-axis in-camera image stabilisation, that can work with optical lens based stabilisation, and it can be employed whilst shooting video.

As we said when the Lumix GX80 was launched, this 5-axis stabilisation, with Dual IS, should be a feature we will seen when the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is launched, hopefully later this year. With the GH series of Lumix being extremely popular amongst videographers, we were keen to see just how good the 5-axis Dual stabilisation is on the GX80.

So, we paired the Panasonic Lumix GX80 with the Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 ASPH lens. On the GX80’s Micro Four Thirds sensor the maximum focal length of this lens is the equivalent of 800mm on a camera with a full frame sensor, though obviously signficantly smaller, and lighter. To make it a real test we used the camera and lens combination at the maximum focal length, handheld. Watch the video to see exactly how we got on, and how 5-axis stabilisation and Dual IS coped.

Panasonic GX80, Dual IS and 100-400mm lens

The difference between the stabilisation being on and off is huge. The juddery shake footage is isn’t changed when the Dual IS is switched on. Any movements are very smooth, and fluid, with the occassionaly slight involuntary movement as the stabilisation get a bit carried away. But remember, this an 800mm equivalent focal length, so to be able to shoot handheld is extremely impressive.

Going one step further we also used the electronic stabilisation. This crops in to the image area of the sensor slighty, and repositions the area of the sensor being sampled to further counteract any camera shake. It is even more impressive, and it is as if the camera and lens have locked on to the subject. All small shakes are removed, but other movements are slightly overcompensated for, with the additional electronic stabilisation, creating larger shifts. The movements are still smooth, but look a little bit more erratic.

Of course all of this in regard to using the 400mm focal length – shorter focal lengths make the footage look a lot steadier, and wideangle footage looks fantastic.