Urbanspace Vanderbilt With The Panasonic GX8

I didn't know how right I was when I said that fancy food courts are sprouting up everywhere in New York City, with yet another one opening near my office in Midtown at the corner of 45th Street and Vanderbilt. Bigger and more varied than City Kitchen on the West Side, Urbanspace Vanderbilt feels more like a mall food court and fun place to hang out. 

I stopped by earlier this week to grab lunch and take a few photos with The Camera Project's latest charge, the M4/3 Panasonic GX8.

My first thoughts on Urbanspace are, "great!" I love that this is now a thing - fast food for lunch that's actually high-quality and delicious, and lots of popular, otherwise inaccessible, options all in one place. There really is something for everyone, plus, many of the vendors offer beer on tap. What's not to love!

I got tacos from Takumi, a Japanese/Mexican fusion concept, because I had ordered them at Smorgasburg a few years ago and remembered really liking them. This time around however, they weren't all that great - I had one chipotle shrimp and one spicy tuna - both were overly drenched in mayonnaise and thus the texture and flavor got fairly lost in the ensuing drippy mess.

You win some, you lose some.


My first thoughts on the Panasonic GX8 are like my first thoughts on most of the cameras we've tested so far: not super impressed. It's too early to really make a judgement, but, right out of the gate I was noticing that the camera wasn't terribly adept at gauging exposure when there was a single bright light source in the frame and tended to underexpose the entire image as a result. (Most of the images in this post underwent a significant exposure boost in Lightroom so as to be passable, and I think the overall degradation in quality and increased noisiness is visible.)

It does have the nice touchscreen and tap-to-focus/shoot feature that the Olympus has, but generally the images I was getting didn't blow my mind. In wider shots with broad action, the entire image would appear just slightly out of focus, and when attempting to get a single subject close up, the depth of field was okay but not impressive, even with a fast (f/1.8) lens. The pictures are higher-quality than what you'd get out of your phone, but without a good zoom lens, felt similarly like kind of a crapshoot (maybe they'll be good! Maybe they won't!) 

To me, the design of the camera is very chunky and clunky, and not especially attractive, though the deep grip does make it comfortable to hold. Considering it's a micro four-thirds system, I sort of want something that's more streamlined and compact. 

Josh had some really positive things to say about the video functionality on this camera, but again, haven't had an opportunity to test drive that just yet.

So stay tuned for more info on the Panasonic GX8 and an eventual full video review from The Camera Project!