The Panasonic GX85 comes close to offering the ideal blend of image quality, functionality, speed, and size in our book, packing a ton of advanced features and performance into a compact, well-built body, all at a fair price. The camera produces crisp images that are competitive with various other 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds cameras, 4K video quality is excellent, and overall performance is impressive, making this interchangeable lens camera an attractive option for beginners and lovers alike. Is this the perfect compact mirrorless camera?
Check Out: Best Lenses for Panasonic Lumix GX85
Panasonic Lumix GX85: Price
Check Out: Best Panasonic Cameras
Panasonic GX85’s new shutter design aims to reduce shutter shock
Say goodbye to shutter shock? It appears so. For improvements to sharpness and overall image quality, the Panasonic GX85 also sports a new electromagnetic shutter unit, which helps reduce internal vibrations. Shutter shock has long been a source of issues for mirrorless and DSLR digital cameras, especially when shooting around a slower range of shutter speeds — and amplified further when capturing with longer and longer lenses.
The Panasonic GX85’s all-new electromagnetic shutter mechanism utilizes dual solenoids rather than a traditional motor and spring assembly. A spring-actuated shutter system can induce visible vibrations upon firing, which could lead to blurry pictures when photographing at specific shutter speeds. With the dual solenoid style in the Panasonic GX85, the camera can control the acceleration and deceleration of the shutter curtains thereby reducing vibrations of the shutter’s opening and closing motion. This allows for sharper images at problematic shutter speeds. Panasonic promises around a 90 percent reduction in shutter shock vibrations compared to a traditional spring-actuated shutter mechanism. And this new shutter design has the added advantage of being much quieter than a traditional one, too, which is great when shooting in sound-sensitive environments.
Image customization galore with lots of creative filters
The camera sports an array of image customization settings, including separate settings for image saturation, contrast, sharpness and the level of noise reduction as we’ve come to expect from Panasonic. The GX85 also introduces a fresh “L Monochrome” Photo Style in addition to the standard Monochrome Photo Design, which offers a deeper black appearance and adds reasonable gradation similar to dark and white film. For further image customization, there are a total of 22 Creative Control filter modes that are now also available in PASM shooting modes. You can then adjust various parameters of these filters, combine multiple filters, along with with with record both a “filtered” picture and an unaltered one at the same time.
As for ISO sensitivity, the Panasonic GX85 is rather straightforward. As with other recent Panasonic cameras, the GX85 features a native ISO selection of 200 to 25,600, with an extended low ISO of 100. Not surprisingly, the GX85 offers both RAW and JPEG image capture, plus with its new onboard RAW development feature, you have the flexibility to shoot all in Natural and then easily process your pictures into JPEGs after the fact, making use of the GX85’s array of creative options, all in-camera.
Despite its size, the Panasonic GX85 packs a lot of power
Cameras seem to get smaller and smaller while still handling to have rather impressive performance specs, and the Panasonic GX85 follows this tendency. For starters, like many recent Panasonic digital cameras, the GX85 incorporates Depth From Defocus technology into its contrast-detect autofocusing system enabling super-quick and accurate AF velocity. Regarding Panasonic, the GX85 has the capacity to focus in around 0.07 seconds, and despite the lack of on-sensor phase-detect, AF tracking performance is said to be notably improved — approximately a 200% improvement over the GX7.
Further, the camera’s autofocus program works in both good lighting and dim — and we mean really dim. Like the earlier GX7 and GX8, low-light autofocus sensitivity is rated down to -4EV, which are impressively dark focusing conditions. The GX85 also includes Panasonic’s Starlight AF mode, which can detect the precise, small contrast variations in stars compared to the evening sky for easy focusing.
The Panasonic GX85 offers a similar selection of other autofocus features found in recent Lumix cameras including focus peaking, Pinpoint AF, and Full Area AF, letting you focus on anything within the field of watch. The GX85 also contains the 49-Area/Custom Multi mode, which lets you freely select a custom group of AF areas as you discover fit for the particular subject. The camera also has Face/Eye Detection AF that automatically detects the face and left or right eye of your subject.
For capturing fast action, the GX85 is capable of 8 frames per second with concentrate locked at the initial frame. If you want continuous focusing, the burst rate drops slightly to a still-respectable 6fps, which is usually in-line with the earlier Panasonic GX8’s efficiency specs. Much like the GX8, this camera also enables you to opt for an all-electronic shutter setting, which bumps the AF-S burst rate up to a handy 10fps. There’s also a Super High-speed burst mode at a whopping 40 fps, though it only captures JPEGs at a much lower 4-megapixel resolution. See the Performance page to see how the GX85 fared inside our lab.
Mechanical shutter rate tops out at 1/4000s (in comparison to 1/8000s for the GX8), but the GX85 maintains the fast maximum 1/16,000s shutter speed when using the all-electronic shutter.
In addition to the preexisting direct exposure and white balance bracketing features, the GX85 offers a new Focus Bracketing choice. The Panasonic GX85 can shoot up to a maximum of 999 frames, each with a different focus point. You can also select from five different step sizes (put simply, how big of an increment to instantly adjust the focus between each frame). For shots where the focus is critical, such as portraiture or macro picture taking, this could be a very convenient feature. The Lumix GX85 also introduces a fresh Aperture Bracketing feature, in which a series of images are captured with varying depths of field.
The Panasonic GX85 also borrows other image processing improvements from the GX8, including Clear Retouch and expanded in-camera panorama choices (the GX7 had just standard 8176 x 1920 (horizontal) or 2560 x 7680 (vertical) panoramas, however, the GX85 now also offers an 8176 x 960 or 1280 x 7680 resolution wider angle panorama setting), and the stitching seems more reliable than the GX7 as well.
Panasonic GX85 provides 5-axis Dual Is definitely for photos & 4K video
Like its bigger brother, the GX85 sports Panasonic’s Dual I actually.S. system which combines both sensor-shift picture stabilization and lens-structured optical image stabilization. However, some improvements have been made, as the GX85 now provides 5-axis Dual I.S. rather than just the 4-axis program of the GX8. By adding roll correction on the body-based I.S. system, the GX85 is now able to better compensate for larger vibrations and handheld digital camera movements — up to 4-stops of correction regarding Panasonic. For multimedia makers, you’ll be pleased to know that this brand-new 5-axis Dual We.S. system is compatible with both stills and video settings, including 4K video — the GX8 has a more limited Hybrid I actually.S. program in video modes, with no in-camera stabilization when shooting 4K video.
4K is useful for much more than just video
Speaking of 4K, the new Panasonic GX85 offers loads of thrilling features surrounding its 4K capabilities, particularly with regard to 4K Photo modes. Starting with the video features, the Panasonic GX85 is definitely with the capacity of capturing 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) video at both 30p and 24p, as well as a variety of Full HD and HD frame rates.
The GX85 captures video in either MP4 or AVCHD formats, however, 4K is only obtainable in MP4 mode. Though not as robust a selection of types and bitrates as the video heavy-hitter GH4, the GX85 still offers 4K video at a high-quality 100Mbps bitrate. Bitrates for Total HD and HD video clips aren’t nearly simply because high. For MP4, 1080/60p can be captured at 28Mbps, 1080/30p at 20Mbps, and 720/30p at just 10Mbps. For AVCHD movies, 1080/60 is certainly pegged at 28Mbps and both 30p and 24p options top-out at 24Mbps.
Continuous sustained 4K video recording is normally unlimited for the NTSC-region model. The camera will continually record videos until the file size reaches 4GB, at which point a new file will immediately be developed, although playback will end up being seamless.
Together with the new creative filter options now available in PASM stills settings, video capture can also make use of all the special effects and various creative filters. Some modes, however, like the simulated tilt-shift Miniature effect, for example, cannot be used with 4K, and instead, default back down to 1080/60p.
One new video trick that the GX85 offers is a fresh 4K Live Cropping feature. The camera is able to utilize the entire sensor area, but only capture a smaller 4K-sized body within that region. What this allows is an all-digital, programmable and automated panning and zooming feature while recording video — think in-camera “Ken Burns Effect.” You can set start and endpoints for panning, or the end zoom framing, and the camera will even and automatically catch 4K video with these pre-programmed “movements.”
However, 4K is much more than just for video. With 4K’s 8-megapixel frame resolution, a variety of still photo features are actually possible, as well. One of the major features of the Panasonic GX85 is 4K Image, which lets you extract stills from a 30fps clip of 4K footage. Offering a number of capture timing methods, the GX85’s 4K Photo modes are great for fast action, sports and other hard-to-time moments. Instead of capturing an 8 or 10fps burst of still frames, you can capture 4K video at 30fps and quickly pull still frames following the fact. If you’re okay with the drop in quality (16MP to 8MP 4K), the 4K Photo feature is a good way the make sure you don’t miss the important moment.
GX85: High-quality construction, great size & comfortable
In terms of size and shape, the brand new Panasonic GX85 shares a whole lot in common with the sooner GX7. Right off the bat, you’ll notice its much smaller, more svelte design compared to its rather beefier brother, the Panasonic GX8. The GX8 took a visible step up in size after the GX7, and the GX85 shrinks items down a bit while still maintaining an extremely comfortable, easy to operate style and control scheme.
Build quality is excellent, simply put. The camera feels extremely stiff and durable without any creaks or flimsy buttons. The Panasonic GX85 keeps the tilting LCD rear display design of the GX7 rather than the articulated flip-out display screen of the GX8, and the hinges on the tilting LCD are quite stiff and feel very sturdy.
Compared to the GX7, the new Panasonic GX85 appears more or less very similar. The major distinctions don’t pop out immediately, but the GX85 does away with the tilting EVF of the GX8 and GX7 in favor of a fixed one. It retains the same 2.76M-dot effective field-sequential EVF as the GX7 and still provides 100 percent frame insurance coverage with a 1.39x / 0.7x (35mm eq.) magnification. And just like the GX7, the Panasonic GX85 includes a built-in pop-up flash though it’s a little weaker with a Guide Amount of 4.2m (ISO 100) versus 5.0m for the GX7, in addition to a flash hot-shoe.
Panasonic Lumix GX85: Conclusions
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 can be an attractive option for photographers the desire a compact mirrorless camera. It focuses and shoots quickly, records video at 4K resolution, and offers a bevy of handles. Add Wi-Fi, an in-body EVF and flash, and a tilting touch-screen display, and you’ve got a camera that has a lot of appeal for anyone in search of a svelte shooter that doesn’t compromise on quality. It doesn’t quite oust our Editors’ Choice in the entry-level mirrorless category, the Sony Alpha 6600, which costs less and sports activities a larger, higher-quality sensor and a faster shooting price, but remains a fine choice for photographers entrenched in the Micro Four Thirds zoom lens system.