5 Stars By Mittentastic on 2016-06-01
4K IBIS! No 29 min limit! Hooray!
Let's start by talking about 4K. The GX85 shoots 4K at 100 Mb/s, the as GH4. The GX85 will shoot 4K as long as your battery and storage allow. For me, my 64GB filled up after 1 hr 29 min, but hey, the camera filled that card up, no questions asked (battery held up, almost). If you want to shoot video in 1080P or lower, shoot in AVCHD and you will have unlimited recording time. You can officially retire that camcorder for good.
In my opinion, this camera is better than the GH4 for video. Even though the GH4 has more bitrates for 720P/1080P and some flat profiles, the fact is that the GX85 and GH4 have identical best image quality, but your handheld footage on the GX85 will look much better than on the GH4 because of its excellent IBIS. After repeated claims that IBIS is impossible in 4K because of overheating, two years later, Panasonic somehow combine IBIS and 4K in a tiny body that can continuously shoot an hour and a half without any signs of overheating. Heh. Good one, Panasonic.
If you want to bypass internal codecs, you're in luck because this camera also has clean HDMI out for external recorders. In short, while the GH4 still has some "pro" features some "pros" might want, in practice, the GX85 is every bit the video shooter that the GH4 is, at basically half the price and with IBIS! Chew on that!
Anyway, many of the other reviews cover what I would have covered anyway, which is that this is a beautiful camera that is a superb stills shooter, but I just wanted to address the video issue, too, since a lot of these points were not made in the press releases (probably to protect the GH4's reputation as a high end video shooter).
Despite all this talk of video, I'm mainly a still shooter. Ever since receiving my GX85, I find that I simply cannot put it down. This is a gorgeous little camera. I initially started using MFT because of its balance of size and quality, but over time, I had been trending toward bigger cameras because they had the best features. However, a weird thing happened. I took my camera out less and less. When I got the GH4 to be the camera to end it all, I pretty much stopped taking my camera to social events completely because the GH4 just felt too formal. But ever since I received my GX85, I want this camera around me all the time! I love shooting pictures again.
The image quality on this camera is easily the best I've ever seen in any Panasonic camera I've tried yet. There is no shutter shock. Thanks to the lack of an AA filter, improve shutter, and IBIS, I find that pictures are sharp to the last pixel! There is no softness whatsoever.
Are there downsides? Yeah, small ones, but it seems like almost every downside has an upside. For instance, I prefer charging in an external charger so I can be charging a battery while using another one, but in-camera USB charging has a huge upside for keeping my camera bag light! I must say, though, the port cover for the HDMI/USB is kind of annoying to open, but hey, I'll get used to it. The tilt screen is a bit stiff and doesn't have huge freedom of movement, but on the other hand, it's super low profile and functional enough.
Blah blah, I could go on and on, but a lot of people consider the GF1 to be the best MFT camera that Panasonic has ever made. To me, this camera, the GX85, is their best camera since the GF1. It's a camera that combines usability, stylish looks, superb stills performance, and 4K prowess. And it even comes with a pretty good kit zoom lens. It is excellent bang for the buck.
As an aside, I feel bad for GX8 buyers. I wonder how many of them feel a bit bitter about the improved shutter and IBIS on the GX85, which is considerably cheaper than the GX8 ever was.
5 Stars By Jordan Bunch on 2016-06-13
Best everyday carry camera ever
I make my living in photography and video... This is my new favorite camera and here's why. When you carry a camera with you, you take more photos. When you take more photos you improve your craft. When you can easily carry a camera with you it helps keep the passion of photography alive and well even when you also do it for work. This is the easiest camera I have owned in many years to carry with me that also produces images on par with my flagship cameras. I currently own 12 cameras that get used on a regular basis. This is my favorite one. What more can you ask for? Great low light, great resolution, AMAZING video capabilities, built in stabilization that will blow your mind, excellent dynamic range. Then add on crazy features that only Lumix can pull off like post focus and 4K photos... Stop hesitating, this is the camera you've been looking for.
5 Stars By R. Rana on 2016-05-26
Very good camera for photos and videos.
I have used this camera for couple of days only. I bought an open item on BestBuy since no one else had this camera in stock and i got 100 bucks off. This is my second Panasonic after LX100. I have OMD EM5, EM5 Mark II and i have owned EM1 too. I am not a professional photographer and i use m43 cameras to take good quality pictures and videos of my kids and family. I like m43 system due to size, amazing quality lens which are affordable. Also, i prefer a camera which can do both photos and videos.
Here are the things i like about GX85 -
1) One of the main reason i bought this camera is because it has 5 axis stabilization which works on 4k video. 5 axis stabilization was mainly offered by Olympus and recently by Sony. Once you are used to 5 axis stabilization, there is no turning back. It gives you the freedom of taking handheld sharp pictures in low light. Videos are not jittery and shaky.
2) Speaking of videos, 5 axis stabilization works extremely well on 4k and even with Olympus primes. BTW, i mainly used prime lens so i didn't test the Panasonic dual stabilization. It came with a kit lens though i haven't tested the kit lens. Also, unlike Olympus focusing in video tends to go back and forth a lot, Panasonic keeps the focus in lock on the subject during video and when the focus shifts, it is very smooth. Videos are just better on panasonic and 4k video is sharp.
3) Auto Focus for photos is way more accurate than EM5 Mark II. I have 2 daughters who don't like to stand still. Even with my olympus lens, it's ability to nail focus in motion is amazing. It makes using EVF way more fun. Somehow it knows where i want to focus and this rarely happened with EM5 Mark II using EVF unless i am using Single point focus. I used AFF with Face/eye tracking on GX85.
4) EVF is good size and good quality. I think it is very functional EVF, granted there are bigger and better EVF. It is bigger and better than my LX100 and EM5 EVF. EM5 Mark II EVF is slightly bigger.
5) Image quality is pretty awesome! it is similar to EM5 MarkII. I cannot test the RAW since lightroom doesn't support it, but the jpegs are excellent. Looks more saturated than LX100.
6) It is a pretty looking camera.
7) The camera is very responsive and doesn't feel sluggish. I like the menu system of Panasonic and Quick menu is awesome, similar to Olympus Super control panel.
8) USB charging is nice feature. No need to take the battery out.
Here are few things i wish GX85 had -
1) Weather sealing. I have used my Olympus EM5 Mark II with 12-40 lens in the rain and snow. You don't have to worry about the camera.
2) it is a bit heavy for a m43 cameras, i was expecting it to be lighter.
3) i prefer SD card slot on the side than next to the battery. not a big deal.
4) Needs a thumb grip, hopefully Panasonic or some third party will come with an external grip.
Overall, i am very happy with this camera. I am thrilled that Panasonic finally added 5 axis stabilization. I highly recommend this camera.
4 Stars By Chifan on 1969-12-31
Great IBIS and Lots of feature in a small package... with a few flaws mainly the Tiny Electronic Viewfinder
First, I am a proud owner & professional Videographer who uses Panasonic gear as my primary tool for VIDEO imaging purposes (for pro photo, I have to use Canon alas - wish it was different.. though for everyday photo the GX85 is perfectly fine). I have owned pretty much all flavors of Lumix cameras from GH1, GH2, G6, G7, GH3, GH4 to the GX85. I was excited about the GX85 as a small camera tool to shoot videos on the go for my events without having to use extra gear (gorilla pod, etc) to film detail & movement shots quickly using the new 5-axis IBIS on the GX85 that no other Panasonic camera has. I was very intrigued and positively influenced by reviewers online to purchase this item for my work.
After two events covered (full day weddings), I have to say that there is a lot to like about the GX85 and a few very annoying things to dislike as others have said. Panasonic tends to create many different variations of a camera these days with several big flaws in each so you have to buy them all it seems...
- The TINY electronic viewfinder is going to be the worse part of this camera. You can barely squeeze your eye into it and accurately use it when you shoot. I don't have big eyes either... After about 5-10mins of usage, my eyes hurt a lot because of the squinting I have to make when shooting with that EVF... And I've never had any issues with other Lumix cameras which I've used for hours non-stop, except the LX100 which I've borrowed in the past and is similarly flawed. I wished they had kept the GX7 type of eyepiece for the viewfinder for this supposedly GX7 mark II update that is the GX85. The resolution isn't bad, and I am not too worried about the ghosting / refresh rate if I can barely get my eyes to see through that EVF viewfinder which also lacks tilting compared to the GX7.
- The battery life is not very good either... With the panasonic OEM battery, you can maybe squeeze 1h15min to 1h30 of recording because you have to rely heavily on the LCD display instead of the EVF... With non-Panasonic batteries, you get about the same depending on which one you buy, but you lose the knowledge of knowing exactly when the battery dies as these cheap batteries will display 2-bars and go suddenly to die after about 1h or 1h30 of usage.
- LCD display lacks degree of movement... It can only tilt a little bit down or a little up to about 30 degrees... So it's useless for selfies or filming with LCD display flipped open like on a GX8, G7 or GH3/4
- Lack of Microphone jack... The audio isn't bad but not nearly as good as a standalone shotgun mic... Plus you get the extra vibration sound from IBIS which can be annoying
- SD card slot under the camera next to battery slot... Makes it hard to change cards when mounted on a tripod...
- Lack of quick manual AF-S/AF-C/MF switching mechanism like on GX7 or GX8... You can program one of the FN button but it still prevents you from switching from AF to MF when you are recording... which is so crippling as often times you just want to switch on the fly between the AF-C and MF without having to stop recording video.
- 5-axis Stabilizer IBIS... Used in conjunction with the Panasonic lenses which have IS on lens... this makes it a very good camera for shooting video & stills without too much blur or shake... The videos are not smooth like when you use a gimball... but it definitely helps big time. I'd say it's on par with the Olympus IBIS such as that on EM5-Mark II... There are definitely some artifacts though still like jerk in motion... The supplied tiny 12-32mm lens (equivalent of 24 - 64mm Full frame) seems to do a very good job though working with the GX85 on camera IBIS to remove as much shake as possible. It's not perfect though and you will always get better movement shots with a gimbal or stabilizer. But on the go, it does a very good job filming with little shake when you don't have a tripod with you. It's not perfect though and does create some minimal vibration sound/feel to the body.
- 4K and different 1080p video flavors. That's Panasonic's strength... Though it lacks in terms of higher bit rate that you can find on GH4 or GH3. Still the videos are good on this tiny camera
- Lightweight / Can be carried in many places without being obtrusive. It's not tiny but small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. The benefits of Micro 4/3...
- Low light seems to be better than the GH4 or G7. The improved engine seems to give pretty good results even at ISO 3200 for video & photos. I'm glad it improved... Now let's hope we can actually shoot photos at ISO 6400... It's still not there for ISO higher than 3200... An improvement nevertheless compared to past recent LUMIX iterations.
Overall... This is a very good addition to the LUMIX lineup mostly because of the 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilizer Panasonic has finally been able to implement... You only wish Panasonic would actually create a camera that has all of its best features instead of always crippling each new addition with flaws that didn't have to be there... But it's their game these days... Let's hope the GH5 includes the IBIS on the GX85 which is a given, with improved clean & usable ISO6400 video & photo in low light, and I can happily get rid of all my Canon gear for both Photo & Video...
5 Stars By Lee O. on 2017-06-19
A Great Little Travel Camera
I did a lot of research on a good travel camera that would relieve me of having to carry my large Canon 80D and lenses around in a fairly heavy and cumbersome bag. I initially bought a Canon G7X Mark II, but I wasn't really satisfied with the image quality (especially in low light). I started doing some research into Micro 4/3 cameras after watching a few Youtube videos and reading a lot of reviews and forum posts from other camera enthusiasts. There was a lot that drew me in to purchasing this camera over others (including Olympus or even maybe Fuji). This would be the first MFT camera I would buy, so I had a lot of concerns of how well it would perform. . . not to say that I wasn't excited. Far from it.
Being that it's the first Panasonic to feature Dual IS in photos/videos as well as the exclusion of an anti-aliasing filter left me to believe that the photos would be fairly sharp, even for a MFT. . . and they are. Paired with the kit lens (12-32mm F3.5-5.6) even resulted in some great shots. Of course I bought a few more lenses to compliment the camera which includes the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 Mark I and the 42.5mm F1.7.
The photos are very nice. . . in good light. The only gripe I might have is the high ISO performance. If I push any photos pass ISO 1600, it introduces a little too much noise for my taste. The dynamic range is a little on the low side as well. Nothing I can't fix in post, but I try to avoid altering the photos as much as possible. Luckily, the Dual IS allows me to shoot at slower shutter speeds and lower ISO, which seems to be it's saving grace.
I can't really talk about the video functionality because I don't really shoot a lot of videos to warrant a fair and un-bias review of it. I'll just say it works well enough for me and leave it at that.
Nonetheless, it meets my expectations for a good travel camera and I really enjoy the portability and ease of use, albeit the bright touch screen or the pocketable size or even the small but functional EVF (not the biggest but still quite useable). Being able to fit the camera and lenses in a camera bag the size of a lunchbox is awesome. I even have room for a small GorillaPod and some extra batteries.
So far, I'm really having a great time shooting with the GX85, and I'm glad I bought it. I attached a few photos that I've taken at various places. I hope this review helps. Cheers.
5 Stars By Photographer on 1969-12-31
May be the perfect compromise between quality and size
This is my 3rd m43 camera, replacing an Olympus e-pm2 which replaced an e-pm1. I should also point out that my main system is an APS-c based dslr.
The primary reason for having a m43 system is size and the e-pm2 has served me well for a couple years. However, I still prefer to use VF. While I did sometimes use LV on my dslr, I prefer VF because it is more steady the way I hold a camera. So after using the e-pm2 for a couple years, I started looking for a m43 body with VF. Olympus bodies that have VF have the traditional slr look and are too big for traveling. I have been intrigued by Panasonic GX7 since introduction. After reading up on many reviews, GX85 appears to be a better deal than GX7. However, I never ordered a GX7 for a side-by-side comparison, I cannot really answer that question. The rest is a comparison between GX85 and e-pm2.
GX85 is substantially heavier than e-pm2 and so is the size. I am not concerned about the weight increase as I am used to handling much heavier APS dslrs. The size is still acceptably small compared to my dslr. As a matter of fact, the increase in camera thickness makes it easier to hold, which I did not expect but that is pleasant surprise.
The shutter vibration and sound are head and shoulder improved over e-pm2. There isn't much vibration even using the mechanical shutter. This is by far the best among all cameras I owned in the last 40 years. This really helps me to build confidence that I can rely on this camera for important shots. I never developed this confidence with e-pm2 except when it is on a tripod.
I am slowly getting used to the user interface. The availability of the two control dials makes a huge difference. I have already assigned functions to them to make it more like my main dslr. Overall, I think the interface is reasonably well designed.
Now on to the VF which is the main reason for getting this camera. It is poor compared to the optical VF on my dslr. There is visible lag that the back LV screen does not have. But I used it for framing and improved stability, it serves these two purposes well. Together with the improved shutter, this is a much better camera than e-pm2.
While the IBIS is improved over e-pm2, I don't think it is as good as that of my dslr. The built-in flash is unlikely to be useful if you use anything else other than the 12-32 kit lens.
I have not had a chance to use other functions and features. Comparing to my main 24 MP dslr, there is still a small but visible difference in IQ. Since I am using this camera as my travel camera, they serve different purposes. Given what I have tried so far, it is a very capable camera. It may be the perfect compromise between quality and size. I highly recommend it.
5 Stars By Donovan Smith on 2017-10-13
Simply an excellent stills camera, and a great upgrade from a smartphone
I’ve been using a cellphone camera as my primary camera for a few years now and decided it was time to move up to a “real” camera. After successive purchases of two other models that both had defects out of the box and simply weren’t compelling enough to get a replacement of the model, I ended up with this camera. After having it for a few months I can definitely say I’m glad I got the Panasonic LUMIX GX85.
The first thing I really liked was the size of the camera. I have rather small hands for a male and the size of the camera is just right for me, being just large enough to have a solid grip on the camera while being small enough to carry around easily. The size of the camera and layout of the controls means it’s easy for me to access all the controls.
What impressed me after just a few days of use is the interface and menu system of the camera. I’m already very used to touchscreen camera controls from using smartphones and Panasonic did a really good job with the interface on the touchscreen display. It can be as simple or as busy as you wish it to be and works intuitively. I use the touchscreen display as my primary viewfinder, just like on a smartphone, and I simply find myself really enjoying using it.
As for image quality, I currently have a iPhone 7 Plus and the GX85 is leagues better, at least in RAW. The iPhone is a great snapshot camera to always have with you but trying to use it more “seriously” (if vacation photos count as serious) leads to disappointment. The GX85 can take photos with far superior detail and vastly superior dynamic range compared to the iPhone. That means being able to capture things a bit more like you see them and having more headroom to play around with in your photos in applications like Adobe Lightroom. I’ve been very happy with the photos I’ve been able to get from this camera.
I tend to mostly capture photos of still scenes and the focusing system in AF-S mode works very well for that. I have attempted a few times to get shots of birds using AF-C mode and have actually gotten a few good shots despite my inexperience with this (or any) camera’s focusing system. The mechanical shutter has a surprisingly soft sound, being loud enough to where you can be sure the shutter really did fire but not so loud, or sharp, that it gets annoying. The image stabilization is excellent and even my shaky hands can reliably get shots at 1/8 of a second and with a bit more effort in steadying myself, 1/4 of a second.
Battery life is pretty good on this camera and I can generally get a few hundred shots from it before needing to charge it. It charges through micro USB which is extremely handy, though it cannot charge the battery while the camera is powered on nor can it be powered by micro USB alone. Still, being able to use a portable battery pack to recharge camera is very useful. The included lense is very compact and has good image quality which helps make this a good travel camera. The build quality of this all-plastic camera is excellent and it has a hefty, reassuring weight.
The JPEG engine on it is good enough but doesn’t quite match up to smartphones like the iPhone 7 Plus. The biggest issue is that it has a tendency to randomly pepper solid-yellow surfaces with noticeable green dots, a rather bizarre effect. Again, it’s not a bad JPEG engine and most people will be quite happy JPEGs straight out of the camera, but I’ve been spoiled by how well smartphones with their extra processing power can do and I also intended to use RAW and process them in Lightroom later anyway.
There are some other downsides I’ve noticed. The electronic viewfinder is not very great to me, with it being rather blurry in parts no matter how I adjust the diopter, the image being a little small, and the field sequential image simply being a little unpleasant to look at. I should emphasize that this is quite personal and you may be absolutely fine with it, and also that I almost never use the viewfinder anyway so having it at all is more of a bonus feature to me. The included lense has a rather limited zoom range of 12-32mm and there is noticable barrel distortion at the widest end (12mm) that disappears at 14mm. The relatively narrow maximum aperture of the lense means low-light image quality may not be as dramatic of an upgrade from a recent high-end smartphone as might be hoped. The smartphone app’s location tracking is unreliable and I’d recommend using something like the GPS Tracks app (on iOS) to log your location and then use Lightroom to add the locations to your photos later.
I’m not much on taking video and I can’t comment much on that part of the GX85.
There’s really lots more I can say about this camera but this review is probably too long already. This has been an excellent upgrade from my smartphone camera that carries over the intuitiveness of smartphone camera apps and combines that with something with far better image quality and control. It’s just the right size and is so enjoyable to use that I actually do take it with me when I can. Simply put, I’m very glad I got the Panasonic LUMIX GX85 and enthusiastically recommend it.
5 Stars By Thomas on 2018-01-10
Great family camera, shutter issue
Bought this in the recent sale as our family camera and something to take on our trip overseas. I wanted something that was compact enough to carry in my jacket pocket but also gave me the option of putting on longer zooms to start capturing our daughter who is a bit camera shy. I was just tired of looking at blurry family pictures and wanted to start learning how to take better photos before our daughter got too old. It was loads of fun and really glad I picked it up.
(updated - shutter issue)
I wanted to highlight something odd I've experienced and recommend you check your camera when you first get it. I had only seen this mentioned here in one of the reviews so either no one else is reporting this or the the two of us are the only 'lucky' ones.
I like to stay in burst mode since at any time I may switch from a landscape shot to a portrait one where i like to take a few pics just in case. occasionally the camera will take 2 shots at the single shutter press.
It doesn't happen all the time and when it does happen, it stays that way for a few minutes then goes back to normal operation. This is not related to bracketing/etc. - i've taken about 3 weeks worth of photos so i feel that i'm somewhat comfortable handling the shutter button yet every once in a while it decides to double dip. i have not found a pattern yet.
In single shot mode everything is great. it also happens in electronic shutter mode so i suspect it could be the shutter button. it's a little annoying but not enough yet to send it back to Panasonic and risk having it come back worse. For now I've simply added removing the few duplicates to my workflow.
anyone else seeing this?
(end of update)
Some things to note:
- the grip on the camera is rather small and the camera is a bit heavy. I like the weight but holding the camera with my large hands does end up stressing my fingers after a while. I feel like I have to dig into the camera body with my fingers for a firm grip. Try to grab it in person to make sure you're comfortable with it.
- while you can recharge the battery in the camera via USB - came in really handy in our trip - you can not transfer data via USB and power the camera at the same time. Since it only uses USB 2, getting those large RAW files and 4k videos means more often than not your battery will run out before the transfer is done. this forces you to get the data directly out of the card.
- it has a great touchscreen interface - you can take pictures by simply tapping the location on the screen - much like our smartphones. this means you can track your kids across the screen by moving your fingers and taking burst shots as they run around.
- you can take a photo and then decide which parts of the photo you'd like to focus on. this is great when you're just starting to learn depth of field and the different focusing methods. it saved us a number of precious moments. will probably use this less as i get more proficient - but for now it's a great safety net.
- as has been discussed, you can't really put this into auto focus on video and pay attention to your kids. you need to watch the camera and either help it focus once in a while or simply take over the focusing. we did lose a few video moments because i was watching the kids vs. the camera and it lost focus and never regained it.
- the screen doesn't tilt up for group selfie pictures. not unusual for these and sony cameras but still a bit limiting when on the road and trying to do selfies. we ended up using our phones paired with the camera but still not as nice as having everyone looking at themselves on the camera.
- the video audio is a bit weak. I knew this going in and frankly was expecting worse but it's still not as good as i'd like particularly when you see the great video quality that it produces.
- those 4k videos are big. if you've only shot 1080p, make sure your PC, display and storage can handle it. I had problems playing the 4k footage on my surface pro during the trip - requiring me to downscale it to 1080p before being able to show it to folks. this was the i5 surface pro. the camera itself does an excellent job of playing 4k directly to a 1080p TV but that means you'll need to keep your videos on the camera and show unedited footage.
So finally if you're looking for a fun family camera and something that you can learn photography on but still feel comfortable handing it to your significant other for those shots that a phone won't do, consider this. my only regret is not getting it sooner and losing out on our daughter's earlier adventures.
5 Stars By Amousepotato on 2018-02-13
Promise of mirrorless: small lenses, powerful bodies
For those who have discovered that taking photos is not enough, you need access to better video. This camera is like a secret weapon due to it's ability to eliminate camera shake. It not only is effective for video, but you will increase your photo stability, too. Yes, the continuous focus in video is awful, but then you realize that it's rarely used. In the early days of HDTV, you can actually see cameras miss focus all the time. The included lens is hard to focus in video because there is no focus ring, but a half shutter press with quickly lock focus once. I can think of no other camera that can do all this which you can slip into your coat pocket, except the LX100, but then you can't change lenses. All of the MFT lenses are tiny! That is the promise that mirrorless promised, but nobody listened. Sony has huge lense, almost as big as FF, which for the A7 series, they are almost as big as SLR FF. So why did we bother with mirrorless, then? I find the Lumix GX85 refreshing, like a A6000 series that can do everything and has some of the best wide aperature lenses that even Sony can't match for affordability and available lens choices. This is a sophisticated camera for the photographer and budding videographer.
5 Stars By TruthBTold on 2017-07-25
Someone Forgot Their SD Card With Tons Of Photos On It...
I'd love to give the SD card back to the owner who accidentally left their SD card inside the camera. It has well over 3,000 photos spanning over 6 years. If you sold your camera to BTA-MALL for them to resell, this could be your SD card. I feel kind of bad for that person. So many memories you could have lost (especially if you didn't back it up). It's from an all black Panasonic Lumix GX85 camera.