A week's experience on G85

Started 3 weeks ago | Discussions thread
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alcelc Forum Pro • Posts: 11,362
A week's experience on G85

Background: Had GX7 and GX85 as our main cameras, mainly for travelling. Wife loves GX85, I was left the older GX7 which started to meet its limitation (had to work harder for IQ close to GX85, 1~1.5 step lower usable ISO, non 4K, no zebra, primitive IBIS, 1~1+ stop less effective stabilization vs DUAL IS ...), wished to find a better camera for my self.

Had decided to skip GX9 because of the incremental upgrade from GX85. The unsatisfactory 4K video AF, WR and mic port etc drew my attention to the larger size Gs. Originally had eyed on G95, but due to the recent local political unrest of my home town has affected retail market. Watched very attractive discount specially on the G85 and without another thought jump onto it. 

Handled the G85 for a week, trust I could draw an early view on this camera.

1) Cost: Bought it for US$430 body only in gray market. Around US$80~100 saving from a few months before.

2) Size and weight: Around 80g heavier than GX85. Not sure would it become a burden for my type of travelling.

However, immediately I have to rearrange all of my camera bags. Usually I shall carry the camera of mine and my wife inside my camera bag before arrival on destination. I could pack the nude GX7 and GX85 face to face inside a partition. Now G85 alone will need the same space. I might have to ask my wife to carry her camera from now on.

3) IQ: A SOOC jpg shooter. Likely very similar to GX85.

4) Ergonomic: Much better than the soap designed GX85. Unexpectedly it had injected a new life on 45-200 (mk-I). Might be because of the larger hand grip, a better shutter (more about it later)?

I have started a thread on this: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/63019518

5) EVF: A day and night improvement on G85 over GX7/GX85. I can say I enjoy the larger evf of G85 a lot. Nevertheless evfs of GX7/85 are still very usable. Besides a larger G85 evf, my early experience suggested that the OLED evf/LCD of G85 can make my life happier. Due to the non OLED display unit used by GX7/85, they are not polarized sunglasses friendly. Also any deeper color glasses in front of the evf might affect the perception of lighting condition in the evf that might cause wrong exposure setting. Therefore I used to put on a pair of very light color clipped on style non polarized sunglasses over my spectacle, inconvenience and not the best to protect my eyes. Lately I switched my clear, progressive focal length spectacle to a pair of Transition progressive focal length glasses. On my last trip to the Holy Land, the auto darkening glasses caused me some misjudgment on exposure setting. No big deal, just more PP works.

Thank to the OLED evf/LCD of G85, my early feeling is that they are polarized glasses friendly (no more dark stripes in either portrait or landscape orientation), and did not felt the darkening of my Transition glasses had affected my exposure setting... During my test drive on a sunny day, my changing color glasses seemed to have no affect on my exposure setting.

6) Shutter: G85 offers EFCS shutter upto 1/2000" that is not found in GX85.

AFAIK GX85 uses the latest generation of electromagnetic m-shutter as its younger siblings, when firing the m-shutter on G85, I felt it is just another level: softer, quieter, and acts faster. The m-shutter of GX85 seems to take a much longer period of firing.

Unlike GX85, Auto Shutter generally won't really switch between m-shutter or e-shutter a lot, e.g. mounted with 14-140. I still found soft image from 14-140 because trace of shutter shock. On G85, had noticed the camera switched between m-shutter and e-shutter more frequently according to the focal length and shutter speed in used. It looks like the Auto Shutter of GX85 does not really work. During my first batch of testing, not found any shutter shock yet.

7) DUAL IS and DUAL IS2: 14-140 f/3.5-5.6 is the only DUAL IS 2 compatible lens I have. So far not found noticeable difference on the effectiveness of the 2 stabilization system.

8) Customization: GX85 has 9 fn keys (4 hard and 5 soft) is already plenty for me. G85 has 11 fn keys (6 hard and 5 soft) and after a week's setting, still can't fully utilize them in 100% meaningful way, e.g. no other more urgent feature needs to put on fn 11. Of course, more is always better.

Note: Assign Exposure Compensation to a fn key is the only way to call up the "Exposure Bracketing" and "Flash Adjust" by the up/down & Left/Right cursor keys on G85. Unlike GX85, push the back dial will enter similar operation.

Weakness on G85: Since G85 controls Burst by the Drive Mode dial (on top left) and AFS/AFC by AF mode lever, these 2 options cannot be stored in C mode, whereas GX85 can. Hence for a C mode which should need AFC or Burst, I must select those options on the Drive Mode Dial or AFS/AFC lever after C been called up. Quite inconvenience for the style of operation I am used to.

9) Highlight protection tendency: Very similar to GX7 and GX85. Tested with zebra at 105%, use either center metering or multi metering, compared shots taken at the point before zebra appears, then a few shots of +1/3ev each. Examine the histogram in-camera playback as well as on Faststone, it suggested that G85 has a room of 1/3ev (need further testing for the 2/3ev) before actual highlight will be overblown (on SOOC jpg). Hence, watch the zebra, +1/3ev (or +2/3ev, not 100% sure yet) after zebra appears could guarantee a 100% ETTR. It could avoid excessive noise due to underexposure and a more vibrant SOOC output.

10) 4K Video CAF: On GX85, when on 1080 video the CAF is very usable. 4K would see severe focus hunting even on not fast speed panning. G85 has much better performance (AF Sensitivity = -1 under C.Setup Menu). So far it is very usable.

11) AF: AFS of G85 is similar to that of GX85. Fast and accurate. Had no chance to shoot birds yet but early testing suggest AFC is not much better than GX85.

12) Low Light AF: I personally felt that GX85 can do better (faster AF, more snappy AF acquisition) on using the same lens despite Imaging Recourse had put the LLAF of GX85 at -5.6ev whereas G85 at -6ev).

13) Battery: The 1,200 mAh BLC12 of G85 can support a much longer power-on time than the 1,025 mAh BLD10 of GX85. For a 3+ hours test session I still had 1 bar remaining whereas GX85 needs >1.5 batteries.

So far it is still very positive, except not sure about the increased size and weight...

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