In Hand

The GX85 is reasonably sized for a Micro Four Thirds camera and fits comfortably in my hand. It is well-balanced, too - especially when using small prime lenses or the kit zoom. With larger lenses it can feel front-heavy.  The camera body is wrapped in a similar faux leather skin to the GX8, that at times, can be feel slick (in moist hands). 

The body has reassuringly dense feeling to it, and nothing about the construction feels cheap. The GX85 offers dual control dials, with the front-most is wrapped around the shutter release (it's also quite a bit larger than the dial on the rear.) The on/off switch is tucked between the mode dial and rear control dial, which can lead to accidentally bumping. I found myself occasionally knocking the camera into a different mode when switching it on, for instance. 

Large-handed shooters should be aware that the buttons on the GX85 are rather small. This didn't cause problems for me, but it is something to consider. Finally, some of us found the camera strap lug near the mode dial can get in the way of reaching the shutter release. This is less an issue when using the narrow strap included in the box and more the case when using a medium or wide third-party strap.

Top of Camera

The top of the GX85 is pretty straightforward and uncluttered. Working our way from left-to-right is the electronic viewfinder, hotshoe, pop-up flash, video record button, shutter release/control dial and mode dial. Directly below the mode dial is the on/off switch and below that is the second control dial.

This view also shows the position of the previously mentioned camera strap lug (on the right side). Again, opinions on its placement vary: I handed the camera to several photographer friends over the course of the review and asked whether they found the GX85 comfortable to hold -- most said yes, but several specifically mentioned the placement of the lug made it difficult for them to reach the shutter release.

Compared to GX8 and GX7

The GX85 (left) certainly looks more similar both in terms of size and button placement to the GX7 (above) than the GX8 (below). Though both the GX8 and GX7 offer an articulating EVF, not found on the GX85, as well as focus mode switches. The GX85 also skips the dedicated exposure compensation dial of the GX8, but includes a pop-up flash like on the GX7.

The GX8 (right) is a substantially beefier camera than the GX85. It is also weather-sealed and uses an articulating screen as opposed to a flip-out screen. Other differences include substantially greater number of customizable buttons and a larger capacity battery than the GX85.

Customization

There are nine customizable function buttons on the GX85: four physical and five on-screen.

The GX85 can easily be set up to suit a photographer's personal requirements, with four customizable physical buttons and five customizable slots on the touch interface. The GX8, on the other hand offers eight physical custom buttons as well as five on-screen slots. Still, despite being less configurable than its big brother, this reviewer found it easy enough between the four physical buttons, Q.Menu and on-screen slots, to get the GX85 set just to my liking.

Users can also tweak control dial settings, swapping which dial controls shutter speed and which controls aperture, as well as the direction of rotation.

GX85 users can customize the options available via the Q.Menu, though I found the default options adequate.

There are separate Q.Menus for video and still capture, both of which can be customized to taste from within the camera's main menu. When setting up the Q.Menu, there are 15 assignable spots.