Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 impresses with image quality, versatility
- 16MP Four Thirds MOS sensor
- Electromagnetically driven shutter
- Depth from Defocus AF
- 2.76M-dot field sequential EVF
- 1.04M-dot tilting touchscreen display
- 4K video / photo
- 5-axis image stabilization with Dual I.S.
- Bouncable pop-up flash
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 is a mid-range interchangeable lens camera sporting a 16MP Four Thirds sensor and 4K video capability. In markets outside of North America the GX85 is sold as the GX80; in Japan it is sold as the GX7 Mark II.
Sliding in directly below the flagship GX8, the GX85 is targeted toward enthusiast photographers and videographers. It doesn't use the new 20MP Four Thirds chip we saw in the GX8, instead it sticks with the familiar 16MP sensor used on many other Micro Four Thirds cameras. It also does not have the tilting EVF, weather-sealing or microphone input offered by the GX8.
Still, the GX85 shares many of its big brother’s features like 4K photo mode, Post Focus, Depth from Defocus AF, and Dual I.S.. It also has a redesigned shutter mechanism. Shutter-induced blur ('shutter shock') was an issue we encountered on the GX8, which used a motor and spring arrangement in its shutter mechanisms. The new electromagnetic shutter found in the GX85 resolves this problem.
The GX85 also has no anti-aliasing filter, a first for Panasonic cameras. This should lead to better detail retention at the pixel level, but can also lead to moiré. However, Panasonic claims that the new Venus Engine image processor is specially tuned to combat moiré and false color and in use, we've found that it does so pretty well.
Like the GX8, the GX85 offers Dual I.S., combining sensor-based image stabilization with lens-based IS. But unlike the GX8, which has 4-axis sensor IS, the GX85 offers 5-axis sensor IS with rotation correction. Another advantage over its big bro: the GX85 can also use Dual IS during 4K video capture, something that the GX8 cannot.
Compared to its peers
|Panasonic GX85||Panasonic GX8||Panasonic GX7||Olympus PEN-F||Sony a6300|
|Sensor||16.0MP Four Thirds CMOS||20.3MP Four Thirds CMOS||16.0MP Four Thirds CMOS||20.3MP Four Thirds CMOS||24.0MP APS-C CMOS|
|Image stabilization||Sensor-shift (5-axis) + Dual I.S.
||Sensor-shift (4-axis) + Dual I.S.||Sensor-shift (2-axis)||Sensor-shift (5-axis)||In-lens only|
|AF system||49-pt CDAF||49-pt CDAF||23-pt CDAF||81-pt CDAF||Hybrid AF
(with 425 PDAF points)
|Flash x-sync||1/160 sec||1/250 sec||1/320 sec||1/250 sec||1/160 sec|
|6 fps||6 fps||5 fps||5 fps||11 fps|
|EVF res/type||2.76M-dot field sequential LCD||2.36M-dot tilting OLED||2.76M-dot tilting field sequential LCD||2.36M-dot fixed OLED||2.36M-dot fixed OLED|
|LCD type/res||3" tilting touch 1.04M-dot LCD||3" vari-angle touch
|3" tilting touch
|3" vari-angle touch
|Built-in flash||Yes||No||Yes||No *||Yes|
|Video||2160/30p @ 100Mbps||2160/30p @ 100Mbps||1080/60p @ 28Mbps||1080/60p @ 77Mbps||2160/30p @ 100Mbps|
|Mic/headphone sockets||No / No||Yes / No||No / No||No / No||Yes / No|
|Battery life||290 shots||330 shots||320 shots||330 shots||400 shots|
|Dimensions||122 x 71 x 44 mm||133 x 78 x 63mm||123 x 71 x 55mm||125 x 72 x 37mm||120 x 67 x 49 mm|
|Weight (CIPA)||426 g||487 g||402 g||427 g||404 g|
|* External flash included in box|
It's arguable whether the GX85 should be called the little brother of the GX8 or the true replacement to the GX7. And the different regional naming conventions for the GX85 only add to the confusion. The chart above seems to give support to both ways of looking at it: the GX85 uses the same field sequential EVF as the GX7 (although it doesn't tilt), and what is presumably the same sensor (sans AA filter). And like the GX7, it lacks weather sealing and microphone/headphone ports but has a pop-up flash.
However, aside from its sensor and EVF, the GX85 also shares a lot of core components and specs with the GX8, such as its 49-point AF system, 4K video capture and 6 fps burst with AF. So whichever way you view the GX85, it certainly stacks up nicely to its Panasonic peers, as well as to the competition.
|Part of the family: The GX85 (top) alongside its Lumix stablemates, the GX7 and GX8.|
Pricing and availability
Kitted with the collapsible 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens, the GX85/GX80 will run you $799/£599/€699. In the UK and Europe it's available body-only for £509/€599 and with both the 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 and a 35-100mm F4-5.6 for £729/€899.
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