Review Date: September 24, 2016
Photoxels Gold Award – Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
IMAGE QUALITYThe Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85 is a compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (“mirrorless,” “Compact System Camera, CSC” — or, as Panasonic refers to it, “DSLM, Digital Single Lens Mirrorless”) targeted to serious and advanced (“enthusiast”) photographers. It has 16MP resolution on a Four Thirds (17.3 x 13.0 mm) Live MOS image sensor and accepts interchangeable lenses on the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mount.
The LUMIX G85 has excellent image quality including very good low-light performance at ISO 200 with good detail preserved. Image quality is very good up to ISO 1600, and images up to ISO 6400 are very usable. At higher ISOs, images suffer from noise and loss of detail.
One of the many advantages of an interchangeable lens camera is the ability to use different lenses suited to specific jobs. The G85 comes with a LUMIX G VARIO 12-60 mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / POWER O.I.S. (35 mm equivalent focal length: 24-120 mm) 5x optical zoom kit lens which has 7 circular blades, a minimum aperture of F22, and accepts 58mm diameter filters. It’s a great walkaround lens, providing wide-angle and portrait coverage. In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 12mm [24mm equiv.] then 60mm [120mm equiv.].
The LUMIX G85 has full exposure flexibility with PASM modes, and Program Shift. The camera also provides exposure compensation (with Auto Bracketing) and Custom (Manual) White Balance. A Live Histogram can be displayed.
The actual macro capability is a function of the lens you use. The 12-60mm kit lens allows you to focus as close as 0.2m/0.66ft (W) and 0.25m/0.82ft (T).
The AF Area can be resized and can be manually moved to anywhere (and we mean, anywhere, to the very edge) on the screen. The AF is very fast in good light, takes about 1 sec. in very low light.
There are three metering modes: Multiple / Center Weighted / Spot. Since the LCD is touchscreen, Touch AF/AE allows you to finger-point exactly where you want the camera to focus and measure the light.
As the above two pictures show, the Auto White Balance (AWB) is not quite accurate indoors under artificial lighting [I have two energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs on the ceiling]. The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85 allows WB to be set manually and this brings out the real colors. AWB works very well in natural light.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85 has 8 or 22 ISO settings, depending on whether you choose 1 EV or 1/3 EV ISO steps in Custom Menu [MENU – Rec – ISO Increments] going from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, plus extended ISO 100. The 100% crops above demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds (in 1 EV ISO steps). At ISO 200 to 1600, noise is under control. Noise starts to be slightly visible at ISO 3200 but is still very acceptable up to ISO 6400. Noise (with progressively higher detail loss) is quite visible at higher ISOs. Overall, excellent noise handling.
CA (Purple Fringing)
CA is not much of a problem, even in high contrast shots, using the 12-60mm kit lens.
Our Long Shutter Speed test is a torture test for digital cameras. Here we test whether (and how well) a camera can lock focus, provide accurate WB and obtain a correct exposure in extreme low light situations. The LUMIX G85 passes the test easily.
The LUMIX G85 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 60 sec. in PASM modes, therefore allowing nice night photography. Generally, with image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds.
To test this noise reduction algorithm, I take a low-light indoors shot. I set the G85 to Manual mode, select a shutter speed of 60 sec., set ISO to 800 and an Aperture of f/5.6. The AF locked without any problem with the help of the AF Assist Lamp. Even at this long shutter speed, the LUMIX G85’s noise reduction seems to be working great, producing a nice smooth blurring effect of the background.
Overall, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G85 has excellent DSLR-level image quality including very good low light capability, making it an easy choice for a compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. It is quick, point-and-shoot easy to use in iA and P mode, and also gives full semi-auto and manual controls for more advanced photographers.
- Panasonic G85 Press Release
- Panasonic G85 Technical Specs
- Panasonic G85 User Manual
- Panasonic G85 Firmware Update
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