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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85

Panasonic GX85
Panasonic GX85
  • My first mirrorless camera.
  • Entry-level but still for enthusiasts.
  • Compact, packs a punch and is fun to use.
  • Affordable mirrorless: High-end features without the price.
8 or is it a 7 Mark II? The Panasonic GX85 is a premium mirrorless camera that is mostly a step up from the GX7, incorporates some of the technologies in the GX8, and is positioned between the two. It’s named the GX85 in North America, the GX80 in other countries and the GX7 Mark II in Japan.

The GX85 is basically a more compact version of the GX7, minus some control buttons, and the 2.7M-dot equiv. electronic viewfinder (EVF) is fixed and not tiltable like in the GX7 and GX8. The 3″ 1.04M-dot LCD display screen on the back remains touch panel and tiltable.

Panasonic GX85 (Silver)

Panasonic GX85 (Silver)

So, what’s the attraction of the GX85? Well, you get more or less a GX7 in a smaller and lighter body and at a cheaper price. One good news is that, unlike in the GX7, there is no Anti-Alias (AA) filter in front of the 16-MP sensor (20.3-MP in the GX8), which should result in sharper images. The AA filter was added into cameras to combat the risk of moiré but Panasonic claims its Venus Engine image processor takes care of that in software. The GX85 also gains the Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer) of the GX8 with an additional axis: the 5-Axis in-body sensor stabilizer (4-axis in the GX8) works in tandem with select LUMIX 2-Axis optically stabilized lenses in still capture mode — and, impressively, also in video mode (a first for any camera)!

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX85 accepts all M43 lenses

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX85 accepts all M43 lenses

The GX85 records 4K movies in full stereo sound at 24p or 30p. There are unfortunately no external microphone jack or headphone jack. 4K Photo Mode allows you to grab 4K stills (at 8M resolution) from short video clips. You also won’t miss capturing the action: grab the 30 frames before and after you press the shutter button.

Panasonic GX85 Back View, tiltable LCD

Panasonic GX85 Back View, tiltable LCD

Beginners can set the GX85 on Full AUTO and let the camera make all the decisions for them. Those who like to have more control get a Mode dial, a Front dial, a Rear dial, 4 customizable control buttons, 5 customizable on-screen tabs (“soft buttons”), RAW shooting, and remote control of the camera from your smartphone/tablet using the built-in Wi-Fi and the Panasonic Image App (free download). There is no NFC. Plus, you can convert RAW file to JPEG in-camera, with lots of options.

A new electromagnetically-driven Mechanical Shutter is quieter, reduces vibrations and gives a shutter speed range of 60 – 1/4,000 sec (mechanical) and 1 – 1/16,000 sec (electronic), with Time at approx. 120 sec. So, you get to do action-freezing shooting as well as shoot long night exposures. Continuous shooting is at 10 fps (focus locked on first shot, electronic shutter, 16M resolution) or 5 fps (continuous AF). Want faster? How about 50 fps at 5M using the electronic shutter.

Autofocus is contrast-detect, fast at 0.07 s and impressively sensitive down to a low -4EV (which means the camera can lock focus in seriously dark conditions). In addition, most photographers know that precise focusing when taking macro shots is critical and can be notoriously difficult hand held, so the GX85 has the new Post-focus mode that shoots a short 4K video clip while locking focus from the nearest to the farthest point in the scene; you can then select the frame (at 8M resolution) to keep.

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX85 (Black), pop-up flash

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX85 (Black), pop-up flash

There is both a built-in pop-up flash and a hot shoe for an external flash. You can use a finger to keep the flash pointed slightly upward for bounce from the ceiling. The flash syncs at 1/160 s.

A new monochrome mode, called the L.Monochrome, simulate shooting in B&W film, capturing deep black and rich gradation.

Unlike the GX8, the GX85 is not weather-sealed but the construction is top notch.

So, as you can see, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 is quite a capable mirrorless camera that incorporates some of Panasonic’s latest and best technologies in a compact body and is priced affordably for a premium mirrorless camera. As such, it is generating a buzz among enthusiasts who are looking for a perfect entry-level (but fully featured) compact mirrorless camera. The Panasonic GX85 is available as a kit bundled with the collapsible 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens.

Related Links:

Panasonic GX85 with collapsible 12-32mm kit lens

Panasonic GX85 with collapsible 12-32mm kit lens

Buy the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX85 at B&H:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-32mm Lens (Black)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-32mm Lens (Silver)