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Panasonic Lumix GX85 (GX80) review: The GX85 packs a lot of camera for the price

Overall, though, the continuous shooting performs well enough for the needs of enthusiasts. The hybrid sensor shift/optical image stabilization system also works well with the kit lens, as does the sensor-shift-only which you get with other lenses such as the fast Olympus primes I shot with.

The camera's biggest performance disappointment: battery life. Under typical circumstances, the remaining life would drop a lot after a few hours. Shooting 4K video and burst drains it even faster.

Shooting speed

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
0.1
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.7
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
0.1
0.4
0.2
0.2
0.8
Sony A6000
0.2
0.3
0.2
0.2
2.1

Legend:

Shutter lag (typical)
Shutter lag (dim light)
Typical shot-to-shot time
Raw shot-to-shot time
Time to first shot

Note:

Seconds (Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous-shooting speed

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
4.2
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
6.6
Sony A6000
11.1

Note:

Frames per second (Longer bars indicate better performance)

Does it all

I like the GX85's design. The viewfinder's reasonably big and comfortable, it has a modest grip and a tilting touchscreen display and both front and back dials and direct access to most controls. You can customize the quick menu to bring up only the options you really use, and customize and save control mappings and settings separately for photos and videos.

However, I still haven't hit on the right combination of settings that will keep my cheek from changing the autofocus area when it hits the touchscreen (without giving up 1-area AF); I miss shots because of it, and it happens with every Panasonic touchscreen I use.

panasonic-lumix-dmc-gx85-gx80-01.jpg
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The GX85 is a good size if you're looking for a compact alternative to a dSLR.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It incorporates all the latest Panasonic features, including 4K burst modes (which shoots a 4K video at a high-ish shutter speed so you can extract individual frames) and post focus (which takes a 4K movie focused at multiple planes in the scene so that you can choose the one with the blurred areas you like best) as implemented in the ZS100 (aka TZ100 and TZ110).

The GX85 allows for password-free Wi-Fi connections to mobile devices in addition to all the other connection features the company's had for a while. Panasonic's wireless transfer and remote operation is quite robust.

Conclusion

If the autofocus were more consistent and the battery life longer -- both of which I suspect could be improved with a firmware update -- this would be a no-brainer recommendation over its sibling, the G7, which I like a lot. Even so, it's one of the better cameras in its price class, especially if you want the advantages a mirrorless confers over a similarly priced dSLR: it's smaller, as fast or faster, has a more advanced autofocus system and a boatload more features including 4K video.

Comparative specifications

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Fujifilm X-T10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Pansonic Lumix DMC-GX85
DMC-GX80 (UK)
Sensor effective resolution 16.1MP Live MOS 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II 16MP Live MOS 16MP Live MOS
Sensor size 17.3mm x 13mm 23.6 x 15.8mm 17.3 x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.0x 1.5x 2.0x 2.0x
OLPF Yes No Yes No
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 6400/51200 (exp) ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600
Burst shooting 4fps
unlimited JPEG/raw
(8.5fps with focus and exposure fixed on the first frame and no IS)
8fps
8 JPEG/n/a raw
(unlimited JPEG at 3fps)
6fps
100 JPEG/13 raw
(8fps with focus fixed on first frame; 40fps with electronic shutter)
6fps
at least 100 JPEG/13 raw
(10fps with electronic shutter and focus fixed on the first frame)
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
EVF
2.36m dots
100% coverage
1.08-1.23x/0.59-0.63x
EVF
0.4-inch/10mm
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
0.93x/0.62x
OLED EVF
2.36m dots
100% coverage
1.4x/0.7x
EVF
2.8m dots
100% coverage
1.39x/0.7x
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 81-area
Contrast AF
77-point phase-detection AF
49-area Contrast AF
49-area
DFD Contrast AF
49-area
DFD Contrast AF
AF sensitivity n/a n/a -4 - 18 EV -4 - 18 EV
Shutter speed 60-1/4,000 sec. (1/16,000 sec. electronic shutter); bulb; 1/250 sec. x-sync (1/200 with external flash) 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync (electronic shutter to 1/32,000 sec.) 1/4,000 to 60 sec. (up to 1/16,000 with electronic shutter); bulb to 2 minutes; 1/160 sec. x-sync 60 -1/4,000 sec.; max 1/16,000 sec. with electronic shutter; 1/160 sec. x-sync; bulb to 2 minutes
Metering 324 area 256 zones 1,728 zone 1,728 zone
Metering sensitivity -2 - 20 EV n/a 0 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p @ 77Mbps; 1080/60p @ 52Mbps H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
UHD/30p, 25p, 24p @ 100Mbps; 1080/60p, 50p, 25p, 24p @ 28Mbps
H.264 QuickTime MOV
4K UHD/30p, 25p, 24p @ 100Mbps; 1080/60p, 50p, 25p, 24p @ 200Mbps
Audio Stereo Stereo Stereo; mic input Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip 29 minutes 14 minutes 29:59 minutes 4GB/29:59 minutes
IS Sensor shift
5 axis
Optical Optical Hybrid optical, sensor shift
5 axis
LCD 3-inch/7.5cm
Tilting touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in./7.5 cm
Tilting
920,000 dots
3 in./7.5cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3-inch/7.5 cm
Tilting touchscreen
1.04 million dots
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC 1 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash Yes Yes No Yes
Battery life (CIPA rating) 320 shots
(1,175 mAh)
350 shots
(1,120 mAh)
360 shots
(1,200 mAh)
290 shots (LCD); 270 shots (EVF)
(1,025 mAh)
Size (WHD) 4.7x3.3x1.8 in.
120x83x47mm
4.7 x 3.3 x 1.6 in.
118.4 x 82.8 x 40.8 mm
4.9 x 3.4 x 3.1 in.
124.9 x 86.2 x 77.4 mm
4.8 x 2.8 x 1.7 in.
122 x 71 x 44 mm
Body operating weight 14.1 oz.
400 g
13.4 oz. (est.)
381 g (est.)
14.7 oz.
418 g
15.3 oz.
434 g
Primary kit $700
£550
AU$1,000 (est.)
(with 14-42mm EZ lens)
$900 (est.)
£550 (est.)
(with 16-50mm lens)
AU$1,300 (est.)
(with 18-55mm lens)
$700
£500 (est.)
£550
(with 12-60mm lens)
£490 (est.)
AU$900
(with 14-42mm lens)
$800
£600
AU$1,200
(with 12-32mm lens)
Release date September 2015 June 2015 June 2015 May 2016

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