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Cameras

Panasonic Lumix G85 targets outdoor photographers

Panasonic combines the G7 and the GX85 into the G85/G80, ruggedizes it and bulks up the video features.

Panasonic takes its Lumix G7 mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera upstream -- literally -- with the Lumix G85, an updated and more rugged version of a combination of a slightly redesigned G7 body with the internals of the GX85/GX80, intended to appeal to the outdoor photographer. In addition to incorporating the antialiasing-filter-free sensor and image processor and stabilization system from the GX85, the G85 improves on the G7 body with dust-and-splash resistance and the ability to take a battery grip. Plus it adds some more advanced video capabilities and improved image stabilization.

The camera will ship in October with a body-only price of $900 and a $1,000 kit with the 12-60mm f3.5-5.6 lens announced in February 2016. I don't have non-US pricing or availability yet, but those directly convert to roughly £690/£770 and AU$1,200/AU$1,335. In the UK the name will be the G80.

What's new

  • Design. In addition to the weather sealing and support for a battery grip (DMW-BGG1), Panasonic tweaked the design for improved usability. The SD card slot is now on the grip, where it belongs, and it adds electronic first-curtain shutter (EFCS) for decreased shutter vibration. It also has a magnesium front panel for increased rigidity which decreases vibration, as well. And the viewfinder has slightly more magnification.
  • Performance. Panasonic incorporated a new gyro in the body to beef up its 5-axis hybrid image-stabilization system, dubbed "Dual IS 2." While the continuous-shooting frame rate with autofocus remains essentially unchanged, it's got a deeper buffer for a decent number of raw shots.
  • Video. While the camera has the usual Panasonic 4K video-enabled features such as focus stacking and Live Crop, it also gains clean HDMI out (4:2:2), monochrome preview and the ability to fiddle with the luma value. In the US, you can shoot a single 4K video clip for up to 45 minutes rather than being forced to cut off at 29:59 (which is an artifact of European regulations). However, it lacks support for V-Log profiles.

My take

I tend to like Panasonic's cameras because of the balance of speed, size, features and photo quality, and the G85/G80 combines the best of both worlds from its latest mirrorless models. Olympus' OM-D models, probably the E-M5 Mark II, are its closest competitors, but the EM5M2 is two years old and needs a general update to bring it into 2016.

Comparative specs

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85
DMC-G80 (UK)
Pansonic Lumix DMC-GX85
DMC-GX80 (UK)
Sensor effective resolution 16.1MP Live MOS 16MP Live MOS 16MP Live MOS 16MP Live MOS
Sensor size 17.3 x 13mm 17.3 x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm
Focal-length multiplier 2.0x 2.0x 2.0x 2.0x
OLPF Yes Yes No No
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 (exp)/ISO 200 - ISO 25600
Burst shooting 5fps
unlimited JPEG and raw
(10fps with fixed focus and IS off)
6fps
100 JPEG/13 raw
(8fps with focus fixed on first frame; 40fps with electronic shutter)
6fps
300 JPEG/45 raw
(9fps with focus and exposure fixed on first frame)
6fps
at least 100 JPEG/13 raw
(10fps with electronic shutter and focus fixed on the first frame)
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
EVF
100% coverage
2.36 million dots
1.3x - 1.48x/ 0.65x - 0.74x
OLED EVF
100% coverage
2.36m dots
1.4x/0.7x
OLED EVF
100% coverage
2.36m dots
1.5x/0.74x
EVF
100% coverage
2.8m dots
1.4x/0.7x
Hot shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 81-area
Contrast AF
49-area
DFD Contrast AF
49-area
DFD Contrast AF
49-area
DFD Contrast AF
AF sensitivity n/a -4 - 18 EV -4 - 18 EV -4 - 18 EV
Shutter speed 60 - 1/8000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync (Super FP to 1/8000) 1/4000 to 60 secs (up to 1/16000 with electronic shutter); bulb to 2 minutes; 1/160 sec x-sync 1/4000 to 60 secs (up to 1/16000 with electronic shutter); bulb to 2 minutes; 1/160 sec x-sync 60 -1/4000 sec; max 1/16000 sec with electronic shutter; 1/160 sec x-sync; bulb to 2 minutes
Shutter durability n/a n/a n/a n/a
Metering 324 area 1,728 zone 1,728 zone 1,728 zone
Metering sensitivity -2 - 20 EV 0 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p, 50p (52 Mbps); 30p, 25p, 24p (77 Mbps)
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
H.264 QuickTime MOV
4K UHD/30p, 25p, 24p @ 100Mbps; 1080/60p, 50p, 25p, 24p @ 200Mbps
Audio Stereo; mic input; headphone jack on HLD-8G grip Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time per clip 4GB 29:59 mins 45 mins
(in US only)
29:59 elsewhere
4GB/29:59 minutes
Clean HDMI out Yes n/a Yes n/a
IS Sensor shift
5 axis
Optical Sensor shift Dual IS 2
5 axis
Sensor shift Dual IS
5 axis
LCD 3 in/7.5cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m dots
3 in/7.5cm
Articulated touchscreen
1.04m 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 Included add-on Yes Yes Yes
Wireless flash Yes No Yes Yes
Battery life (CIPA rating) 310 shots
(1,220 mAh)
360 shots
(1,200mAh)
330 shots (LCD); 320 shots (VF)
(1,200 mAh)
290 shots (LCD); 270 shots (EVF)
(1,025 mAh)
Size (WHD) 4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in
124 x 85 x 45 mm
4.9 x 3.4 x 3.1 in
124.9 x 86.2 x 77.4 mm
5.1 x 3.5 x 2.9 in
128 x 89 x 74 mm
4.8 x 2.8 x 1.7 in
122 x 71 x 44 mm
Body operating weight 15.7 oz
446 g
14.7 oz
418 g
17.1 oz (est.)
505 g (est.)
15.3 oz
434 g
Primary kit $1,100
(body only)
£950
(with 14-42mm PZ lens)
AU$1,400 (est.)
(with 14-42mm lens)
£550
(with 12-60mm lens)
$700
AU$900
(with 14-42mm lens)
$1,000
(with 12-60mm lens)
$800
£600
AU$1,200
(with 12-32mm lens)
Release date February 2015 June 2015 October 2016 May 2016

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