Dil Roberts Photography


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Panasonic GX85 - Initial Impression (Is it a Reborn GX7?)


This is supposed to be the little brother of the GX8. I see the GX85 as the big brother of the GX7, a halfway house if you like. If you look at the images below, you can hardly tell the cameras apart, and I have to hold it and look at it to tell the difference. OK, my G85 is brown which makes it easier to tell which is which, but at the bricks and mortar shop both cameras were black and I really couldn’t tell the difference.

I decided against purchasing the GX85, going instead for the G81 because of better reviews. Having had the G81 now for a couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion I prefer the rangefinder type camera. Maybe that’s why I’m a great believer in the Olympus E-M5 I/II and the E-M10 I/II cameras. I also have the Pen-F but that front wheel gets in my way and I find it intrusive at times.

I am also the owner of the GX7 so why purchase the GX85 you ask? Good question. I have always said that the GX7 was a good camera, I just wasn’t really a friend of it’s EVF. Unfortunately things haven’t changed in this department but the other functions offset that in my opinion. Let me highlight what functions persuaded me to purchase the GX85.

1. 4K photo
3. 5-axis IS with Dual I.S.


Things I don’t really care about are onboard flash, mic socket or if it only has a tilting LCD screen. I’m rather a conservative photographer tending to stick to traditional photography and I haven’t even begun to delve into video, primarily because it doesn’t really interest me and photography is a hobby of mine. I don’t earn a penny with my photography. I shoot for myself and for no-one else. What a great position to be in...well, I think so anyway.

Let’s have a look at a couple of images of both cameras. If you can immediately tell the difference between the two, you’re a better man than me Smile


Panasonic GX85

Panasonic GX85


Panasonic GX85



Panasonic GX85

NOTE: The camera also came with that wonderfull 12-32 kit lens. Exceptional IMHO.



Panasonic GX7


Hope you all noticed I switched to images of the GX7 here Wink


Panasonic GX7



Panasonic GX7



Panasonic GX7



Panasonic GX85 - Panasonic GX7



Panasonic GX85 - Panasonic GX7



Panasonic GX85 - Panasonic GX7


Having both cameras in my hands at the same time, I get the impression that the GX85 is heavier, well it is by 24g but that’s not something to write home about. So you could say both weight approximately the same.


Layout is the same apart from a button or two. Do I notice that the EVF on the GX85 isn’t tiltable? No, not really because I never used it that way on the GX7. What interest me more is the form factor. The rangefinder type body. What I did notice immediately is the grip on the GX85 is slightly smaller than on the GX7. I wonder if that is going to cause me a problem down the road?

It’s the same 16MP sensor so that isn’t going to be a problem, the 20MP sensor on the Pen-F and the GX8 isn’t such a leap from the 16MP sensor. If it was 24MP, then that would have made a difference, but I think 20MP for a M43 sensor is getting near the limit. Panasonic and Olympus are going to have to come up with a solution to this little problem, or they will be left behind and will slowly dwindle into obscurity.

SIDENOTE: I’ve often read on the Internet/Forums from posters asking why doesn’t Olympus and/or Panasonic bring out an FF M43 camera. Well, the Four-Thirds sensor is approx. 17mm x 13mm in size. For a M43 sensor, that is full frame. That is the size of the sensor. Bring anything else into a M43 camera and it will no longer be M43. Then I hear, why don’t they just double the sensor size, that way it’s still M43. That would be getting close to a FF sensor. Then you have the problem of lenses, they would have to be bigger to accommodate the bigger sensor. I have no wish whatsoever to go into Sony circles here. Their cameras are smaller but mount their lenses on their bodies and the whole system becomes much bigger. That goes against the principle of the M43 system. Or have I misunderstood everything about this argument? Please enlighten me if I have.

Concluding this little post (I think I digressed a little at the end) my impression is that the GX85 is a reborn GX7. In Japan I believe it's called the GX7 II. A little cosmetic differences but quite a few enhancements on the inside. I think, for me, the extra functions it offers was worth the upgrade. I will not be selling the GX7 however as I almost always take out two bodies with me. Now I can the best of both worlds, my old GX7 and a bigger brother with some lovely extra functions.

I’ll let you know how they get on in a future post.




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I'm an enthusiastic photographer who likes to tinker with manual lenses on most camera formats.


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