Just a couple housekeeping notes:
* Before I continue, I have to put out a disclaimer and say that I was chosen as part of Panasonic and Lumix USA’s campaign (#PanasonicAdvocate) to test this camera out and share my experiences with an unbiased and honest review. And that is exactly what I’m going to do as these opinions are my own and I have literally been using this camera almost every day for over a month.
** Please read the summary above. If you’re looking for a technical and spec-rich review, this is not for you.
*** All images are taken with the kit lens. I’m not invested in m43, so unfortunately, I did not have other lenses to use. As such, I won’t be discussing anything that might be lens related such as flares, fringing, etc.
**** If you’re interested in purchasing this camera, I would be so grateful if you used my referral link. Click here to check current prices.
I started out my mirrorless journey with the Panasonic GF1. It was a pioneer amongst the mirrorless cameras and to this day remains one of my favorite cameras to have used. Since then, I’ve owned mirrorless cameras from Olympus, Fujifilm and now Sony so it’s kind of cool how this all came full circle when Panasonic approached me with the gx85.
Let’s get the things I dislike out of the way because they’re not a deal breaker for me, they’re simply just things I think can be improved upon. While I appreciate and have grown to love the tilt screen, I wish this camera flipped all the way up for selfies and group shots. Selfies aside, when I’m traveling, this is super useful trying for getting quick self-portraits.
This is also my first touch screen for a camera. While I love the option to quickly change my focal points with a touch of the screen, I find that when I put the camera up to my eye to compose a shot through the EVF, the touch focus point is so sensitive that it moves around like crazy.
The camera is also a bit heavy for it’s size. I read that people complained that it’s predecessor seemed dinky in the hands and while they improved that with the gx85 feeling robust, in my opinion, it’s a touch too heavy for such a compact m43 camera.
On that same note, because the added weight is attributed to making the camera feel more robust, they really should have made this weather proof. It would cancel out any negative feelings one has towards this camera being slightly heavy for a small compact.
High ISO = mehhh photo quality. There’s not much to this point other then when you have a small sensor and you’re pushing it’s ISO, images tend to smudge up, noise builds and the clarity becomes lost. It’s not horrible by any means and they’ve come such a long way since the first m43 cameras, but larger sensor cameras will always have the edge when it comes to high ISO.
The ability to set a minimum shutter speed in auto ISO. I don’t understand how companies will leave this out of their cameras but add stuff like a monochrome filter. SIGH.
It’s so cute/cool. Yea I said it. Whatever lol. I’m big on how cameras look these days. I think the aesthetic of ones tools are a direct representation of ones style. For me, I love when cameras can embody a retro rangefinder look while still infusing some modern design elements without looking like the two are fighting against each other. When I think of retro and modern design friction, I think of some of the Olympus bodies. When I think of the perfect blend of retro and modern, I think of the Leica Q.
The buttons and dials are all fantastic. So much so I rarely use any of the touch screen buttons to navigate around for settings and the camera interface and menus.
The build quality is first rate. I know I said earlier it was a tad bit too heavy and while I stick with that statement, it really does feel good in the hands regardless.
Start up time is instant. Something Sony really needs to take note on.
I love the kit lens. It’s so small but provides a good range and the quality is really good for what it is. It’s also built well for a kit lens so the overall vibe of this combo still feels like a premium product.
The image stabilization on this thing is BANANAS. My Sony A7RII also has 5-axis image stabilization, but the gx85 also takes advantage of lens I.S. creating a Dual I.S. system. Video clips feel like they’re taken with a gimbal (super amateur clips btw).
I’ll never buy a camera without Wi-Fi. Many times, I like to post photos instantly, especially when I’m traveling. The Wi-Fi on the gx85 works great with the app and transfers images relatively fast. I’ve yet to loose connection while transferring photos.
Pop up flash, yes! People don’t care or need this but like I said, when you have a camera that intends to be with you all the time, a flash never hurts.
This camera is rich in features. From things like post focus, 4k video, 4k photo mode and filters. The only of these I will probably use is the 4k video, the rest just isn’t for me though it’s nice to have for those whom it might be for.
And like many current mirrorless cameras, the autofocus is lightning fast.
Just like with every other mirrorless camera out there, there are still some short comings. Most of which I didn’t feel the need to mention because we’ve heard it time and time before. The most notable for me being battery life. It makes sense though when you have a small battery trying to give life to an almost all electronic device (LCD, EVF, shutter, etc.).
With those little gripes aside, I still do believe mirrorless is the future and this camera is just part of that journey.
The Panasonic gx85 is a great, be-with-you-at-all-times camera. As you can see by the photos I’ve posted below, that’s exactly what happened. The gx85 was with me at all times. It came with me to dinner, it came exploring in my Jeep and it came with me to hang out with some friends.
Will I be using it for my paid work? No, but that’s because the work I do require a different kind of camera. Is it capable for paid work? Absolutely! Just ask any of the social influencers making a killing per post with an iPhone.