The Panasonic G85 is one the brand's latest DSLR mid-range mirrorless cameras that also happens to feature a variety of high-end features without the high-end price. The G85 has been upgraded from its previous models in a few different areas, including the body and build, and the fact that it allows for 4K video recording.
While the Panasonic G85 was originally released in October 2016, it is still a top-notch pick for many armature professional photographers thanks to its fast and accurate autofocus and ISO performance and dynamic range.
While the G85 is a favorite, it does have quite a few comparable competitors from the likes of Fujifilm, Sony, and Olympus. How does the Panasonic G85 stack up to its competitors? Keep reading to find out.
The Panasonic G85 not only has a compact body, making it easy to handle while out and about, but it also has a 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens providing cutting-edge video, audio, image stabilization and so much more.
With 16 Megapixels, a three-inch Vari-Angle touchback screen, pop-up flash and wireless capabilities, it is no wonder why this camera is a favorite amongst consumers.
Below, we have provided a list of key features of the Panasonic G85 and a little bit of information on each one.
Shutter Shock Reduction
The vibration from the shutter has a tendency to make images look softer than intended. The G85 uses a new electromagnetic shutter mechanism, along with a magnesium front plate to help reduce this issue. According to Digital Photography Review, the use of the mechanical shutter or the EFC shutter mode helped diminish most – if not all – of the softness from the vibration of the shutter.
5-Axis Gyro Sensor + Dual IS
The Panasonic G85 features a new gyro sensor that increases the image stability compensation power of the 5-Axis Body image stabilization. This helps to correct hand-shake for all lenses, including classic lenses that are not equipped with optical image stabilization.
It also integrates 5-Axis Dual I.S.2. by combining 5-axis body and 2-axis lens stabilization, this creates a more effective handshake correction and compensation for shots up to 5 f-stops. The 5-axis stabilization works in both wide and telephoto photography and 4K video recording.
16-Megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor
The 16-Megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor helps bring your photos to life with true-to-life detail. The MOS sensor with no low pass filter helps to capture sharp, more detailed images. By removing the low pass filter, image quality improves by approximately 10 percent. By combining the Digital Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine, the camera renders clear images with minimum noise in even low-lighting situations.
AK Video + AK Photo
Unlike some cameras, the G85 allows users to capture stunning 4K single frames from a 4K video sequence shot at 30 frames per second. This allows users to save these frames as 4K high-resolution images. Being able to pull those 4K, high-resolution images from video clips makes this camera an attractive option for those who want to keep that special moment close at hand and in amazing overall quality.
This camera offers videographers a variety of options as well, including a 3.5mm mic input, 100Mbps bit rate recording, and a variety of other features such as a fully manual exposure recording, 4K Live Cropping, focus peaking and exposure zebras.
3-Inch 1.04 M-Dot Fully-Articulating Touchscreen LCD
The 3.0-inch screen and 1.04-dot touchscreen were retained from the G7 model. It also has a free-angle design that allows the screen to be turned around to face the front. This feature is ideal for taking selfies or shooting videos of yourself.
The three-inch screen makes it large enough for viewing and selecting menu options.
Focus Stacking and Post Focus
The Post Focus feature captures a photo while shifting focus across a predetermined distance range. This photo is, in reality, from a 4K video clip. In this feature, you play back the clip, tap on the LCD screen to pick the area or a specific object that you want to be in sharp focus, and have that specific image have its own separate file.
Then there is the Focus Stacking feature that works very similarly. The difference is the user selects a predetermined range of focus and the focus range that they want to merge. According to Image Resource, once selected, “the camera will automatically combine each ‘slice,’ together in a single JPEG image with a deep depth of field.”
With the help of the built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, users can pair their camera with their smart devices to the Panasonic Image app. Once they do, they can view and download images, videos and share them with others. The app can also be used on smart devices to control a majority of the camera’s functions and for remote shooting.
As with most every changing technology, the overall design of the Panasonic G85 changed very little compared to its predecessor, the G7. One big difference worth noting is the fact that the G85 body is now both splash and dustproof. This alone makes the camera a standout piece for those that want to take it on the go.
When looking at the top of the camera, users will notice that there are two control dials, an on/off button, a movie start/stop, and customizable function button.
The top-right mode dial allows users to choose between different exposures, including the standard program shooting, aperture priority shooting, shutter priority shooting, and manual shooting modes. This dial also has different scene programs and effects.
Moving over to the top-left drive mode dial, users will see different shooting options such as single shot, burst shot, 4K photo, Post Focus, self-timer and a time-lapse option.
When users look at the back of the camera, not only will they see the touch screen/monitor, they will also see the viewfinder, eye sensor, menu button, speaker, Display button, the AF/AE lock button, focus mode lever, and your delete/cancel button. The cursor buttons include the ISO sensitivity, White balance, and Auto Focus Mode.
The right side of the camera houses the memory card while on the left, users will find two flaps that reveal a few different ports. These ports include a Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB, a 2.5mm remote jack and a 3.5mm microphone jack. One thing missing here is the headphone jack that was seen in previous models.
While this camera sees some improvements in overall image quality over older models, many are still finding that JPEGs are tending to look a little washed-out at higher ISOs and that the noise reduction is often sloppy.
However, like many higher-end cameras, if you are going to compare these still shots to those from an average point and shoot camera or even a smartphone camera, the difference is going to be night and day. These stills will be sharper, clearer and leave people stunned by your work. When it comes to the video, the quality is said to be pretty outstanding in 4K but also in 1080 HD.
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With a nine frame per second burst shooting and six frames per second AF-C, 330-shot battery life and Wi-Fi capability, the performance of the D85 model leaves users pleased. While many DSLR cameras are known to be slow on startup, this Panasonic starts up without an issue, with only a bit of a difference in startup between the LDC and viewfinder image according to TechRadar.
Both the Electronic Viewfinder and the LCD performance have pleased consumers, as both are relatively responsive, as are the on-screen menu options.
What Consumers Are Saying
It is safe to say that Panasonic’s G85 is one of the top-rated mirrorless cameras on the market. One of the most frequent compliments is that it is one of the best-valued cameras out there given its price tag and what you get for your money. When it comes to the image quality overall, while some believe it has room for improvements, many also believe that it provides stunning still shots and the fact that it can shoot in 4K.
There are quite a few different reasons to fall in love with the G85, including its weatherproof design, the image stabilization system and its autofocus. The autofocus is a favorite amongst users as its processing speeds are quick, and it provides beautiful images for both static and moving subjects. Thanks to the removal of the low-pass filter, this camera can produce stunning image quality and 4K video quality.
Another advantage of the autofocus feature is that it works well in low lighting situation. Then there is the fact that users can make use of the 4K photo modes, the camera’s excellent buffer depths and cycle times and the improved continuous shooting performance. It’s as if users are getting a luxury model camera for mid-range pricing!
While there is a lot to love about the G85, users have found a variety of things that they have an issue with as well. One area is the noticeable difference between RAW image and JPEG image quality. While both are beautiful in their own ways, the JPEG struggles at higher ISO’s as it tends to take away some of the finer details.
Another issue users found were the occasionally over-complicated interface with menus that could easily overwhelm someone new to the hobby. This tends to be an issue for those just getting into the hobby, and it is recommended that users get to know the camera well so that they can make good use of the customizable options. This will then take away some of the intimidation factors.
The battery life is another sore spot for many users, as it is said to be able to capture only about 330 still shots by using the monitor and 320 shots when using the electronic viewfinder. It is recommended that users have a backup battery on hand if they are planning on using this camera for a trip our out on long days.
The Panasonic G85 Is A Top-Notch
While the Panasonic G85 may have some notable flaws, it also comes with some pretty awesome upgrades when compared to previous models.
Two of the biggest punches that the G85 has over other cameras in its price range include the fact that users can shoot 4K videos and that this camera boasts a weatherproof body. These are both features that tend to come with the more expensive cameras and yet, Panasonic was able to include them in their mid-range DSLR-style mirrorless camera.
Some things you’ll want to keep in mind while shopping will include the pros and cons listed above, your overall intentions for the camera, as in what types of projects you want to use it for and your budget you’ll want to keep in mind the prices of accessories including lens packs, storage system, and extra batteries.
Overall, if you are looking for a mid-range camera that can pack the same or similar punches as the more luxurious cameras, the Panasonic G85 may just be the camera for you.