Saturday, July 9, 2016

GX85 – The Arrival

I had what I like to call a “great selloff” of camera gear in order to get the Panasonic GX85, a body with a wonderful set of features and with a form factor that I have enjoyed in the past with the GX1.

I sold the GF3 for 60 bucks (the one I dropped in Stockholm with aftermarket batteries and charger so it had little real value), the E-PM2 for a couple hundred, and the GM1 with the excellent 12-32 kit lens for about 490 or something like that. I also sold the Oberwerk Astronomical Binoculars for about 180, so that brought me enough to handle most of the cost of the GX85.

I order it yesterday around noon from The Camera Store in Alberta, famous for their excellent test video series. They shipped Purolator and it arrived today at noon, blowing my mind.

So I popped out for a few minutes at lunch and then again after work to try it out with the 100-300 lens on the monopod. I wanted to see whether they were a decent match, and I can say unequivocally that they are. The images are all excellent and there was no shutter shock style blurring present. This is an issue with the G7 if you are not careful, so I think the GX85 is my new long lens camera.

So … my first impressions.

  • Excellent form factor. Feels nice in the hand and reminds me a lot of the GX1.
  • Poor EVF. A real step down from the G5 through G7. I am getting used to it, but they should not have used this one when the one in the G7 seems so much better. Panasonic has a very bad habit of allowing too much independence between teams, and some of them make really dumb decisions on features.
  • Good grip. It feels great in my hands. The grip has a sharp(ish) edge to it so despite not being all that deep, I can grip it very well.
  • Dumb placement of on/off switch. Honestly could not imagine a worse choice. Another brain fart for team GX85. However, I will eventually get used to it.
  • Lovely LCD. The tilt is nice and it fits flush to the body. You would never know it tilted.
  • Love the monochrome EVF display option. Supposedly for manual focus clarity, but I like the clarity in all cases.
  • Has some heft. Feels about the size of the GX1, which is not small. Very well built IMO.
  • The flash is magnificent as it retains the classic GF / GX ability to be bounced. Why can the G series not do that? (More team brain farts one supposes.)
  • The shutter is fantastic. The new solenoid based shutter is quick and quiet while stilling sounding real. Nicely done.
  • Image quality is excellent. The lack of AA filter is not blindingly obvious, but the images are very sharp.
  • Kit lens sucks. Had I known it was so cheaply made, I would have kept the GM1 kit and then sold the GM1 with the GX85 lens. I liked the real one that came with the GM1. All that said, this lens seems very sharp.
  • No charger included – pathetic. On the other hand, I like the ability to charge in camera over night. But I would rather have had the charger.

All in all, I can say that I am very pleased. Handles well, even with big lenses. Feels nice in hand and shoots great.

I am very glad so far that I grabbed the GX85 to go with the G7 as my main travel kit. The G6 will back them up for a while in cases where I want to have a third angle in video.

One more thing … the GX85 looks really nice in black. Very modern.

Some samples of its images … just quick shots, nothing very exciting. They begin after the last Pug image with the shot of two yellow daisies:

The bee close ups near the end (as of this writing) on the small purple (or so I am told) flowers are severe crops.