Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 16-Megapixel Digital Live MOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch Vari-Angle Touch LCD Screen
  • OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Micro Four Thirds mount system
  • Built-in 5-axis optical image stabilization system
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • 4K and Full 1080p HD video recording
  • 4K burst still image shooting
  • Art Filters
  • Creative Video shooting
  • Pop-up flash
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
Pros
  • Overall image quality is very good
  • Low image noise through ISO 3200
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Full control over still image and video settings allow for total creative freedom no matter how you shoot
  • Built-in 5-axis image stabilization allows you to shoot handheld with confidence in low-light
  • EVF and LCD offer excellent composition options
  • Post-focus allows you to select your focus after shooting
  • Great shooting performance with mechanical shutter, continuous AF and 4K burst modes
  • Amazing battery life with power saving mode (almost to DSLR levels)
  • HDMI and audio input add to the video shooting capabilities
  • Competitively priced for the features and performance of the camera
Cons
  • Even when shooting with the EVF, the LCD touch screen is active making it very easy to change your touch AF or other features
  • Higher ISO images are incredibly dull from noise
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.2 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 1.0 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.40 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.60 seconds
  • High Speed Burst Single AF = 8.5fps
  • High Speed Burst Single Cont. AF = 6.1fps
  • All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Panasonic Lumix G85 is another fantastic Hybrid camera that offers full manual control and excellent quality in both still image and video capture. Their 4K burst and 6.1fps continuous AF burst shooting will blow you away along with the camera's image quality and 4K video capabilities.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking to upgrade to a mirrorless camera with the control of a DSLR and the ease of a point-n-shoot. This is also a perfect camera for anyone interested in both still image and video capture.
Panasonic's newest addition to their Lumix mirrorless lineup, the Lumix G85 is a Mirco Four Thirds system featuring a 16-Megapixel Live MOS sensor, their new 5-axis image stabilization system, and 4K video capture. Like all of the other Panasonic models, the G85 is a fantastic mixed media tool, leading the way in still and video capture with the same camera. It sports full control in both still and video capture, giving you complete creative control in both modes. Full auto can also be found; loaded with easy-to-use, creative shooting modes. Top it off with an outstanding EVF and built-in WiFi, and you have a compact, easy-to-use camera that is ready for almost any situation.

Handling the G85 is a pleasure, as it features the compact and comfortable body style of the flagship GH4. This compact body features a large grip on the right side, making it comfortable to hold onto. The weather-sealed body is ready for any situation that you might find yourself in; able to withstand dust, sand, and water (not waterproof, but it can withstand small amounts of water from rain, etc.).

Its on-camera controls allow you to make most of your common settings changes without having to turn to a menu. There are plenty of programmable buttons to set the camera up just the way you like it. The new built-in, 5-axis image stabilization system adds a great deal of versatility to the camera by allowing you to shoot in lower-light situations without the need for a tripod. This system even works with the optical image stabilization systems built into the Lumix lenses for up to 5-stops of correction.

Composing and viewing your images is accomplished with either the 3.0-inch, 1.04-Million dot free-angle touch LCD screen or the 2.36-million dot OLED Live View Finder. Both offer the full gamut of shooting and camera information while providing sharp and detailed, full 100% field-of-view representations of what the camera will capture. Both options also show you all of your exposure and settings changes in real-time, so there is no guessing as to how your photos or videos will come out.

The EVF features an adjustable frame rate, allowing it to be smooth, accurate, and keep up with quick motion like an optical viewfinder. The LCD screen offers the ability to shoot around objects with fast and easy AF thanks to the free-angle touch design. It can be angled for an accurate composition in any tough shooting situation, and the touch-to-focus option makes sure the camera focuses exactly where you want it to. We did have a little trouble with the touch AF when shooting with the EVF. With the camera up to your eye, the LCD touch function is still active and can affect your shooting if bumped.

Making sure that you can share your images from anywhere, Panasonic's built-in WiFi allows you to connect a smartphone wirelessly to the camera. Once the smartphone has connected, you can use it view and copy the images that are on the camera. This allows you to share them with your favorite social media apps anywhere you have a cell signal. This connection also allows you to take control of the camera from a distance, using the smartphone as a remote viewfinder and shutter release. Capturing images, changing settings, and even changing the zoom (when using a power zoom lens) can be done through the Panasonic Image App.

Performance from the Lumix G85 lives up to Panasonic's legacy, with impressive overall test results. The camera is able to capture its first image in just 1.2 seconds after flipping the power switch. Shutter lag is almost non-existent when the camera is pre-focused, but ranges between 0.2 and 1.8 seconds when allowing the AF system to work (depending on light and zoom/lens). Shot to shot delay in single shot mode comes in at approx. 4/10 of a second and jumps to approx. 6/10 of a second when you add the built-in flash. The camera also features a standard continuous shooting mode, along with the awesome 4K burst mode, that tops out at 8.5fps (single AF) or 6.1fps (continuous AF). You can also select a slower rate or a much faster rate with an electronic shutter instead of the mechanical shutter. All of our tests were completed using a Panasonic UHS-3 16GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.

Our outdoor sample images show just how easy it is to capture excellent quality images by just composing your image and letting the camera do the work. Many of our samples were captured in both iAuto and Program shooting modes, both of which rely on the camera for the exposure settings. iAuto provided a more vivid, bold look as it incorporates the appropriate scene mode for your current shooting situation as well. All of our images show that the camera controlled aberrations and other flaws very well, allowing the fine details to really show through.

Looking at our indoor samples images, we were again very pleased with the color and exposure from the G85. Looking closely at the images throughout the ISO range, we were very surprised with the results in the mid to high range. Starting at ISO 100, our samples are sharp and full of fine detail, showing even the stitching in the American Flag. There is no noise present here or at any of the other ISO settings under 400. After 400 it starts to show, as with all cameras, but is controlled nicely and barely noticeable. This continues all the way up through ISO 1600, where the noise is kept under control for outstanding image quality. ISO 3200 is where it really starts to show through, although we still consider this very good at this point. From there is goes up quickly, making ISO 6400 the point in which you want to find better light sources instead of raising the ISO any more. Assisting with you low-light shooting is a compact built-in flash. While it is very compact and not very powerful, it can be useful in close situations as either a main light source or as a fill flash in harsh lighting.

Panasonic's face detection software is fantastic, making it a pleasure to shoot portraits. Even if you are not a professional, you will have no trouble as the camera will find and follow any faces that come into the camera's frame. This keeps the exposure and focus locked on the face, whether it is still or moving around; assuring you that when you press the shutter release you get a sharp and well exposed face. Panasonic's face detection even finds and detects the eyes of the subject for the best focus possible. Our samples came out very well, with crisp AF and excellent exposure and color. The flash was very helpful as a main light source and fill flash, with excellent results for both situations. It did not leave any redness in the eyes of our subjects either.

To assist with your creative shooting, the G85 offers a few great shooting modes. First, their collection of art filters makes it fast and easy to add a special look to your images. Next, to assure that you never miss a shot again, especially in fast paced shooting situations, the 4K burst mode captures images at 30fps; one of the fastest burst rates you will find on an ILC. These images are actually recorded as a 4K video with the option to save the individual frames. This differs from a regular video thanks to the individual frame settings, keeping each frame as sharp as possible for a great image. Finally we have the post-focus option, where the camera uses its outstanding 4K burst mode to capture a series of images, one based on each of the 49-AF areas. After the capture, you can go back and choose which of the AF points you want to use and save that image. This gives the illusion of being able to focus after the fact.

Along with still image capture, the Lumix G85 is a very powerful video capture device as well. Featuring a dedicated video recording button that works in any recording mode and a full manual video shooting mode; this camera is always ready to provide the amount of control that you are looking for. Offering more control in manual mode than most mirrorless cameras, along with 4K and Full HD at 60fps is what really makes this a fantastic hybrid camera. The 5-axis image stabilization also goes a long way to steady your handheld recordings, even while you are on the move. Our video samples in both 4K and Full HD look excellent, despite the overpowering wind noise. The camera did a very good job with the continuous AF, almost always being able to keep up with quick motion and zoom movements. As with all internal microphones, the G85's is no different, recording all of the sound that is closest to the camera. Adding an external microphone, which the camera is ready for thanks to a mic input jack, is a great way to add audio that matches the excellent quality of the video.

Powering the Lumix G85 is a 7.2V, 1200mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery is said to be able to capture up to 320 images on a single charge, which is about normal for a mirrorless camera. With the power saving mode, this number can be increased to approx. 800 images. During our testing, we were able to capture over 200 images and a few short videos before exhausting the battery. The G85 does have an optional battery grip that lets you add a second battery and double your battery life. The camera comes with a portable charging unit that allows you to keep more than one battery charged and ready to go.

Bottom Line - The Panasonic Lumix G85 is a powerful and lightning fast mirrorless camera that is perfect for anyone looking for still image and video capture with full manual control. The G85's 16-Megapxiel imaging sensor is outstanding for capturing still images and 4K video. Its 5-axis image stabilization makes handheld shooting a pleasure, providing up to 5 stops of correction. This even allows you to record video while walking without the image bouncing at all. With all of these great features, the camera is still just as easy to use as any point-n-shoot camera. With a MSRP of US $899.99 for the body only or $999.99 with the 12-60mm kit lens, this is an excellent, mid-range option in the mirrorless camera market.


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