Panasonic’s New Compact Shoots 4K for an Alluring Price
The market for Micro Four Thirds cameras continues to balloon. These compact mirrorless shooters with interchangeable lenses are beloved by photography enthusiasts who want a high-quality camera that’s smaller and easier to manage than a DSLR. They’re also attractive as an upgrade from a smartphone camera.
Prices for Micro Four Thirds cameras often tip north of $1,000, but Panasonic’s newest entry comes in well under that mark. The Panasonic Lumix GX85 will arrive in May, and it will cost $800 for a camera and a bundled lens.
The GX85 combines some features of the great Lumix GX8, some features of the DSLR-like Lumix G7. Some of the features in the new camera, however, you won’t find in either of those. For one thing, the GX85 is significantly more compact than either of those cameras: Its body is less than two inches deep, less than five inches wide, and weighs about a pound. It also has the most powerful stabilization system of any Lumix camera.
The 16-megapixel Lumix GX85 adds five-axis in-body stabilization, giving it shot-steadying powers similar to Olympus’s OM-D cameras (Panasonic and Olympus are the leaders in the Micro Four Thirds format). But the new Lumix is also notable for what’s missing: It follows the recent Nikon trend of removing the optical low-pass filter (OLPF) in front of the sensor. While the OLPF in many cameras eliminates moire patterns and color fringing in some shots, those benefits often come at the expense of detail. So removing it can result in sharper photos.
This is a camera with 4K features galore, so the extra sharpness and stabilization features should come in handy. The GX85 records 4K video at 24 and 30fps, and it also uses its 4K video capture for some unique still-image features. You can use a “4K burst” mode to capture 30 images per second at 8-megapixel resolution, a 4K buffering mode that records 30 frames before and after you capture a shot, and a 4K cropping mode where you can extract HD video from a 4K recording, adding zoom and pan-and-scan effects within the camera.
It’s also the latest Panasonic camera with the Lytro-like “Post Focus” feature, which uses focus bracketing to let you select focal points for your images after you capture them. You’ll make those focus selections on the GX85’s tilting 3-inch touchscreen, which compliments the camera’s separate eye-level viewfinder. Other key specs include an ISO range of 100-25,600, RAW/RAW+JPEG shooting, and in-camera Wi-Fi features.
All of that adds up to an intriguing compact interchangeable-lens shooter at its price—especially for anyone with an interest in 4K videography. When it ships in late May, the Panasonic Lumix GX85 will include a 24-64mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens in its $800 package.