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Panasonic GX80, GX85, or even GX7 Mark II in Japan
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  • Exploring the bokeh, stabilization and heat ability of the GX85 by shooting in a garden on a hot, sunny day.

    Not even a heat warning in a couple of hours in the hot sun, at close to 90 F.

  • @markr041 send a postcard to Sony!

  • ttancredi the GX85 produces very nice images but I have to say that the images that come out of a Canon C100 are fantastic. It's normal. One is a Pro camera that cost 1000s and the other is a great little consumer camera that serves a different purpose for me. If I could take the best of both and throw in a bit of Sony low light to create a super camera I'd be very happy! Unfortunately I'm not sure if that will happen soon! In saying that, I'm very happy with the GX85 so far.

  • Direct comparison with GH4. Autofocus and high ISO noise also much improved on the new little baby...

  • Everyone is impressed that you can shoot 4K video and use the combo of IBIS and OIS (dual IS). But overlooked is the additional possibility of adding digital stabilization (EIS) to dual IS. In this video handheld shots are taken at the long end of the 35-100mm f3.5-5.6 Lumix lens (220mm eq.). First, dual IS (OIS + IBIS), then from the same exact spot, using dual IS + EIS. Notice there is a crop when the latter combo is used, but is there more stability or any loss in sharpness?

    (There is no walking with the camera or panning here, rest easy).

  • @markr041

    Interesting. So all 3 stab aids can be used with 4k? Excellent.

    The funny thing with EIS is some times the effect that the subject stays steady and the background "dances" like is the case with flowers moving in wind.

  • @Vesku Yes, all three. I found the same background phenomenon using the (excellent) EIS of the Samsung - electronic stabilization evidently attempts to minimize subject motion (whatever its cause), so if the foreground object is moving unsteadily (but not the camera) it may move the (cropped) frame with it. Thus, in that case the background moves and the foreground object does not!

  • Personal impressions of the GX85

    I purchased the GX85 through Personal View Deals. The price was a bit better than the current sale, although the current sale added an extra battery and charger. As usual, the camera arrived well-packed 2nd day DHL with tracking.

    I basically bought this cam for three reasons: the G7 was out of stock, I wanted something with IS, and the photos looked a bit better with the lack of AA filter and the newly designed shutter. In addition, it appeared from the description that the cam would do 24p, 25p and 30p, but this is not the case, sadly. My NTSC version does 24p and 30p. All of these cameras here in the US are unlimited, so, unlike the G7, no apparent advantage to buying an unlocked one unless you want PAL.

    A lot has been written about this camera already, so I'm just going to hit the high spots. First of all, the thing is a brick. They must have loaded it up with buckshot or something. On the one hand, it does make the camera bit more steady, but OTOH for me they added a bit too much weight.

    Next up, the grip kinda sucks compared to the G7, and the lug is positioned right where your finger goes. Not great.

    The viewfinder is only OK. If you wear glasses, it is a tough fit. Although on paper the viewfinder looks sharp, it isn't great--it's good but not great.

    On the other hand, the screen is very good, and can be used outdoors. If you are used to the fold-out screen, be advised that this screen just moves up and down--you cannot see yourself by folding it around. It is good for low shots, but I don't film feet. Whatever.

    Panasonic moved some of the buttons around, so if you are used to the button placement this is somewhat annoying. The exposure adjust is right on the thumb wheel as a button press. Buttons are customizable, and there's enough buttons. The G7 is just a bit more friendly in terms of wheels and layout.

    The build is solid, the battery is small. The camera does not come with a charger (no charger on an $800 camera? F*** you Panasonic). You can charge the camera with USB. Which is good, but you need a charger. Stupidly, you can't charge the battery while the thing is running A FEATURE WHICH HAS BEEN ON CAMCORDERS FOR TWENTY YEARS. Sorry. I got 1.5 hours on the battery running constant video. On the bottom of the battery hatch, there is a door, not a notch, to run the DC adapter for continuous power. This means whatever aftermarket or stock PS that you use must THREAD through this door. This is stupid because for example if you hardwire your adapter (to keep it from popping off) you need to leave the door open. It also means you need a connector that will fit through the gap. Whatever.

    The kit lens, a foldable 12-32 zoom, is a bit slow but really quite sharp. At 12mm, I saw no real difference between the kit lens and my Olly 12mm prime in the center of the image. It's a good lens.
    Image quality and shutter shock. The G7 suffers from shutter shock, the GX85 has a new shutter that solves this problem. Photo IQ with the newly designed shutter and AA filter is roughly the same as the 20mp sensor. Although you would think that the 16mp sensor would be less noisy, the difference is slight.

    Video IQ--after extensive tests, I find the video IQ to be the same as the G7. Note that if you use all the IS features it will crop the image. Some of the pro features are lacking on the GX85 that are present on the G7. Although you can customize the grey point curve, there is no way to adjust the 0-255 range, not is there any kind of log for the highlights (except the grey curve). You do get Zebras and focus peaking. Both of these cams give you slightly better video quality than the GH4, no matter what anyone tells you.

    One handy feature is that on my cam, the video files record in long chunks, not the little teeny weeny files that you have to string together. I haven't tested it to see how big they get, but it is way easier to deal with in post.

    A lot has been said about the IS. You will hear the 4 stop BS, and even some reviewers will claim that you get four stops. Well, you can get 3 stops, maybe a bit more but IMHO 4 stops is BS. Having said that, big step up for Panasonic finally adding IS to their cams, and it works in 4K video.

    If you are old school, you will find the absence of a dedicated MF switch seriously annoying. OK, you can set it in software, or assign a button, but for me I really need a switch with all the focus positions marked out. If you are filming an event, the customizable focus screen is handy to set up focus zones.

    Using the data tables, the camera focuses very fast and accurately. Panasonic's AF system is really very good.
    For the money, however, you can almost step up to a Sony A6300. The Sony will give you slightly more detailed video, better photos, a bigger sensor, but it has overheating problems. You can also look at the Samsung NX500.

  • I shot this 4K video handheld using the 25mm f1.7 lens on the GX85, to assess its performance using IBIS and in dim light. This is possibly the worst-lit museum in the world, with dark rooms and glowing walls and mixed lighting. The only well-lit room is the souvenir shop!

  • @markr041

    What settings: iso, contrast, sharpness, NR, profile, exposure EV , Exposure program PASM...

    Do you use NR 0? My GH4 makes quite mushy and muddy 4k video in NR 0. I use always NR -5.

    Do you have Exiftool? It is handy when I need to check all the video parameters later.

  • I got GX85 from P-V deals with extra battery. Thumbs up for the deal, again everything went smoothly. The price was just little smaller than buying from local store, but I bought from P-V so I can get NTSC version instead of PAL (I think 30fps makes more sense since the videos will be watched on computer anyways and computer monitors are usually 60Hz) and there is no maximum video time limit.

    I'm still experimenting with the camera but one thing that is discussed quite little is jittering effect in videos when you span. Take an example from the museum video above. All shots are static. Same thing with those flower videos. Are people afraid talking about it or..?

    Stabilizer works pretty good when the shot is static but if you think that you could e.g. walk while shooting video you are wrong. Maybe I'm just used to those ultra-smooth gimbal videos but I guess it's better than nothing.

    The camera does not have microphone input but I think the embedded stereo mic is surprisingly good. Good enough for my holiday videos at least.

  • @tonalt I shoot with my style because I do not like pans or moves in video when subjects are static. I zoom and pan to follow moving subjects, as in, say, sports videos and that works ok. No one is afraid of talking about panning and zooming; we know that is not a technique to be used other than minimally on static subjects and it is a pipe dream that IBIS is going to get you a gimbal-like shot. We all (well, almost all) agree with you that walking with a camera not on a gimbal does not work. I don't like posting ugly videos on purpose.

    There is in fact a walking panning GX85 comparative video posted above - it is painful to watch. It shows you cannot walk using IBIS+OIS and expect anything like what you get with a gimbal while walking, even if you know all the tricks for minimizing unwanted motion (unlike in that posted video above). I have gimbals and I experimented with moving with the camera without a gimbal - hopeless (whether BOSS, or IBIS+OIS). The stabilizer in camera is for avoiding shaky video when you are trying to hold the camera still. The GX85 does that well; yes, better than nothing (no stabilization), by a lot. Unless you feel that all video shots require that the camera move?

    @Vesku Standard profile (best ooc color), NR -2 because Panasonic noise reduction is too aggressive (not as bad as the GH4). Shutter priority at 1/60th in Creative Video Mode, plenty of negative ev so that what I saw through the viewfinder matched exactly what I saw with my eyes as I shot. I aimed to create a video reproducing what I saw with the intent of minimizing any adjustments in post. I will check into exiftool to find out ex post what the camera actually did. Thanks.

  • @tonalt I haven't really tested the jitter-pan, but it seems like a lot of cams do this and if you want smooth pans you have to use manual lens. But I will try it out.

  • @markr041 I'm interested why you prefer Standard to Natural. I often cannot make up my mind on these....

  • @DrDave Whenever I shoot using Natural I end up in post adding saturation and contrast, and it just ends up looking like Standard! I am very pleased with the color in the videos I shot as representing what I saw when I shot the videos. Natural might be a good base if one is interested in playing with the look of the video, like making it resemble some film stock or to characterize a mood. But I have no interest in that at this time (it might be fun to do that). When I used to grade BMPCC RAW video, my favorite graded videos basically resembled Canon default colors.

  • Thanks Mark...I guess I always need to grade a bit. Maybe I shouldn't!

  • Looking over the samples of video, I would say that although there are tiny, tiny differences among the G7, GX85 and GH4, these aren't big differences. Anyone who wants to get into 4K video will have a great time with these cams, and the unlocked "G7 PV" is the best deal. If you need IS, there is the GX85 for just a few dollars more, and the price is going to come down, one would hope.
    I think the real sleeper here IQ wise is the Sony A6300. This cam just pulls a bit more detail out of everything, and the difference is more noticeable than say the difference between a G7 and an NX500--the Samsung is very good, but not as good as the Sony, although, again, compared to what we had a few years ago this is a luxury of choices. Priced at a grand, the A6300 is a realistic alternative if you can deal with the annoying heat problems; lots of cams now for the budget film maker. Also it will be very interesting to see if the much delayed GH5 can outresolve the A6300--I would not bet on it.

  • @tonalt:

    the microphone is the worst I ever had in a photocamera. It records the IBIS noise on a very high level. That´s why panasonic cuts some frequencies so the sound is very thin. That is crap panasonic.

  • I can sort of see the mic two ways. On the one hand, a lot of ppl record parallel audio, and even with a mic jack the audio would be low end. On the other hand, the electrical components needed for a basic audio jack are probably just a few dollars as the parts are used in everything from cell phones to refrigerators.

    The sad truth is that if the cam had real USB power and a mic jack/16 bit pcm, it would be a freaking legend.

  • @DrDave

    Camera must not have both mic and phones jacks, but must have two full size locking USB 3.0 ports located on small addon inserted in flash mount, and support for standard audio devices (both phones and mikes).

  • GX85 versus the GH4 in low light - ISO 6400:

    Exact same lighting and camera position, tungsten lighting source, AWB, f1.8, 1/60th, ISO 6400, Standard Profile, NR -2. Exposure using the Histogram in each camera was set to be equal by adjusting the light source (in fact, not different across cameras).

    The GH4 is first in each sequence (you can see the change in crop).

    No recompression - the 4K files uploaded underwent no adjustment in post, not even recompression. These are the files right out of the camera, just merged losslessly.

    Technology advances.

  • @mark041 The crop factor is different in the GX85? And the GX85 samples looks like a little bit less exposed (albeit you've said that the histograms were equal - different calibration?)

    But yes, much less noise in the GX85.

  • Yes, the crop factor is less in the GX85 in 4K. I think it is one of the reasons one can use EIS in 4K on the GX85 - there are extra pixels.

    I agree that the GX85 clips have a different color look; more contrast and saturation in Standard, maybe a different calibration, but possibly also because of the crop there are less white reflectors in the more cropped (GH4) frame so average luminence is the same but the colored objects are more exposed. Certainly much less noise from the GX85.

  • My experience is the same--less crop, less noise, slightly more detail (slight). There may be more NR going on, but the grain of the noise is more even.