Camera - - AWARDS -

There’s a lot to love about Pana­sonic’s GX8 – a fi­nal­ist in last year’s En­thu­si­ast Mir­ror­less Cam­era cat­e­gory – but it’s un­doubt­edly tar­geted at pho­tog­ra­phers look­ing be­yond the de­sign con­fig­u­ra­tion for a tool ca­pa­ble of meet­ing a lot of de­mands. So it’s not all that com­pact, it’s not all that cheap and it’s pos­si­bly more cam­era than many users might need.

Here’s where the GX85 steps in – it has most of the re­ally im­por­tant stuff from the GX8 packed into a much smaller body that also costs quite a bit less. But it looks just as stylish and is an­other ex­am­ple of how much per­for­mance can be squeezed out of a Mi­cro Four Thirds sen­sor when it’s mar­ried to a su­per-smart pro­ces­sor. The GX85 is, in many ways, the mir­ror­less cam­era ex­em­pli­fied. It lever­ages the size ad­van­tages with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the func­tion­al­ity so you get a de­cent EVF, a tilt ad­justable mon­i­tor screen, a built-in flash (and a hot­shoe) and body-based im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion which can be teamed up with lens-based op­ti­cal sta­bil­i­sa­tion for five-axis cor­rec­tion worth up to four stops. This be­ing a Pana­sonic Lu­mix cam­era, 4K video is de rigeur (with the five-axis IS avail­able for smoother hand-held shoot­ing), but the real party trick here is the ‘4K Photo’ modes which utilise the 30 fps shoot­ing speed to de­liver a whole host of nifty pho­to­graphic fea­tures such as ‘Post Fo­cus’ and ‘Light Com­po­si­tion’. Every­body else is just get­ting onto the idea of grab­bing stills from 4K video footage – they’re an ac­cept­able 8.3 megapix­els in res­o­lu­tion af­ter all – but Pana­sonic is well down the track, ex­pand­ing the fea­ture set with ev­ery suc­ces­sive Lu­mix G model. ‘Post Fo­cus’ is pure ge­nius… a frame cap­tured at ev­ery avail­able aut­o­fo­cus point from which you can then se­lect the look you like the best. There’s a fo­cus brack­et­ing func­tion which cap­tures up to 999 frames, or aper­ture brack­et­ing which runs through all the avail­able f-stops on the at­tached lens. And we haven’t even talked about how well Pana­sonic’s ‘Depth From De­fo­cus’ (DFD) aut­o­fo­cus­ing works. The GX85 is a trea­suretrove of good­ies, but as has been a char­ac­ter­is­tic of the Lu­mix G cam­eras from the kick-off, they’re all well-con­ceived and ex­e­cuted. Some­body back at HQ knows what pho­tog­ra­phers want be­fore they do, although Pana­sonic has also been great at lis­ten­ing to ideas about how to do things bet­ter. For a com­pany with a short­ish his­tory in pho­tog­ra­phy, its Lu­mix G cam­eras are sur­pris­ingly pho­tog­ra­pher-ori­en­tated in look, feel and op­er­a­tion. It’s to be com­mended. While the GX8 is still a tri­umph, the GX85 proves that less can in­deed be more… ex­cept this cam­era does ac­tu­ally of­fer more as well. Win­ner!

CON­SUMER MIR­ROR­LESS CAM­ERA – THE FI­NAL­ISTS Pana­sonic Lu­mix GX85 Pana­sonic Lu­mix GF8 Sony A5100

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