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Panasonic gives Lumix G85 several important upgrades over predecessor

Create: 09/26/2016 - 14:55
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Micro Four Thirds 16.0-MP Live MOS sensor
  • New gyro system for in-body image stabilization
  • New battery grip and power-saving mode

Panasonic created a very solid camera with the Lumix DMC-G7, and in announcing the G85 successor, it didn’t try to recreate the wheel.

The improvements in the Lumix DMC-G85 are noteworthy and improve the usability in several important areas.

Like the G7, the G85 has a 16.0-MP Live MOS sensor in the Micro Four Thirds format with an ISO range of 200-25,600. It can be extended lower to 100.

The sensor has no low-pass filter, which should be able to produce a sharper photo.

This is half the size of a full-frame sensor, and lens focal lengths have a 2x crop factor. That means a 35mm lens, for example, gives the field of view of a 70mm full-frame equivalent.

The interchangeable lens camera can use any of the 27 lenses that Panasonic has developed – many in cooperation with Leica, as well as those from other camera and lens makers.

Panasonic said it developed an in-body gyro sensor for the G85’s five-axis image stabilization, which can work in conjunction with certain stabilized lenses to provide up to five stops of stabilization for still photos and video.

Like the other Lumix cameras announced this week, the G85 has post focus, which allows you to change the point of focus after taking the photo, and focus stacking, which merged multiple images and produces a photo that can have focal points at multiple distances.

The G85 has a manual shutter with speeds running from 60 seconds to 1/4,000 plus B (maximum two minutes), as well as an electronic shutter with speeds from one second to 1/16,000. That’s unchanged from the G7.

There is a built-in pop-up flash, and a hot shoe allows the use of other units.

The photographer can switch between the electronic viewfinder or the articulating 3.0-inch touch-enabled LCD monitor, which can be stowed with the LCD facing inward. That is a plus for those who don’t want to be distracted by it. It also can protect the monitor from damage.

There are six “Fn” buttons that can be programmed to launch different features or functions.

VIDEO CAPABILITIES

The G85 can record 4K and Full HD video. The 29 minute, 59 second/4GB limit on video length has been removed, although the files still will be divided into that length/size. Panasonic also warns that if the camera overheats while shooting video, it will shut down, and you must wait for it to cool. If you plan to connect the camera to a television to view 4K video, you must use a 4K-compatible HDMI cable.

There is a microphone port but not one for headphones.

A special power-saving mode puts the camera into sleep mode three seconds after the photographer takes their eye away from the electronic viewfinder. Panasonic says this will extend battery life to 800-900 shots from the stated 330 shots using Live View (320 with the electronic viewfinder).

EXTRA POWER WHEN YOU NEED IT

The G85 has a battery grip DMW-BGG1 (US$347.99), something that wasn’t available for the G7. It holds a second battery – which is included – and doubles the shooting capacity. It maintains the integrity of the body’s weatherproofing, and it retains the ergonomic shape of the camera’s regular grip, so when shooting portraits, the feel of the camera is maintained.

The G85 will be available in black only. There won’t be an option to purchase a silver body.

The body is 5.1 x 3.5 x 2.9 inches (128.4 x 89 x 74.3mm) and weighs 17.8 ounces (505 grams).

It will be available (body only) in October 2016 for US$899.99.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.