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Panasonic Lumix GX850 packs 16-MP, high-speed capture, 4K video into diminutive body

Create: 01/09/2017 - 23:10
Panasonic Lumix GX850

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 16-MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • Small body with touch-enabled 3.0-inch LCD monitor
  • 4K video and 4K PHOTO capture

The Micro Four Thirds format allows for smaller bodies and lenses, and Panasonic has done just that with the Lumix GX850.

The interchangeable-lens GX850 body houses a 16-MP Live MOS sensor. The ISO range is 200-25,600, which can be extended downward to 100.

Because it’s Micro Four Thirds, or “MFT” as it’s often called, there is a 2X crop factor for the lenses. That is, you double the stated focal length to calculate its full-frame equivalent. The MFT mount allows the use of any of Panasonics lenses, as well as those made by Olympus and a couple of other lens makers.

The GX850 has both mechanical and electronic shutters, which are becoming increasingly common on mirrorless cameras. Panasonic notes that the shutter speed range for “Electronic & Manual” is 60 seconds to 1/16,000.

The camera has only a 3.0-inch touch-enabled LCD monitor for composing and reviewing photos, as well as navigating menus. It isn’t possible to attach an electronic viewfinder. The monitor tilts upward 180 degrees for selfies.

When it comes to speedy shooting, the GX850 is no slouch. It can record 10 frames per second while shooting full resolution RAW and JPG images and a movie-like 30 frames per second at half resolution of 8-MP. Panasonic calls this “4K PHOTO” burst.

The GX850 also has a “Post Focus” mode that allows the photographer to change the point of focus well after the scene has been captured. The camera also has focus stacking in which a series of photos are taken. The photographer can then select multiple focus points before the multiple shots are merged into a single image.

The GX850 can record 4K video at 24 or 30 frames per second, as well as Full HD 1920 x 1080 60 frames per second. Clips are limited to 20 minutes.

Everything is saved to SD memory cards. The GX850 will need a fast Class 10 card to record 4K video.

There is a small built-in flash that synchronizes at a rather slow shutter speed of 1/50.

The included kit lens is f/3.5-5.6 12-32mm (24-64mm full-frame equivalent). It uses seven aperture blades, has Optical Image Stabilization and collapses to make it easier to carry.

Built-in WiFi anddirect social media access promise easy sharing of photos and video with handheld devices.

The GX850 body, which appears to be wrapped in a black leather-type covering, is small at 4.2 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches (106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3mm) and weights just 9.5 ounces (269 grams).

The GX850 and 12-32mm kits lens are available in black or silver, beginning in January 2017, for US$549.99.

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.