LUMIX G85/G80 (or G8 in Japan) was my first mirrorless camera that I bought in 2017.
At the time, it was regarded as one of the most cost effective camera for video and photo.
And the hype was real. I really liked the camera and it was almost perfect for the price for a hobbyist like myself.
I say it was “almost perfect” because the video auto focus was rather poor. Thankfully, there was a way to get around it to a certain level so I didn’t have much trouble using it. My favorite feature of this camera was a butter smooth image stabilization in video. And it also produced some really crisp 4K videos.
After about 2 years with the G85, I traded in to get a full frame beast Sony A7III. I really wanted to get my hands on full frame video camera which also seemed to offer much more sound auto focus.
Long story short, A7III was another beast of a camera and it quickly became my main camera to replace the G85. However, as no camera is perfect, image stabilization on the A7III was nowhere near the G85 and I started to miss that butter smooth footages of the G85.
So did I sell A7III to get G85 back? No. I simply bought G85 again after 4 years while keeping A7III as both cameras excel in different areas.
In this article, I want to share a little more insights about Lumix G85 and why I decided to buy it again in 2022.
Amazing In-Body Stabilization
Lumix G85 is a micro four thirds camera. It’s a much smaller image sensor compared to a full frame camera like Sony A7III.
Smaller sensor cameras often suffer from low light performance. In other words, you get much more noise in an image when shot in dark settings compared to images shot on a full frame sensor camera. But smaller sensor doesn’t necessarily mean it’s just inferior than bigger sensor.
Apparently, it looks like it’s much easier to stabilize a sensor when it’s small. And to get similar level of image stabilization in a full frame sensor camera, the body needs to be much larger. When all the camera manufacturers strive for smaller form factor, there is only so much you can do with full frame cameras. When I first got my hands on G85, I was impressed with the smooth videos it produced but I truly realized how good the IBIS (in-body image stabilization) is until I used A7III and got G85 back again.
With G85, I can easily shoot some footages while walking and the footages will be still watchable. It’s that effective.
Here is the video sample I shot with the kit lens (Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6).
Easy to use
Lumix G85 was released in 2016 but it’s still very capable and easier to use than some of the recent cameras. I personally like the menu system of Lumix cameras. It’s intuitive and responsive.
G85 also supports touch screen for both shooting and navigating around the menu. Many cameras still don’t support touch screen in the menu, so this is impressive for a camera released in 2016.
Custom modes on the main dial is super convenient and makes this camera more capable. I quite like how the camera feels in the hand as well. Dials and button placement all feel very natural.
One thing I don’t like is the placement of a lens release button which is placed on the right side of a lens. Many other camera brands have this button on the other side which makes it easier to change lenses.
Beautiful Color Rendition
This seems to be under appreciated with Lumix cameras but I quite like the colors out of Lumix cameras. Amongst many consumer camera brands, Canon is often known to have the best color science. I personally think Lumix comes close to Canon colors. Also I usually get pretty accurate white balance with default settings and it makes post processing so much easier.
Photos below were shot in RAW but I didn’t really need to edit much as the colors were already quite on point.
These photos were shot with a very budget friendly Lumix 25mm F1.7 prime lens. The kit lens 12-60mm that you can buy with G85 is also a great lens for the price. I can say it’s one of the best standard kit lens I’ve used before.
Compact Form Factor
One of the major benefits of using a micro four thirds camera is the light weight. Lumix G85 weights about 505g including the battery. It’s not the lightest and smallest, I know, but it’s relatively compact and light to carry around.
In the picture below, I tried to illustrate the size difference from an old film SLR camera. It’s not very clear in this picture but G85 is quite a bit smaller than an old SLR cameras.
Lenses are also quite smaller for micro four thirds camera to match the smaller sensor. A full frame mirrorless camera with a zoom lens can easily weigh over 1KG while G85 with most lens combined stay well below 1KG. The size and weight difference become substantial with telephoto zoom lenses in between these systems.
In fact, the form factor is what I appreciate the most about the micro four thirds system.
Super Affordable in 2022
I bought G85 last year brand new again for about $800 USD which included the kit lens and 25mm prime lens. It was an amazing value that I couldn’t let it pass!
It looks like it’s even a sweeter deal in Amazon US that it sells under $700! If you think about how capable this camera is, this is truly a bargain.
You can probably find really good deals in the used market as well so be sure to check that out also.
I just happened to know the camera well and I really enjoyed using it before so I went for a nice brand new deal and I have no regret!
To Whom Do I Recommend This Camera?
As I mentioned above, I use G85 alongside with my Sony A7III (it’s actually replaced with A7C at the time of writing).
I often reach for a full frame camera when shooting indoors. With much bigger sensor, it just produces much cleaner images when there is limited lighting source.
Where G85 really shines is outdoor situations when filming casual moments of my family. The image stabilization works really well and removes most of the shaky motions in the footage.
It’s just a much lighter setup overall making it a nice companion to take it outside with you.
So I can recommend this camera if the things I’ve mentioned also matters to you. I also think this can be a great entry camera for both video and photo. It would be challenging to find a camera that is as capable and as reasonable as Lumix G85.
To finish off the article, I’m sharing a video footage that were shot with G85 + the kit lens. Enjoy!