Green light for the Panasonic Lumix G85 (G80)

The Panasonic Lumix G85: the genius with modesty!

 

 

Selecting a Panasonic product will be the natural alternative in M4/3 format. Over the previous years I had the chance to own some of their most recent models such as the GX7, GM5 and GX85 that I have found equally competent products into their respective speciality field. And many reviewers have been impressed by the D-SLR like mirrorless Lumix G7. The Panasonic approach in designing cameras and lenses remind a lot the Leica way. Pure lines, basic controls, low profile presentation have been appreciated among spontaneous photographers for travel, street or casual portrait shooting.  Furthermore many Panasonic Lumix products are lightweight. It is true to add that the initial physical touch of their products seems to feel less robust than some similar competitor models but after the initial impression this perception tend to be forgotten in profit of the confort and the ergonomic of the Lumix products.

The Panasonic Lumix G85 is a D-SLR like mirrorless camera with practical virtues like a very secure handling (grip) along with control dials and fonction buttons that are easily reachable. Adding the optional power grip (DMW-BGG1) will simply give a longer battery life autonomy and a superior hand prehension when using larger lenses of external flashes.

Some aspects of the Lumix G85 have to be consider as inherent characteristics in parallel of the price point value of the model. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) for instance which very precise and handy for manual focusing is still more contrasty than the actual picture registered so appreciation can be falsely done. The LCD screen is a lot more accurate in that matter. The refresh rate frequency of the EVF is  on average and seems to slow down a bit in low light condition.

The Lumix G85 interface is reasonnabely intuitive et front forward as for the Quick Menu option. Controls dials and buttons are well located meanly on the right side of the camera and are configurable. The side door memory card access is also a nice touch. The LCD touch screen facilite the access to interesting fonctionnalities. Pivoting LCD screen is another practical option for videographers, macro photographers and photographers who like to simply protect and shut down the screen. As usual the custom camera configuration (C1, C2) allow you to program complex combinations and keep it for future frequent uses. Wifi interactions are also present with the Lumix G85 when you are using the appropriate Panasonic application for mobiles and tablets.


Small but fully appreciated attentions from Panasonic and the Lumix G85 are certainly the side door access to the memory card and the extra battery pack furnished free of charge with the vertical grip BGG-1 as for the lens hood which is also part of the whole package.

In-board flash option is another advantage if you want an easy fill-in light directly available. The Lumix can also manage an external flash in order to get a more powerful and versatile unit.

About the kit lens (Lumix G Vario12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS)
And dont prevent yourself to choose the Panasonic Lumix G85 kit that include the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm lens Power O.I.S. For the difference of selling price it is a steal. Although the Lumix 12-60mm is not particularly a fast lens it is a very versatile optic to carry all around. Its focal length equivalence in 35mm film format is 24-120mm which represent a very handy choice of angles of view and the G Vario 12-60mm can easily replace at least 2 or 3 prime lenses such as the 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm and 42.5mm but we must add with the expense of a much smaller maximum aperture. The imagery results from the 12-60mm will surprise you considering the dollars you have spent to get it.





Premium picture output on the spot!
Yes I am particularly pleased by the standard output issued from the Panasonic Lumix G85 both in colour and Black & White. And I must admit that I u
se almost exclusively Jpeg files over the RAW entertained option. It is a matter of personal choice to get fast and exploitable results to edit and share.
Exposure metering by the Panasonic Lumix G85 will give you a clear picture rendering but as usual I prefer to underexpose as far as minus 1 EV to get more profound colours and better details into the highlight areas. In doing so especially with JPEG files you will get a more useful chance to correct your exposure when you are editing your pictures. It follows the old slide film rule of metering your highlight and then correct your lowlight areas.

After working with the new Olympus E-M1 II for a few weeks I did received my new Panasonic Lumix G85 and right from the start everything was falling in place. I can get pleasant and prévisibles colour rendering and most important B&W pictures were again very impressive and comparable to Fujifilm rendering which I consider as one of the highest level standard in mirrorless camera offer.

Furthermore the Panasonic Lumix G85 is a bit less heavier body and that factor adds a lot to its duration confort especially if you carry most of the time the camera with one hand (to be ready to photograph on the spot…)

Another secret is the better interaction of the automatic white balance option of the Lumix G85 especially with mixed sources of domestic interior lightning and in particular with the new LED. In those cases the Olympus E-M1 II was really struggling to get a natural and balanced result. Automatic exposure accuracy of the Lumix G85 is asking less use of the manual exposure correction dial maybe because of its more general metering pattern nature.

Automatic focusing of the Lumix G85 is snappy and repetitive. The only exception will occur when you are facing low contrast subject with low light condition and even under those circonstances the Lumix G85 manage to do its focus eventually most of time. The continuous autofocus option may also struggle when you have a subject that tend to produce space erratic movements and as a result the system may shift from a subject to another. (In my sense you cannot call this “hunting the subject”) As usual manual pre-focusing techniques may a good alternative option for action photography.

A strong advantage of the Panasonic Lumix G85 is certainly its all-weather resistant construction that allows you to work in many adverse conditions without compromises and fear. It can sustain rain, freeze, snow but you have to remind you to combine its body with a lens that have the same ability like the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 OIS. Working with a AW camera such as the Lumix G85 is giving you the ability to bring the camera whatever is the environmental condition and in doing so it opens a lot a photographic possibilities neglected by others.

 

Green Light for the Panasonic Lumix G85

 


High ISO 3200 is very exploitable but you will loose some fine subject details…


At the end the Panasonic Lumix G85 is by far a more paisible instrument for the casual and expert photographer. It is a simpler package that give you fast and pleasant output with less fussy reconfiguration of the medium. It encourage you to bring the camera and experiment on the field by taking pictures. Photography has to be fun and rewarding and the Lumix G15 is perfectly adapted for that task. Dont prevent yourself to enjoy it.

Haro on the Panasonic Lumix G85 (G80)
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Black’nd Mine: An Adventure in Gray Tone.

Tone my expression in a gray world and I will be in the black of mine. Storyboard of my life is the témoignage of the despair of emotion. Click the instant desire of eternity and the full inspiration of the romantic soul.

Where are you my love, my muse, my perfect picture of the physical human art. Light is triking the edge of my insanity. And I hope some understand my deviance. That’s only photoetry.

You must say something, you must show something so we want to see.

 

 

 

 

 

Montréal Like It Like It Not: A Black & White Desire

Montréal is my born city even if I became a suburb boomer like many of us. Montreal is the essence of our cultural french identity the other places are simply anecdotical for us. When I walk in the streets of Montreal I am always strike by infinite nature of changes over the places, the people and the time. Montreal is a survivor in this very competitive world of North America.

You can see the buildings, the beautiful girls and boys as the ancients, the surroundings, the noise and  the music, it is the the dis-harmony of life. It is Montréal!

Are you with me ?

The Superior Lens: The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75mm F1.8 Premium

It sometime arrive that a new product is becoming a fetish item right from the start and it was effectively the case for the beloved Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, the “made in Japan” state of art optic for M4/3 format cameras.
It is a purely indecent and expensive piece of glass that everybody want to touch, try and … adopt if they can afford to pay for this majestic device.
Carefully crafted the Olympus 75mm is also a beautiful collector jewel especially in its silver version. The short and fat design of the lens can be still assimilated as a compact design considering the fact it is a real telephoto with a fairly large maximum aperture. The focus is sumptuous and using it in conjunction of the Auto-focus/Manual option of the camera is a charm. When you turn manually the focus ring you will easily feel and ear the by-wire mecanisism of the lens coupled with a lighter turning resistance compare to some prime lens models. For my personal point of view I have seen it more as an avantage than an inconvenient.

Plumage (OM-D E-M5 II / M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8)

A short word about the lens hood
The dedicated and factory lens hood of the Olympus 75mm F/1.8 is not part of the included accessories that come with the lens. In fact the Olympus policy regarding lens hood availability is not really clear. It seems that most of the “polymer-made” hood are included with the lens and the “metal-made” ones are optional accessories. For the Olympus 75mm lens, the gigantic metal lens hood (and expensive) has to be bought separately. Considering the hood large dimension it is really an occasional  add-on accessory that will bother more than be practical. It’s up to you to “invest” or not.

With 16 degrees of (narrow!) angle of view the Olympus 75mm F/1.8 is the first real telephoto that will give you an equivalent three time magnification compare to your normal eye sight. Combined with its maximum aperture of F1.8 it can be a very discriminating lens considering its reduced deep of field.
Because of its great selectivity the Olympus 75mm F1.8 is more an off-contextual lens than the others lenses doted with a wider angle of view. Perfect in doing portrait or such related subjects this small and fast telephoto can be also used in cultural (such in theatre or musical scene) and sport events.
You may consider the Olympus 75mm F/1.8 as a true “project” lens that will ask a greater sense of study of your subject. In fact working with the optic will allow you to really discover different aspects of your subject.

What to add more about that optical marvel from the Olympus M4/3 line-up except its outstanding performance. Yes this a superior optic even if it is a specialize piece of glass. But using the Olympus 75mm may transform you in an addict of this focal length with a narrow angle of view.

Urbascape with the Olympus M.75mm F1.8

The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 (Japan GX7 Mark II): TheTraveller Successor

 

The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 or GX7 Mark II (Japan):
A very classical rangefinder style digital modern camera

My first introduction to M4/3 image captor format was with the Olympus Pen EP-3, The camera and lenses dimensions were just perfect in my sense for an everyday compact camera. The only irritating omission was the absence of a traditional viewfinder and using the add-on EVF accessory simply destroy the homogeneity of the basic idea. Later the coming days of the OM-D series solved partly the problem by integrating a workable EVF and by offering in-body stabilization.

Panasonic have developped over the years a complete series of rangefinder style cameras such as more recently the GX7, GM5 and GX8 models all cameras doted with a good EVF and in-body stabilization. It reunited other successful features such as standard 16MP image sensor or the moe recent 20MP sensor for the GX8, touchscreen and tilt-able or fully orientable (GX8) LCD screen. The GX7 was a near perfect size model and the GM5 was a real traveler camera.

Many still photographers prefer the tilt-able screen
option over the fully orientable side-screen alternative
designed more for videographers
.

Now Panasonic have decided to refresh the GX7 by presenting the new GX7 Mark II (in Japan market) relabelled GX85 or GX80 into the other world markets. The “Mark II” designation clearly indicate the filiation with the previous and original GX7 version.

Many factors are differenciating the original GX7 from its successor, the Lumix GX85 / GX80 / GX7 Mark II. I will review some of them that I have found more determinant.

Less grip compared to the original
GX7 but more than the GM5

The Grip Factor
The Panasonic Lumix GX85 / GX80 have not the same grip volume as the original GX7. It results in a smaller prehension confort. Since the camera is more on the moderate heavy side for its overall dimensions it will ask you a more careful attention in bringing, holding and manipulating the model.  But compare to the previous and diminutive Lumix GM5,  the Lumix GX85 / GX 80 offer a more secure way to work with its body. It  is always possible that in the near future an add-on accessory grip will be proposed for some of of us  who are asking for a better grip.

The Switch Factor
The On/Off switch is is located on the upper right side of the body of the camera but reaching it with your thumb may ask you a strong contorsion exercice. All the other operating dials and fonction buttons are classically presented. No more direct dial for the the automatic and manual focusing setting is present on the Lumix GX85 / GX80 model. That absence can be compensated by using the autofocus with manuel correction option.

Reactivity and Focus Factors
In general the Panasonic Lumix GX85 / GX80 is a very reactive camera fast enough to capture spontaneous pictures of acting subjects. If you have chosen to work with larger aperture prime lenses such as F1.7 or more the auto focus adjustment seems to be faster and on target most of the time. Screen touch focus selector can be another option easy to reach when you are more selective with less usual subject target (that option can be also desactivated on demand).

The Monochrome Factor
Some of my previous viewers know already my love affair with black and white photography and the Panasonic GX85 / GX80 will perfectly respond to that task by offering two monochrome photography options: MONO and MONO L. Ether versions give you a tonal palette from black to gray to white which is rich and detailed. Black and white photography rendering with digital still camera is now a mature feature. Professional results are obtained right from the start preventing that way more destructive post-treatment manipulations.

The Sensor Factor (16MP vs GX8’s 20MP)
Panasonic have chosen to maintain the commun standard 16MP sensor for the GX7 Mark II. Quality  output of the picture using this sensor has been already demonstrated several times over the past. A marginal improvement can be obse
rved by the fact of the absence of an anti-aliasing filter initially used to prevent  the moiré effect. These changes may offer you better image cropping factor ability without noticeable quality decrease.

Severe cropping is possible without altering the overall quality of the picture.
None retouched original picture

 

 

The Viewfinder Factor (Tilt GX-7 EVF vs Fixed GX85/GX80 EVF)
The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 s doted with an in-board EVF without the previous option of upper tit-ability present in the original GX7. That option has been offered with the newest rangefinder style Panasonic flagship model the GX8 which is in fact a larger camera with all-weather sealing and maybe more capability to resist from intense using. Apart from the tilt-able option, the previous (GX7) and the newest (GX85/GX80) EVFs are behaving in the same matter giving a good but more contrasty representation of the actual image. The big advantage of using EVF is its direct relation with the final result registered by the image captor. It is an almost perfect tool to preview black & white results. Moreover the EVF allow you to do instant review of your last picture taken without losing contact with your subject.

The Design Factor (Angular vs rounded GX7)
The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 is marginaly a more boxy camera compare to the first version of the GX7. It represent a certain drawback in term of ergonomic design of the model. Body style is more classical which is a popular present trend among many camera manufacturers. On a daily using basic sharp angular design camera are less confortable to work with to say the least but it is partially compensated by the more discrete presence of the device in face of the subject.

The Stabilization Factor (GX85/GX80 more in-board Axis)
Modern cameras need to be stabilized for many reasons. They are smaller and lighter packages and we are facing most of the time faster subjects or contexts that need to be adequately  stopped or freezes. The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 offers the two stabilization options with in-board stabilization sensor and the possibility to combine lens stabilization (if offered by the lens model used) and sensor stab. Most of the time the stabilization factor will increase the definition of your picture output in a decisive way. Dont prevent yourself to use it extendely.

The Lens Factor (Panasonic G lens system + Zuiko M. options)
One of the decisive factor of selecting to work with M4/3 ILC format cameras resid in the the very interesting choice of lenses available on the market. These lenses can be versatile, fast or specialized and their overall dimension stay compact and lightweight. For sure my preference goes for the prime (focal fixed) lenses with moderate larger aperture such as the Panasonic Lumix G 20 F1.7 or G 42.5mm F1.7 OIS models. There are perfect matches to bring you good to outstanding results from the camera. For a one-lens traveler combination  you can consider the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 OIS that is offered at a ridiculous selling price when you decide to buy the GX85/12-32mm package. There are many others lenses that can fit your specific need and the Olympus Zuiko M lenses can be also another option.

Other factors
The in-board flash of the Lumix GX85/GX80 can be a good help for using the fill-in flash technique and you have the possibility to put an external unit if you are a heavy flash user.

As usual for ILC mirrorless cameras an extra battery is clearly a must recommendation. For charging them an external charger seems to me a very practical add-on. I hope in some way that an add-on grip will be in someway available in the near future.

In short the Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 (GX7 Mark II) represents a very interesting successor of the previous GX7 and GM5 models.