Panasonic has definitely been a big player in the world of digital photography and digital video for many years now. My first tiny digital camera, back in 2009, with very impressive handling and quality was their very small DMC-GF1. I did not have the LVF1 viewfinder,which was optional, and just used the LCD screen for shooting. What I call Zombie Style with hands and arms outstretched holding the camera. I used it for street photography and it was very good. Here we are in June 2016 and I had the pleasure of testing the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 for Samy’s Camera.

Arnold Mural Venice Beach
Arnold Mural at Venice Beach California. Taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85. ISO 400 1/1000 F/11 12mm/24mm

First impression of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 was that is felt solid and not plasticky. It was also quite small but large enough where my hands and “pickle fingers” could navigate quite easily without the small camera fumble. Not knowing the camera, I thought it was a point and shoot with a fixed 12-32mm (24-64mm) lens.  To my surprise, because of it’s small size, I was told that I could interchange the lenses.  Today there are so many lenses available for the Micro 4/3rds lens mount. Wow,this is a big selling point.

Venice Beach,CA
Venice Beach, California captured with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85. ISO 400 1/1600 F/11 20mm/40mm

I just mentioned fumble. With a new camera, I first try to shoot without looking at the manual. Instead, I usually download the PDF manual from the website to figure it all out. I have to say that after a week I only had a slight fumbling experience. Especially when trying to remember where the +/- exposure adjustment.

It could be because,for most people reading this, I am probably the age of your parents. I come from the ancient days of film where most of us would shoot with the same camera for years and each film camera was not so different in operating from the other. Today is a different story. With all the confusing options and menu placement, we have so many ways to produce more magic than we could ever dream of even 20 years ago.

Father's Office, Santa Monica
Father’s Office in Santa Monica. ISO 200 1/100th f/5.4 28mm/56mm

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 has all sorts of magical features I kind of poo pooed at first as any curmudgeon is obligated to do with anything new. But when I actually tried options such as the Post Focus and the 4K photo feature it blew me away and I can see the advantage.  There is also the ability to use 4K video when making your next indie production or for family holidays.

When shooting in low light, the dual image stabilization allowed me to hold the camera at very slow shutter speeds with zero camera shake blur.

Rucubent Bike  on Venice Beach
Venice Beach, California shot with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85. ISO 400 1/1600 F/11 32mm/64mm

I used the kit lens throughout which offered so much of a range of focal lengths for this test. Another feature is that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 camera does not have a low pass filter which makes a huge difference from what I see. The resolution and sharpness was beyond my expectations. I love the color palette of anything Panasonic as well…so clean and when converted to black and white quite filmic. Check out the photographs.

I do believe the price of this camera is very reasonable compared to some of the other cameras at twice its price.  This little baby can definitely keep up and hold its own.

 

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Ralph Elliott Starkweather
Originating from Santa Monica, California, Ralph Elliott Starkweather is a professional photographer with over 40 years experience. His photographs have featured in LIFE Magazine, Gourmet, Food and Wine, Smithsonian, Cheshire Life and many more. He's had a great number of amazing life experiences including haveing traveled to Australia with Muhammad Ali and photographed some of the Royals in Great Britain.