In April 2016, Panasonic unveiled the excellent mirrorless camera Lumix GX80 (GX85). This camera has only a few minor flaws like a small grip and absence of a stereo microphone jack. Both of these issues are solved by the new Lumix G80 (G85, G81) and, moreover, it is weather and dust resistant. Therefore, we were very curious how will the new model perform. Panasonic has lent us the camera with the Lumix 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens.
You can watch a video review above. Handling is shown and also Full HD samples are presented.
The camera has the 16MPx 4/3-inch type sensor (17.3×13.0 mm) without a low-pass filter. It is able to shoot 4K 30p video and the sensor offers the second generation of the 5-axis stabilization system that is able to cooperate with an optical stabilization system in a lens.
Thanks to a larger grip in a comparison with GX80/GX85, it is much easier to hold the camera. The camera is neither too small nor too large and, therefore, it is easy to hold it and operate. Concurrently, it is still more compact than DSLRs. Almost all the buttons are very easy to reach, the only exception is the center button on the top dial that enables exposure correction mode but you will find the way how to press it relatively comfortably soon. I also appreciate very good build quality.
As it was already said, we have tested the camera with the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. (H-FS12060E) lens. Both the lens and camera are weather and dust resistant. You cannot immerse the camera into water but it should withstand rain without any problems. Memory card and battery covers are slightly sealed. That suggests basic ability to withstand harsh conditions but do not expect extreme durability. The lens is an excellent companion because its 5× optical zoom is quite versatile. It provides 24mm EQ focal length (wide angle of view) and it also reach up to 120 mm. It is much better than standard kit lenses that usually end around 84 mm.
The mechanical zoom ring runs smoothly, the focus ring is a little bit tougher. The lens supports 58mm filters. Lumix G80/G81/G85 can work with SD/SDHC/SDXC cards and you can use even UHS-II versions.
Sequential shooting, 4K photo modes, self-timer and other are available on the left dial, photo modes can be chosen on the right one. In order to turn them, you need to use a lot of force. The rightmost dial can adjust an aperture, and an exposure compensation according to the mode used and to the user's setting. It should be mentioned that Panasonic allows you to adjust almost all the buttons, therefore, almost all of you can find a setting that will fit you.
There is one more dial around the shutter button and it can also be used for various exposure settings according to the users' preferences. For example, if you are using the aperture priority mode, both right dials can adjust the aperture, so you can use the one that will be more comfortable for you. The shutter uses a new mechanism that prevent shutter shock problem. It is also extremely quiet.
The camera has a 3.0-inch LCD tilting screen with 1.04 million dots (720×480 RGB pixels). It is touch sensitive and that is very useful not only in menus but also for choosing AF points. Moreover, you can adjust the AF points even when you are using the electronic viewfinder and there is a very interesting offset mode. In that case, the screen works like a touchpad on your laptop (in the tested version of firmware, the sensitivity was a little bit strange, previous Panasonic cameras were better).
I appreciate an excellent electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million dots (1024×768 RGB pixels) and above average 0.74× EQ magnification (1.48× real one). It is really huge for its category and provides surprisingly low noise even during low light conditions. It is also quite easy to focus manually during night.
You can see a lot of Fn-buttons that are user-configurable. Moreover, there is also a possibility to adjust quick menu. I have found only one small flaw; the rear buttons are relatively small and sometimes a bit hard to press properly.
The camera has not only HDMI (with an output to an external recorder) and micro USB ports but it also provides a port for a remote control and unlike GX80/GX85, this model has the 3.5mm jack for a stereo microphone. Therefore, the video capabilities of the new camera are better.
Lumix G80/G81/G85 uses Li-Ion battery DMW-BLC12E (7.2V 1200 mAh) and you can see the weather sealing. I have also shown you the connection to an external grip.
In the box, you can find the camera, lens, three covers (body and two lens covers), micro USB cable, charger with a cable, lens hood, and basic manual.