Panasonic’s new mirrorless camera squeezes in advanced stabilization and 4K stills
Panasonic has announced its latest mid-range mirrorless camera, in the shape of the Lumix GX80 (or GX85 depending on where you live). Headline attractions of the Micro Four Thirds shooter include super-steady shooting thanks to a combo of in-body and lens stabilization, and the sort of 4K video and photo abilities we've come to expect from recent Panasonic cameras.
The GX80/GX85 is probably best thought of as a little brother to the bigger and more expensive Panasonic GX8, which it shares a number of features with. Though it doesn't have quite as much power as that camera, it does boast some nifty new features which we think will also crop up on the even higher-end GH5 (the expected follow-up to the GH4) when it's likely released later this year.
Panasonic has continued to use a 16-megapixel MFT (17.3 x 13.0 mm) Live MOS image sensor, rather than the new 20-megapixel type we've seen on the GX8 and Olympus Pen F. However, this time around the Low Pass filter has been done away with, allowing the camera to capture images with improved detail.
Autofocus is dealt with by a 49-area contrast-based system using Panasonic's Depth-From-Defocus (DFD) technology to calculate subject distance. This allows the camera to lock onto a subject quicker than some other contrast-based systems. The camera also has an ISO range of 200 to 25,600, and can shoot full resolution images at 8 fps (frames per second) with its mechanical shutter.
The new Dual Image Stabilization of the GX80/GX85 should also ensure it offers steadier shooting than most of its rivals, and is almost certain to feature on new higher-end cameras from Panasonic. This system uses a new 5-axis in-body sensor stabilizer which works in tandem with 2-axis optically-stabilized Lumix lenses. The result should mean considerably less blurry shots when shooting at slow shutter speeds or long telephoto lengths, and less wobbly video footage.
On that front, the GX80/GX85 offers 4K (3840 x 2160) recording at 30/25/24 fps, or Full HD 1080p video at up to 60/50 fps. There's also a selection of the 4K Photo features we've come to expect from Panasonic, this includes the ability to extract an 8-megapixel still from 4K video footage, or shoot 4K images at bursts of 30 fps. There's also 4K Post Focus, which shoots images at a range of focus points, effectively letting you select focus after shooting.
Panasonic has managed to squeeze all of this into a relatively small package, with the camera measuring 122 x 71 x 44 mm (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.7 in) and weighing 426 g (15 oz) before you mount a lens. Stylistically the GX80/GX85, which will be available in black, silver and tan, has the same retro looks which have proved popular on its stable-mates, and enough physical access to manual controls to keep enthusiasts happy.
Those enthusiasts will also be pleased to see a 2,764k dot electronic viewfinder on the rear of the camera, for composing shots in a traditional manner, and in bright conditions. There's also a 3-inch LCD touchscreen monitor which can be tilted up by 80 degrees and down by 45 degrees. Built-in Wi-Fi is at hand for quick sharing of images, or remote shooting.
The Panasonic GX80/GX85 will be available in May when it will cost £600 (or US$800) with a 12-32-mm kit lens.
You can check out a promo video for the new camera below.
Product page: Panasonic GX85
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