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Panasonic GX85 versus Sony A6000

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 (called Panasonic GX80 in some regions) and the Sony Alpha A6000 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2016 and February 2014. Both the GX85 and the A6000 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a Four Thirds (GX85) and an APS-C (A6000) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixel, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic GX85 vs Sony A6000

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX85 and the Sony A6000. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GX85 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GX85 vs Sony A6000
Compare GX85 versus A6000 top
Compare GX85 and A6000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6000 is notably smaller (7 percent) than the Panasonic GX85. Moreover, the A6000 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the GX85. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX85 nor the A6000 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GX85) and the Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6000). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the GX85 gets 290 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the A6000 can take 360 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GX85» 4.8 in 2.8 in 1.7 in 15.0 oz 290 n Apr 2016 799 i i
Sony A6000« 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.8 in 12.1 oz 360 n Feb 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10 II« » 4.7 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 13.8 oz 320 n Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« » 4.9 in 3.3 in 1.8 in 16.5 oz 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« » 4.7 in 3.2 in 1.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GX9« » 4.9 in 2.8 in 1.9 in 14.4 oz 260 n Feb 2018 849 i i
Panasonic G85« » 5.0 in 3.5 in 2.9 in 17.8 oz 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic ZS100« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 11.0 oz 300 n Jan 2016 699- i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GM5« » 3.9 in 2.4 in 1.4 in 7.4 oz 220 n Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« » 3.9 in 2.2 in 1.2 in 7.2 oz 230 n Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« » 4.8 in 2.8 in 2.2 in 14.2 oz 350 n Aug 2013 999- i
Sony A6300« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.9 in 14.3 oz 400 Y Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A5100« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 10.0 oz 400 n Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« » 4.3 in 2.5 in 1.4 in 9.5 oz 420 n Jan 2014 449- i
Sony A3000« » 5.0 in 3.6 in 3.3 in 14.5 oz 470 n Aug 2013 329- i
Sony NEX-6« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 1.7 in 12.2 oz 360 n Sep 2012 999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A6000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the GX85, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GX85 vs Sony A6000

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GX85 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony A6000 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6000 is 63 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.5. The sensor in the GX85 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the A6000 offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GX85 and Sony A6000 sensor measures

With 24MP, the A6000 offers a higher resolution than the GX85 (15.8MP), but the A6000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 3.77μm for the GX85) due to its larger sensor. However, the GX85 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 1 month) than the A6000, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GX85 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

GX85 versus A6000 MP

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A6000 offers substantially better image quality than the GX85 (overall score 11 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.2 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GX85» Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.912.666271
Sony A6000« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.113.1134782
Olympus E-M10 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.112.584273
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273
Olympus E-M10« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p22.812.388472
Panasonic GX9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----
Panasonic G85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
Panasonic ZS100« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.812.555970
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GM5« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.111.772166
Panasonic GM1« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i22.311.766066
Panasonic GX7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60p22.612.271870
Sony A6300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.413.7143785
Sony A5100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.812.7134780
Sony A5000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.813.0108979
Sony A3000« » APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.712.8106878
Sony NEX-6« » APS-C 16.0 4912 32641080/60i23.713.1101878

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the GX85 provides a higher video resolution than the A6000. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GX85 vs Sony A6000

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the GX85 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A6000 (2765k vs 1440k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GX85, the Sony A6000, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GX85»2765 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Sony A6000«1440 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Olympus E-M10 II« »2360 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Olympus E-M10« »1440 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 4000 8.0 Y Y
Panasonic GX9« »2760 n 3.0 1240 tilting Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic G85« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic ZS100« »1166 n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 2000 10.0 Y Y
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GM5« »1166 n 3.0 921 fixed Y 500 5.8 n n
Panasonic GM1« »- n 3.0 1036 fixed Y 500 5.0 Y n
Panasonic GX7« »2760 n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 8000 5.0 Y Y
Sony A6300« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting n 4000 11.0 Y n
Sony A5100« »- n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Sony A5000« »- n 3.0 461 tilting n 4000 3.5 Y n
Sony A3000« »202 n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n
Sony NEX-6« »2359 n 3.0 921 tilting n 4000 10.0 Y n

The GX85 is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the A6000 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A6000 was succeeded by the Sony A6300.

Review summary: Panasonic GX85 vs Sony A6000

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GX85 or the Sony A6000 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2765k vs 1440k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 922k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the A6000 launch.

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Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A6000:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.2 bits more color depth).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1 stops ISO advantage).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 82g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (360 versus 290) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2014).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6000 emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

GX85 07:10 A6000

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GX85 or the A6000 handle or perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GX85»HiRec82/1005/54.5/55/5 Apr 2016 799 i i
Sony A6000«Rec80/1004.5/55/55/5 Feb 2014 599- i
Olympus E-M10 II« »HiRec80/1005/55/55/5 Aug 2015 799- i
Olympus E-M5 II« »HiRec81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i
Olympus E-M10« »-80/1005/54.5/55/5 Jan 2014 699- i
Panasonic GX9« »Rec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 849 i i
Panasonic G85« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic ZS100« »HiRec82/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2016 699- i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GM5« »Rec77/1005/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 749- i
Panasonic GM1« »Rec78/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 749- i
Panasonic GX7« »Rec79/1005/54.5/55/5 Aug 2013 999- i
Sony A6300« »Rec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2016 999- i
Sony A5100« »Rec-4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2014 549 i i
Sony A5000« »Rec-4.5/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2014 449- i
Sony A3000« »Rec-4/54.5/54/5 Aug 2013 329- i
Sony NEX-6« »HiRec78/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2012 999- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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