Panasonic GX85 vs Sony RX1R
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 (called Panasonic GX80 in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2016 and June 2013. The GX85 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the RX1R is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GX85) and a full frame (RX1R) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 15.8 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX85 and the Sony RX1R is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The GX85 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the RX1R is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R is notably smaller (15 percent) than the Panasonic GX85. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX85 nor the RX1R are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1R has a lens built in, whereas the GX85 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the GX85 and their specifications in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the GX85 gets 290 shots out of its DMW-BLG10 battery, while the RX1R can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Panasonic GX85||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|2.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|3.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|7.||Panasonic GX9||124 mm||72 mm||47 mm||407 g||260||n||Feb 2018||849|
|8.||Panasonic G85||128 mm||89 mm||74 mm||505 g||330||Y||Sep 2016||899|
|9.||Panasonic G7||125 mm||86 mm||77 mm||410 g||350||n||May 2015||649|
|10.||Panasonic GX8||133 mm||78 mm||63 mm||487 g||330||Y||Jul 2015||1,199|
|11.||Panasonic GM5||99 mm||60 mm||36 mm||211 g||220||n||Sep 2014||749|
|12.||Panasonic GX7||123 mm||71 mm||55 mm||402 g||350||n||Aug 2013||999|
|13.||Panasonic GH2||124 mm||90 mm||76 mm||442 g||330||n||Sep 2010||899|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|15.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|16.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GX85 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Sony RX1R a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the RX1R is 280 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the GX85 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the RX1R offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the RX1R offers a higher resolution than the GX85 (15.8MP), but the RX1R nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 3.77μm for the GX85) due to its larger sensor. However, the GX85 is a much more recent model (by 2 years and 9 months) than the RX1R, 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 neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Panasonic GX85 are 23 x 17.2 inches or 58.3 x 43.8 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.7 x 35 cm for very good quality, and 15.3 x 11.5 inches or 38.9 x 29.2 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX1R offers substantially better image quality than the GX85 (overall score 20 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|1.||Panasonic GX85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|2.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|3.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|7.||Panasonic GX9||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|8.||Panasonic G85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.8||12.5||656||71|
|9.||Panasonic G7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Panasonic GX8||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.5||12.6||806||75|
|11.||Panasonic GM5||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.1||11.7||721||66|
|12.||Panasonic GX7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.6||12.2||718||70|
|13.||Panasonic GH2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||21.2||11.3||655||60|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|15.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the GX85 provides a higher video resolution than the RX1R. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GX85 has an electronic viewfinder (2765k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1R relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1R can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Panasonic GX85, the Sony RX1R, and comparable cameras.
|3.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||n|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The GX85 has a touchscreen, while the RX1R has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the GX85 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Panasonic GX85 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The GX85 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the RX1R uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The GX85 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the RX1R cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|3.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the GX85 offers wifi support, while the RX1R does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
The GX85 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the RX1R has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the RX1R was succeeded by the Sony RX1R II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Panasonic and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Panasonic GX85 or the Sony RX1R – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Arguments in favor of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85:
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Accepts interchangeable lenses, so that lens characteristics can be altered.
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 9 months of technical progress since the RX1R launch.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 15.8MP), which boosts linear resolution by 26%.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (20 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (1.9 stops ISO advantage).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 1040k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Has an integrated lens, whereas the GX85 necessitates an extra lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 122x71mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in June 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GX85 emerges as the winner of the contest (12 : 10 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. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Panasonic GX85 and the Sony RX1R place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the GX85 and the RX1R in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Panasonic GX85||4.5/5||+ +||82/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|2.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|3.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295|
|4.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|5.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|6.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|7.||Panasonic GX9||4/5||+||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2018||849|
|8.||Panasonic G85||..||+ +||84/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||899|
|9.||Panasonic G7||4/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||May 2015||649|
|10.||Panasonic GX8||5/5||+||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2015||1,199|
|11.||Panasonic GM5||3.5/5||+||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||749|
|12.||Panasonic GX7||4/5||+||79/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2013||999|
|13.||Panasonic GH2||5/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2010||899|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|15.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|16.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. 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? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Panasonic GX85 vs Sony RX1R
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Panasonic GX85||Sony RX1R|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||April 2016||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Panasonic GX85||Sony RX1R|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.8 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4592 x 3448 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.77 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.04 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||Venus||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||71||91|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.9||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.6||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||662||2537|
|Screen Specs||Panasonic GX85||Sony RX1R|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2765k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Panasonic GX85||Sony RX1R|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||no E-Shutter|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||no handshake reduction|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Panasonic GX85||Sony RX1R|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Panasonic GX85||Sony RX1R|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||290 shots per charge||270 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
122 x 71 x 44 mm
(4.8 x 2.8 x 1.7 in)
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||426 g (15.0 oz)||482 g (17.0 oz)|
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