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Panasonic GX850 versus Panasonic GX85

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (called Panasonic GX800 in some regions) and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 (labelled Panasonic GX80 in some countries) are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2017 and April 2016. Both the GX850 and the GX85 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.8 megapixel.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GX850 and the Panasonic GX85 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GX850 – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Panasonic GX850 vs Panasonic GX85 front
GX850 versus GX85 top view
GX850 and GX85 rear side
Body view (GX850 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic GX85 is notably larger (25 percent) than the Panasonic GX850. Moreover, the GX85 is substantially heavier (58 percent) than the GX850. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the GX850 nor the GX85 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. 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.

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 comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ rgt) 107 mm 65 mm 33 mm 269 g 210 no 2017 549 latest check
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft) 122 mm 71 mm 44 mm 426 g 290 no 2016 799 latest check

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GX850 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 31 percent) than the GX85, which puts it into a different market segment. 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

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. 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.

Panasonic GX850 and Panasonic GX85 sensor measures
Sensor size

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.8 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the GX850 and the GX85 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the GX850 is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the GX85, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. 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.

GX850 versus GX85 MP
Sensor resolution

For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ rgt) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p .. .. .. ..
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft) Four Thirds 15.8 4592 3448 4K/30p 22.9 12.6 662 71

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

Feature comparison

Apart from 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 GX850 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Panasonic GX850 and Panasonic GX85 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 500 10.0 4 no
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft) 2765 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 6 YES

Both the GX850 and the GX85 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The GX85 replaced the earlier Panasonic GX7, while the GX850 followed on from the Panasonic GF7.

Summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Panasonic GX850 and the Panasonic GX850? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850:

  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (107x65mm vs 122x71mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 157g or 37 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (31 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 9 months after the GX85).

Advantages of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85:

  • Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image framing and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has a higher mechanical shutter speed (4000/sec vs 500/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (290 versus 210) out of a single battery charge.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology build-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2017).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (5 points each). 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.

GX850 05:05 GX85

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the GX850 or the GX85. 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. The full reviews are available, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
dp
review
ephoto
zine
imaging
resource
photography
blog
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Panasonic GX850 (⇒ rgt) Rec 76/100 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2017 549 latest check
Panasonic GX85 (⇒ lft) HiRec 82/100 Silver 5/5 4.5/5 5/5 2016 799 latest check

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 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 comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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