Panasonic GX85 Field Tests

Panasonic GX85 Field Test Part I

Taking this trim yet power-packed camera to Mexico

by Eamon Hickey |

As a big fan of what I'll call small-but-serious cameras, I was definitely interested in testing out the Panasonic GX85. On paper, it promises to pack a whole lot of shooting power into a pretty compact body. The question is: how does it measure up in real-life shooting?

Packing the GX85 for Mexico
As it happened, just as the Panasonic GX85 arrived at my doorstep, I was getting ready to visit friends in Mexico City, so I tossed it in my backpack with all my other essentials (laptop, cell phone accessories, Kindle, passport, and a dozen other tchotckes). With the very small 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens and the tiny charger, it took up very little space in my bag -- it's a great size for traveling. In the Overview section of this review, we noted not only the compact dimensions of the GX85, but also the comfortable design. I'll second those impressions, as well as the sense that the GX85 feels very well built despite its small size. One additional thing I'd note is that the camera is a little heavier than I expected, no doubt a by-product of its solid construction.

Panasonic GX85 Field Test Part II

A whole lot of advanced performance packed into a compact body

by Eamon Hickey |

Panasonic GX85 offers fast all-around performance and surprisingly good autofocus
I've now shot with the Panasonic GX85 in a wide variety of situations from travel and street shooting to sports, and I've had no complaints about its responsiveness at all. It shoots fast; controls respond quickly; shutter lag is minimal; and I've never hit any limits on the buffer when shooting bursts. It's just a speedy shooting machine, as an advanced camera should be.

For most of my everyday shooting, I use the S-AF autofocus mode, and it has worked great on the Panasonic GX85 -- fast and decisive. Panasonic claims that the GX85's autofocus is improved in low light, and I don't doubt this. I've used it in very dark situations indoors and at night with almost no focus hunting and only a slight slowdown in AF speed. In all my shooting, I had total confidence in the GX85's S-AF performance.

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