Panasonic GX850 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Panasonic GX850's image quality to its predecessor's, the GF7, as well as against several competing entry-level mirrorless models at similar price points: the Canon EOS M100, Fuji X-A3, Olympus E-PL8 and Sony A5100.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Panasonic GX850, Panasonic GF7, Olympus E-PL8, Fuji X-A3, Canon M100 and Sony A5100 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Panasonic GX850 to any camera we've ever tested!

Panasonic GX850 vs Panasonic GF7 at Base ISO

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 200
Panasonic GF7 at ISO 200

It is immediately apparent here that the GX850 produces sharper images than its predecessor, the GF7, thanks in part to the omission of an optical low-pass filter, though default sharpening appears to be stronger as well. The GX850 image also has higher contrast, slightly lower noise levels, and colors are generally a little more vibrant, particularly dark greens and reds. A nice upgrade in image quality here at base ISO and it's nice to see how much image quality has improved from Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds models lately.

Panasonic GX850 vs Canon EOS M100 at Base ISO

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 200
Canon EOS M100 at ISO 100

As expected, the 24-megapixel Canon M100 out-resolves the 16-megapixel GX850 in high-contrast subject matter, however the Panasonic image is sharper and crisper, and subtle detail in the red-leaf swatch is actually a bit better from the GX850. Noise levels appear lower from the Canon's APS-C sensor (however keep in mind its lower base ISO), while colors are warmer and generally a little more accurate.

Panasonic GX850 vs Fujifilm X-A3 at Base ISO

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 200

Here we compare the GX850 to another entry-level mirrorless, the Fuji X-A3. Unlike its more expensive siblings, the X-A3 uses a traditional Bayer color filter instead of X-Trans for it APS-C sensor. Again, the 24-megapixel camera easily out-resolves the GX850 while offering lower noise levels, however the GX850 is sharper with less noticeable sharpening halos. Contrast is also better from the GX850 in our tricky red-leaf swatch, however colors are brighter and more pleasing from the X-A3.

Panasonic GX850 vs Olympus E-PL8 at Base ISO

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 200
Olympus E-PL8 at ISO 200

These two Micro Four Thirds rivals have essentially the same pixel count and sensor, but processing is obviously different. Panasonic's processing holds onto a bit more fine detail, however its sharpening appears a little clumsy in comparison with rougher edges. The E-PL8 image on the other hand isn't quite as crisp, but is a bit smoother and contrastier. Luma noise is a little higher from the Olympus, however chroma appears slightly better controlled than from the Panasonic. Both provide pleasing colors, though the E-PL8's looks to be a little more accurate overall.

Panasonic GX850 vs Sony A5100 at Base ISO

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 200
Sony A5100 at ISO 100

Yet another comparison with a 24-megapixel APS-C model, and again, the higher pixel count offered by the Sony out-resolves the GX850 in the mosaic crop. And the Sony manages to produce a sharp, detailed image without obvious sharpening halos. Still, the Panasonic holds its own considering its smaller, lower resolution sensor, and does a little better with overall color accuracy.

Panasonic GX850 vs Panasonic GF7 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GF7 at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, we can see the GX850 offers more detail, greater sharpness, improved contrast and better color than the GF7. The GX850's area-specific noise reduction appears improved as well, leaving edges a little smoother and better defined than its predecessor. A very nice improvement over the older generation.

Panasonic GX850 vs Canon EOS M100 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 1600
Canon EOS M100 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the M100's resolution advantage over the GX850 starts to disappear. The Canon's less sophisticated noise reduction leaves behind higher levels of luminance noise while also softening and smearing fine detail more than the GX850's area-specific noise reduction, which is more effective at reducing noise in flatter areas while holding onto more detail in the mosaic crop. Both cameras start to struggle with our notorious red-leaf swatch, however it's the GX850 that holds onto better detail in the pink fabric. Colors are still a bit brighter and more pleasing from the M100, though.

Panasonic GX850 vs Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 1600

The X-A3 pulls away further from the GX850 here at ISO 1600, with lower noise, more detail, higher contrast and better color, although sharpening halos remain more obvious from the Fuji.

Panasonic GX850 vs Olympus E-PL8 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 1600
Olympus E-PL8 at ISO 1600

The Olympus E-PL8 continues to deliver a smoother, slightly cleaner image with higher contrast here at ISO 1600, however the Panasonic's sharper image holds onto more fine detail with less smudging and fewer noise reduction artifacts.

Panasonic GX850 vs Sony A5100 at ISO 1600

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 1600
Sony A5100 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the Sony A5100's aggressive default noise reduction softens and smudges fine detail more than the GX850's, giving the Panasonic the edge in sharpness and detail here. Detail in the red-leaf swatch appears higher from the Sony, but much of it is false and distorted.

Panasonic GX850 vs Panasonic GF7 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GF7 at ISO 3200

Once again, the newer generation GX850 offers noticeably better image quality at ISO 3200 than its predecessor. The GX850 produces lower luma noise, much less chroma blotching as well as better contrast and color, however the GF7 does hold onto a bit more detail in our troublesome red-leaf swatch.

Panasonic GX850 vs Canon EOS M100 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 3200
Canon EOS M100 at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the GX850 produces a crisper image with lower noise and better fine detail retention with the help of more sophisticated noise reduction, though in some ways the M100 image looks perhaps a little more "natural" with a more film-like noise "grain".

Panasonic GX850 vs Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A3 at ISO 3200

The X-A3 still comes out ahead here at ISO 3200 with better detail in most areas, lower noise with a more consistent "grain", and more pleasing colors. The X-A3 does marginally better with fine detail in our tricky red-leaf swatch despite lower contrast, though both have blurred it quite heavily.

Panasonic GX850 vs Olympus E-PL8 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 3200
Olympus E-PL8 at ISO 3200

Once again, the GX850 holds onto more fine detail while leaving behind slightly higher noise levels versus the E-PL8's smoother, more contrasty image which suffers from more smearing of fine detail and more obvious noise reduction artifacts.

Panasonic GX850 vs Sony A5100 at ISO 3200

Panasonic GX850 at ISO 3200
Sony A5100 at ISO 3200

And finally, similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the A5100's heavy-handed noise reduction has softened and smudged the image so much at ISO 3200 that it almost looks like Vaseline has been smeared on the lens in comparison to the GX850's much crisper and more detailed image. Flatter areas do look cleaner with less chroma noise from the A5100, but have an uneven, more "processed" look. Again, the Sony appears to do better with detail in the red-leaf swatch, but much of it is false.

Panasonic GX850 vs. Panasonic GF7, Canon EOS M100, Fujifilm X-A3, Olympus E-PL8, Sony A5100

Panasonic
GX850
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GF7
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
EOS M100
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-A3
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Olympus
E-PL8
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A5100
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it, too. Here, we can see the Panasonic GX850 performed noticeably better than its predecessor both in terms of fine detail and in contrast, especially as ISO increases. Contrast and detail are however not as high as from the Canon M100 and Fuji X-A3 APS-C contenders. The Olympus E-PL8 produced noticeably higher contrast, though fine detail suffered much more than the GX850 at ISO 6400. Interestingly, Sony A5100 easily out-performed the GX850 at base ISO, however it struggled to maintain detail at higher ISOs and also produced obvious false colors.

 

Panasonic GX850 Print Quality Analysis

Very good 24 x 36 inch prints up to ISO 400; Good 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 800; and a nice 8 x 10 at ISO 3200.

ISO 100 and 200 prints are very good at 24 x 36 inches, displaying rich color, superb fine detail, and a nice three-dimensional pop to the images. The 30 x 40 inch prints will certainly work for wall-display purposes, but the 16-megapixel resolution limits the closeness of the viewing distance.

ISO 400 images are also quite good at 24 x 36 inches. There is just a trace of mild softening in areas of fine detail, but not enough to keep us from awarding our good overall seal to this size, and there's no noise apparent anywhere.

ISO 800 produces 20 x 30 inch prints that come very close to passing our good seal, and can certainly be used for less critical applications or most wall display purposes. The 16 x 20 inch prints here tighten up quite nicely, and display very good fine detail and excellent colors, with only a mild softening in the red channel, which is typical of most crop sensor cameras at this ISO and higher.

ISO 1600 yields a 16 x 20 inch print that may pass the grade for less critical printing applications, but for ensuring a good print we recommend the 13 x 19 inch size and lower at this gain setting. With only a mild trace of noise in flatter areas of our target and just a touch of softness in the red channel, these are still very good prints.

ISO 3200 delivers an 11 x 14 inch print that just passes our good seal of approval. There is mild noise apparent in flatter areas of our Still Life target, and most all contrast detail is now lost in our tricky red-leaf fabric swatch, but it's still a print that merits our overall good seal. For the most critical printing needs, though, we suggest limiting size to an 8 x 10 here.

ISO 6400 outputs an 8 x 10 inch print that's really not bad given the "gain strain" at this setting on a Four-Thirds sensor, but we recommend printing at that size for less critical applications only. If you must push the camera to this gain setting for prints, we recommend 5 x 7's as the maximum size here.

ISO 12,800 yields a 5 x 7 inch print similar to the 8 x 10 above, and will likely be fine for less critical printing purposes. But for a good print we suggest sticking with 4 x 6 inch prints here, which still yield a lot of color and detail for such a high ISO.

ISO 25,600 surprisingly delivers a 4 x 6 inch print that's not too bad! You can get away with it for anything not too important, but otherwise we recommend avoiding this ISO for prints.

The Panasonic GX850 turned in a solid performance in the print quality department, especially given its class and sensor resolution. You're in really good hands up to ISO 1600, with tons of fine detail and excellent colors throughout. Panasonic is one of the few manufacturers that manages to keep colors from muting too badly as ISO rises, and GX850 owners will benefit from this as ISO rises. By ISO 6400 the gain really starts to strain the GX850, so if you can remain at ISO 3200 and below your prints will reap the rewards. Well done to Panasonic on this camera for really good image quality for the price.

 



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