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Camera Reviews

Date: 18/05/2016 | By: Mathieu

Panasonic GX85 / GX80 Review – Excellent value for the money


Panasonic GX85 / GX80 Review – Excellent value for the money

Sometimes you can just tell from the first tidbits of information that appear online that the camera is going to be good. Nothing replaces a thorough and in-depth test of course but right from the start, I was confident that the new Panasonic GX80 would not disappoint, and my three weeks of testing have confirmed that first feeling.

Panasonic found a great balance between the latest technology, advanced functionalities, a compact size and an affordable price. Honestly, most of the time I found myself having to nitpick to find relevant things to say “against” this camera.

The Panasonic GX80 is the successor to the GX7, a camera released almost three years ago that has long been one of mine and Heather’s favourites.

The improvements are considerable and the only real downside is that during the “upgrade” process, the design team renounced a few things that I liked about the GX7 along the way.

panasonic gx80 review
GX80, 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – Lumix G 12-32mm at 32mm
panasonic gx80 review
GX80, 1/160, f/5.6, ISO 200 – Lumix G 12-32mm
The Panasonic Lumix GX85 / GX80 Main Specs
  • Sensor: 16 MP Live Mos
  • Lens system: micro four thirds
  • Weatherproof: None
  • Internal Stabilisation: Yes (5 axis)
  • Autofocus: DfD contrast detection AF with 49 areas
  • Continuous shooting: 8 fps (w/o live view), 6 fps (with live view)
  • ISO Sensitivity: 200 – 25600 ISO (Pull 100)
  • Shutter Speeds: 1/4000 to 60 seconds, up to 1/16000s with electronic shutter
  • Viewfinder: Field sequential LCD electronic viewfinder with 2.764k dots (equivalent), approx. 100% FOV coverage and 0.70x magnification
  • Rear monitor: tilting touch sensitive 3″ LCD screen (1040k dots)
  • Movie recording: 4K up to 30fps, Full HD up to 60fps
  • Built-in Flash: Yes
  • Extra Features: WiFi, Panorama, Timelapse, 4K Photo, Focus bracket
  • Dimensions: 122 x 70.6 x 43.9mm
  • Weight: 426g (including battery and memory card)

Editor’s note: this review is based on a pre-production model made available for the press running firmware 0.1. Since Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw is not yet compatible with the RAW files, I used Iridient Developer instead.

Video review

For those who prefer video reviews, I summarised all my findings in the one below.

What I like: Image stabilisation

Gone are the days when 5-axis stabilisation was a unique feature of Olympus cameras. First Sony, and now Panasonic are implementing this technology, and they’re doing it well. The GX80 has the most advanced image stabilisation system seen on a mirrorless camera and only the Olympus Sync IS (limited to one lens) can match it from a technical point of view.

If we rewind back in time, you’ll recall that the GX7 was the first Lumix camera to feature sensor stabilisation but it was limited to 2 axes and didn’t work for video. The GX8 (released last year) was an upgrade with 4 axes on the sensor and a new system called Dual IS. With select lenses, you can benefit from sensor and optical stabilisation working together. However there was still no sensor stabilisation for video. The GX80 solves this with 5 axes on the sensor and Dual IS, both of which are fully operational in video mode. This updated system is called 5-axis Dual IS (logical, isn’t it?).

GX80 dual IS
The Dual I.S. system

During my three weeks of testing, I found that the Dual IS is particularly effective with telephoto lenses.

I already shared the shot below in my first impressions article and it still remains the best result I got: almost 1s of exposure hand-held at 100mm (200mm equivalent by 35mm format standard).

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GX80, 0.8s, f/11, ISO 100 – Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8 at 100mm
Click to open the full res version
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GX80, 1s, f/13, ISO 100 – Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8 at 100mm
This image is slightly softer but still is a decent result!
Click to open the full res version

With wide-angle lenses, the good news is that the sensor stabilisation is effective on its own. This means that it will also work well with non Dual IS Panasonic lenses, Olympus and third party lenses.

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GX80, 1s, f/4, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 9-18mm at 9mm
Click to open the full res version

As you can see below, I achieved an acceptable result down to 2s with both a Lumix and Olympus wide-angle lens. It required several attempts of course as it is unlikely you will get it right the first time.

panasonic gx80 review
GX80, 2s, f/5.6, ISO 200 – Lumix G 12-32mm at 12mm
Click to open the full res version
panasonic gx80 review
GX80, 2s, f/5.6, ISO 320 – M.Zuiko 9-18mm at 12mm
Click to open the full res version

Just close your eyes for an instant and count for 2 seconds: the fact that the IBIS is able to compensate for such a long time is impressive.

These extreme examples are more for test purposes but I did find myself in a couple of situations in the past where having 5 axis stabilisation was a good alternative to not having a tripod on hand.

The less great news is that Dual IS doesn’t bring a substantial advantage with wide angle lenses. Of course I didn’t try every Lumix lens compatible with Dual IS so there may be some differences in the performance if one lens is more capable than another in terms of optical stabilisation. But if you are able to shoot sharp at 1s or even half a second, do you really need more than that?

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The GX80 with the Ultron 28mm f/2 and VM to MFT adapter

You can also use sensor stabilisation with adapted lenses: you just need to set the focal length manually. If the IBIS is activated when turning on the camera, it will automatically ask you if you want to set the focal length. Otherwise you will need to go into the shooting menu. Remember than when entering the focal length manually, you need to set the real length and not the 35mm format equivalent.

The performance is not as good as with native AF micro four thirds lenses probably because the lens can’t send additional information to the camera such as the focus distance. But I got a sharp result at 1/5s which is not bad at all.

panasonic gx80 review
GX80, 1/5, f/2.8, ISO 800 – Ultron 28mm f/2
Click to open the full res version

Image stabilisation also works for video and this is one of the major improvements made to the GX80.

You can use sensor stabilisation, Dual IS with select lenses and also add electronic stabilisation.

The best performance achieved is for static shots, especially when using Dual IS and electronic stabilisation: the results are almost perfect. The 5-axis system is also very effective with adapted lenses as you can see in the video below.


I also compared the IBIS performance with the Pen F which has the most recent hardware of Olympus cameras. The GX80 image stabilisation is better for static shots, is less effective when moving with the camera but produces less distortion.


A few criticisms about image stabilisation for video

While my findings are positive overall, there are some negative effects in video mode:

Dual IS can be jerky when panning: I wish you could select vertical stabilisation only as you can in still mode or simply select sensor stabilisation only instead of Dual IS when using a Dual IS compatible lens. These extra options would be helpful.

Even if it is less pronounced than on the Pen F, you can still get distortion and jello effects when moving with the camera because of rolling shutter. Sudden sideway shifts are also present, so for movements the results are not perfect. You can find more examples and information in the comparison video above.

The GX80 has more trouble stabilising the vertical shakes when walking with a medium focal length. You can see some examples in the two videos above.

What I like: 4K and video capabilities

Since the release of the GH4, Panasonic has made 4K one of its main features so naturally the GX80 has the same capabilities.

The 4K video quality is excellent with no aliasing or moiré. The footage is very sharp and holds well up to 3200 ISO (the max. sensitivity is 6400). Dynamic range is excellent but advanced filmmakers could miss dedicated video profiles as well as a microphone input (but concerning the latter I am not surprised given the small size of the body).

Note: you can see some video footage samples in the video review as well as the videos shown in the chapter above.

Like its siblings, the GX80 is packed with lots of extra video-related options.

You can find stop motion animation and time-lapse (that also saves a 4K video file). One new addition is 4K Live Cropping. The camera can create digital movements by cropping the 4K resolution and saving the file in Full HD.

It is a technique I often apply in my video editing when using 4K footage in a 1080p timeline. I used this feature for some of our upcoming YouTube videos and it can be quite useful, saving you some time in post-production if you have a precise shot list. For rushed situations, it is better just to record in 4K and decide how to crop later on.


Thanks to the 4K capabilities of the camera you also get all the options related to 4K Photo, a feature that allows you to extract an 8MP JPG from any frame of the 4K video footage. You can shoot at 30fps (4K burst) and there are some curious features like Post Focus where you select your focus point after taking the shot.

There is also a Light Composition mode but I found it a bit disappointing.

Because 4K photo is basically a 4K video special feature, you are in fact still recording a video clip. Light Composition can be useful for low-light scenes which means you often need good high ISO performance and to be able to use very slow shutter speeds (start trails is a good example).

With the GX80 the minimum shutter speed available with 4K photo is 1/2s. 3200 ISO can be enough but the 8MP JPG file is saved from compressed video footage. It will be fine for web usage but it lacks detail and dynamic range. You don’t have room for serious post-processing or better image quality.

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GX80, 1/2, f/2.8, ISO 1600 – 4K Photo – M.Zuiko 12-40mm at 12mm
Click to open the full res version
panasonic gx85 light composition
GX80, 1/2, f/2.8, ISO 3200 – 4K Photo – M.Zuiko 12-40mm at 12mm
Click to open the full res version
panasonic gx85 light composition
GX80, 1/4, f/2.8, ISO 6400 – 4K Photo – M.Zuiko 12-40mm at 12mm
Click to open the full res version

By contrast the Live Composite feature on Olympus cameras allows you to save JPG and RAW files in full resolution. I would have preferred to have a complete solution for stills rather than a 4K photo feature.

A few criticisms about 4K and video

The only real flaw of 4K video on the GX80 is rolling shutter which can be annoying. The Full HD footage has more aliasing and less sharpness (no full pixel readout).

Another annoying thing is the lack of a mic input. The built-in microphone also records the camera’s internal noise so you won’t get clean audio from your video footage. Your only option to record good audio quality  is to use an external microphone and external recorder.

When recording 4K, the frame is slightly cropped (for full pixel readout and better IQ).

GX80 4k crop
The camera crops when recording video.

As stated further down in the AF chapter, Continuous AF in video mode is slower and unreliable with fast moving subjects.

The HDMI port outputs a 4:2:0 8bit signal only.

What I like: lots of extra features

The GX80 has a good number of extra functionalities that can satisfy various genres or photographic needs. I already covered 4K Photo in the chapter above but there are others features worth listing:

  • Multiple exposure: you can merge up to 4 images and the process is very easy. You take the first image, then if satisfied, you go to the next one. The camera will overlay the images in the live view. You can also go back to the previous image and retake it. You can apply multiple exposure to images recorded previously with the “Overlay” mode.
  • Panorama: accessible from the main dial, it will save the result in JPG only. You can set the direction and the angle of view which will affect the width or height of your panorama.
  • Wifi: you can remotely control the camera and transfer images (JPG only) to a mobile device. The Panasonic Image app is very complete and easy to use without interruptions or other problems. You can also transfer video files when record with the Snap Movie function and edit them on your tablet. Finally you can play back your images wirelessly on a compatible TV screen.
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The GX80 has wifi capabilities but lacks NFC.
  • RAW processing: you can process a RAW image in-camera by varying the white balance, contrast, colour profile and other settings and save the result as a full sized JPG.
  • Exposure bracketing: up to 7 images and 1Ev of difference. You can choose to take each picture manually or shoot the entire sequence with just one press of the shutter button.
  • Aperture bracketing: You can choose a specified number of pictures or take pictures until the camera has used all the aperture values available (depending on the lens used of course). The camera will take the various pictures in an alternating pattern from the first aperture selected. For some weird reason, it works with Auto ISO only.

Following in the footsteps of Olympus, the camera now has a focus bracketing option found within the Bracket menu and it is one of the most interesting additions.

Although it doesn’t merge the images in-camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M1, it takes up to 999 shots (RAW & JPG) in steps from 1 to 5 which you can then merge in a program like Photoshop or Helicon Focus. (By contrast, Olympus cameras let you choose up to 10 steps.) These steps tell the camera how much distance you want between each shot.

panasonic gx85 focus bracketing
GX80, 1/50, f/3.5, ISO 640 – M.Zuiko 60mm Macro
10 shots, 5 steps
Click to open the full res version
panasonic gx85 focus bracketing
GX80, 1/2, f/8, ISO 800 – M.Zuiko 60mm Macro
15 shots, 3 steps
Click to open the full res version

To use focus bracketing, simply activate it within the menu, choose the number of steps and images, and press the shutter button to start the burst. Unlike Olympus cameras which start from your focus point and work backwards, the GX85 takes a series of shots in front of and behind the focus point in an alternating pattern. This means that you should begin by focusing at the center of the object you are photographing rather than on the point closest to you. The GX80 uses the mechanical shutter unlike Olympus cameras that switch to the electronic shutter.

panasonic gx85 focus bracketing

Overall, focus bracketing works very well on the GX80, though choosing the best initial focus point can take some getting used to.

As for the ideal number of steps and shots, you’ll need to experiment to achieve the right balance but there are a few important factors to keep in mind such as:

  • how many subjects there are in the composition;
  • how closely positioned they are to one another;
  • how close you are to them;
  • how much depth you have to cover.

Generally speaking, the smaller the subject, the lower the step number, and the more depth there is to cover, the more shots you’ll need.

Also remember that you can’t set a timer for focus bracketing, so if you have to use slow shutter speeds, it is best to start the burst via the Lumix app to avoid touching the camera and blurring the first image.

What I like: continuous shooting and shutter

The GX80 can shoot up to 8fps without live view (the camera shows the last picture taken in the EVF or LCD screen) or at 6fps and 2fps with live view (there are blackouts between shots).

Choosing between 8fps or 6fps depends on the action you are photographing and how fast your subject is. The faster burst is helpful with very fast subjects but without the live view it can be more difficult to follow the action if the subject moves in a less predictable direction.

At 6fps the live view allows you to follow the action better but the continuous blackouts can be annoying, especially if you have a light background or are shooting against the sky.

The buffer capabilities are very good and in JPG mode it basically never stops shooting even at 8fps.

These are the results I got with a Sandisk Extreme 64GB U3:


  • JPG+RAW: 8s then slows down considerably
  • JPG: after 30s the GX80 stills shoots at full power


  • JPG+RAW: 10s then slows down
  • JPG: after 30s still shooting at full power


  • JPG+RAW: still shooting at full power after 30s

If you select the SH mode, the GX80 uses the electronic shutter and shoots at 40fps. However it only saves JPGs at a reduced size of 2MP and it stops after 3 seconds.

The electronic shutter allows you to go past the 1/4000s speed of the mechanical shutter and go up to 1/16000s. You can also activate the silent mode. You can select one or the other manually or set the Auto mode. As usual with the electronic shutter you need to be aware of rolling shutter issues with fast movements.

The GX80 introduces a new mechanical shutter with an electromagnetic drive to reduce shutter shock, an issue reported on other cameras like the GX7 and GX8 especially.

I’m glad to say that during my testing period I never encountered any shutter shock issues so the new mechanism seems to be very effective.

Plus the sound is more discreet than that of the GX7 or GX8 which is another welcome feature.

What hasn’t really changed: autofocus

The GX80 uses the Depth from Defocus technology that Panasonic introduced with the GH4 and subsequently with the LX100, GX8 and G7. It is a contrast detection system that selects the correct focus point by analysing 2 images with different depths of field in a fraction of a second.

I’ve never been 100% convinced by this technology. It is true that in some situations the AF is blazingly fast and locks very quickly. When I first tried it on the GH4 I found it very promising. However DfD still remains a contrast detection system and it suffers in backlight or scenes with less contrast.

On the GX80 I got good results overall which shows that DfD can indeed work. My keeper rate was approximately 65% during a marathon race which is a good AF testing ground.

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GX80, 1/800, f/4, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8 at 100mm
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GX80, 1/800, f/2.8, ISO 200 – Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8 at 100mm
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GX80, 1/800, f/3.5, ISO 200 – Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8 at 100mm
panasonic gx85 autofocus
An example of burst at 8fps: the B&W images are out of focus, the sepia ones slightly soft.

It locks quickly, tracks well but sometimes also misfocused. The camera doesn’t always deliver constant performance.

The settings can influence the results. The 49 area mode (Multi) is reliable but it is better to select a custom area to reduce erratic behaviour. AF tracking is the mode I like the least as it behaves too erratically. Face and eye detection work but the camera can also confuse the parts of a person’s face.

The AF performance depends on the lens used. With Lumix lenses you will have better results while with Olympus lenses DfD won’t work. That can reduce the performance and the accuracy of the results.

In the example below I could have easily set my focus and locked it because the scene is expansive. I am shooting at 9mm and f/5.6 so everything is in focus. Still it’s interesting to note how with Continuous AF, several of these images ended up out of focus.

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GX80, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 9-18mm at 9mm
The picture is in focus…
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GX80, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 9-18mm at 9mm
…the next one is out of focus.

The performance in low light decreases and can be slow but most of the time I found it reasonable in Single AF.

For video, the performance is slower even with Lumix lenses. With moving subjects like runners, the camera simply can’t keep up and the subject progressively becomes blurry. Even when walking and following a subject, the continuous AF can focus on the background or misfocus especially if you are using an Olympus lens.

With static shots, going from one element to another can be quick when there isn’t much focus distance to correct but at times it can be slow as well.

I think that more than with stills, DfD shows its limits for motion picture.

That is where a phase detection system can give you better results as the recent Sony a6300 and Fuji X-Pro2 have shown.

AF and touch screen

Lumix cameras offer a complete touch screen experience. You can use the camera’s buttons and dials or use the touch screen even to navigate inside the main menu.

panasonic gx85 review
The touch screen is useful to select a custom group of AF points.

I found touch sensitivity very helpful in some situations combined with the AF options. You can create you own group of AF points with your finger, touch the screen to take a shot or move the focus area (with single point only). You can also use the LCD screen to move the AF point when using the EVF. Note however than if you need very precise results concerning the focus point position, the touch screen can be slightly imprecise.

What hasn’t really changed: image quality

The GX80 inaugurates a new sensor. The resolution remains the same (16MP effective) but there is no Anti-Aliasing filter anymore. Panasonic claims 10% additional sharpness in comparison to previous 16MP sensors.

I performed some side-by-side tests with the GX7 using different lenses and scenes and my conclusion is: there is no real difference.

In the first example below with the tree, it is almost impossible to recognise one from the other and the same applies to the second example where I used the M.Zuiko 60mm macro.

panasonic gx85 review
Test I: 1/30, f/5.6, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 12-40mm at 12mm
  • Slide to the right: GX80 version (100% crop) – Full res here
  • Slide to the left: GX7 version (100% crop) – Full res here


panasonic gx85 vs gx7
Test II: 1/10, f/8, ISO 200 – M.Zuiko 60mm Macro
  • Slide to the right: GX80 version (100% crop) – Full res here
  • Slide to the left: GX7 version (100% crop) – Full res here


Only in the third example can we notice a small advantage from the GX80. So it really takes very fine textures to notice something but frankly, 99% of the time, you won’t notice a difference. I haven’t found any traces of moiré so the new Venus image processor takes care of that well.

panasonic gx85 vs gx7
Test III: 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 200 – Leica 25mm f/1.4
  • Slide to the right: GX80 version (100% crop) – Full res here
  • Slide to the left: GX7 version (100% crop) – Full res here


What you need to know is that the image quality of this camera is up to the standard of the most recent m4/3 cameras. It has good dynamic range (though you may find some limits for extreme post-production).

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GX80, 1/60, f/3.5, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – Lumix G 12-32mm at 12mm
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GX80, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 200 – Lumix G 12-32mm at 12mm
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GX80, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 200 – Lumix G 12-32mm at 24mm
No post production
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GX80, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 200 – Lumix G 12-32mm at 24mm
Post processed RAW – Click to open the full res version

The ISO performance is excellent up to 6400: without noise reduction applied, colour noise is visible but the overall quality is still decent. If I apply some NR on the RAW file, the file becomes very usable.

panasonic gx7 ii review
GX80, 1/25, f/8, ISO 6400 – M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8
Click on the image to open the full res version.
  • Slide to the right: 6400 ISO, NR Off (Iridient)
  • Slide to the left: 6400 ISO, NR On (iridient)


Note: you can check out the entire set from ISO 800 to ISO 25600 here.

The in-camera NR can cause a reduction in detail in the JPGs even when set to -5. I would avoid going past 0, as the loss in detail  is too noticeable.

panasonic gx85 low light
NR comparison for OOC JPGs

Panasonic’s colour profiles have never been my favourite. The look can often be cold especially when using AutoWB and the factory settings. With a few tweaks of the various settings available however the results can improve but I still prefer to work with the RAW files.

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GX80, 1/100, f/10, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – Vivid profile
Lumix G 12-32mm at 12mm
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GX80, 1/800, f/2.8, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – Natural profile
Ultron 28mm f/2
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GX80, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – Vivid profile
Lumix G 12-32mm at 32mm
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GX80, 1/200, f/9, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – Standard profile
Lumix G 35-100mm f/2.8 at 100mm

The new L.Monochrome profile gives more contrast in comparison to the standard Monochrome profile. It’s a nice addition as it gives the black and white images a more interesting look. You can choose between four different filters (red, orange, yellow and green).

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GX80, 1/320, f/9, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – L.Monochrome
Lumix G 12-32mm at 12mm
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GX80, 1/4000, f/11, ISO 200 – OOC JPG – L.Monochrome
Leica 25mm f/1.4
  • Slide to the right: monochrome profile
  • Slide to the left: L.monochrome profile

What I don’t like: unnecessary downgrades from the GX7

My only real disappointment about the GX80 is that it lacks a few things in terms of ergonomics and usability that were present on the GX7.

If you’ve never tried the GX7, this chapter might not interest you but having owned and loved the GX7 myself, I simply don’t understand these downgrades.

When the GX7 came out, it replaced the GX1 and became the flagship model in the GX series. Now this segment has expanded: the GX8 takes the lead and the new GX80 is a step below. Panasonic had to create more differences between these two cameras; otherwise the more attractive price of the GX80 could have interfered with GX8 sales.

The first thing I dislike is the grip: it is smaller and less comfortable than the one on the GX7, whose grip was more rounded and prominent. This was more helpful with longer lenses.

panasonic gx85 review
The grip is more comfortable on the previous model (GX7).

Then we have the EVF: both cameras share exactly the same unit. It has a 16:9 screen based on field sequential technology with a combined resolution of 2.764k and a decent 0.7x magnification. The perception of a higher resolution is welcome but against backlit situations it can produce a rainbow effect if you are panning quickly. For some users, this is a big problem but personally I never had any serious problems with it even when using the GX7.

However the most important letdown is that the EVF on the new camera can no longer be tilted. That was a unique feature of the GX series and I find it useful in situations where you are shooting at a low angle but can’t rely on the LCD because of sunlight for example. I know that some users and reviewers found it unnecessary. For me it’s one of those features that is there if needed – otherwise you just keep it in the default position.

panasonic gx85 review
On the GX80, the EVF can’t be tilted anymore.

Since the EVF is exactly the same in terms of specifications and size, and the camera body has a similar design, I can’t see why it couldn’t be there, if not just to create an extra difference with the GX8. The only positive addition to the GX80 is the Live View option at 60fps, which is especially helpful in low light for both the EVF and LCD screen.

Another complaint is the disappearance of the AF/MF selector. This is another thing I like on all Panasonic cameras especially when shooting video. I often found it handy to switch quickly between AF and MF and that selector is perfect for that. Now you have to assign the AF mode to a custom button and scroll between fours options (AFS, AFF, AFC and MF) which isn’t as immediate.

panasonic gx85 review
The built-in flash doesn’t control other units wirelessly.

Finally the built-in flash on the GX80 won’t control other flash units wirelessly unlike the GX7. You need an external unit like the new FL200L. The supplied flash of the LX100 works as well. The new flash also has a slower max. sync speed (1/160s vs 1/320s on the GX7).

I realise I’m nitpicking here but if Panasonic had kept these options on the GX80 as well, for me the camera would have been almost perfect.

About the GX80 design and ergonomics

Except for the downgrades described below, overall the GX80 has a decent body design. The camera is light and comfortable to use especially with compact lenses.

There are four customs buttons plus 5 virtual buttons that can be accessed from right side of the LCD screen. I wish they had kept a separate button for the Quick Menu instead of assigning it by default to the Fn2 button.

The dials on top are comfortable to reach and use while the rear dial requires some getting used to. If you assign the “Dial Operation switch” to a function button, you can also temporarily use the dials for other settings such as AF mode, White balance, FLash mode and more.

The tilting LCD screen mechanism was a little stiff on my sample.

panasonic gx85 review
The LCD screen can be tilted and is touch sensitive.

The body is mostly made of plastic but felt solid to me. It isn’t weather sealed but I guess this was done to keep the cost down and make the camera more affordable.

What I like the most: value for the money

I kept the aspect I like the most for the end as it also serves as my conclusion. So here we go:

The Panasonic GX80 is one of the best deals on a micro four thirds cameras, or even a mirrorless camera that you can find today.

For approximately $800, or €800 or £700 including the kit lens, you get a fine selection of the best features you can find on a mirrorless camera including one of the most advanced image stabilisation systems, excellent 4K video and tons of extra features.

Not everything is perfect: AF for video needs some improvements, the new sensor doesn’t bring a substantial difference and those who care about build quality could be disappointed by the lack of a more premium build quality.

The battery life was good overall. For light shooting you can get through the day with one. For extensive shooting and video recording you will need a spare battery.

panasonic gx85 review
GX80, 1/320, f/5.4, ISO 200 – Lumix G 12-32mm at 28mm

To be honest, I had a hard time finding real flaws with this camera, and there certainly wasn’t anything that would prompt me to not recommend it. In fact, my only real disappointment is that a few features I liked on the GX7 have been removed.

Right now, especially for someone who wants to buy their first mirrorless camera without spending too much, I can’t think of any better deal especially considering the compact size and great selection of lenses within the micro four thirds system.

thumb-up What I like about the Panasonic GX80:

  • One of the best image stabilisation systems
  • 4K video quality is excellent
  • Good continuous shooting speed and excellent buffer
  • No shutter shock found with the new mechanism
  • Tons of extra features including 4K photo, Focus bracketing and more
  • Light and compact body
  • Excellent value for the money

thumb What hasn’t changed / could be improved on the Panasonic GX80:

  • The new sensor doesn’t bring substantial improvements
  • The AF DfD technology is fast but can also lack consistency

thumb-down What I don’t like about the Panasonic GX80:

  • AF is slow during video recording
  • 5-axis Dual IS for video can generate distortion, jerking and sudden sideway shifts
  • Rolling shutter in video mode can be annoying
  • No mic input and the built-in audio is not clean (internal noise)
  • Light composition would be much better as a full still image feature rather than a 4K photo feature
  • Some downgrades from the previous model feel more like a marketing decision to stop the camera from competing with the high-end GX8

Additional nitpicking:

  • The tilting LCD screen is stiff
  • When recording video, the frame is slightly cropped
  • The tactile experience of the rear dial isn’t great

About the Lumix G 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens

panasonic 12-32mm kit lens
The 12-32mm kit lens is a decent lens to start with.

Since some of our readers asked about it, I am also giving you my two cents about the kit lens that comes in the box with the camera.

Obviously the nicest aspect is the very compact size and I also like that the zoom ring is mechanical rather than electronic.

Sharpness is good and peak performance is found at f/5.6 for both 12mm and 32mm. The corners however are softer. The lens also suffer from flare. A decent bokeh can only be obtained by focusing close at 12mm and f/3.5.

panasonic gx85 kit lens
GX80, 1/400, f/5.6, ISO 200 – 12mm
Click to open the full res version
panasonic gx85 kit lens
GX80, 1/80, f/5.6, ISO 200 – 32mm
Click to open the full res version
panasonic gx85 kit lens
GX80, 1/400, f/8, ISO 200 – 12mm
Click to open the full res version
You can notice a decrease in sharpness at the top right corner.
panasonic gx85 kit lens
GX80, 1/400, f/3.5, ISO 200 – 12mm

For a beginner, the lens is useful and good value to start with. The only drawback is the lack of a focus ring (probably to reduce the size of the lens). As your experience increases, the desire for a faster lens will definitely grow but the compact size makes this lens worth having when you want to travel as light as possible and have a useful zoom range.

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Dino

    Hi Mathieu,

    thank you for your fast reply.

    Well the reason I’m buying a real camera is my son. Smartphone pics were sufficient for my self but now I want more.
    I am little obsessive with the picture making of him, as I’m documenting (trying to) every day of his life.
    And every now end then I want to make some videos of him, which he will hopefully want to see some day. So that’s my current use case I have in mind. Since my son is 1 year old, by the time he grows up 4K should be a normal thing.
    I’m not really concerned with the mic output but more with the noise that can be heard from the GX80.

    The Lenses are really something that is pushing me toward MFT.

    Thank you very much.

  • Mathieu

    Hi Dino, the GX80 is a very complete camera with excellent stills and video capabilities. Its stabilisation system is definitely one of its strongest point. There is a lot of lenses to choose from (Panasonic and Olympus).

    The a6000 has a faster autofocus and a larger sensor that can give you a little bit more dynamic range.

    Concerning video sound, it is true that the GX80 doesn’t have a mic input. With the a6000, you need a Sony microphone compatible with the Multi-Interface shoe.

    Is audio and video a crucial point for you?

  • Dino

    I’m new to the whole mirror less world. And I’m trying to find out what camera to buy. Maybe you could help me. I’m trying to decide between the Lumix GX80 and the Sony a6000. What camera would you choose? I’m currently tending toward the GX80 but that video sound thing is kind of letting me hesitate.

    Kind regards,

  • Marcos Codas

    I think maybe you had a preprod model? I’ve seen reports that all later models (the ones that shipped to customers) have plastic mounts.

  • Mathieu

    Could be that there are different versions according to country/continent although I can’t think about a relevant explanation for that.

  • Marcos Codas

    Just for information, my GX85 came with a plastic-mount 12-32.

  • Gonzalo Broto

    This is a great travel camera, probably the best Lumix body Panasonic has ever manufactured considering all aspects combined. Sure, it’s not as advanced in some features as bigger models, but the balance is just great. If you wanna see more pictures and comments, feel free to visit my own analysis in my blog:

  • Mathieu

    If you can get the GX80 for cheaper, go for it. It’s a lovely camera. Later on you can also buy an additional lens like the 42.5mm f/1.7: it’s not expensive and will a very nice portrait lens for your baby.

  • Lois

    Hi great work with the review!!
    Im an basic amateur user interest in buy a compact camera, just for travel and to photograf my recent baby… Im see this lumix gx80/85 and the lumix zs100/tz100, they seems very nice for me, witch you woulg recommend for me, considering that the gx80 is in promotion and can get it cheaper than the tz100

  • Mathieu

    You can try Iridient Developer, it is quite good and can render more sharpness than Lightroom. But a m4/3 camera will always have more noise than a full frame camera at high ISO.

  • TireoftheNONSENSE

    Have to say while I really like the way the camera focuses and the built-in IS. I’m not loving the IQ. Wondering if I’m being to critical. Coming from FF, especially past ISO 1600 find the images soft. Is it me? Is there a RAW converter I should be using?

  • Mathieu

    The GX80 built-in flash doesn’t control other units wirelessly. Unfortunately it is one of the downgrades from the GX7. You need the small optional FL200L. The supplied flash with the LX100 will work as well (in case you own an LX100).

  • Frank Gross

    Please can you help – I had a GX7 and I could wirelessly fire my off-camera flash (Nissin i40) by using the camera’s built-in flash to optically trigger it. I sold the GX7 and bought the GX80 (or GX85 as it’s called in Canada) and now I cant set it up. In the menu Flash> the >Wireless and > Wireless channel are greyed out. I have mechanical shutter and silent Off. What else could it be?

  • Marcos Codas

    Thank you, Mathieu!

  • Mathieu

    The kit lens I received had a metal mount.

  • Marcos Codas

    Hi Mathieu! It’s me again, haha. I’ve finally bought it!

    However, I’ve read somewhere that the kit lens is now shipping with a plastic mount instead of a metal one. Was that the case with the review copy you received?


  • Mathieu

    Thanks Philip. You’re probably right about the kit lens, if I have the chance to test another one I’ll dig more into it.

  • Phillip Reeve

    That first 12mm shot with the kit lens looks much better on the left side (which looks quite good actually) than on the right one so I would guess that your copy is decentered. Nice review though!

  • Mathieu

    Yes I noticed the same thing. It’s a noise the camera produces when turned on. Initially I thought it was related to the sensor stabilisation but turning it off doesn’t make a difference (it almost look like there’s a tiny fan inside).

  • SE

    Hi Mathieu, I bought the GX80 and was
    really suprised when watching some testvideos I took. There was
    always a humming sound in the background which I think comes from the
    camera itself. It is really annoying and makes the videos kind of
    useless. Did you notize something simular during your tests? Thanks
    in advance!

  • Georges

    Any penalty in picture quality (more noise, reduced DR) when using the electronic shutter?

  • tean tan

    Excellent review on GX80, one suggestion don’t wave your hands too much it is quite distracting when watching your video.

  • Mahesh

    Even in the UK, GX7 is for 430 with a 20mm lens, i.e. even cheaper than the GX80 body. So it might be a better deal if one is not in 4K video and happy with 2 axis stabilisation.

  • Mathieu

    If you are interested in doing videos as well, then the GX80 will give you more options and better results.

  • Margot

    Thanks for the review Mathieu!

    I’m an amateur photographer and I shoot portrait, events and street-photography. I also do a bit of video and I would like to do more. I own a canon 600D (T3i) and I want a smaller and lighter camera for my everyday bag and travels.

    This gx80 seems great ! I’m also pretty amazed by the sharpness of the image produced by Fuji camera… but the video quality is bad… So, I’m struggling between the Fuji X-t10 and the Panasonic gx80.
    Which camera do you think would be the best for me ? Thanks!

  • Mathieu

    If you are not interested in the video part (4k and better quality on the GX85), the E-M10 II is a good deal and is less expensive now. The 5-axis stabilisation is excellent (you don’t have the Dual IS tech but the sensor alone can do fine in most situations), the IQ is the same but I prefer the colours of Olympus JPGs.

    The GX85 is sligthly faster concerning the AF and has better continuous shooting speed with continuous AF. It also has a more intuitive menu system and more options with the touch screen. The E-M10 II has a nicer design :)

    Concerning the kit lens, I prefer the Panasonic version because of the mechanical zoom ring and wider angle of view at 12mm (the Oly 14-42mm EZ has an electronic zoom ring).

  • jpm

    Thanks for the pointer! I’ll look at the legal conditions.

  • jpm

    Thanks for your advice!

  • Carlos Henrique Pereira

    Great review, Mathieu! I’m looking for a m4/3 as a low weight/image quality balance lately and from what I can get Panasonic has been doing a great job with every cam. Video appeal is very high on their cameras. How would you compare the GX85 with its kit lens to Olympus Om-d e-m10 mark II with its kit lens for photography? Thanks in advance!

  • Mathieu

    It’s a nice offer especially considering that you get three lenses with it. The GX80 is a relevant improvement concerning video (4K) and in-body stabilisation but otherwise the IQ is basically the same and the GX7 has some nice feature (tilting EVF, better grip). So if you don’t need the latest specs like 4K video or 5-axis stabilisation, then I would say it’s a good deal.

  • Mathieu

    If the buffer reaches the maximum, the shooting speed slows down but the camera doesn’t stop completely. With video you might need to wait a few extra seconds but overall the performance look pretty good to me at least with a fast card like a Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB U3.

  • Mathieu

    Yes the GX7 battery works on the GX80 and vice versa.

  • Tokumeino

    Interesting offer indeed. Since you seem to live in France, please note the current local Panasonic cashback : which double the cashback on up to 3 lenses as soon as you buy one body simultaneously. It probably won’t reach your offer but the GX80 cab be found at 599 euros with 12-32 and 859 with 14-140.

  • jpm

    I am a Ricoh GR user and willing to buy a m43 camera. We have this offer in France on the GX7 + lenses (, and I am wondering whether I should get a gx80 instead…

  • Tokumeino

    Great review !!! Thanks a lot. So, soulds like it’s more a still camera than a movie camera. That was expected due to the lack of a mic input.

    Just one question : once the buffer starts to fill the SD card, is the buffer still useable to take additional pictures (and/or record video) or do you need to wait until the buffer is empty to take a picture and/or start recording a video ? My GM1 is pretty annoyiong on that point !

  • Sandy Sandy

    Excellent Review Mathieu. Very thorough and very informative. The light composition mode should actually be at full res/ 16MP.

    Also, I believe the GX7, the LX100 and the GX80 (among others) share the same battery, even though they have been named differently. Did you try interchanging batteries between your GX7 and GX80.

    Thanks for the great review again.

  • Mathieu

    The a6300 is much faster with continuous AF in video mode.

  • Basil


    This is an excellent review. Thank you for all this work, I really appreciate it!
    I know you have some reservations about Panasonic’s DfD technology. From what I can tell, the continuous autofocus for stills seems kind of mixed — not hopeless, but probably not at the level of a midrange DSLR, or a mirrorless like that Sony A6300, or Fuji X-Pro2.

    How does the video autofocus compare to the Sony A6300, particularly continuous autofocus in video (I’m considering the A6300, but I am attracted to the GX80’s 5-axis image stabilization)? I have the LX100, which I love (great travel cam), but it doesn’t seem to track focus in video very well (I still need to do more tests).

    -With kind regards,

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