Micro 4/3 Some thoughts on the GX850

P9F4

Regular
Location
Germany
Name
Dennis
*** This was posted first (Nov. 2021) on mu-43, but since a lot of folks moved here and the community seems very nice too, I'd like too share this again. :) ***

Hey all,

just wanted to share some thoughts on the GX850 with the Panasonic 20mm 1.7 - a really nice combo, which I definitely have to use more often.
I bought the camera a few years ago but didn’t use it all that much; didn’t realise at the time how much I rely on IBIS.

Since today was a rainy day but I really wanted to take a stroll in the woods, I took the GX850 with me. The (really!) tiny size helped a great deal, since one can put it in the pocket of a jacket with one of the pancakes.
Here are a few pics from today (nothing spectacular, just to show how well it served its purpose):

P1100704.jpg


P1100717.jpg


P1100733.jpg


P1100807.jpg


P1100870.jpg


P1100883.jpg


P1100911.jpg


P1100938.jpg


P1100940.jpg


(Resized the images, hope they look okay!)

Since the light wasn’t good and it was relatively dark, I just used shutter priority and auto ISO to ensure sharp images.

Using the camera as a point and shoot works like a charm, it feels very capable and most of the time I’m very happy with the images it produces.
Honestly: I really think Panasonic does this camera line a huge disservice in marketing it only for people upgrading from a phone. The line up is very capable and can produce high IQ photos.

Also…that Panasonic 20mm is really something special. I get why people call it a gem. Ridiculously sharp wide open including good corners and the “look” it produces is very nice.

----------

So, I'd like to update this thread with some additional ramblings – in no particular order, just writing down some points that came to mind:

  • The GX850 offers less buttons to customize the camera to your personal needs (if you compare it to other bodies). However, I don't really mind that – depending on your shooting style, it might not even make a huge difference.
  • Build quality isn't as nice as it is on the GX80 for example, but it still is FAR from being bad (in general). The big exception here being the dial on the back. It's definitely low quality and almost always acting up. Compared to the quality of the rest of the camera, it feels strangely out of place; Panasonic really should've used a better one.
  • The Screen is easy to work with and very responsive.
  • It's a blessing for family stuff. People don't feel intimidated by it at all and with the quiet shutter, you won't annoy anybody or ruin moments.
  • Speaking of the shutter: the mechanical one can only be used up until 1/500 and the E-shutter is only 10-bit. Does it matter? Maybe in some cases, but it wasn't a problem for me. The files did still offer enough headroom. It has a nice sound, “feels” good and shutter shock isn't a problem.
  • I'm no videographer, but the 4K quality (in my opinion at least) is very nice.
  • Having the on/off switch on the right side is an incredible useful feature, because you're able to switch the GX850 on and operate it with one hand. Bad technique, but helpful in some situations.
  • It feels snappier than my E-M 10 II.
  • The tiny little Lumix is FUN to use. So much so, that I find myself grabbing it a lot more for walks recently than the GX80. There is something about the combination of the aesthetics (I have the all black version), the pleasing shutter, responsiveness and image quality from this thing...
If you use the GX850, you will have fewer possibilities compared to more well spec'd bodies. Not many custom buttons, no viewfinder, no IBIS – all of that may sound like a deal breaker, and to be fair, if it would be my only camerabody, it might hold me back a little in some situations.

But, and this is why I like it so much: it feels liberating to use a camera like this. In limiting your technical options, you simply need to work with what you got. Put the Lumix in A or S mode, use a nice prime (or the incredibly good 12-32 kit zoom) and you're good to go. Less worrying about perfect settings, more shooting – more fun! The Lumix won't get “in your way”, and I really like that.

If you have any questions, ask - I'll be happy to help out if I can.
Also, English isn't my native language, hopefully it wasn't too torturing reading through all of that.

Enough talk, here are some pictures:

P1070592.jpg


P1070649.jpg


P1060128.jpg


P1090057.jpg


P1130057.jpg
 
Agree with the previous comment - a very nice write-up, and some very cool photos.
It really seems like the 20mm lens goes nicely with that wonderfully small camera.
For those not familiar with the actual size of the camera, it might be fun to see a photo of your GX850 + the 20mm Lumix lens - just to get a visual sense of how diminutive the whole package really is.
Thanks for posting this!
 
Nice write-up, and very nice images. I love the hunting cabin behind the red leaves!
Thank you @bartjeej! :)
Agree with the previous comment - a very nice write-up, and some very cool photos.
It really seems like the 20mm lens goes nicely with that wonderfully small camera.
For those not familiar with the actual size of the camera, it might be fun to see a photo of your GX850 + the 20mm Lumix lens - just to get a visual sense of how diminutive the whole package really is.
Thanks for posting this!
Thanks @MiguelATF! :D
That’s a good idea - I’ll post pictures of the camera with the P20 attached when I have time. (y)

I’m actually wondering if the GX800/GX850 really has the exact same sensor as the GX80/GX85 - I’ve read that a couple of times now, but strangely, I don’t feel like the files look the same. Photos taken the GX80 almost look clinical (hard to describe, I’m lacking a better word); not to say that that’s a bad thing, but I feel the GX850 renders a bit different. They both shouldn’t have an AA filter, so maybe it’s the IBIS…then again, the GX850 doesn’t look as sharp as the GX80 even with the stabilised kit lens. That sounds like I dislike it, but that’s not the case - sometimes I look at a photo taken with the GX850 and there’s just something there that isn’t with the GX80.
Either that, or I’m just going mad, who knows. :hide:
 
The Panasonic engineers may have made the minutest changes in processing between the models. Differences are probable -- the sensor chip with its millions of diodes is just a part of the equation.
 
I bought a camera last year to replace my wife's GF7 which went missing - only we found it much later on! I almost went with the GX850, but decided on the G100 instead since I found one used for a good price (on Mu-43). The viewfinder on the G100 is really quite decent and my wife decided she did like using an EVF much of the time. But I always liked the GF7, along with the GM5 I had before which used a similar/the same sensor and the 1/500 sec max shutter. That shutter is actually very nice and quiet, and I could always work around its limitation without much difficulty. I'm glad there's still a place for the very small M4/3 cameras. And yes, the 20/1.7 is a gem. It's especially good for nature photographs, isn't it? Something about the rendering just works with the details and colors of the woods.
 
The Panasonic engineers may have made the minutest changes in processing between the models. Differences are probable -- the sensor chip with its millions of diodes is just a part of the equation.
You’re absolutely right, a camera is more than a box with a sensor - it’s probably a combination of several factors coming together. If there even is a difference at all, and it’s not just my mind playing tricks. :)
I bought a camera last year to replace my wife's GF7 which went missing - only we found it much later on! I almost went with the GX850, but decided on the G100 instead since I found one used for a good price (on Mu-43). The viewfinder on the G100 is really quite decent and my wife decided she did like using an EVF much of the time. But I always liked the GF7, along with the GM5 I had before which used a similar/the same sensor and the 1/500 sec max shutter. That shutter is actually very nice and quiet, and I could always work around its limitation without much difficulty. I'm glad there's still a place for the very small M4/3 cameras. And yes, the 20/1.7 is a gem. It's especially good for nature photographs, isn't it? Something about the rendering just works with the details and colors of the woods.
That G100 interests me quite a bit I have to say - but the viewfinder hump makes it somehow too big for me (which isn’t exactly fair to say, because the size is still very small).
An updated sensor and processor with the form factor of the GM5/GF series…that’s something I would like to see!
It’s sad that there aren’t more very small M43 cameras, they are very capable - hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future. In my opinion, there is a niche for those marvels, especially with the small and fantastic primes.
And yes, I love my P20; it’s really a lens that grows on you the more you use it. :giggle:
 
Agree with the previous comment - a very nice write-up, and some very cool photos.
It really seems like the 20mm lens goes nicely with that wonderfully small camera.
For those not familiar with the actual size of the camera, it might be fun to see a photo of your GX850 + the 20mm Lumix lens - just to get a visual sense of how diminutive the whole package really is.
Thanks for posting this!
So, those are no artistic masterpieces, but they should serve their purpose:
63626617-91BC-479E-A13E-65809541FB0A.jpeg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

8F1C5734-1129-413D-A8AF-B8566F10D2FB.jpeg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Thanks for this post, it is very much in line with my way of thinking. I've just picked up a GX800 (UK version), to compliment my GX9 and give me an even more compact option. I agree with your observations and also i'm not so worried about the compromises. I currently have the Pana Leica 15mm lens on there, which is small and of incredible quality, but i'm also considering the 20mm to shave off a little more size. The only thing i'll miss is that the 15mm has the aperture ring, which means I don't have to rely on that little jog wheel (I also agree that wheel is probably the worst thing about this camera). I like to shoot in Aperture Priority mode, with Auto ISO and then simply adjust exposure comp with the camera. I do wish it had the minimum shutter speed option that I have in the GX9, but its fine.

I did try to pick up a GM1, but couldn't find a decent copy at a reasonable price. To be honest though, the GX800 being newer does have some feature benefits, especially the titling screen which is I use often on my GX9.

Aesthetically I find the GX800 very pleasing in the all black colour and and it looks great alongside my GX9. The plastic bodies of both the GX9 & GX800 feel very nice and whilst I used to be a sucker for a metal body, i think they have done a good job with them. They certainly don't feel cheap.

I really like the images you produced, i'll definitely share some shots and additional thoughts soon.

It would be great if Panasonic launched more of these super small bodies. They really bring something unique to the system and I love the idea that you can have a bigger workhorse camera and something tiny that shares the same lenses. I probably won't be holding my breath though :(.

Cheers!
 
Thanks for this post, it is very much in line with my way of thinking. I've just picked up a GX800 (UK version), to compliment my GX9 and give me an even more compact option. I agree with your observations and also i'm not so worried about the compromises. I currently have the Pana Leica 15mm lens on there, which is small and of incredible quality, but i'm also considering the 20mm to shave off a little more size. The only thing i'll miss is that the 15mm has the aperture ring, which means I don't have to rely on that little jog wheel (I also agree that wheel is probably the worst thing about this camera). I like to shoot in Aperture Priority mode, with Auto ISO and then simply adjust exposure comp with the camera. I do wish it had the minimum shutter speed option that I have in the GX9, but its fine.

I did try to pick up a GM1, but couldn't find a decent copy at a reasonable price. To be honest though, the GX800 being newer does have some feature benefits, especially the titling screen which is I use often on my GX9.

Aesthetically I find the GX800 very pleasing in the all black colour and and it looks great alongside my GX9. The plastic bodies of both the GX9 & GX800 feel very nice and whilst I used to be a sucker for a metal body, i think they have done a good job with them. They certainly don't feel cheap.

I really like the images you produced, i'll definitely share some shots and additional thoughts soon.

It would be great if Panasonic launched more of these super small bodies. They really bring something unique to the system and I love the idea that you can have a bigger workhorse camera and something tiny that shares the same lenses. I probably won't be holding my breath though :(.

Cheers!
Hi @minimalist82, first of all: welcome to the forum! :)

Thanks for your input, interesting to read that your experience mirrors mine in a lot of ways.
One word regarding the P20: while it’s a fantastic lens and an easy one to recommend, I don’t think the savings in size should be the decisive factor. It’s smaller than the PL15, but it’s diameter is actually bigger - and the PL isn’t a big lens to start with.

Looking forward to see some of your photos!
 
So, just a quick update, but I really need to address this: the back wheel…dear god, why oh why?

Panasonic checked a lot of boxes for me with this camera. It may be quirky, but I really like it; the user interface and the general usability in real world usage are seriously good - you can get amazing results with the GF series.
But that control element is outstandingly bad, to the point I want to change settings less often because if I need to, frustration kicks in almost immediately.

The crazy thing is that the GM1 tends to develop the exact same problem, the wheel being jumpy, imprecise and unreliable - and they STILL used again in the GF series.

If Panasonic would’ve just used the same horizontal wheel as the GX80 has for example, it would improve handling greatly. They did this with the GM5 (I think) but didn’t continue with later models…which doesn’t make sense to me at all (although, cost-cutting may be the name of the game here).
 
Hi, I do agree on the jog wheel, it isn’t great, but now I’ve spent a couple of months with this camera and had the opportunity to test it on a recent trip, I’ve definitely grown to love it. I’ve developed a bit of muscle memory which means I’m making fewer accidental moves and the way I have it setup means I only really need the wheel for exposure compensation. I wish there was an option to set this as the default function, so I didn’t have to click it in each time.

I’ve been using the camera exclusively with the PL15mm and it is a such a perfect combo. The size and weight means that I’m now taking this camera with me almost everywhere which is exactly what I was hoping for. I was worried about the lack of IBIS, but this hasn’t been an issue so far. I’ve taken some images that I am really pleased with. Will share soon!
 
Hi, I do agree on the jog wheel, it isn’t great, but now I’ve spent a couple of months with this camera and had the opportunity to test it on a recent trip, I’ve definitely grown to love it. I’ve developed a bit of muscle memory which means I’m making fewer accidental moves and the way I have it setup means I only really need the wheel for exposure compensation. I wish there was an option to set this as the default function, so I didn’t have to click it in each time.

I’ve been using the camera exclusively with the PL15mm and it is a such a perfect combo. The size and weight means that I’m now taking this camera with me almost everywhere which is exactly what I was hoping for. I was worried about the lack of IBIS, but this hasn’t been an issue so far. I’ve taken some images that I am really pleased with. Will share soon!
I often use exposure bracketing with the GX800 - maybe that’s something that would work for you too? :unsure:
 
I just wanted to share some of my favourites images taken with this little camera on a recent trip to Portugal. I was really impressed with it. I thought that I would struggle without the stabilisation in lower light situations, but everything seemed pretty sharp. There was also a decent amount of dynamic range.

GX800-1.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


GX800-5.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)



GX800-4.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)



GX800-9.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


GX800-6.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


GX800-7.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


GX800-8.jpg
Join to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Late to the party but they are some nice images @minimalist82 ; can you remember how you processed them? I'm on the fence about picking up a gx800; the one thing holding me back is that it (the camera build) looks cheap compared to the GM1/GM5 line, does it feel that bad when using it?
 
Late to the party but they are some nice images @minimalist82 ; can you remember how you processed them? I'm on the fence about picking up a gx800; the one thing holding me back is that it (the camera build) looks cheap compared to the GM1/GM5 line, does it feel that bad when using it?
All i can say that my GM5 was killed in a fall from hip height. My GX800 is scarred from another fall, but still going strong. It seems my rite of passage: fall with a camera in hand and see if it breaks, or if I do (a shoulder and a vinger so far…). I never really gelled with both the GM5 or GX800, but mostly since they’re too tiny to my taste. They have produced some nice images though and do fit in a pocket. It’s amazing what a GX800 with a 12-32 and 35-100 can do, while still fitting in that pocket.
 
Late to the party but they are some nice images @minimalist82 ; can you remember how you processed them? I'm on the fence about picking up a gx800; the one thing holding me back is that it (the camera build) looks cheap compared to the GM1/GM5 line, does it feel that bad when using it?
HI there, sorry for the slow reply, I haven't been on here in some time.

I would still recommend this camera. I still have mine and I've used it a lot! I'm invested in the M43 system, and I have a G9 as well, which of course is built like a tank and has great ergonomics. The GX800 is not built to this standard, but I wouldn't say it feels cheap. It is a polycarbonate body, but it feels sturdy and is extremely light in a good way. I've had mine for 2 years, but it was used when I got it. There are no visible signs of wear and tear, and it still looks as good as the day I got it. My only complaint is that jogwheel which was mentioned earlier. I have my GX800 dialled in to my preference which is aperture priority mode with auto iso. I'm mainly using it with the PL15mm which means I can use the ring on the lens to control aperture and then I just click and rotate the jogweel for exposure compensation. It feels really instinctive now.

Whilst I love how the tech is progressing in M43, I would love it if Panasonic would bring us another genuinely small option. There hasn't really anything since!

In terms of how I processed the above shots, I use Lightroom and it's just lots of playing around with curves, colours and saturation. Quite a lot to explain, but generally I'm using my previous photos as a reference point to get a level of consistency I would be happy to send you a screen shot of the settings I applied? Processing is another skill in itself!

All the best.
 
Last edited:
My only complaint is that jogwheel which was mentioned earlier.
That dial on the back is my least favorite thing about Lumix cameras, and I was quite surprised to see that it's included in the full frame S9. It's the control that has given me the biggest impression of cheapness in any camera system I've used. The one on the Ricoh GRIII series is about equally bad, but I don't have to use it full time like one does with these smaller GX cameras.
 
That dial on the back is my least favorite thing about Lumix cameras, and I was quite surprised to see that it's included in the full frame S9. It's the control that has given me the biggest impression of cheapness in any camera system I've used. The one on the Ricoh GRIII series is about equally bad, but I don't have to use it full time like one does with these smaller GX cameras.
Ah yes, I had a GR also, wasn't a fan of the jogweel there either, but the way I had it setup meant I didn't need to use it too much. I did love the built of the Ricoh in general though. I didn't even notice that the S9 had that same jogwheel until you mentioned it, what a strange choice! That camera really peaked my interest but there seem to be so many compromises. I'm looking forward to seeing how people get on with it once it's actually launched. I do not trust all of the current influencer content!
 
Back
Top