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):

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(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:

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MiguelATF

Legend
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
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!
 

P9F4

Regular
Location
Germany
Name
Dennis
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:
 
Location
Finland
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.
 

agentlossing

Hall of Famer
Location
S. Oregon Coast
Name
Andrew L
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.
 

P9F4

Regular
Location
Germany
Name
Dennis
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:
 

P9F4

Regular
Location
Germany
Name
Dennis
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:
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minimalist82

New Member
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!
 

P9F4

Regular
Location
Germany
Name
Dennis
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!
 
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