As a manufacturer of both camcorders and cameras, Panasonic is getting serious about making 4K more accessible. Besides adding 4K to a number of compact cameras, Panasonic has now also introduced a 4K capable mirrorless camera. Besides the 4K though, the Panasonic GX85 looks like it can hold its own for enthusiasts or even consumers looking for better image quality.
The sensor resolution hasn't increased, but Panasonic has removed the optical low pass filter. The OLPF is designed to reduce distortion in fine patterns, but reduces an image's overall sharpness. Panasonic has removed the filter and compensated for moire through the camera's processor. While the change is new for Panasonic, the OLPF-free images we've seen from Fujifilm X-Trans cameras and Nikon's newer DSLRs have offered a nice level of detail. That sensor is the 4/3 format, however, in line with Olympus' mirrorless cameras but smaller than from a Fujifilm or a DSLR.
But the biggest draw, at least compared to other mirrorless cameras in the price range, is the 4K. The 4K is available at longer recording times as well, unlike some DSLRs with a 5 minute limit. 4K is at a 30 fps frame rate, but a 50 fps frame rate is available in 1080p.
Speed looks to be about average for the price point, with a respectable 8 fps burst. There is a 4K video burst mode, however, which essentially pulls still frames directly from the video so you end up with that 30 fps. The downside is that this method uses an electronic shutter, which tends to be more prone to noise and a loss of detail than the mechanical shutter.
Design-wise, the GX85 looks pretty solid with both a viewfinder and a tilting LCD. The battery life is a disappointing 290 shots though.
The Panasonic GX85 fits nicely into the budget-priced mirrorless market with the addition of 4K and the absence of the OLPF. The comparable Olympus OM-D E-M10 II doesn't offer 4K but has a higher flash sync speed, better battery and more autofocus points. The Fujifilm X-T10 doesn't have that 4K or even the longer recording times either, but offers a larger APS-C sensor.