Let simply say that the Olympus E-M1 II is a big and weighty camera by usual standards in M4/3 format. It is also a complex device to handle properly and it will ask you a extended training investment except if you intend to use it on an intense basis. Even the fine "Pro" line of Olympus lenses will add a lot to that impression at a point that is recalling me the previous film SLR days. In one word it contradict in part for some of us the essence of the founding of the M4/3 format.
Please note that a more complete post regarding the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has been release later in April 2017. Click Here
Full Reset on the Panasonic Lumix G85 (G80)
Selecting a Panasonic product will be the natural alternative in M4/3 format. Over the previous years I had the chance to own some of their most recent models such as the GX7, GM5 and GX85 that I have found equally competent products into their respective speciality field. And many reviewers have been impressed by the D-SLR like mirrorless Lumix G7. The Panasonic approach in designing cameras and lenses remind a lot the Leica way. Pure lines, basic controls, low profile presentation have been appreciated among spontaneous photographers for travel, street or casual portrait shooting. Furthermore many Panasonic Lumix products are lightweight. It is true to add that the initial physical touch of their products seems to feel less robust than the Olympus counterparts models but after the initial impression this perception tend to be forgotten in profit of the confort and the ergonomic of the Lumix products.
The Panasonic Lumix G85 is a D-SLR like mirrorless camera with practical virtues like a very secure handling (grip) along with control dials and fonction buttons that are easily reachable. Adding the optional power grip (DMW-BGG1) will simply give a longer battery life autonomy and a superior hand prehension when using larger lenses of external flashes.
Some aspects of the Lumix G85 have to be consider as inherent characteristics in parallel of the price point value of the model. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) for instance which very precise and handy for manual focusing is still more contrasty than the actual picture registered so appreciation can be falsely done. The LCD screen is a lot more accurate in that matter. The refresh rate frequency of the EVF is on average and seems to slow down a bit in low light condition.
The Lumix G85 interface is reasonnabely intuitive et front forward as for the Quick Menu option. Controls dials and buttons are well located meanly on the right side of the camera and are configurable. The side door memory card access is also a nice touch. The LCD touch screen facilite the access to interesting fonctionnalities. Pivoting LCD screen is another practical option for videographers, macro photographers and photographers who like to simply protect and shut down the screen. As usual the custom camera configuration (C1, C2) allow you to program complex combinations and keep it for future frequent uses. Wifi interactions are also present with the Lumix G85 when you are using the appropriate Panasonic application for mobiles and tablets.
About the kit lens (12-60mm)
And dont prevent yourself to choose the Panasonic Lumix G85 kit that include the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm lens (Power O.I.S.). For the difference of selling price it is a steal. Although the Lumix 12-60mm is not particularly a fast lens it is a very versatile optic to carry all around. And the imagery results will surprise you considering the dollars you have spent to get it.
The Big Splash (Olympus fans please turn off...)
And now the the big splash over the Olympus E-M1 Mark II. Yes I was particularly pleased by the standard output issued from the E-M1 II both in colour and Black & White. And I must admit that I use almost exclusively Jpeg files over the RAW entertained option. It is a matter of personal choice to get fast and exploitable results to edit and share.
After working with the E-M1 II for a few weeks I did received my new Panasonic Lumix G85 and right from the start everything was falling in place. I can get pleasant and prévisibles colour rendering and most important B&W pictures were again very impressive and comparable to Fujifilm rendering which I consider as one of the highest level standard in mirrorless camera offer.
Another secret is the better interaction of the automatic white balance option of the Lumix G85 especially with mixed sources of domestic interior lightning and in particular with the new LED. In that cases the Olympus E-M1 II was really struggling to get a natural and balanced result. Automatic exposure accuracy of the Lumix G85 is asking less use of the manual exposure correction dial maybe because of its more general metering pattern nature. And automatic focusing of the Lumix G85 is snappy and repetitive. For sure the G85 is not a fast action camera such as the Olympus E-M1 II which primarily intend to be used for that task.
Not using the full potential (and investment!) of the Olympus E-M1 II started to bother me gradually. Sure I love to have a very pro oriented product with a considerable array of possibilities. But the complexity of it along with the amount of time and learning to consecrate to properly use the E-M1 II create a progressive aversion to natural pick of the camera and taking picture. The E-M1 II is primarily a professional tool for intensive active photography and it is designed for responding to these imperative criteras of journalism in every circonstances.
|Green Light for the Panasonic Lumix G85|
A the end the Panasonic Lumix G85 is by far a more paisible instrument for the casual and expert photographer. It is a simpler package that give you fast and pleasant output with less fussy reconfiguration of the medium. It encourage you to bring the camera and experiment on the field by taking pictures. Photography has to be fun and rewarding and the Lumix G15 is perfectly adapted for that task. Dont prevent yourself to enjoy it.
(Last edited June 16th, 2017)