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An adventure into the Panasonic GX85/80 begins - and a look at the Leica Nocticron for Micro Four Thirds

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On 12/18/2016 at 4:20 AM, Vesku said:

Nathan, if you want good dynamic range, get a used GH4.

I have two concerns with the GH4. Given my shooting style, I need good low light performance and I also am very interested in IBIS. I use manual focus lenses exclusively wich means all my handheld shots are with a 12mm. The Gx85 and G85 seem to have better low light performance than the GH4 from the comments that I've seen. I guess I can do without the IBIS if the low light on the GH4 is actually better than what I currently think. I kind of hate having so many good options?! The GH4 would also be more appealing if the slow motion was sharper

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3 hours ago, Nathan Gabriel said:

I have two concerns with the GH4. Given my shooting style, I need good low light performance and I also am very interested in IBIS. I use manual focus lenses exclusively wich means all my handheld shots are with a 12mm. The Gx85 and G85 seem to have better low light performance than the GH4 from the comments that I've seen. I guess I can do without the IBIS if the low light on the GH4 is actually better than what I currently think. I kind of hate having so many good options?! The GH4 would also be more appealing if the slow motion was sharper

I personally would not shoot higher than ISO 800 with my GH4, but I guess if you don't mind spending hours de-noising your footage, you could get away with it. Not sure what you mean that all your handheld shots are with a 12mm lens... is that because you're concerned about camera shake with longer focal lengths? That sounds rather limiting. Anyhow, I've owned both the GH3 and the GH4, and for me the difference between the two is like night and day, both in terms of usability and image quality. Not only are the GH4's colors better (IMO), but if you shoot 4K and downsample to 1080p, there is virtually no aliasing or moire. If you shoot in low light, focus peaking and monochrome live view on the GH4 are invaluable tools to have (I have found however, that on the Fuji X-T2, the LCD is so clear that I don't need to rely on peaking). If low light is something you do on a regular basis, then you should seriously consider one of the newer Panasonics, which not only have focus peaking and 4K, but also IBIS and better low light performance. I would take a properly focused, shake-free image over one that perhaps ekes out a 1/2 stop more in dynamic range (if that is even the case) any day of the week. And if you aren't already heavily invested in u4/3 glass, you might even look into stepping up to a larger sensor camera. If you decide to stick with u4/3, the IBIS of the GX85/G85 is going to be of enormous benefit when shooting with a speed booster, too.

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I just picked up a GX85 with the 12-32 and 45-150 kit lenses.  I'm trying to figure out what lens line up to get.  Does the GX85 (and other Panasonic cameras) have automatic lens correction for Panasonic lenses when shooting 4K?  Right now I'm leaning towards the Olympus 12-40mm but I may go with the Panasonic 12-35 if it corrects for CA and distortion automatically when filming.

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On 12/21/2016 at 8:40 PM, jonpais said:

I personally would not shoot higher than ISO 800 with my GH4, but I guess if you don't mind spending hours de-noising your footage, you could get away with it. Not sure what you mean that all your handheld shots are with a 12mm lens... is that because you're concerned about camera shake with longer focal lengths? That sounds rather limiting. Anyhow, I've owned both the GH3 and the GH4, and for me the difference between the two is like night and day, both in terms of usability and image quality. Not only are the GH4's colors better (IMO), but if you shoot 4K and downsample to 1080p, there is virtually no aliasing or moire. If you shoot in low light, focus peaking and monochrome live view on the GH4 are invaluable tools to have (I have found however, that on the Fuji X-T2, the LCD is so clear that I don't need to rely on peaking). If low light is something you do on a regular basis, then you should seriously consider one of the newer Panasonics, which not only have focus peaking and 4K, but also IBIS and better low light performance. I would take a properly focused, shake-free image over one that perhaps ekes out a 1/2 stop more in dynamic range (if that is even the case) any day of the week. And if you aren't already heavily invested in u4/3 glass, you might even look into stepping up to a larger sensor camera. If you decide to stick with u4/3, the IBIS of the GX85/G85 is going to be of enormous benefit when shooting with a speed booster, too.

Thanks! I was, in fact, referring to the shake produced by longer focal length lenses when I said all my handheld shots were on a 12mm lens.

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17 hours ago, Huey said:

I just picked up a GX85 with the 12-32 and 45-150 kit lenses.  I'm trying to figure out what lens line up to get.  Does the GX85 (and other Panasonic cameras) have automatic lens correction for Panasonic lenses when shooting 4K?  Right now I'm leaning towards the Olympus 12-40mm but I may go with the Panasonic 12-35 if it corrects for CA and distortion automatically when filming.

Hi Huey, I can't answer it definitively, but in general all Panasonic bodies correct for their own lenses automatically, at least in photos mode. Not sure about video mode which is your question. That said, correcting for a lens is trivial and most lenses have correction details available which can easily be put into your lens correction plugin if that really matters. Keep in mind, though, that the distortion of a lens is part of it's character and it's usually something I choose my lenses specifically for, or is so small that it doesn't matter. 

The big advantage for getting the Panasonic 12-35 (and the reason I'm responding even though I can't definitively answer you) is the fact that 5-axis stabilization with the lens handling two of the 5 axes is even better than the body-only stabilization. You'll get even smoother motion, better correction, etc. with the Panny lens which is a big plus.

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Thanks for the rundown studiodc.

I'm trying to decide between the 12-35 Panasonic and 12-40 Olympus.  I'm trying to fill in the pros and cons of each.  Both sound like great lenses.

  • Panasonic 12-35mm $700:
    • Pros:
      • Stabilized
      • Smaller
      • Lighter
      • Comes with a $100 Adorama gift card
    • Cons
      • A little soft at 12mm (is it acceptable for Astrophotography?)
      • Fly by wire manual focus
  • Olympus 12-40mm $700:
    • Pros:
      • Good 'Manual' focus option
      • Sharper at 12mm
      • More zoom
    • Cons
      • Not stabilized
      • Not auto corrected on GX85
      • Heavier

Or maybe I should just get a 14-140 super zoom and some primes.  I'm spoiled for choices!

 

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32 minutes ago, Huey said:

Olympus 12-40mm $700:

I only have experience with the Oly lens, not the Panasonic, but I certainly like the Olympus glass.  It's so useable as a manual lens for motion picture shooting that it's been the workhorse on the b-cam for a doc series I've been shooting over the past half year.

BTW, that doc was shot (mostly) on the GX85.

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@Huey, @fuzzynormal Let's keep this discussion focused on the GX85, there is actually a perfectly good topic to read on this specific lens in this specific case, even. Let's move this topic there, shall we?

That said, I've just ordered a GX85, and am putting my GH4 up for sale. The main reason is that I need a compact, discreet camera more than I need a full video workhorse, and that I love the rangefinder format for the bulk of my personal work which is candids. However, I'm concerned that I may have bought too early. Is anyone anticipating a successor to this camera (in this format) for CES in January?

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39 minutes ago, studiodc said:

@Huey, @fuzzynormal Let's keep this discussion focused on the GX85, there is actually a perfectly good topic to read on this specific lens in this specific case, even. Let's move this topic there, shall we?

That said, I've just ordered a GX85, and am putting my GH4 up for sale. The main reason is that I need a compact, discreet camera more than I need a full video workhorse, and that I love the rangefinder format for the bulk of my personal work which is candids. However, I'm concerned that I may have bought too early. Is anyone anticipating a successor to this camera (in this format) for CES in January?

Yeah, let's not let a half year thread that lists for over 70 pages go off on a tangent. ;-)

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57 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

Yeah, let's not let a half year thread that lists for over 70 pages go off on a tangent. ;-)

Haha, especially not here! ;-)

But seriously, there's a lot of good info in that thread and I didn't want to re-start it here, partly for selfish reasons having just bought this camera I'm interested in this staying on-topic. :-D

My next big decision is going to be EM-1 Mk II or GH5, but you know why I ended up deciding for the GX85/80/7mkII instead of the G8/80/85? Honestly, it was because waaaaayyyy back in the day I had a GX1. And damned if it wasn't a useful little bugger that I literally kept in my bag at all times. I didn't do GREAT stuff with it, but I did good stuff, stuff I'm still happy with. Hell, I shot my first commercial short on it. And since then (since it was my entry into Panasonic cameras), I've gotten into nicer and nicer bodies, ending up with a GH4 with which I've done some fantastic work that I'm very very proud of. But along the way, since I'm not getting paid for squat for my work (long story - my day job keeps food on the table), I've had to sell off my other gear in order to be able to afford the next toy to come along. So, this GX85 has been out for what, more than 6 months now? And I was finally at the point where I've deliberately left the GH4 at home enough times thinking "it's too big and heavy", "it's just not worth the space in my bag", "I'll never really care about rigging it up to shoot anything", "I want to be present, not behind a camera" enough times that I decided to say screw it, I'm going back to the compact rangefinder format that I used to actually love, that I've definitely taken with me everytime and always. There's enough info out there on this camera to say it's definitely not a dud, and there's really no competition for it in the compact rangefinder-ish format (by this term I mean specifically cameras which don't have prism humps, evf protrusions, or pronounced hand grips) that I can tell - the A6300/6500 are close but not what I'm looking for and the PEN series just don't strike me as interesting. So, it's still quite a lovely little bugger, even if it's not the fad of the moment.

That said, if Panasonic pulls a Sony and pops a GX90 or what-have-you on the market at CES I'm going to be slightly annoyed. In the meantime, all the lovely goodies I bought for the GH4 are still perfectly useful on this beauty, and damn if I'm not excited about taking this places I would never chance bringing my GH4, as much as I love that camera.

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I guess seeing is not believing... I just finished watching a test comparison between the GX85 and the Sony a6300, concerning rolling shutter, high ISO performance, dynamic range, 1080p, continuous focus - and I thought the a6300 just killed it, leaving the Panasonic in the dust in all but IBIS (the a6300 didn't have IBIS). Yet almost 100% of the comments preferred the GX85 to the Sony. One viewer even said that 4K was a fad. Slog was able to maintain so much more detail in the highlights and shadows, whereas the GX85 lost detail in both. One reader, seeing the exact same video I was watching, and unable not to see the enormous difference in dynamic range, was still unsure which camera would be better for video. The test was not about battery life, overheating, user interface or price, just image quality. While reviewers can be disparaged at times for not being photographers (some don't even own a camera!), being biased, or in the pay of this or that manufacturer, I think often the readers are most to blame. They are so unsure and desperate, they just want opinions, rather than actually being able to judge image quality by themselves. The problem is, very few reviewers are good photographers, and simply shoot a bowl of fruit or a wine bottle for testing purposes, whereas I don't shoot those subjects. I don't shoot test charts either. I'm sure everyone at EOSHD owns a lens that maybe doesn't score high over at DxO, but every time they use it, it's magical. I admire Mathieu Gasquet, because he shoots subjects I encounter every day - people and nature - and he does it well. One other thing so many of these so-called reviews focus on that I absolutely loathe is features. Thousands of shots of AFC and so on - but at least they are sharing shots instead of just voicing an opinion. I think too many readers are overly concerned about features rather than handling and image quality. I never used 1/10th of the features on my GH3, GM1 or GH4. I just want a camera that shoots magnificent video at 24fps. And more so than any other camera I’ve owned, I chose camera X based almost entirely on the overwhelming number of beautiful videos people were uploading to YouTube and Vimeo, not test charts and features I’ll never use.

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1 hour ago, jonpais said:

I guess seeing is not believing... I just finished watching a test comparison between the GX85 and the Sony a6300, concerning rolling shutter, high ISO performance, dynamic range, 1080p, continuous focus - and I thought the a6300 just killed it, leaving the Panasonic in the dust in all but IBIS (the a6300 didn't have IBIS). Yet almost 100% of the comments preferred the G85 to the Sony. One viewer even said that 4K was a fad. Slog was able to maintain so much more detail in the highlights and shadows, whereas the GX85 lost detail in both. One reader, seeing the exact same video I was watching, and unable not to see the enormous difference in dynamic range, was still unsure which camera would be better for video. The test was not about battery life, overheating, user interface or price, just image quality. While reviewers can be disparaged at times for not being photographers (some don't even own a camera!), being biased, or in the pay of this or that manufacturer, I think often the readers are most to blame. They are so unsure and desperate, they just want opinions, rather than actually being able to judge image quality by themselves. The problem is, very few reviewers are good photographers, and simply shoot a bowl of fruit or a wine bottle for testing purposes, whereas I don't shoot those subjects. I don't shoot test charts either. I'm sure everyone at EOSHD owns a lens that maybe doesn't score high over at DxO, but every time they use it, it's magical. I admire Mathieu Gasquet, because he shoots subjects I encounter every day - people and nature - and he does it well. One other thing so many of these so-called reviews focus on that I absolutely loathe is features. Thousands of shots of AFC and so on - but at least they are sharing shots instead of just voicing an opinion. I think too many readers are overly concerned about features rather than handling and image quality. I never used 1/10th of the features on my GH3, GM1 or GH4. I just want a camera that shoots magnificent video at 24fps. 

That video has out of range highlights both for the Panasonic and the Sony, even the ungraded log footage has it.

out-of-range.jpg

I think that if you make comparative test you should be very accurate and make sure your levels are correct and that you match exposure based on the scopes because an ISO value in one camera brand is not necessarily the same as in another brand and unless you compare T-stops for lenses you also have to account for differences even with the same F-stop.

The train comparison uses lenses with different focal lengths and apertures.

 

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This is exactly what I'm talking about. Forget the scopes for a moment. If the Lumix were exposed for the highlights to maintain the detail that is lost, the shadows would have been crushed. And low light sensitivity has absolutely nothing to do with focal length. Finally, it is a well-known fact that Panasonic inflates their ISO figures, whereas Sony's are closer to the genuine ISO. According to your own criteria, Sony would blast the Panasonic out of the water. But I really don't want to talk about specs any more. All I care about is the final image quality, and things like AFC ability. And here Sony smokes Panasonic. BTW, nothing I've seen online yet has convinced me that either the G85 or the GX85 has better low light performance than the three year old GH4 - just more processing, oversharpening and smearing of detail. And AFC is still useless as ever.

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19 minutes ago, jonpais said:

This is exactly what I'm talking about. Forget the scopes for a moment. If the Lumix were exposed for the highlights to maintain the detail that is lost, the shadows would have been crushed. And low light sensitivity has absolutely nothing to do with focal length. Finally, it is a well-known fact that Panasonic inflates their ISO figures, whereas Sony's are closer to the genuine ISO. According to your own criteria, Sony would blast the Panasonic out of the water. But I really don't want to talk about specs any more. All I care about is the final image quality, and things like AFC ability. And here Sony smokes Panasonic.

I am talking about doing exact and objective tests. 

Your comments do not in my opinion and no I do not forget scopes, they are essential!

 

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3 minutes ago, jonpais said:

@Cary Knoop Are you really denying that Sony's a6300 has better low light sensitivity and dynamic range than the Lumix? Incredible!

The test you mention isn't scientific at all; yet, you draw objective conclusions... not mentioning the fact of price. I doubt many would argue that the A6300 can produce a better image on a tripod with little to no movement, but how often do you do that? This is the question. And exactly how much is that worth to you? You would still have to deal with all those ergonomic and menu flaws... Yeah, I'll stick with the GX80. Easy choice.

 

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@John Matthews We are not discussing price or ergonomics, just image quality. And the Sony has better image quality than the Lumix. BTW, I carry a tripod with me every day. I've used a tripod for almost every shot I've uploaded over the past two months in fact. And not a single person pointed out, "Oh my god, your images are too steady. They need some camera shake!" :) Just to be 100% clear, I don't own, nor do I have any intention of owning a Sony mirrorless. I have owned four Panasonics: the TMC-900, the GM1, the GH3, the GH4 and now the G85. Now, if someone were to ask me which they should buy, the GH4 or one of the newer Panasonics with IBIS, I'd recommend one of the newer ones, because I've been struggling with camera shake ever since I got the GH3. However, if the choice was between two cameras of similar price, one a u43 and the other an APS-C, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the larger sensor. 

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31 minutes ago, jonpais said:

@Cary Knoop Are you denying that Sony's a6300 has superior continuous autofocus performance, greater low light sensitivity and more dynamic range than the Lumix? Incredible! There have already been numerous tests, too many tests, too many words, and not enough talent.

Yes the sony has better low light and superior auto-focus performance in video.It also has better dynamic range but yet and still I sold my a6300 and kept the GX85.In the end the reliablity and shooting experience won me over.I always felt like I had a broken camera when I had the a6300 even with all its rich features.I really don't miss the image itself  but the lowlight and auto-focus was quite nice.

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