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Just bought a new camera for 2022 - the small but mighty GX85


kye
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Just bought a GX85.

It's purpose is to serve double-duty, as an inoffensive little camera that I can stealthily take anywhere, and as a 2nd / backup cam for travels.

Travel is one of my great pleasures, and if COVID has taught me anything, it's that I need to get better at travel near home.  This has resulted in my Go Shoot project, which essentially involves trying to have small, low-zero cost adventures close to home, and to film them as little videos to try things and make memories.  The key thing for this kind of thing is having a small unassuming camera that doesn't attract attention.  I've been using my GF3, due to its tiny size, but its lack of tilting screen or stabilisation are rather inconvenient and it 17Mbps 1080p is a little lacklustre to say the least.

These projects are about story first and image second, and are finished on a 1080p timeline.  This means that if I take the 100Mbps 4K image and crop 2x then it becomes a 1080p at 25Mbps image, which is still acceptable (and still better than the GF3!) so that means that the GX85 and 14mm f2.5 combo would be tiny, but with the 2.2x crop factor in 4K and cropping in post, would be 31-62mm equivalent, and the f2.5 combined with the downscaling in post should mean it'd have reasonable low-light ability too.

GX85 with 14mm f2.5 for a tiny setup:

TS560x560~3463542.jpg

If I want to work quickly and have a more doc-style of shooting, I can pair it with the 12-35/2.8 and get 26-154mm.  In extreme low-light (like caves), I can take the Voigtlander 17.5/0.95 and get 39-78mm.  If I want to go vintage, I can use the Cosmicar 12.5/1.9 for a 28-56mm range.  Lots of cool options available.

Once we get back to travel, which is likely to happen later here in Australia than elsewhere in the world it seems, I'll also use it for a 2nd / backup camera to my GH5.  I find that often I will be on a balcony or terrace in golden hour (either dawn or dusk) looking at a spectacular view and wanting to record three things simultaneously:

  1. Time-lapse of the whole scene as the light changes - super wide-angle and deep DoF
    This will be my action camera, which by taking 8MP (in 16:9) Jpegs, which are around 3Mb each, gives about 600Mbps when put onto a timeline at 25fps.  Not bad!
  2. Time-lapse of part of the scene - variable focal length required
    This will be what the GX85 will do, and can use any of the MFT lenses I have.
  3. Video of interesting things happening, probably with a wide-angle lens
    This is what the GH5 will be being used for.  People walking, boats sailing, flags waving, etc etc.  

The GX85, by being able to share any of the lenses I have for the GH5, also makes a great backup camera in the instance that the GH5 is out of action.

Is anyone else using a GX85?  or small camera to fly under the radar?

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Funny to see your post about this. I just picked up a G85 (same sensor as the GX85) for the very same reason. I shoot on Canon Cinema and occasionally RED for work but wanted something small and with a high stealth factor that had a good implementation of IBIS for tripod-free shooting. In this case, image quality was secondary. I haven't been shooting casually or for fun much lately and I am hoping that this camera will help bring me back to it.

I've paired mine with a Viltrox speedbooster and the inexpensive Sigma 17-50 f2.8. The camera seems to be detecting the focal lengths from this third-party lens and adjusting the IBIS perfectly. I have no plans to accessorize beyond this setup because that would be self-defeating!

I hope you share some of your work here.

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If the additional 4k crop is not an issue, the GX9 is even better than the GX85, in my opinion. Got on used from a friend , interested in the 12-60 zoom kit lens, the plan was to sell the body and keep the lens, but instead the GX85 body was sold.

Better color science, tilting EVF and dedicated focus switch (both things that I've missed from the old GX7), faster operation and a little better menu, better color from stills, better AF (for CDAF standards).

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8 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Osmo Pocket and LX100.

IBIS,tilt screen and Cinelike D are big advantages of the GX80/85 but, for me, the (excellent) in built lens of the LX100 makes it more convenient to carry and use.

Panasonic broke my heart with the LX100ii. I would've bought one immediately if they'd given it a worthy update and got rid of the recording limit. 

So instead I got a used GX85 to be a c-cam/travel/stealth cam! I love it.

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1 hour ago, newfoundmass said:

Panasonic broke my heart with the LX100ii. I would've bought one immediately if they'd given it a worthy update and got rid of the recording limit. 

So instead I got a used GX85 to be a c-cam/travel/stealth cam! I love it.

If Panasonic didn't hate us then instead of producing the incremental LX100ii and GX9 they would've merged the two into one camera.

And broke whatever weird collusion manufacturers had going on with not putting microphone inputs on compact cameras.

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The GX85 continues to be a great. I had it for over 2 years and I took videos and photos that I'll cherish forever. I only sold it because I mistakenly thought something Sony and FF would do better and they were from a technical point of view, but it was much bulkier and not as fun to shoot with. I've taken a tonne of shots with the 14mm f/2.5 too- loved that combo for over a year and a half. In 2019, when I decided I'd never leave M43 again, I've been looking for that lens. Sometimes, you can find it for about 100 Euros.

Can't wait to see the results you get with the combo!

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11 hours ago, MurtlandPhoto said:

I too have been using a small camera lately to fly under the radar. I went with the Osmo Pocket. It's perfect for home videos and BTS stuff on set. 

Charlotte Bellis (a kiwi journalist in Kabul right now) posted today on Instagram about how she got an Osmo Pocket:


image.thumb.png.6c9c777ae30d0a2f50e8e5b7f85ac6f1.png


She likes how discreet it is. (an understandable benefit when you're in Kabul....)

 

9 hours ago, newfoundmass said:

Panasonic broke my heart with the LX100ii. I would've bought one immediately if they'd given it a worthy update and got rid of the recording limit. 

Nikon broke my heart with the Nikon DL18-50, by teasing it, but then never releasing it 😞

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17 hours ago, Marcio Kabke Pinheiro said:

If the additional 4k crop is not an issue, the GX9 is even better than the GX85, in my opinion. Got on used from a friend , interested in the 12-60 zoom kit lens, the plan was to sell the body and keep the lens, but instead the GX85 body was sold.

Better color science, tilting EVF and dedicated focus switch (both things that I've missed from the old GX7), faster operation and a little better menu, better color from stills, better AF (for CDAF standards).

I'm not a fan of the additional crop, but I compared the GX85 and G9, and the G9 is heavier, larger, slower burst rate (not that I care about that), and considerably more expensive.  The decision to buy a GX85 over a G9 was not that difficult to make!

Seriously though, the image quality is more than enough for my purposes.  It will either be filming Go Shoot projects close to home, where IQ is a disadvantage as I will start to take these projects too seriously and throw away shots where I missed focus instead of focusing on content etc.  Or it'll be doing time-lapse duties on a 'real' trip where it'll be recording RAW images, or taking video on a real trip or outing only as a very infrequent second angle or backup because the GH5 has met its maker for some reason.

I was originally considering a GH3 the the backup camera as it had the same batteries as the GH5 and had an internal time-lapse mode (the GH2 didn't have both of those) and have been looking at high(er) quality Go Shoot cameras for ages, but nothing really hit the mark.

I bought a BM Micro Cinema Camera as a reference for colour grading, and tried shooting stealth with it, but the requirement of a monitor and HDMI cable and (borderline) requirement of external audio made it huge and not stealth.  I bought the OG BMPCC and found that the screen wasn't bright enough, and, get this - was polarised so the screen was black when viewed through my polarised sunglasses!  How ridiculous!  Anyway, I found it to be too slow to work with quickly.  

Then the GX85 came to my attention and I realised I could kill two birds with one stone, and so it was a no-brainer.

14 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

If Panasonic didn't hate us then instead of producing the incremental LX100ii and GX9 they would've merged the two into one camera.

If Panasonic hated us they'd be called "Canon", and every camera from now until the end of time would have the same spec as the GH3, or would overheat when doing anything the GH4 couldn't do.

13 hours ago, John Matthews said:

The GX85 continues to be a great. I had it for over 2 years and I took videos and photos that I'll cherish forever. I only sold it because I mistakenly thought something Sony and FF would do better and they were from a technical point of view, but it was much bulkier and not as fun to shoot with. I've taken a tonne of shots with the 14mm f/2.5 too- loved that combo for over a year and a half. In 2019, when I decided I'd never leave M43 again, I've been looking for that lens. Sometimes, you can find it for about 100 Euros.

Can't wait to see the results you get with the combo!

The temptation of specs is real, but in all my testing I have come to realise that I prefer better colour science, lower compression, and lower resolution images over the alternative.  

To borrow a phrase heard elsewhere: if I didn't like the first 2 million pixels you gave me, why would I be happy that there are 14 million more?

I'd actually prefer if the GX85 had a 200Mbps 1080p ALL-I mode downsampled from the whole sensor, rather than 4K, but it seems that the manufacturers steadfastly refuse to implement the higher bitrates from the higher resolutions at the lower resolutions.  

13 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

I shot a doc series for our local PBS station with a couple of these guys.  Worked like a charm.  The exact reason M43 is a good format for me is embodied in this sort of gear: low-profile with impressive IQ.

People fail to understand that image quality doesn't exist in a vacuum.

For example, here's what filming a picnic in public looks like with a small camera:

1235834-550772-34.jpg

and here's what that scene looks like when filmed with a larger cinema camera:

IA4DS6MEPWNQGZQGK4QLJIGDFI.jpg

 

6 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Charlotte Bellis (a kiwi journalist in Kabul right now) posted today on Instagram about how she got an Osmo Pocket:
She likes how discreet it is. (an understandable benefit when you're in Kabul....)

If people judge camera quality and "professionalism" by the size of the camera, then yeah, the pocket would be the perfect camera for stealth shooting!  and apart from the fixed lens, it's a pretty darn good offering!

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4 hours ago, kye said:

I'm not a fan of the additional crop, but I compared the GX85 and G9, and the G9 is heavier, larger, slower burst rate (not that I care about that), and considerably more expensive.  The decision to buy a GX85 over a G9 was not that difficult to make!

 

I was talking about the GX9, not G9. 🙂

And I second the @BTM_Pix suggestion to use it hack to use Cinelike-D in the GX85, used it a lot when I had mine - grading it with Leeming Lut resulted in amazing footage.

 

Look for a free Android app called Gmonitor to activate Cinelike-D using wifi.

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4 hours ago, kye said:

The temptation of specs is real, but in all my testing I have come to realise that I prefer better colour science, lower compression, and lower resolution images over the alternative.

I think you've looked at this a lot more than me. I like detail, but many images look better with the lower resolution.

4 hours ago, kye said:

To borrow a phrase heard elsewhere: if I didn't like the first 2 million pixels you gave me, why would I be happy that there are 14 million more?

I like that. Wouldn't be easy if the only thing that counted were pixel counts?

4 hours ago, kye said:

I'd actually prefer if the GX85 had a 200Mbps 1080p ALL-I mode downsampled from the whole sensor, rather than 4K, but it seems that the manufacturers steadfastly refuse to implement the higher bitrates from the higher resolutions at the lower resolutions.

It's completely un-scientific, but I've never been able to see a significant difference between 50Mbps long-GOP and 200Mbps ALL-I on the same camera. However, I do see a significant difference between downresed 4k and 1080p native (regardless the reasonable bit rate). Usually, it's unnecessary detail IMO. I'm sure you can see more of a difference when pushing the image though.

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1 hour ago, John Matthews said:

It's completely un-scientific, but I've never been able to see a significant difference between 50Mbps long-GOP and 200Mbps ALL-I on the same camera. However, I do see a significant difference between downresed 4k and 1080p native (regardless the reasonable bit rate). Usually, it's unnecessary detail IMO. I'm sure you can see more of a difference when pushing the image though.

It depends on what you're filming, really. You can really see the difference when dealing with fast moving subjects. But if you're filming talking head or interviews there's not a ton of difference. Lighting also plays a part. 

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10 hours ago, Marcio Kabke Pinheiro said:

I was talking about the GX9, not G9. 🙂

And I second the @BTM_Pix suggestion to use it hack to use Cinelike-D in the GX85, used it a lot when I had mine - grading it with Leeming Lut resulted in amazing footage.

 

Look for a free Android app called Gmonitor to activate Cinelike-D using wifi.

Ah crap - I was taking about the GX9.  Stupid typo!

I'm half-way through reading the Cine-D GX85 thread.  Funny how every time someone finds a hack there's someone who turns around and asks for 12K120 12-bit internal, like somehow once the genie is out of the bottle you can ask for whatever you want 🙂 

10 hours ago, John Matthews said:

I think you've looked at this a lot more than me. I like detail, but many images look better with the lower resolution.

I like that. Wouldn't be easy if the only thing that counted were pixel counts?

It's completely un-scientific, but I've never been able to see a significant difference between 50Mbps long-GOP and 200Mbps ALL-I on the same camera. However, I do see a significant difference between downresed 4k and 1080p native (regardless the reasonable bit rate). Usually, it's unnecessary detail IMO. I'm sure you can see more of a difference when pushing the image though.

I worked this out last night.  

Long story short, it's about edges.  The world has infinite resolution, and therefore edges are 100% sharp.  Everything in the real world, ie, physical processes, will only make edges softer.  Film has limited grain size and thus blurs the edge slightly, lenses are imperfect and have blur, etc.  If you shoot RAW you will get edges that are slightly blurred because of de-bayering and limited resolution (no camera is infinite resolution).  

If you get a nice compression algorithm and give it enough bandwidth you will also get edges that are slightly blurred.  All good so far.  Where it all goes wrong is when you have compression that makes the edges more sharp than reality.  ie, the pixels on the darker side of the edge are darker than the object itself, and the pixels on the edge of the lighter side are lighter than the object itself.  This NEVER happens in the physical world.  It never happens with film, it never happens shooting RAW, it is a completely artificial process.

This is why some footage looks "organic" (ie, of the physical world) and some looks "digital" (ie, not of the physical world).

Note the "halos" around this image I found on the web:

image.png.ca3bd09a3032e967254e2fb90195aa2f.png

You either like footage to look natural, or you want it to be hyper-real.  It's a matter of taste.

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7 hours ago, kye said:

I worked this out last night.  

Long story short, it's about edges.  The world has infinite resolution, and therefore edges are 100% sharp.  Everything in the real world, ie, physical processes, will only make edges softer.  Film has limited grain size and thus blurs the edge slightly, lenses are imperfect and have blur, etc.  If you shoot RAW you will get edges that are slightly blurred because of de-bayering and limited resolution (no camera is infinite resolution).  

If you get a nice compression algorithm and give it enough bandwidth you will also get edges that are slightly blurred.  All good so far.  Where it all goes wrong is when you have compression that makes the edges more sharp than reality.  ie, the pixels on the darker side of the edge are darker than the object itself, and the pixels on the edge of the lighter side are lighter than the object itself.  This NEVER happens in the physical world.  It never happens with film, it never happens shooting RAW, it is a completely artificial process.

This is why some footage looks "organic" (ie, of the physical world) and some looks "digital" (ie, not of the physical world).

Note the "halos" around this image I found on the web:

image.png.ca3bd09a3032e967254e2fb90195aa2f.png

You either like footage to look natural, or you want it to be hyper-real.  It's a matter of taste.

That would make sense. I have noticed that "sharpening" tools do this in-camera or in post. I always turn off sharpening and noise reduction as much as possible- I've always preferred the image. You're right as it's a question of taste.

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On 10/27/2021 at 5:13 AM, arson519 said:

i bought one two months ago because i love the size and ibis but i haven't really tested it out yet. i would love a gx85 style gh5

Me too, but I suspect heat issues would make that difficult in something as small as the GX80/GX85 body.

I own a GX80 (the European spec GX85), and use it often as a 'travel cam' with a Pana 14-140 or Oly 14-150 lens on it - makes a nice 'super zoom' equivalent camera that will fit in a small camera bag. Sometimes take along the light/cheap Pana 25mm F1.7 for low-light situations. It's just a nice, solid-feeling camera to use.

(Main downside for me is the poor, noisy, distorted on-board sound).

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