Content for UHD TVs may be hard to find, but the cameras sure aren’t, with Panasonic announcing a new model that not only comes with 4K support, but also 5-axis stabilisation and an easy way to charge that camera.
If you’re anything like me, you’re looking at the ageing big camera in your room and wondering if it’s time to upgrade.
This journalist gazes at his Nikon D300 bought nearly a decade ago and wonders if maybe — just maybe — it’s time to move on. Ten years is a long time for a camera, and a practical eternity for a piece of consumer technology, and so it might be time to move to something news.
Panasonic has this week announced something that might fit the bill, regardless of whether you’re updating from something ten years old, five years old, or just buying for the first time, with a Micro Fourth-Thirds mirrorless camera that is relatively small and compact, yet packing in the features you might come to expect out of a camera that arrives in 2016.
The new camera is the Lumix GX85, and it’s a relatively svelte camera with interchangeable lenses designed to deliver high-resolution imagery for a re-engineered 16 megapixel LiveMOS sensor, high quality video going fuller than Full HD, and something new to Panasonic’s camera range, in-body 5-axis image stabilisation.
Support for 4K is one of the big features, and while you can capture Ultra HD video, you can also use this feature to grab some stills, utilising Panasonic’s pre-burst feature to constantly record a 4K video and cut out the second or two before and after you pressed the shutter, helping you to never miss a shot.
We first saw this technology in the game-changing G7, and it proved to be a brilliant concept that helps tremendously in sports photography, where you can miss something simply by mistiming the shutter press. With this feature, that issue goes away, and while you don’t get the full 16 megapixel sensor for this concept, 8 megapixels is still plenty.
Panasonic is also featuring a 4K “Live Cropping” feature for stable panning and zooming during video capture, and it’s something we suspect the 5-axis stabilisation helps with, which will also no doubt assist when it comes to grabbing shots.
Interestingly, the 5-axis image stabilisation is also joined by 2-axis optical stabilisation in some lenses, meaning owners of the GX85 might find two forms of image stabilisation in their camera. Neat.
And finally, Panasonic is also apparently bringing over USB charging, meaning you can forget one more accessory when you head on holiday, with a USB cable giving you the charge you need and a portable battery bringing a bit of extra battery power out in the open.
“The DMC-GX85 has similar lines to our breakthrough DMC-GX7 which proved incredibly popular with enthusiasts,” said Doug Campbell, Senior Product Manager of Imaging at Panasonic.
“We’ve taken their feedback to offer a camera that supports vivid imaging with a powerful stabilisation system and precise features,” he said, adding that the GX85 is “designed for the meticulous photographer who seeks to express their creativity with that unique shot.”
One new feature we’re particularly intrigued by is made for the arty types, or even just those used to black and white film, with “L Monochrome” a black and white profile which Panasonic says offers “rich gradation reminiscent of classic black and white film”.
Black and white film, eh? That was one of the reasons this old photographer went back to his D300, because it supported a lovely black and white mode out of the box, and was one of the reasons he was eyeing Fuji and Sony as possible new cameras to venture to.
Now there’s one more to consider.
Panasonic’s GX85 will arrive in stores in late-May in both black and silver, with a body made from aluminium and support for WiFi, with the camera fetching a recommended retail price of $1099 without a lens, while a single lens kit with a 12-32mm will cost $1199 while a twin lens with the 12-32mm and a 45-150mm will be $1449.