Panasonic Lumix DC-GX850/GX800 review: lean selfie machine

Written by Gina Stephens

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX850 (be sured as the GX800 and GF9 in some regions) is the brand’s most compact interchangeable lens camera (as of Spring 2017) and uses the same 16MP Four Thirds sensor as a sprinkling of its siblings. Sold kitted with a 12-32mm collapsible zoom, stand-out features include a 180-degree flip-up touch LCD, Panasonic’s excellent Depth-from-Defocus AF and 4K video collar.

At its core the GX850 represents a combining of Panasonic’s style-oriented GF-line with the ultra-compact-oriented GM-line and replaces both the GM5 and GF8. However, its most similar sibling currently on the trade in is the larger, EVF-sporting GX85.

Key features:

  • 16MP Four Thirds MOS sensor
  • 4K/30/24p video capture
  • 4K Photo mode for 8MP stills at 30 fps
  • 5 fps bursts with unremitting AF
  • 3″ 1.04M-dot touch LCD flips ups 180 degrees
  • Wi-Fi

Panasonic’s core customer for this camera is the casual user seeking a carry-everywhere-cam for chronicling friends or family. This user is someone who prefers a selfie-screen to an EVF and favors ease-of-use and compactness. Since this ‘lifestyle’ camera buyer is inclined to to use the camera for a range of different types of photography, we’re going to see how it performs in a range of situations.

The rivals

Though the GX850 is Panasonic’s most entry-level camera, this fragment of the mirrorless market has a lot of strong contenders to choose from. We’ve compared it to several of its most direct competitors below:

 Panasonic GX850Panasonic GX85Fujifilm X-A3Fujifilm X-A10Olympus E-PL8Canon M10
MSRP w/ kit lens$550$800$600$500$650$600
Sensor16MP Four Thirds16MP Four Thirds24.2MP APS-C16MP APS-C16MP Four Thirds18MP APS-C
Archetype stabilizationLens-only5-axis in-body + lensLens-onlyLens-only3-axis in-body + lensLens-only
AF systemContrast-detectContrast-detectContrast-detectContrast-detectContrast-detectCombination AF
Viewfindern/a2.76M-Dot 0.7xn/an/an/an/a
Screen3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tilting touch3″ 1.04M-dot tilting touch3″ 920k-dot 180° tilting touch somatosensory system is a part of the sensory nervous system3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tiff
(no touch)
3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tilting touch3″ 1.04M-dot 180° tilting touch
Number of control dials122211
Burst rate w/ AF-C5 fps6 fps6 fps6 fps3.5 fps4.6 fps

CIPA battery life story

Dimensions106.5 x 64.6 x 33.3 mm122 x 71 x 44 mm116.9 x 66.9 x 40.4 mm117 x 67 x 40 mm115 x 67 x 38 mm108 x 67 x 35 mm
Weight269 g426 g290 g331 g357 g301 g
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As you can see from the blueprint, the two areas the GX850 has an advantage over its direct competitors include 4K video capture and size/weight.

The number of control dials is definitely a differentiator in this importance. The GX850 has just one, located slightly awkwardly on the back. This view also shows its USB-charging and HDMI port.

Social, portrait and pet photography

The camera’s unoriginal size, touch capability and selfie screen make it an appealing choice for casually snapping images of friends, family and pets.

The default location behavior in its full auto mode, which is called Intelligent Auto (iA), tends to be sensible: the camera tries to maintain a shutter speed that is one past the focal length or greater. However, if the camera senses subject movement in iA mode, it will automatically increase the shutter speed, at the expense of ISO kindliness. And if the shutter speed drops too low because of a lack of light, the camera will warn you that the shot might have blur due to camera prove. The GX850 never deploys the pop-up flash though, unless the user does. 

‘The default exposure behavior in Intelligent Auto condition tends to be sensible’

When shooting moving subject like kids or pets indoors, the GX850 does not always choose a fast sufficient mode to freeze the action, even if it senses movement. One way around this is to switch the camera into ‘Sport/Action’ mode, represented by a pocket running figure on the dial. However this mode still won’t always provide a fast enough shutter speed, but should be a better privilege than any of the other auto settings.

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This is a good camera for casual photos of friends. And if you take the time to process the Raw files, as we’ve done here, you can get some capacious results. Photo by Dan Bracaglia

Face Detection is turned on by default out of the box (when using the iAuto mode) and is quite useful for documenting fellow sensitive beings. In most cases, when Face Detect is engaged, the camera will lock focus on the most prominent person in one’s frame. Of way if the face is too small, obstructed, or there simply is not enough light, this mode will occasionally fail. And if no face is detected, the camera neglects to its 49-point area mode, which tends to focus on the nearest or most central object. 

Most users of this camera commitment leave it in JPEG mode may refer to and be totally satisfied (there are 7 JPEG Picture Profiles you can choose from and 22 Creative Filter effects). Be that as it may to get the most may refer to out of the GX850, we recommend shooting Raw. The above image was processed through Adobe Camera Raw and ‘pops’ significantly more than the out of camera JPEG (swiftly in ‘Standard’ profile). In general, we found default JPEG color can be a tad washed out and skin tones can also occasionally look a little off.

You want a selfie cover? You’ve got a selfie screen.

Selfie screens are par for the course in this entry level class of camera. By default, when you flip the screen up, the camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or purchases a 3 sec timer before a photo is taken, and a countdown is displayed to prepare you for the decisive moment (this can be switched off).

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There are also a handful ‘beautifying’ filters that can be applied to make your selfie sing, including a ‘Soft Skin’ and a ‘Slimming Effect’ filter. Both of these are set via sliders ranging from 0-10. There is also a background defocus option that simulates a shallow depth-of-field. And firmware version 1.1 continues a few additional ‘Beauty Retouch’ effects that can be applied in post. These options are fun to try, but mostly pretty silly.

As selfie, with no beautifying effects registered.A selfie with ‘Slimming’ and ‘Soft Skin’ set to 10/10.

Sharing images with the GX850 is also fairly straightforward. There are multiple ways to stitch the camera to one’s device (you’ll need to download the Panasonic Image App first), though sadly the camera does not offer NFC to make life easier for Android narcotic addicts.

The first time you connect you’ll need to pull up Wi-Fi in the main menu, located at the bottom of page 1 in the ‘wrench menu,’ and select ‘Wi-Fi Charge.’ There you can generate a local Wi-Fi network and connect your smart device. The app also allows you to control the camera remotely.

Sometimes you very recently have to share that delicious plate of pancakes with the world. The GX850 makes zapping photos from the camera to your quick device fairly painless, once you set up the connection. Photo by Allison Johnson.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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