I have a bunch of friends up riding and camping in the woods at the Salsa Cycles Ride Camp and I couldn't make it. On top of that my morning ride got rained out. Time to treat myself to my favorite pour over in town at Angry Catfish. Went With Ruby Guatemala today. So incredibly good.
This post today is likely my longest and most picture laden post in Olyallthetime history. I've been shooting the GX85 for about 2 months as my daily camera and in short, I think this little camera is simply amazing. Below are my personal impressions and views. I am a hobbyist and not a professional so please know that as you read this. I paid for this camera with my own money because I love photography.
For much of this review, I am comparing it to the GX8 as that was my previous camera in this category of range finder like mirrorless camera. Much of what I wrote about last year about the GX8 holds true about this camera as well. You can read that review here but for me, the reason I switched to the GX85 is that it is smaller, has improved in body IS and has an quieter shutter than the GX8.
Things I like or love on the GX85
- Touch screen focus point implementation. It works so well to have camera to eye and move the focus point around the screen using your thumb. This is a game changer and something I have appreciated since the GX7 an later on the GX8.
- Manual focus implementation. Again, building on what started with the GX7 moving the focus point to the area you want to magnify with your thumb, releasing your thumb and the area is magnified, focus and shoot. In my opinion, this is how all CSC's should perform in manual focus mode. Simple and effective and quick.
- Shutter. It's quiet and according to the Panasonic, less prone to shutter shock. It's good.
- Placement of the exposure comp where I am accustomed too, at the outer, upper, right hand placements set the thumb. I often struggled with the GX8 as Panasonic had moved it inboard.
- As an on bike camera (see below) I like the placement of the on/off switch as I can mostly operate this camera with one hand. Something important to me.
- Tilt screen as opposed to a flip out screen. I just personally prefer tilt screen compared to the flip out screen.
- In camera RAW converter. This is the best interface for in camera RAW conversions for any camera system. Simple, effective and capable.
- Rangefinder style - That, again, is a personal preference.
- USB charging. Makes my travel kit even smaller to just carry a small plug and cord.
- The overall balance of size, image quality, features and price.
Things I don't like or need improvement
- I wish the mode dial was locking. I frequently pulled the camera from my bag and it was out of place. It needs a locking mechanism or at a minimum firmer clicks so it doesn't move without moving it intentionally.
- Grip - I have been spoiled by the big grip on the GX8 and wanted more so I added a JB Camera Designs wooden grip
- The EVF - Again, mostly spoiled by the GX8, but I would like a bigger/more magnification EVF.
- 16MP sensor - This is a personal thing, but while I recognize ISO performance, DR or image quality isn't that different, I have grown to appreciate resolution and the ability to slightly crop in post. Thus, I just prefer the 20MP sensor as I have shot it in the GX8 and rented/tested the Olympus Pen F. Again, that is a personal preference.
- Still think the wifi functionality isn't very good. I still think Olympus is the best and I also like how Sony prepares and sends small JPEGS automatically from RAW instead of converting. Thankfully Panasonic RAW converter is so good, I want to convert first, but once converted I still think the gui and user experience of the phone App isn't that great.
- I did not test video. I am a stills shooter only
- I did not test continuous autofocus. The single point is more than fast enough and I don't shoot soccer or cycling with this style of camera.
- I do not use flash so I don't care about it's capabilities and can't comment
So...How about some pictures? I used only 3 lenses in this review as they are the only m43 lenses I own; the Panasonic 15mm f1.7, the Panasonic 42.5 f1.2 and the Olympus 75mm f1.8. All absolutely fantastic lenses and the combination of short/wide, mid and long just work perfectly for me.
I broke the images into a few different collections based on how I used the camera. As you can see, I used it in a handful of scenarios. Certainly not all inclusive but indicative of using this camera as my daily shooting partner.
Portraits - All with the 42.5 f1.2, my favorite portait lens.
I took it with me to the city and shot street and architecture while out and about.
I used it as my family snapshot camera. After all, my primary job is family photo journalist!
And I took it on my bike rides. Cycling is my primary passion and bicycle manufacturing is my profession. This is still my number one reason and source of photography inspiration. So size and controls are a critical feature for me and why I love the GX85 so much. The GX85 is a simple, light weight and capable small camera that gives me one handed operation and great results. What is not to like?
All in all I am very pleased with this camera. It has been an incredible daily use camera. One in which I would highly recommend to any and all users. It's simple enough for many novices but advanced enough for more experienced photographers.
The real challenge given street prices is which camera to buy, a GX8 (under $800 used) or a GX85 (Under $700 used). That is a tough one and I will admit I think I prefer the GX8 for the extra resolution, the better EVF and the substantial grip. For those that prefer a smaller body and the improved in body IS, the GX85 is a real winner.
It was our last day of summer before school starts so we headed out for a family day of hiking. We went to bluff country near Red Wing, MN. We had a glorious day. Bluff country looks out over the mighty Mississippi river as well as Lake Pepin. It is home to countless eagles and bird species. I carried the GX85 and the 15f1.7 and 75 f1.8.
As you can see below the combo treated me well. No disappointments other than the thick tree cover that kept us from seeing many bald eagles. We did two different hikes and all in all, we had a spectacular day. Here are just a handful of pics from the day.
Side note: Frontenac State Park is beautiful and we can't wait to go back in the full autumn colors.
We had another night out in Minneapolis last night. It was a gorgeous night. Minnehaha Falls is one of the most popular spots in Minneapolis on these perfect summer days.
This year, a frame was put down there to frame falls. So many folks taking pics there. Most of the photos were serious with people posing carefully while getting into the framelines in front of the beautiful waterfall. My daughter and I? Not so serious.
I love having a really small camera with me at all times. Last night I chose the tiny Olympus OMD EM10 ii and the 15 f1.7. What a dream combo. This shot was sent to the phone and edited in Snapspeed where I added a Retrolux filter with scratches and converted to BW.
It was a glorious fall day here in MN and instead of going for a bike ride, my wife and I headed to the woods for a walk. With no time constraints we went for a short walk about in our local park, Lebanon Hills. I grabbed the Olympus EM10 Mark ii with the 15 f1.7 & 75 f1.8 and she grabbed the dog....And off we went.
Here are a few pics from today. All shot with the Oly 75 f1.8. These are 100% straight out of camera JPEGs.
Happy Trails all and enjoy your Sunday
My morning rides have been accompanied by the wonderful Panasonic GX85 and 15mm f1.7. I have started writing my GX85 review/impressions but haven't fully processed all my images on my computer yet. Pretty much everything I have shared thus far has been processed in camera with the best in camera RAW converter interface on the market today.
This one is also processed in camera with a vivid setting, warm WB and added contrast and a final film preset in Snapspeed. It's for my friend to update his FB profile. And while this image is admittedly over processed, it's pretty amazing that this is possible just minutes from our bike ride.
Now back to work on finishing the GX85 commentary and prepare for the new Olympus product launches later this month.
I love morning bike rides in the country. I never tire of the lines to infinity and the light & colors on the horizon and in the sky.
Have a great weekend everyone.
I rented an Olympus Pen F a while back. I wanted to see it and shoot it without having to pay the premium price for it. What a beautiful camera. Wow. Really love it. I will likely purchase a used one someday when values come down a bit.
But here is one of my favorite shots from the Pen F taken with the Panasonic 15 f1.7 attached. That set up makes a really great combo. This was shot in one of the new monochrome modes and transferred to phone for posting.
Hopefully more on the Pen F in the future.
Be home. Rest. Shoot when I can.
And since its National Dog Day, I share a pic of my dog Odie. It's also my 1st shot with a used EM10 mark ii and used 75 f1.8. This to me is what m43 is all about. Small & premium lenses with spectacular results.
Have a great weekend.
Not much shooting going on for me at the moment so I have to spend time looking back. I am having so much fun re looking for images I ignored in my first pass and edits. This one is one I found from my Seattle trip a year ago. I missed it in my first and second pass and edit. Glad I found it. I shot this on the OMD EM5ii with 40-150 an 1.4TC. I call in White and Black.
Back in early 2015, I shot a cycling event and used an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark ii and a Voigtlander 25mm f.95 lens as my starting line portrait camera. I had always wanted to try this lens out. I've read about it since it's inception but never given the opportunity to shoot it so when the opportunity was there to get this set up on loan, I took it. This post goes back to April of 2015, but it's part of my overall plan to continue to add content here at Oly All The Time. Hope you don't mind, but I think the content is still both current and relevant as this lens and camera combo are still quite sought after and I've gotten questions numerous times about these photos.
Quite honestly, the EM5 ii and this Voigtlander lens is quite the portrait and low light combination. The EM5ii has the best IBIS to date and rates just a smidge better at high ISO than my EM1. I shot all these pictures in almost complete darkness with nothing but street lights illuminating the riders. You can see in a few of the pictures below that a bit of flash would have been good, but I didn't have that and just did my best to expose the riders faces and not go to slow in my shutter speed.
I shot almost all of these images below ISO 1600 at either .95 or 1.2. I set the top custom function button to magnification for focusing. I did not use focus peaking. The slowest shutter speed of these images is 1/15th of a second and I did my best to focus on their eyes, which is sometimes challenging through their clear glasses. At 1/15th it was also difficult to get the riders to stand still. I shot in short bursts and chose the best ones.
The color images are pretty much straight RAW conversions in Lightroom and the couple of black and whites are quick conversions with VSCO presets. No serious editing or noise reduction. My intent was to just have fun with this combo. Fun was had and I think it was a successful side project.
What I found was that this is truly a great combination of body and lens. I was able to keep the ISO low and get some great portraits. You can see some CA in these and a little softness, but again, overall very pleased. Honestly, as I look back over these images, I love them. The used prices of that original Voigtlander 25mm f.95 are coming in around $500 with occasional mid $400's for folks exiting m43. It might be a good time to pick one of these up.
The slideshow below has about 20 images so take some time and enjoy. The Previous and Next arrows will appear on hover. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.
Welcome to my newly updated website. Since I couldn't shoot the last two days due to crummy weather, I took the opportunity to fully update this site. I'd like to take a moment to walk you through what you will see here and on those pages linked at the top of every page.
Blog - This is my journal and sharing page for images, words and experiences. Sometimes those are single image posts and other times they are longer experience posts about places or gear.
M43 Gallery - This is where I place some of my favorite images taken with m43 cameras in a gallery format. Every time someone tells me m43 stinks, I like to look at my images and remind myself that I am pleased and this system and format just work for me. I hope you are inspired by some of these images too.
Reviews - While my reviews are more of an impressions than a formal review, I am putting some words and notes as well as links to the longer articles on this page. If you are like me and like gear, that is where you will find the more gear focused articles on this blog.
So....Again, welcome. Hope you enjoy and come back often!
Another rainy morning means no mornin ride and shoot. Guess it's coffee inside this AM. One of these days I will get out for a solid morning shoot.
Time for a second cup.
And all I captured on this rainy day is a cat picture. Oh well. That's all I got.
Hope you all had a little more luck with your shooting than I did.
I had my camera (GX85) with me the other day while spending the day at the MOA. You will see more of these photos in my GX8 review that I have started working on.
I shot both the 15 f1.7 and the 42.5 f1.2. Really loving this combo.
Had a great portrait session out in Minneapolis, MN at Minnehaha Falls. The GX85 and 42.5 Nocticron really performed incredibly well. Here are a couple of close up portraits from last night.
One last shot showing full body length depth and isolation. This one was in camera RAW conversion to vibrant so the colors are a bit saturated but I like the image none the less.
Unrelated, I purchased a used 75 f1.8 again tonight for $399! So pleased to have one of these amazing lenses in my kit again.
I grabbed this shot on yesterday's morning bike ride. I carried the GX85 with both the 15 & 42.5 Panasonic Leica lenses. This right here is why I ride my bicycle in the morning. So thankful to have carried my camera too. This image was shot with the 15mm f1.7 and processes on my phone using Snapspeed.
Spent Sunday afternoon at the beach with the GX85 and 15 & 42.5 Panasonic lenses. Still going with strong with this combo.
I am starting to really know the GX85. It's an incredibly good camera. I am finding a few niggles too and compared to GX8 I am missing the extra resolution (I didn't know I cared until it's not there). It's not perfect. But I am pleased enough to keep it.
More to come.
Baby Haakon came by the house last night. I couldn't resist taking a few photos and portraits. Here's one of my favs from last night.
He sure is perfect. I shot this with the GX85 and Panasonic 42.5 F1.2.
A quick shot from today. This is from the new Panasonic GX85 and Panasonic 15mm f1.7. Just liked the lines and the X's & O's.