Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LUMIX GX850, a SELFIE DELIGHT

The new Lumix GX850 (known as the GX800 outside the US), which PANASONIC call the “ultimate entry-level high-performance compact mirrorless camera”, came with a 180-degree tilting touchscreen, one look and you know this NZ$900.00 compact is aiming at the younger, SELFIE generation!

With 4K video and 4K Photo options, the GX850 is the first Lumix model to offer a new 4K Selfie option!







When I received this shinning, spanking new GX850 from Panasonic New Zealand, I was intrigue..

Is this good looking, slightly hefty compact really an entry-level mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses from Panasonic?

How did it compare with my favourite Lumix GM1 which have been providing me with great photography services for more than TWO years?



I discovered that the GX850 is heavier and very slightly longer and taller than the GM1. I am still able to stuff it in my jacket's pocket, but you will be conscious of the extra weight and bulk.

Like the GM1, the new Panasonic offering come with the same 12-32 retractable kit zoom. This tiny kit zoom is one of my favourite lens, it is compact and very sharp.

The other two main features that lure me to upgrade my GM1 are the PANORAMIC MODE (4K capable!) and the touchscreen that can flips up by 180 degrees for selfie shooting or filming!

Oh, not forgetting the 16MP sensor thats has the low-pass filter removed for slightly sharper results!





The picture of the New Zealand bee on the flower was taken in our garden with the 12-32 kit zoom at 32mm and F5.6, the bottom picture was a 100% enlargement of the same shot. You can't say you are not impress with this "optically slow" kit zoom!

The same lens, I reckon is PERFECT for landscapes or when you travel, I shot these on top of our Mt Victoria Look-Out on a fine sunny day.





The 12mm end of the kit zoom has a similar 24mm field of view as a full-frame lens, I find this focal length is wide enough for most travel photography, 14mm is just "too long".

The "Big Deal" of our new GX850 however, is the special flip-up screen!



By flipping the touch screen 180 degree, the screen automatically go into it's SELFIE MODE.

So what, you reckon?



Take a look at the above picture carefully, that is a selfie shot of Moi, pointing my GM1 at the GX850 flip-up display.

When the camera go into the selfie mode, it automatically select my face (the square) and it lock the focus on my eye (the white cross) for a sharp picture!

Notice the touch menu on the right side of the screen?  Those are the settings and preferences you can set to produce how you want your selfie to look like!


Starting from the bottom, the last tab allow you to set the countdown timer and how many shots you want taken in succession.

In this instance, I set it to take 4 pictures in 3 seconds interval.

The more intriguing settings are the "Slimming Mode" and the "Soft Skin Mode", where Panasonic claim they will make you look SLIMMER, make your face look "brighter" and your skin SOFTER!

Do they work? To find out I have to look for a vain beauty but I am sure plenty of ladies would love to give these "beautifying" settings a try out  ;) 
One setting that I really wanted to try out is the so call “Background Control”.
According to Panasonic, this selfie feature is able to change the blurriness for the background of detected faces.

When the Defocus setting is selected, faces and background further from the camera will be blurred. However, if you activate the “CLEAR” setting, the camera will record and render faces and the background with clarity.

I will look into these features later.






Here are three shots I took with my family and friends from Malaysia, in selfie mode using the "out stretch" arm method. The GX850 even allow you to trigger the camera while in your left or right arm by providing firing buttons on both sides of the camera!





It is NOT EASY to take a good selfie (in these cases, a "wefie"), having a LONG arm definitely help!  
The selfie capable screen is very useful when you want to take a classic group shots with the camera on a tripod. With the screen flipped up, you will be getting "what you see is what you get", no more block or cut off faces when you use a camera without this feature.



According to the instruction manual, the GX850 is able to take a "Panoramic sefie/wefie"! I have not try that out, the instruction was a bit lengthy but I am sure once you get the hang of it, it will a real eye opener!

Apart from this innovative selfie feature, the new Lumix GX850 behave like a top range Lumix camera with all the bells and whistles..

Famous Last Words...

For an "entry-level" mirrorless camera, the GX850 offers an impressive feature sets, you are getting an interchangeable lens camera with a 4/3 sized sensor without AA filter for extra sharpness, a compact kit zoom with wide coverage, a flip-able touchscreen that is perfect for selfies, Wifi and USB charging.

Differentiating it from most rivals at this NZ$900 price point, the GX850 come with 4k Video and 4k Photo as a bonus. I wish there is a viewfinder and body-based stabilisation, but I can live with that. 



The use of small Micro SD memory card needs getting use to, you do not want to change card outdoor, in a Wellington gust ;)

I was informed by Panasonic New Zealand we can expect the GX850 by the end of Febuary 2017 for about NZ$900.00 with the 12-32 kit zoom.

Here are more shots taken with the GX850...









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