Panasonic’s big announcement at Photokina isn’t a camera that you can buy in the next few months. Instead it let the world know that the long-awaited Lumix DMC-GH5 is under development and will ship sometime in 2017. Its top-end specs are head-turning: an 18-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor that can record 6K video at up to 30fps and 4K at 60fps, along with pro-grade 4:2:2 10-bit uncompressed video output. If 6K isn’t enough for you, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer. Panasonic hopes to ship a camera that records in 8K in time for the 2020 Olympics.
The GH5 will be joined by three new zoom lenses, developed in concert with Leica. The wide-angle 8-18mm, standard-angle 12-60mm, and telephoto 50-200mm zooms will all sport variable aperture designs that start at f/2.8 and lose only one stop, dropping to f/4 when zoomed all the way in.
Buf if you’re looking to purchase this year, Panasonic is giving you three new models from which to choose, only one of which supports interchangeable lenses. That’s a new entry in the company’s Micro Four Thirds lineup. Dubbed the G85 in the US market, it sits above the G7, which will remain on sale. Europeans will know the camera as the G80.
The camera sports a 16MP Micro Four Thirds format image sensor with no optical low-pass filter (OLPF), an SLR-style design, and advanced capabilities such as 4K video capture, Panasonic’s 4K photo mode, and a DFD focus system that can track and focus on subjects while maintaining a 6fps burst rate. You can push the burst rate to 9fps by locking focus after the first shot. Panasonic states that the shooting buffer gets you 40 Raw or 200 JPG images at that rate.
Like most Panasonic cameras, the G85 sports a 3-inch touch-screen display. The LCD is mounted on a vari-angle hinge, so it can swing out from the body and face all the way forward. Build quality is a step up from the G7, with a chassis that features a magnesium front plate and a polycarbonate rear plate. A built-in EVF offers 0.74x magnification, a very large size for a mirrorless camera.
The image sensor is stabilized, a feature that we’re seeing in more and more cameras from Panasonic. The system works in conjunction with in-lens stabilization, which Panasonic says can net 5-stop compensation with compatible lenses. At launch only the 12-60mm and 14-140mm zoom will support this function, however, with support for the 100-400mm zoom to come in 2017 via a firmware update. Other lenses will be limited to 4-stop compensation.
The body is sealed against dust and moisture, but will need to be paired with a sealed lens in order to be properly protected in inclement conditions. At press time, the 12mm f/1.7, 12-60mm, 42.5mm Nocticron, 12-35mm, and 35-100mm are the only sealed lenses in the Panasonic library.
Other features include built-in Wi-Fi, clean (4:2:2 8-bit) HDMI video output with simultaneous 4:2:0 card recording, and a new shutter that is optimized to reduce the shutter shock effect that can blur images.
The G85 is set to ship in October. It’s priced at $899 as a body only, and can be had in a kit with the 12-60mm zoom for $999. That’s a solid value, as the 12-60mm sells for $500 on its own.
Panasonic is also expanding its line of 1-inch sensor compacts. First up is a pocket-friendly model, the LX10. It features the same 20MP image sensor that Panasonic uses in the FZ1000 superzoom. Its lens is the first we’ve seen in this class of camera with a maximum f/1.4 aperture, capturing that much light at its widest 24mm setting. Its zoom is modest, however, only reaching 72mm, where the f-stop narrows to f/2.8.
Macro shooting is a strong point. At the wide angle it can focus to 1.2 inches (3cm), so you can get right up to an object and take a photo. The minimum focus distance is longer at 72mm, 11.8 inches (30cm). When working close at f/1.4 the depth of field is quite shallow; Panasonic’s 4K photo mode can sidestep that with in-camera focus stacking, which gives you very precise control over the depth of field of your final image.
Given the image quality we’ve seen from this sensor in other cameras, and the f/1.4 wide-angle lens, low-light images should be strong in quality. The camera supports ISO 12800 in its native range and ISO 25600 as an extended setting. It also sports 5-axis image stabilization for crisper shots at longer shutter speeds.
There’s no built-in EVF like you get with the Sony RX100 III, nor is there an in-lens neutral density filter. You do get Wi-Fi and 4K video capture, both staples of recent offerings from Panasonic.
The LX10 is priced at $700 and will ship in November.
Finally, there’s the FZ2500. It’s the big brother of the FZ1000, with a longer zoom range (24-480mm f/2.8-4.5) and more advanced video features. The superzoom supports high bit rate 4K capture, up to 100Mbps, as well as ALL-I 200Mbps 1080p options. Its HDMI port supports 10-bit 4:2:2 output if you prefer to use an external recorder to store footage.
The lens features an integrated multi-power ND filter that can cut incoming light by two, four, or six f-stops. It also boasts 5-axis hybrid stabilization, audio input and monitoring jacks, a built-in EVF, a 3-inch touch-screen vari-angle LCD, and an internal zoom design.
For still images, burst shooting is possible at 7fps with continuous focus or 12fps with fixed focus. The buffer holds 30 Raw images. There are a number of in-camera art filters available, but if you’re looking for a pro-grade V-log video profile, you’ll need to pay an extra $100 for a firmware upgrade.
The FZ2500 ships in December and comes at a premium price, $1,199.99, but its build quality is similar to the less expensive FZ1000. Its chassis is polycarbonate and it lacks weather sealing, two features you’ll find in similar premium cameras from Sony, the RX10 II and RX10 III.