I have been using a Panasonic GX-80/85 for street photography for the past year. Previous to owning the GX80, I used a Canon 6D. I loved the image quality of the 6D but it is a large camera, I felt too obvious using it for street work.
The Panasonic GX80, is an interesting choice, I wanted a camera that could shoot high quality video and photos with a small form factor.
This camera is super light, you could almost fit in a coat pocket with the 12-32mm kit lens. I wanted a camera that I could easy travel with, a camera that wouldn’t be burden to be an everyday carry.
It weighs 426g, weighty enough to feel secure in your hand, but not too heavy that it will be difficult to carry all day.
Although I’m not a fan of using the articulated screen for street photography it has come in very handy for the odd bit video I’ve shot with the camera.
They are very few limits on lens choice. You can attach almost any legacy lens. However for someone who likes wider angle lenses the x2 crop factor from the sensor size can be limiting. I’ve found that the included kit lens is great quality, perfectly acceptable for street photography if you enjoy shooting a higher apertures. I have a Canon FD speed booster adapter, I use this mainly when shooting video or more setup portrait shots.
My favourite part about the GX85 is the included kit lens. It’s honestly amazing, the sharpness quality corner to corner is very good for a kit lens, the zoom range is brilliant too. Although I’ve been tempted to go for the 14mm 2.5 to get the 28mm equivalent the kit lens has been more capable of fulfilling my needs.
Coming from a full frame Canon 6D the change to a MFT sensor is quite shocking, of course I miss the ability to easily knock the background completely out of focus and push my iso to 6400 with no consequences, but I have to admit the MFT does perform very well when used within its limits. When shooting in good light the colours and sharpness is outstanding.
I miss the full frame pixel count, but the final image from the GX80 is perfectly fine for social media sharing and printing large size images.
Sometimes the camera under exposes though I think this could be more to do with the screen dimness have an effect on the chosen aperture.
You don’t get amazing dynamic range but it’s very acceptable.
Is this camera going to be your “forever” camera? I don’t think it will be, but it certainly will be a great camera to learn the art of street photography, there are enough settings and features there to help beginners.
Owning the GX85 has been a learning experience, I’ve long been spoilt by full frame sensors and bokeh monster lenses. It’s refreshing to use a camera like this for Street Photography, it feels more dynamic and less intrusive.