Panasonic G80 G85 IBIS Problems

Just wanted to do a quick post about the problems with the in body stabilization on the new Panasonic G80 & G85 cameras. Just to note, both these cameras are exactly the same, just different model numbers for different markets.

As a bit of Background i’ve been shooting on The predecessor, the Panasonic G7 for the past year, I used it with the Panasonic GH4 at first for filming Wedding Films but it became my main camera when I realised how much better the G7 was at higher ISO than the GH4 so I sold the GH4 and purchased a second G7. I now shoot weddings entirely with the Panasonic G7.

When the G80/85 was announced I was over the moon, I have been using a Sigma 18 – 35mm Lens with no IS so the built in IBIS seemed to be the answer to all of my prayers; along with the stronger body and a few other tweaks like the movement of the SD card slot this was looking to be a certain purchase.

The day my camera was due for delivery a video popped up on YouTube showing that the G80/85 seemed to have some software problems with the IBIS, there would be a lag when the camera was moved or panned. You can view the video below.

When my camera arrived I immediately had to see this for myself so I put on a prime lens with no IS and sure enough when I panned or moved the camera then there was a jolting of the image as the IBIS tried to keep up (I understand this may be fixed soon with a firmware update). When the lens/camera was hand held static then sure enough the IBIS worked perfectly and I had some lovely stabilized footage but after a few minutes of use I decided I had to send the camera back.

When looking at the footage I had shot stablized it seemed to me that all the IBIS was doing was the same function as ‘Warp Stablizer’ does in Adobe Premier (similar plugins on other editing packages), this got me thinking, why should I spend out so much more money on the G80/86 when I could just use the G7 and stabilize the shots I need to in post? The G7 is currently £699 in the UK (body only) and the G7 can be got for as little as £350 after cashback deals, it doesn’t make sense to pay all that money extra. I understand there maybe some extra shutter functions for photographers in the G80/85 but my main reason for buying was the IBIS and for me this doesn’t warrant the huge price increase.

This fault has highlighted a few misconceptions people have with IBIS in cameras with people on camera forums and Facebook. There seems to be some over reaction to the ‘fault’. Lets be clear. The IBIS works fine with stable hand held shots, it’s only when panning that you get a small jarring effect but I have to wonder why people would pan handheld. People seem to think that IBIS is meant to be a replacement or emulate a gimbal or steady-cam, offering smooth motion shots. IBIS is meant to stabilize small hand shakes, not be a replacement for such items. I think people are expecting too much from this. Panning shots should be done with a Tripod. Moving shots should be done with a track/gimbal/steady-cam. Expecting the camera to replace all these items seems a little bit silly to me.

To sum up, The G80/85 is a great improvement to the G7 but not in my opinion worth the extra £300 unless you are a photographer who needs the improved image/shutter-shock functions.