Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 camera first look [Video]
Panasonic Lumix GF5 – what is it?
The GF5 is the latest in Panasonic’s line of entry-level micro-four-thirds cameras and a development of the previous model, the GF3. Prices will start at £449 for the GF5 with the standard lens. Currently, the GF3 is available for just £299.
The GF range is aimed at those who are looking to dip a toe into the world of interchangeable lens cameras, but the manual features they offer mean they’re also an option for SLR owners looking for a lighter, more compact second camera. This type of camera is often referred to as a compact system camera (CSC).
Read on, or watch the video below, to see what we made of it.
Read our compact system cameras explained guide for more on this type of camera.
GF5 vs GF3 – what are the differences?
Aside from a few minor cosmetic changes, the GF5 looks much like the previous model – the Panasonic Lumix GF3. There’s still no viewfinder and you can’t attach one as there’s no hot-shoe mount, while most of the functions are accessed via the touchscreen. This is a camera better suited to beginners than experienced photographers.
What has changed is that the GF5 has an upgraded sensor and processor. Panasonic says this will lead to improved image quality, though it’ll be hard to improve on the already very good GF3.
The resolution of the 3-inch LCD touchscreen has been increased from the 460k dot resolution of the GF3 to 920k dots on this latest model, and the autofocus and burst mode are a little faster, too.
One major change is the return of the stereo mic, which was present on the GF2, but not the GF3. This should mean better audio quality on video, though you still can’t attach an external microphone.
To make it easier for newcomers to get the most out of the scene modes, Panasonic has added a scene guide to the GF5 so you can find out how to set up the shot to get the best looking pictures. It’s also added more creative filters for taking shots with special effects applied, such as soft focus, toy effect and star filter.
Panasonic Lumix GF5 – Katie’s first impressions
As someone used to using dials to select shooting modes I found using the touchscreen a little difficult to adapt to. The touchscreen is less responsive than those on most smartphones, too. Not all the controls are touchscreen based – a jog wheel is on hand for scrolling through lists.
As with the GF3, the GF5 has aperture and shutter priority modes and a full manual mode, as well as an iAuto mode – where the camera selects the best settings for your shot so you can just point and shoot. There is a dedicated iAuto button on top of the camera so you can quickly flick to iAuto mode if you want to.
The iAuto+ mode is retained too – in this mode you can exercise a small amount of creative control over auto shots by adjusting a few settings. It’s a gentle introduction to manual controls for those new to cameras where you can change the settings, and it works really well.
But none of these things are major improvements on the GF3. For the GF5 to be worth the extra investment, its upgraded sensor will have to be a significant step-up in image quality. We’ll have to wait for the full lab test to find out if it is.
In the full review…
This is just our first impression of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5. When it goes on sale, we’ll be sending it to our labs where we’ll test it for:
Picture quality - In our lab-based reviews we look at a number of aspects of picture quality, and put each camera through a series of challenging tests that reflect everyday use – such as taking photos on sunny days or indoors.
Speed - Shutter delay is measured precisely using a sophisticated timing method, so we can see how long the delay is between pressing the shutter and capturing the image. We also measure start-up time, time between shots and the speed of the camera’s burst mode.
That’s not all we test for, however. See our full how we test digital SLR page for more details on our in-depth lab testing of DSLRs and compact system cameras.
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