Panasonic Lumix G5 first look – compact system camera [Video]
What is the Panasonic Lumix G5?
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 is Panasonic’s latest model in its mid-level G range of compact system cameras.
It builds on the success of its predecessor – the Panasonic G3 – with its updated 16.05Mp Live MOS sensor, improved autofocus speed – which Panasonic calls “Light speed AF” and increased ISO setting range from 160-12800 ISO for shooting in low lighting.
It can also capture 1080p HD video in AVCHD at an impressive 50 frames per second, or 25 frames per second in MP4.
This latest model enters the market as an addition to the range. The Panasonic G3 which we’ve tested in our lab will still be available.
The Panasonic G5 is due in stores from mid-August priced at £699 for the body with the standard 14-42mm kit lens. We got our hands on this camera at the launch to give our first impressions.
If you’re in the market for an interchangeable lens camera but you’re not sure whether a compact system camera like the G5 will be right for you, read our compact system cameras explained advice.
Panasonic Lumix G5 – 5 things we like
- Buttons, dials and the function lever
It’s quicker to access settings with dedicated buttons or dials. The G5 has loads of physical controls for making adjustments, as well as three programmable function buttons on the body, and an additional two that appear on the right side of the touchscreen. The function lever on top of the camera is new to the G5 and lets you adjust zoom or exposure quickly.
- Electronic viewfinder
Screens are fine in normal lighting, but in bright light reflections from the sun can make them difficult to see and happily the G5 has a screen and viewfinder.
- Touchscreen focus tracking
Even when you’re using the viewfinder to line up a shot you can use the touchscreen to select focus points which are then highlighted in the electronic viewfinder’s display.
- Quick focus
Panasonic says it has improved the focusing speed to 0.09 seconds on the G5, and it certainly seemed quick when we got our hands on it at the launch. We’ll have to wait until we get it to our lab before we can say just how fast it is compared to other models we’ve tested.
- Good grip
The grip has been made a little bulkier – more like on the earlier G2 model – but this makes it easy to hold one handed without feeling like you’re going to drop it. With a lens on, the bulge doesn’t stick out past the lens so in terms of physical size, with a lens on the camera still feels relatively small and light.
Katie’s first impressions of the Panasonic G5
It’s not dramatically different from previous models, but the additional features like the function lever and touch tracking when using the viewfinder are nice additions – I can see the latter being useful if you’re following a football match where the subject you want to focus on may keep changing.
I only got to try the camera with the 14-42mm power zoom lens attached and zooming in and out using the function lever was intuitive. However, Panasonic has said that the the lever can’t control the zoom on the standard kit lens, which is a shame. With the standard lens the function button is then only useful for adjusting the exposure value.
I much prefer buttons and dials to menus on screen. The dedicated iAuto button remains on top of the camera from previous models, so you can quickly get into point-and-shoot mode and the program dial and jog wheel to adjust settings have stayed, although you’ll find yourself doing quite a lot of scrolling within the scene and creative modes and deeper into the settings. If you’re not sure what a particular scene mode will do to your shot, one press of a button will bring up an information panel explaining what the setting does and how it will affect the shot you take, so you don’t have to guess purely from the title.
Smartphone users will find that the touchscreen isn’t likely to be as responsive as they’re used to – it’s the same issue we found with the touchscreen on the GF5 earlier this year – so you need to give it a fairly firm prod.
However, the autofocus does look to be very quick to react, so it’ll be great to get it into our lab to see just how fast it is compared to its competitors.
Price for the body alone is £599, the standard kit with the standard 14-42mm lens is £699 and there will also be the option to purchase the body with the 14-42mm power zoom lens for a rather steep £829.
In the full review…
This is just our first impression of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5. 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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