Fri, 30 Nov 2012 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 review
The Lumix DMC-G5 sits between the G3 and GH3 in Panasonic’s mini DSLR-styled compact system camera range for those preferring a traditional feel
- Manufacturer: Panasonic
- Pros: Eye sensor activated EVF, large firm handgrip, as well suited to shooting video as it is stills via Power Zoom and creative flexibility of tilt and swivel LCD, feature packed spec list won’t disappoint
- Cons: Mechanised power zoom may not be to the tastes of existing DSLR users (but lens can be swapped), some loss of focus towards frame edges at maximum wide angle if nitpicking
- Min specs: 16.9 effective megapixels, up to ISO12800 light sensitivity, 3.0-inch tilting LCD, Full HD movie capability, Creative Controls, dimensions of 119.9x83.2x70.8mm, weighs 396g with battery and card
- Price: £599.99 with 14-42mm Power Zoom on test
- Star rating:
In terms of CSCs, Panasonic has its Lumix GF line up resembling super-sized compacts, plus its G and GH models, which, as with the 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds system G5 here, appear as if shrunken digital SLRs. The advantage of these slightly larger cameras over rivals here is that they find room for an electronic viewfinder (EVF), switched on automatically via eye sensor, in addition to a regular LCD that can be tilted and swivelled rather than just angled up or down. As with the Olympus, Sony and Canon, the latter is also a touch screen, allowing a finger prod to direct focus to a subject in the corner of the frame and subsequently fire the shutter, with plenty of solid-feel physical controls remaining. While we might outwardly assume that the G5 is more for your photo traditionalist, familiarity and ease of use is such that it would be a good option for families too.
The advantage of the mini DSLR design is that there is room too for a decent sized handgrip, which on the G5 enables one-handed operation – something hard to achieve with a full sized DSLR plus lens. Here the provided optic is a 14-42mm mechanised ‘Power Zoom’ from Panasonic’s premium ‘X’ range; it operates like the lens on a regular compact in that it’s controlled via a lever rather than turned by hand. This has enabled the focal range to be squeezed into more compact dimensions – but we personally missed the precision of the manual variety. Plus, even with the lens removed the G5’s too large to squeeze into a pocket if that is a concern.
Shooting options are controlled via a five pence piece sized mode dial atop the Panasonic that features manual options alongside the automatic, throwing in the now expected digital effects filters, applied at the point of capture. Separate intelligent Auto (iA) and video record buttons feature too – press either and it’s simply a case of pointing and shooting to get consistent, responsive results. The 3-inch, 920k dot resolution tilting screen is so large, clear and creatively flexible it’s easy to overlook the even higher 1.44 million dot resolution EVF above, but your use will probably be down to personal preference and whether you’re coming to the G5 because you want something smaller than a DSLR or more comprehensive than a compact.