Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Very quick performance. Decent image and video quality. Flip-out, responsive touchscreen.

The Bad No external mic jack. Average battery life.

The Bottom Line There's nothing fundamentally wrong with the Lumix G5, but with a lack of "wow"-worthy features, it's just another interchangeable lens camera.

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Panasonic has redesigned one of its top-end interchangeable-lens cameras (ILCs), giving it a more streamlined look in line with its range of superzoom models.

Design and features

The G5 has been blessed with good looks and good ergonomics, making it a tempting proposition for any photographer looking at a higher-end ILC. A smooth grip lets the camera sit comfortably in the right hand, while the thumb can easily reach around and adjust settings with a range of buttons down the back panel.

A 3-inch 920,000-dot touchscreen flips out from the camera body, and can rotate around its side hinge. The G5 has an automatic sensor that switches between the screen and viewfinder when it detects that your eye is raised to the correct position.

The touchscreen has an interesting feature for those who like to pinpoint focus selection using fingers. Either when using just the screen or through the electronic viewfinder to compose a shot, simply touch around the screen to select your target anywhere around the frame.

A full suite of manual exposure controls are available from the mode dial, while fine tuning is done with the rear rotating dial. Turn it to get aperture adjustment, or click and turn it for shutter-speed control.

For photographers who are not quite ready for the world of manual, Panasonic provides intelligent automatic mode. Press the dedicated button at the top of the camera and away you go. When a power zoom lens is attached to the camera, the lever at the top can be used to control the zoom mechanism, rather than having to reach around for one on the barrel itself.

There is also a scene guide for beginners, which has a collection of 23 photos taken by professionals. Select the photo that most closely emulates the scene you want to take a photo of, and the camera will automatically set everything up for you. If this isn't enough to play with, there are a range of colour modes to add effects like soft focus, monochrome, cross-process and toy camera to your images.

Adjacent to the pop-up flash is a stereo microphone for recording audio, which is all the sound control you get. There's no external microphone jack supplied for attaching an external mic.

Full HD video recording at 50p is available in AVCHD, which is an upgrade from the interlaced offering on this camera's predecessor, the Lumix G3 . The G5 also comes with an electronic shutter, which allows for near-silent shooting in situations where noise isn't tolerated.

Compared to

Samsung NX20 Olympus OM-D Canon EOS M Panasonic Lumix G5
20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor 16-megapixel Four Thirds Live MOS sensor 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor 16-megapixel Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
3-inch articulating AMOLED screen 3-inch flip-down OLED touchscreen 3-inch flip-down LCD screen 3-inch articulating LCD touchscreen
Full HD video (1080/25p) Full HD video (1080/60i) Full HD video (1080/24p) Full HD video (1080/60p)
15-point AF 35-point AF 31-point AF 23-point AF

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Start-up to first shot
  • JPEG shot-to-shot time
  • RAW shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag
  • 1.20.20.20.1
    Panasonic Lumix G5
  • 0.70.40.60.04
    Olympus OM-D
  • 10.70.80.3
    Sony NEX-7
  • 1.71.42.20.2
    Nikon 1 V1
  • 2.81.43.40.3
    Samsung NX20

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Continuous shooting speed (in frames per second)

  • 10
    Sony NEX-7
  • 9
    Olympus OM-D
  • 8
    Samsung NX20
  • 8
    Panasonic Lumix G5
  • 5.5
    Nikon 1 V1

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The G5 has a number of continuous shooting modes. Both SH and H modes disable Live View while shooting. In SH mode (JPEG only, electronic shutter), the camera takes a burst of 40 images at 15 frames per second before stopping to process them. In H mode (JPEG) the G5 takes 8fps and slows to process the burst after 12 frames have been taken. Both M and L modes keep Live View active during shooting, but slow the frame rate down.

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Where to Buy

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

Part Number: CNETPanasonic Lumix DMC-G5

Typical Price: $999.00

See manufacturer website for availability.