Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10

  Olympus E-PL1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 Samsung NX10
Sensor (effective resolution) 12.3-megapixel Live MOS 12.1-megapixel Live MOS 14.6-megapixel CMOS
17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 23.4mm x 15.5mm (est)
Color depth n/a Venus Engine HD II n/a
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 3,200 ISO 100 - ISO 6,400 ISO 100 - ISO 3,200
Focal-length multiplier 2x 2x 1.5x
Continuous shooting 3fps
n/a
3.2fps
unlimited JPEG/7 raw
3fps
10 JPEG/ 3 raw
Viewfinder
(effective magnification)
Optional plug-in articulating EVF
1,440,000 dots
0.58x
EVF
202,000 dots
0.52x
EVF
VGA/921,000 dots
0.86x
Autofocus 11-area contrast AF 23-area contrast AF 15-point contrast AF
Metering 324 area 144 zone 247 segment
Shutter 60-1/2000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes 60-1/4000 sec; bulb to 4 minutes 30-1/4000 sec.; bulb to 8 minutes
Flash Yes Yes Yes
LCD 2.7-inch fixed
230,000 dots
3-inch fixed
460,000 dots
3-inch fixed AMOLED
614,000 dots
Image stabilization Sensor shift Optical Optical
Video (max resolution at 30fps) 720p Motion JPEG AVI 720p Motion JPEG MOV 720p H.264 MPEG-4
Audio I/O Mic None n/a
Battery life (CIPA rating) 290 shots 380 shots 400 shots
Dimensions (WHD, inches) 4.5 x 2.8 x 1.6 4.9 x 3.3 x 2.9 4.8 x 3.4 x 1.6
Weight (ounces) 12.4 13.9 14.5
Mfr. Price $499 (est) n/a
n/a
$599.99 (with 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens)
$599.95 (with 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens)
$699.99 (with 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 lens)

The G10 isn't big on novel capabilities. Like the G2, the most notable is the bracketing, which supports up to seven frames and two stops in either direction. As with its line mates, you can register up to six faces in the camera memory with names and birthdays, priority (for AF and exposure), and a custom focus icon. During playback, the person's name appears. However, you can't use this information to search during playback, and it doesn't seem to appear anywhere in the EXIF data for the photo. Panasonic's Intelligent Resolution feature sharpens distant details that its image processing would normally render kind of smeary. I found it kind of hit-or-miss; after testing in a variety of scenes in both the G2 and the G10, I only saw useful improvements in one set of shots.

With one exception, the G10 ranks as the fastest camera in its class thus far, though it still can't match competing dSLRs like the Pentax K-x. It wakes and shoots in a zippy 0.7 second. Time to focus and shoot in good light is 0.5 second, a hair behind the Sony NEX-5's 0.4-second speed; in dim light, it matches the rest of Panasonic's crew at a relatively zippy 0.6 second. It takes about 0.7 second for two sequential shots, regardless of file format (raw or JPEG), and flash recycling brings that up to a full second. Its 3fps burst speed matches the G2 and sits in the middle of a fairly tight pack, but that just means that you've got a slightly better change of accidentally getting the shot.

With the G1 and G10 announcements, Panasonic also introduced a new kit lens. It has a slightly shorter range of 14-42mm (28-84mm equivalent) compared with the older model's 14-45mm range, but it retains most of the same optical characteristics: 12 lens elements in nine groups with a single aspherical element, f3.5-5.6 maximum aperture, 7-blade aperture, 52mm filter, and closest focus distance of about a foot. It's a hair longer physically--2.39 inches compared with 2.36 for the older 14-42mm, but about an ounce lighter.

Notably different, though: the 14-42mm lens uses an internal focus (the lens doesn't extend as you zoom, instead shifting the lens elements within the barrel). An internal focus system can be quieter than a standard focus system, which is important when shooting video; however, this lens isn't as quiet as the video-optimized and expensive 14-140mm lens that ships on the GH1. Panasonic also dropped the stabilizer switch on the barrel of the lens.

The two lenses I shot--the 14-42mm kit lens and the 46-200mm supplementary telephoto--are pretty nice. The kit lens has some distortion at its widest, but not a lot, is fairly sharp, and only displays fringing in extreme conditions. There's almost no distortion for the telephoto lens at 40mm; if Panasonic's performing in-camera control, it's doing a very good job. (The distortion samples, shot with the G2, are here .)

Unsurprisingly, given its similar innards, the G10's photo quality is about the same as the G2's. It delivers accurate color and exposures, even on its defaults. Though several of the preset options do induce some color shifts, they're not as egregious as I've seen on many consumer dSLRs. Panasonic manages to produce exceptionally bright, saturated colors without significantly shifting the hues.

But the photos are also pretty noisy. Panasonic's aggressive default noise reduction can smear detail in JPEGs as low as ISO 200. The camera simply has a poorer noise profile than most of its competitors. At ISO 100, the default settings don't introduce artifacts as they do at higher ISO sensitivities. They have cleaner edges and lack noise patterns. I was able to get significantly better results by processing the raw files instead. Videos look reasonably good, though they use the inefficient Motion JPEG codec and a mono mic.

The $200 price difference between the G2 and G10 will probably shrink as the months go on, and I think it's worth paying a little extra for the better EVF, articulated display, and better video capabilities of the G2, even if you're not into touch screens. How the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 stacks up to its competition depends upon your priorities: it's the speed king, with the best design for manually oriented shooters, but its image quality lags the field.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Raw shot-to-shot time  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Sony Alpha NEX-5
1.7 
0.9 
0.9 
0.8 
0.4 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2
0.9 
0.8 
0.7 
0.6 
0.5 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10
0.7 
0.7 
0.7 
0.6 
0.5 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
0.8 
0.9 
0.7 
0.6 
0.5 
Samsung NX10
0.8 
1.2 
1 
0.7 
0.5 
Olympus E-PL1
1.8 
2.1 
1.9 
1.4 
0.9 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Samsung NX10
3.1 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10
3 

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 (with 14-42mm lens)

Part Number: DMC-G10K Released: May. 28, 2010
MSRP: $599.99 Low Price: $769.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May. 28, 2010
  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type Live MOS
  • Sensor Resolution 12.1 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical (MEGA O.I.S.)
  • Lens 28 - 84mm F/3.5
  • Optical Sensor Size 13.0 x 17.3mm