Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 review:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10

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Typical Price: £470.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars 1 user review

The Good Clear control layout; continuous auto-focus in movie mode; fast auto-focus in live view.

The Bad Low-quality EVF; no eye sensor for LCD/EVF switching, fixed (non-swivelling) LCD.

The Bottom Line The G10 is Micro Four Thirds built down to a price (around £470), which is fair enough, but apart from the movie mode, the G10 doesn't really move on from the original G1. In fact, it's rather a step back in design terms. You still get plenty for your money though, and the live view and movie modes run rings round anything a dSLR can do

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7.5 Overall

Panasonic has introduced two new 12-megapixel Micro Four Thirds cameras -- high-end compacts with swappable lenses, like dSLRs -- to replace the original Lumix G1. The G10 reviewed here is the cheaper, entry-level model (the G2 is the other), but at a street price of around £470 it's competing head-on with a whole bunch of rather good low-cost digital SLRs from Canon, Nikon and Sony.

Silky shooter
First impressions are good: the G10 is small, neat and light. The silky matte finish looks and feels smart, the controls are clearly labelled and everything has a precise and positive feel.

Round the back, the four-way navigational buttons double up as shortcuts for adjusting the ISO, white balance and metering mode. The fourth 'Fn' button can be configured to set the Film Mode (picture style), the aspect ratio (including a new, square 1:1 format) or any one of a number of other common adjustments.

The G10's image quality is at least as good as that from the best low/mid-range digital SLRs, right up to ISO 1,600. ISO 3,200 is pretty grim, though, and ISO 6,400 is just a mess (click to enlarge the image)

Or you can press the 'Q.Menu' button on the back and change settings directly on the screen. The icons around the edge change into drop-down menus you can navigate around with the directional buttons.

The 76mm (3-inch), 460,800-pixel LCD display is particularly good. It has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which means there are narrow black bars either side when shooting in the normal 4:3 ratio, but it's probably the best compromise for a camera that also shoots 16:9 HD movies.

The LCD is used for live-view shooting and movies, and it's in these modes that the benefits of the mirrorless Micro Four Thirds system are most apparent. You don't get the mirror clanking up and down like you do in a dSLR, and the autofocus is much faster. The G10 will also focus as you film, keeping up quite smartly with changing camera angles and subject distances.

The G10's definition is very good. The new 14-42mm kit lens might lose some sharpness right at the edges of the frame, but there's little or no chromatic aberration and there's good clarity and contrast between the lines on the test chart (click to enlarge the image)

The picture quality is very good, and more than a match for any dSLR, except perhaps at the very highest ISOs. Although this is a low-cost model aimed primarily at beginners, it offers all the manual control an enthusiast could ask for too.

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