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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 hands-on preview and sample images

A new sensor and revised user interface underpin the new Lumix DMC-GF5

There have been many rumours about a Lumix GF5 (and some other imagined new Lumix G-series models which appear to have been April Fools jokes), so it's a relief to finally reveal the GF5, which arrives well under a year since its predecessor, the remarkably tiny GF3. There is no 'GF4' because the Japanese for the number '4' sounds like another word that is considered unpleasant or unlucky and so is often skipped. The GF5 assumes the distinction of being the smallest Micro Four Thirds compact system camera, a remarkable feat considering it incorporates a pop-up flash. Combined with the collapsing power zoom and power focus 14-42mm X-series kit lens, which is an extra cost option, the GF5 is market leading in terms of pocketability in its category.

Hands-on with the GF5 plus sample images for you to download

We've had some hands-on time with the GF5 and further down the page we have a gallery of sample images taken using the GF5, although as a pre-production camera was used these sample images have been reduced in size at the request of Panasonic. Final production GF5s will go on sale in June and will be available with the 14-42mm X collapsible power zoom lens for 579, or with the standard 14-42mm kit zoom for 449.

Subtle design changes and higher resolution screen

Outwardly, the GF5 is very similar in appearance to the GF3, which is now discontinued. However there are some subtle changes, including a larger hand-grip, apparently inspired by the design of the Lumix GX1. There is also a new aluminium surround to the lens mount, and some exterior buttons are now metal instead of plastic. The LCD screen is now double the resolution at just under a million pixels. The screen is, as before, touch-sensitive and remains a resistive type rather than smartphone-style capacitive touch sensitive.

Internally, the GF5 sports a brand new sensor and an enhanced Venus Engine 7+ HD image processor. Although the sensor resolution remains unchanged at 12 megapixels, performance has been slightly improved. ISO sensitivity has been raised to ISO 12800 and we're told that noise and dynamic range should be on a par with the 16 megapixel Lumix G3 and GX1 models. The Venus Engine 7+ HD processor has three cores and an a graphics processor that drives the new partially animated user interface.

MP4 video mode added

Functionally, the GF5 gets Full HD AVCHD video recording and so that you don't need to convert your video for use on smartphones and tablets the GF5 adds MP4 video capability. There are now 14 different art filter effect modes, including mono high contrast, cross process, and an interesting single colour filter that lets you use the touch screen to sample a colour in the live preview in order preserve that colour and make everything else black and white.

Revised user interface

As previously mentioned the GF5's user interface, which is heavily weighted in favour of the camera's touch screen, has been almost completely redesigned. An icon-based graphical home page is the starting point for many option selections and camera configurations. You can also use one of your photos as a graphical background to the homes screen, just like you can with your PC and smart phone. Aspects of the user interface are now animated in a smooth and slick manner courtesy of the new graphical GPU in the Venus Engine 7+ HD. Scene mode selection is also enhanced with tutorial-like advice that includes before and after example images plus interchangeable lens recommendations, although this is not lens model specific but more general, describing the attributes if a lens that are recommended, like brightness, for example.

Easier and more slick to use

In use the GF3 is not very different from the previous GF3,just easier for less experienced photographers with copious context-sensitive help. Panasonic says that AF speed and accuracy is better than ever, although it was already very good with the GF3. The extra creativity options are certainly welcome, making the GF5 experience more fun. So the GF3 incorporates a lot if under-the-skin technical updates but the end-user experience is improved in a subtle rather than revolutionary manner.

The GF5 design in favour of extreme compact dimensions remains, so there is still no flash hot shoe and no electronic viewfinder option, but the camera is aimed at a younger audience who are more used to smartphones and compact digital cameras, so the lack of an EVF option or extended flash capabilities shouldn't be a problem. It will be interesting to gauge the improvement in sensor quality when final production samples arrive.

 

Sample images

Have a look at sample images shot with a pre-production GF5. Focal lengths longer than 42mm were for images taken with a Panasonic Lumix 100-300 telephoto zoom and the rest were taken using a Panasonic Lumix 14-42mm X-series collapsible power zoom/focus kit lens. Images 1-14 were taken with Noise Reduction set to minimum (-2). Images 15 and onwards were set with Noise Reduction on 0 (middle setting that is the default). As the camera used was a pre-production sample we have been requested reproduce the samples at a reduced size, but apart from that no changes have been applied.



Image 1:
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 250
Focal Length: 42 mm



Image 2:
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 sec
Aperture: f 6.3
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 300 mm



Image 3:
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
Aperture: f 6.3
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 300 mm



Image 4:
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Aperture: f 6.3
ISO: 400
Focal Length: 33 mm



Image 5:
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Aperture: f 5
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 25 mm



Image 6:
Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec
Aperture: f 5
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 25 mm



Image 7:
Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec
Aperture: f 5
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 14 mm



Image 8:
Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec
Aperture: f 4.5
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 14 mm



Image 9:
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 28 mm



Image 10:
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 14 mm



Image 11:
Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 18 mm



Image 12:
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 14 mm



Image 13:
Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 42 mm



Image 14:
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec
Aperture: f 5.6
ISO: 400
Focal Length: 34 mm



Image 15:
Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec
Aperture: f 4
ISO: 12800
Focal Length: 14 mm



Image 16:
Shutter Speed: 1/20 sec
Aperture: f 4
ISO: 6400
Focal Length: 14 mm



Image 17:
Shutter Speed: 1/6 sec
Aperture: f 4.1
ISO: 1600
Focal Length: 17 mm



Image 18:
Shutter Speed: 1/13 sec
Aperture: f 4.1
ISO: 3200
Focal Length: 17 mm



Image 19:
Shutter Speed: 1/25 sec
Aperture: f 4.1
ISO: 6400
Focal Length: 17 mm



Image 20:
Shutter Speed: 1/40 sec
Aperture: f 4.1
ISO: 12800
Focal Length: 17 mm



Image 21:
Shutter Speed: 1/30 sec
Aperture: f 4.1
ISO: 3200
Focal Length: 17 mm



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Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download

Four Thirds User editorial team Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Yes, we have more Olympus OM-D E-M5 sample images (RAW and JPEG) for you to download - this time a s... (more)

mige0 Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
again, thanks for sharing ! Will take some time to go through all that material...... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
I'm off to bed - will add lens info etc. tomorrow. Ian... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Morning all! I am just going through the 66 images and noting which lenses were used for each shot. ... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
OK - the lens type annotations and some other information has now been added to the gallery thumbnai... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
David Morison who is a respected photographer over at the e-group.uk.net site asked some interesting... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
From image 30 in the gallery: Moorhen taken with the 75-300 at ISO 1000: [url=http://e-group.uk.ne... (more)

whatapicture Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Excellent picture. Lovely colours, good exposure. You are now starting to exhibit the true colour re... (more)

bichon from d7000 to mirrorless
well, i have come to the right place. i am looking at the omd-e5 as a second walk around camera (and... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Welcome to FTU, Stephen - I'm sure you will get lots of suggestions from other members :) One quest... (more)

bichon Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
i'm not sure.. i do know that when i'm shooting, i'm all over the place (wide to normal to zoom). th... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Shooting with primes does mean changing your style a bit; as someone else recently described; you us... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
It's rather ironic that I think this latest samples gallery is probably the most interesting that I ... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Actually, I'm wondering if thumbnail views in a gallery is a bit old hat. Maybe I should generate la... (more)

StephenL Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Yes, it would be easier to pick and choose photos for detailed perusal.... (more)

bichon Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
sounds like a good idea. the only issue is that in some situations for my street photography, gettin... (more)

bichon Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
do i really need a zoom ? well, i looked over my pics (my best ones)... 47 taken at wide (18-24) 3... (more)

aamalric Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Yes, I think it's the case. Opinion at DPR went through various meltdowns due to strange comparison... (more)

diforbes Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
I'm new here and have never used a four-thirds or micro four thirds camera, however I'm seriously co... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
It's true that both Panasonic and Olympus have focused on making Micro Four Thirds small and light a... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
It's true that both Panasonic and Olympus have focused on making Micro Four Thirds small and light a... (more)

diforbes Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
Thanks for the reply and lens recommendation Ian. Is there also a telephoto zoom that can work in bo... (more)

bichon Re: Olympus OM-D E-M5 real world RAW and JPEG samples to download
well, easier to swing around quickly, taking a building shot and then a candid a block or 2 away... ... (more)

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