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Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

 

 

 

A more up-market alternative to the Lumix G3 and some new Micro Four Thirds lenses from Panasonic

The new DMC-G5 fits inbetween last year's G3 and the top model GH2, which we expect to be replaced later this year.

A couple of weeks ago we were fortunate enough to attend a new camera product seminal hosted by Panasonic in a very hot and sunny Budapest, Hungary. There the 16 megapixel DMC-G5 was unveiled, along with a new 45-150mm compact telephoto zoom and we were also able to handle and even try out an engineering sample of the new Panasonic G-Vario 35-100mm f/2.8.

With a line up that included a competitively priced G3 model with integrated electronic viewfinder and a more compact but feature-rich GX1 that can be fitted with an optional viewfinder, plus the very new and compact GF5 for a younger audience, plus the top of the range GH2, one might be forgiven for wondering where the new Lumix DMC-G5 fits in. Many, us included, thought that the next Lumix G-Micro system camera would be a replacement for the ageing GH2 flagship. That now looks like it will be finally replaced at Photokina in a couple of months time. While the G3 has been selling very well thanks to competitive pricing, Panasonic clearly feels there is a market for a more capable G-series model with an integrated EVF to complement the GX1. The G5 borrows some of the modernised user interface from the GF5 and GX1 and has a number of tricks up its own sleeves.

Faster shooting and focusing

The G5 can shoot continuously at 6 frames per second in normal shutter mode and 20 frames per second in solid state electronic shutter mode at reduced resolution. There is also an option to shoot silently using the electronic shutter mode. Panasonic showed us some independent test results that suggest that you are less likely to suffer a mis-focused image using a G5 than any rival cameras. Panasonic also says its tracking continuous AF has been further improved, an area that is seen as a weakness of contrast-detect AF cameras. UHS-1 SD cards are now supported and if fast write cards are used the buffer in the camera should clear noticeably faster when shooting at 6fps.

New Venus Engine VII FHD but is the sensor new?

The product information provided outlines a new version of Panasonic's Venus Engine image processing chip and a new 16MP LiveMOS sensor. The Venus Engine VII FHD is the brains behind a number of enhanced features, like 50/60p full 1080HD video in both AVCHD and MP4 modes. But our information is that the G5 sensor is in fact a re-packaged version of the multi-aspect ratio sensor used in the GH2. The pixel dimensions are indeed slightly higher than that of the G3 and the GX1, for example. Unfortunately, the multi-aspect ratio capability of this sensor that makes the best use of the slightly over-sized sensor area is not implemented on the G5, although there is a choice of cropped aspect ratio frame formats. But some good news is that the ISO sensitivity range is 160-12800, so the G5 will shoot in darker conditions than the G3, for example.

Design and controls

Panasonic has come up with a more compact design than the old G2 and the GH2. The short side of the body now has a dropped shoulder although the hand grip is much more substantial than the G3's. If you missed the EVF eye-detector after it was left out of the G3 the good news is that it's back with the G5. There are less mechanical controls on the G5 than the G2, but Panasonic has introduced a lever control at the front of the camera near the shutter release that complements the wheel at the back of the camera. That wheel has been off-set compared to the G2/GH2 and I personally found it less ideally positioned. One nice touch is the ability to be viewing through the EVF and manipulating the focus point using your finger tip on the 3-inch articulating LCD touch screen. The screen continues to be a resistive type rather than the more desirable capacitive type. It has to be said that the G5 body does look and feel obviously plastic in construction, although the plastics used are of a good quality. The body feels quite light.

It's a little early to be judging image quality but I didn't notice anything to get alarmed about. You can check our image sample gallery on the next page of this article. But next on this page is a gallery of photos of the camera and the new lenses previously mentioned.

Lumix DMC-G5 illustrated tour

Below is a gallery of thumbnail views of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 taken at a product seminar in Budapest, Hungary. To see a larger view of the the thumbnail, just click on the thumbnail image you are interested in to open a new page with the full-size view.

To return to the thumbnail gallery, click the home arrow at the bottom of the page, or navigate forwards or backwards through the gallery using the backwards/forwards arrow buttons.





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Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

Four Thirds User editorial team Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
A pre-production example of Panasonic's latest Micro Four Thirds compact system camera with an integ... (more)

Four Thirds User editorial team Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
New 16M digital Live MOS sensor & Venus Engine 7 FHD provide superb pictures quality for photo and ... (more)

Kees Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
The article says [I][U]single lens[/U][/I] camera? :confused:... (more)

Ian Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
Right, well this has been a subject of debate among journos who attended the launch and even among s... (more)

Kees Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
Thanks. I never related it to the meaning of DSLR. Probably because "(Digital) Single Lens Reflex" n... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
I am definitely interested in this camera, if the price is ok (guessing about 450-500) then i will ... (more)

Ian Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
To those that don't know, 'SLR' or Single Lens Reflex is a term to distinguish a camera type from... (more)

hschnee Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
It will be interesting to see what the "newly designed" sensor is all about, and how it compares to ... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
Here's a Hal, it lists some of the improvements, I'm very keen on it. Paul... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
So what's the reaction to the G5? Were you expecting a GH3? And what about the G5 using the GH2 sens... (more)

Ian Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
Did you not spot in my hands on review that the sensor is the GH2's but without the multi-aspect ... (more)

Ian Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
I'm merging this thread with the thread linked to our hands-on preview article. Ian... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
Other reviews have said the screen has been upgraded with double the resolution and a faster respons... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
The EVF is an area I think Panasonic needs to improve. Although on paper it's similar to the Olympus... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Someone has commented that my sample images have been processed in Lightroom. I would like to clarif... (more)

addieleman Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Owning a GH2, I'm not seriously considering the G5, it doesn't seem to offer anything extra. I'll wa... (more)

hschnee Re: Panasonic Lumix introduces the DMC-G5
I saw the hands on review after I wrote my comment. I guess I should be more patient and look mor... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I remember the 486 CPUs :) My very first Intel PC had a 25MHz 486SX - 1992, I think... Am current... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
For most purposes the G3 (and the G5 if it's a step up in performance and features) offer me as much... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Paul - what are the firmware issues you don't like? Ian... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
As I've said before, in manual mode there is no option to select auto ISO, for AFL or AEL it would b... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Although I suppose touch screens are here to stay and is the future [for some] they do annoy me at t... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I too have a love/hate relationship with touch screens. The focus point moves all over the place on ... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I have thought hard and long about Olympus and the direction they are going as i'm sure many of us h... (more)

Patrick Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Hi all I am new to the 4/3 forum but I am a veteran of its sister site Dp-Now. I have just... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I tend to agree, I do like the Lumix style and find the cameras nice to hold etc, the G3 ergonomi... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Nice to see you here Patrick and I'm sure many here will be interested in your photography (Patri... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I don't think any single camera design will suit everyone. However, there isn't much wrong with t... (more)

Patrick Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Thank you Ian I will post some work from the G3 when I feel I have something worthy to post an... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
In a small minority, say's who.... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I have met hundreds of journalists and photographers since the E-M5 was launched who have handled t... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
In my brief experience holding one it didn't feel as comfy for me compared to the G3, but I guess if... (more)

hschnee Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I wasn't crazy about the E-M5 styling when I first saw it, but it's grown on me as I've used the cam... (more)

Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Looking at it then I would say it'a lot more comfortable to hold than the G3 and I disliked the G3 a... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Paul The G3 image quality was always excellent and noise was well controlled at higher ISO settings.... (more)

Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
True but even so, from that review [quote] Noise is very low on both cameras, with the E-M5 sh... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Wait for the GH3 to come out, that will be the real OM-D challenger, the G5 hasn't really got anythi... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
With the recent done to death comparisons on this web site of the new O-MD E-M5 and the Panny GH2, m... (more)

Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I agree (and I still use a Pentax) the only reason I chose Olympus when going MFT was not brand b... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Exactly my sentiments, I have a G3 along with the older [but best] 14-45, 45-200 and for most of my ... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
The problem with APS-C is that the larger sensor means no matter how small you make the body (like S... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Again, I have to disagree. The E-M5 is better at high ISOs, significantly than the GH2 sensor. Th... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
You must feel very self satisfied even smug to always think your right, Stop treating me like an imb... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
If you aren't happy with your lot here, then I am truly sorry. You are entitled to your opinions ... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
You really do skirt round some of the valid points I make,The Kodak sensor stopped after the E-500. ... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Olympus stopped using the Kodak sensor after the E-400, not the E-500, which was launched a year ear... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I got the sensor/date info from another site. If you can't take advice in a jovial manner which is ... (more)

hschnee Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
This thread is quickly degenerating . . . Ian's point about the Kodak sensors was that Olympus ma... (more)

Kiwi Paul Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
I agree I think m4/3 offers the best overall compromise between sensor size and performance and the ... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Of course and exactly.... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
If Olympus were to bring out a budget version [preferably not a retro style] camera with a similar p... (more)

Ian Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
B G5 What do you think? Ian... (more)

whatapicture Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Although style plays a large part these days in camera appeal there has to be a point where style ov... (more)

nrdlnd Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Hi, I'm looking through this thread and I think it's missing something important. I've read somewhe... (more)

Tom Holle Re: Hands on preview of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
The following was in the introduction of this thread: "The G5 can shoot continuously at 6 frames p... (more)