The Panasonic Lumix G5 is the latest camera from Panasonic, and is the update to last year's Panasonic Lumix G3 and is tested with the compact Lumix G Vario X 14-42mm power zoom lens. Panasonic say that their cameras shouldn't be called mirrorless or compact system cameras (CSCs), but should instead be called Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) cameras. Whether this will take off or not is another matter, but they are keen to point out that they believe this a match for Digital SLRs.
Panasonic Lumix G5 Features
The Panasonic Lumix G5 features a new 16.05 megapixel Live MOS sensor, a new image processing engine and extended ISO up to ISO12800, as well as promises of improved low-light performance. The body has been redesigned to feature additional function buttons, new front and rear rubber grip, as well as a new zoom control next to the shutter button that allows the control of power zoom lenses. The camera also features eye-detection to automatically activate the electronic viewfinder (EVF).
New 16.05 megapixel Live MOS sensor
Micro Four Thirds lens mount
Panasonic Lumix G Vario X 14-42mm Lens
3 inch 920k touch screen
1.44m dot EVF: Eye detection sensor with diopter adjustment
Venus Engine 7 FHD
Full HD video AVCHD Progressive
ISO160 - 12800
6fps continuous shooting
3.7fps continuous shooting with AF
Available in Silver, Black, White
Panasonic Lumix G5 Handling
Handling - The G5 features a noticeably improved grip compared to the G3, with a large front rubber hand-grip and rubber thumb grip on the rear. A new rocker switch has been added just behind the shutter release button which can be used for controlling power zoom lenses, or alternatively exposure compensation when using standard lenses - this can be set in the menus and in manual shooting mode can alter the aperture, with the rear dial setting the shutter speed. Three customisable function buttons are available on the back of the camera, including 2 soft function buttons that are on the touch-screen. Another new feature is the eye-detection sensor under the EVF - this can be set to activate AF as soon as you put your eye up to the camera.
The G5 features an electronic shutter for silent operation which is useful as the shutter sound is still quite loud (as is the case with other Panasonic Lumix G cameras) so the electronic shutter is a welcome addition.
The touch screen allows you to swipe through your photos in playback mode, as well as allowing you to focus on any area of the screen, and if you want you can also use the screen to take photos. The camera, does not force you to use the touch screen, and you can quite happily use the camera fully without using the screen if you are not a fan. Another new feature is the ability to set the focus area on the screen, while looking through the EVF. The electronic viewfinder with 1.44 million pixels is very good, easy to see, and very clear, even for someone wearing glasses.
Menus – The G5 gains the new guided scene modes from the GF5, as well as an improved resolution screen (920k dots compared to the G3 with 460k dots). The menus are easy to use, as an explanation of the current option is displayed at the top of the screen. The menus can also be controlled with the touch screen making it even more intuitive to use the cameras menus if you are used to using touch screen devices.
Battery life - The G5 uses the larger battery from the GH2, and has a CIPA rating of 340 shots. We were able to take just over 350 photos before the battery went flat, although the life will depend on how much you use continuous shooting, flash and other features.
Speed - We tested the cameras performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.
(full resolution, before slow down)
6fps (13 shots)
4fps (8 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with flash)
Continuous Shooting (RAW)
6fps (9 shots)
4fps (5 shots)
* G5 / GF5 tested with 14-42 Power Zoom lens.
Focus is extremely quick, as is shutter response. Shot to shot time is impressive, and continuous shooting at 6fps is an improvement over the G3 (at 4fps), as well as being quicker than the GH2 (at 5fps). The camera can also shoot with continuous AF active at 3.7fps.
Panasonic Lumix G5 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own sample photos, reviews and product ratings.
Panasonic Lumix G5 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Colour is excellent outdoors as well as indoors, with good exposure and detail, although there is a slight tendency to under-expose shots so the occasional exposure compensation may be needed. Skin tones are good with good detail, and no red-eye was shown in the photo.
Panasonic Lumix G5 Lens test images
Lens Performance - The 14-42 Vario X lens is an extremely compact lens when off, and still quite compact when switched on as it automatically extends. The lens features two side controls for electronic control of zoom and focus - the zoom can also be controlled with the G5's zoom lever behind the shutter button. Dynamic range is good with good detail in photos at both wide and telephoto zoom. The combination of lens and camera are free from purple fringing, resistant to lens flare, although it does suffer from vignetting as can be seen in the macro photo. This can be improved by switching on Shading Compensation in the menu.
Panasonic Lumix G5 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Images show very low noise at ISO160 and ISO200, with a slight hint of noise appearing at ISO400. At ISO800 noise is still low, but there appears to be a drop in detail in images. At ISO1600 noise becomes more noticeable. ISO3200 shows an increase in noise but lower noise than the GX1, although the image does appear to be noticeably softer. ISO6400 shows stronger noise again and it's possible that this may be the highest setting you'll want to use. ISO12800 shows the highest levels of noise, and also the softest images with the lowest detail therefore this setting is best avoided.
Panasonic Lumix G5 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto white balance (AWB) performs extremely well under tungsten and fluorescent lighting. The camera doesn't feature a fluorescent preset, but does feature manual white balance. The tungsten preset gives an orange cast, but could be useful if you wanted to keep the warmth in an image.
Panasonic Lumix G5 Other sample images
Panasonic Lumix G5 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The camera has a number of new digital filters and colour effects - including Low-key, High-key, Sepia, Mono, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy, Expressive, Soft, Retro, Star, Colour select and Miniature. The G5 doesn't feature a panoramic mode.
Video - The G5 has a large number of options and settings available for high video quality, and records Full HD video with stereo sound. Video menu options includes: Photo style, Record mode (MP4/AVCHD), Video size, Focus, Picture mode, Continuous AF, Metering mode, iResolution, iDynamic, Ex. Tele Conv, Digital zoom, Wind cut, Mic level display, Mic level adjust, and Flicker Decrease.
The Panasonic Lumix G5 has been introduced with a new telephoto zoom lens, the compact 45-150mm f/4.0-5.6, and with Micro Four Thirds offering one of the most extensive ranges of lenses available for CSCs / DSLMs / Mirrorless cameras. Whatever you decide to call it, the G5 makes a compelling case for itself. It offers high speed performance, with extremely quick focus, shutter response, and very good continuous shooting at 6fps. The camera has a number of useful function buttons, as well as an excellent screen and EVF with eye-detection. If you choose the compact 14-42mm power zoom as your kit lens, then you get a very compact system, and one that's capable of excellent image quality.
The Panasonic Lumix G5 has an impressive specification and produces excellent images - with improved noise results. The G5 is more expensive than the model it replaces, however we feel that the improvements make it worth the investment. The Panasonic Lumix G5 has an abundance of features, excellent image quality, and is good value for money, making it well worth investing in. Highly Recommended.
The Panasonic Lumix G5 offers excellent image quality, handling and value for money with an impressive lens range.
Panasonic Lumix G5 Pros
Excellent image quality
EVF with eye-detection sensor
Electronic shutter for silent operation
6fps continuous shooting
Improved handling and controls
Improved menu system
Improved battery life
New zoom lever / exposure control
Panasonic Lumix G5 Cons
Compact 14-42mm Vario X lens not the strongest performer
Panoramic mode would be nice
Standard shutter quite loud