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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Review

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Review - Panasonic's G6 is their latest DSLR style camera designed to tempt you from your DSLR. Find out how it performs in our review.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Panasonic Lumix G6
Price : £464
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Panasonic Lumix DMC G6 Large (2)

The Panasonic Lumix G6 is Panasonic's update to the Panasonic Lumix G5, and features built in Wi-Fi, NFC, OLED EVF, improved video mode, focus peaking, and is Panasonic's latest DSLM. The Panasonic Lumix G6 is available with a body only price of £549.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Features

Panasonic Lumix DMC G6 Large (4)

Designed to compete with the Digital SLR market, its styling is very similar to a compact DSLR. It is introduced with a new, more compact 14-140mm HD zoom lens, with optical IS, and a brighter aperture than the previous version. The camera has two custom modes on the dial (C1/C2), manual movie options, HDR, stop motion / time lapse movie creation, multi-exposure, and a mic socket, which is a new feature that wasn't on the Panasonic Lumix G5.

The Panasonic Lumix G6 has a number of improvements and updates over the Panasonic Lumix G5, including a new OLED electronic viewfinder, low-light AF, built in Wi-Fi, as well an a panoramic mode that was not available on the G5.

Wi-Fi is built in, as well as NFC (Near-Field Communication) to allow setup of Wi-Fi connections with smartphones. The smartphone can be used as a remote shutter control, or setup for instant transfer so that photos will automatically transfer to the smartphone after shooting. Wi-Fi can also be used to setup auto backup of photos and video to your computer.

Panasonic Lumix DMC G6 Large (11)

Key Features

  • 16.05 megapixel live MOS sensor, low-light AF
  • 1.44million dot OLED EVF
  • P/S/A/M manual video control, 50p/24p
  • One-touch picture sharing and remote shooting
  • NFC/Wi-Fi
  • Electronic shutter
  • 3inch Touch screen, 1036K dots
  • 7fps continuous shooting, 5fps with continuous AF
  • Improved video 50p/24fps, stereo mic
  • ISO160 - ISO25600
  • New Venus engine - Area based noise reduction
  • 19 Filter effects
  • Sweep / Auto Panoramic feature (filter)
  • Focus peaking
  • Mic socket

Panasonic Lumix G6 Handling

Panasonic Lumix DMC G6 Large (7)
Larger than the G5, the G6 is very much like a compact Digital SLR, with a good rubber hand grip, as well as textured rubber grips at the rear and on the left side of the camera. At the front a rubber cover can be opened and behind you'll find a microphone socket.

A total of five function buttons can be found around the camera, with most featuring a default function, which can then be altered to set up the camera to your own personal preferences, with a further two function buttons available on screen. 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.

Panasonic Lumix DMC G6 Large (1)

MenusThe 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. The camera was quick in use, with particularly impressive focus and shutter response. A walkthrough of the Panasonic Lumix G6 menus can be viewed below.


Wi-Fi - The built in Wi-Fi gives the Panasonic Lumix G6 a number of features, including the ability to connect it to a smartphone or tablet running Android or iOS. First you need to install the Panasonic Image App from the app store, and then you're able to connect to the camera via Wi-Fi, or using NFC to setup the connection if your phone has it. The app gives three main modes of operation, the first as a remote control for the camera, giving you access to a number of options and settings, including the Q. menu, touch focus and shutter release, as well as stop motion animation. The second mode, is playback, lets you can view images, as well as transfer them to the phone or delete them. The third mode is the GPS logging option, to let you record your location, and then it's possible to add GPS location information to photos.

Highres Panasonic Image App Remote Gps
Panasonic Image App Remote
Highres Panasonic Image App Playback New
Panasonic Image App Playback
Highres Panasonic Image App Gps New
Panasonic Image App GPS

Apart from the Panasonic Image App, there are also a number of other Wi-Fi features built in to the camera, letting you automatically transfer images to the smartphone after shooting, backup to your computer, or share to social network sites. Although sharing to social network sites requires setup of the Lumix gateway account, which does require some PC use to then enable the Facebook (or other website) connection.

Panasonic Lumix DMC G6 Large (8)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 340 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA test results, this is the same battery life rating as the Panasonic Lumix G5. Extended Wi-Fi use will reduce battery life further so a spare battery is recommended.

Panasonic Lumix DMC G6 Large (5)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Panasonic Lumix G6
Shutter Response 0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.6
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.5
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.0
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
6fps (13 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 6fps (7 shots)

Focus and shutter response are both quick, and the camera has a very good switch on time, as well as shot to shot. We were able to shoot at 6fps when shooting JPEG or raw.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - There is no red-eye in the portrait photo with flash, and colour and detail are both very good. Some of the scene modes are shown above - these are "Romantic sunset" and "Clear sunset". Each scene mode has a guide on how to use the mode, as well as recommendations for best lens options.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Lens test images


Lens Performance - Detail is very good from the kit lens at both ends of the lens, and regardless of which kit lens you choose with the camera, they generally perform well. Macro performance is a little disappointing, and for better macro shots a different lens is recommended. Purple fringing and chromatic aberrations are low, with the camera correcting this in camera. Exposure is reliable, with the camera coping well in a variety of situations, and the provided deep petal shaped hood gives good protection against lens flare.

Panasonic Lumix G6 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - The ISO Range has been extended and now goes from ISO160 all the way up to ISO25600. Noise is low at ISO160, ISO200 and ISO400 with a slight increase at ISO800. There is a slight improvement in noise performance, while still retaining detail, up to ISO3200 when compared to the G5. Detail drops at ISO6400 as noise increases. At ISO12800 noise is very noticeable, and this setting should be avoided, although results are better here from the G6, than the G5. ISO25600 should be avoided, and shows excessive noise. Noise is improved over the G5, however doesn't quite match the Olympus OM-D E-M5 at higher ISO settings.

Panasonic Lumix G6 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten light, with a slightly warm result. The tungsten preset gives a slightly more neutral image, and the AWB performs extremely well under fluorescent light. As with other Panasonic cameras, there is no fluorescent preset available.

Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160
Panoramic | 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160

Panoramic Effect | 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160
Panoramic Effect (Sepia) | 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160

Panorama mode - The new Panoramic mode does a good job of stitching the photos together automatically as you pan the camera, although movement of subjects, such as people walking, can result in ghosting. You can also use effects on panoramic photos.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Outdoor images


Examples above show iDynamic off, iDynamic on, and HDR - the HDR mode is not available when shooting raw. The built in HDR mode, or iDynamic option will help give better dynamic range if required.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are a vast number of digital filters available, with a number of them customisable, for example a new sunshine filter lets you change the position and size of the sun effect in the shot. The camera records both the JPEG and raw file so you can go back to the original image if you don't like the effect.

Video - Video is upgraded since the G5, with options of AVCHD/MP4 compression, 50/24p and full HD, as well as filter effects and full manual controls. The front of the camera features a mic socket, and the camera has stereo microphones built in. You can use 'Extra Tele Conv' that crops from the centre of the frame, giving you zoomed in full HD video without any image quality loss, an example can be found on our Youtube channel. If you want to be able to use optical zoom while recording, then a power zoom lens is recommended as it can be difficult to zoom smoothly with a manual zoom lens. In manual movie mode it's possible to change the shutter speed / aperture with the dial on the back of the camera, where your thumb rests.


Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix G6 is available for £629 with 14-42mm kit lens, which represents good value for money considering the specifications and features available, putting it in the same price range as the Sony NEX-6 and Nikon 1 V2. There will also be a twin kit lens option, available with the 45-150mm zoom lens for £799, and the G6 will be available with the new 14-140mm telephoto zoom lens, for £949.

Alternatives available with a built in EVF:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 with EVF, £799 body only
Sony NEX-6, with EVF built in, £633 with lens
Samsung NX20, DSLR styling with EVF, £499 with lens
Nikon 1 V2, DSLR styling with EVF, £613 with lens
Fujifilm X-E1, with EVF built in, £629 body only

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix G6 is an excellent camera, with very few issues, although battery life could be better. The Wi-Fi features are excellent for remote control and sending images to your smartphone, but uploading to social networks should be much easier, without having to go through the Lumix logon website, which caused some issues. Value for money is very good, particularly as the introduction price competes very well with similar cameras, and we would expect the price to drop over time making it even better value for money.

The Panasonic Lumix G6 delivers excellent image quality even when using the kit lens that comes in the box, and as its part of the Micro Four Thirds system, there are a large number of lenses available for when you want to upgrade, from both Panasonic, Olympus and many other manufacturers. The lenses are generally smaller than most other mirrorless camera lenses, making the camera and lenses a compact and portable system. With this, the latest Micro Four Thirds SLR styled camera from Panasonic, the Lumix G6, Panasonic has introduced an excellent reason to switch from your DSLR.

 
  The Panasonic Lumix G6 delivers excellent image quality and an extensive feature set.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Pros

Wi-Fi built in - remote operation
Great image quality
Panoramic mode
Lens hood provided with kit lens
High resolution tilting touch-screen
Fast operation, focus, shot to shot
Access to a wide range of Micro Four Thirds lenses
Stop motion animation
Digital filters
Panoramic with filters

Panasonic Lumix G6 Cons

Electronic / rolling shutter effect
Battery life could be better
Would be nice if Wi-Fi supported direct uploads to social media sites, rather than going via Lumix logon

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Panasonic Lumix G6 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16.05Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor SizeMicro / Four Thirds
Sensor Size (width)17.3mm
Sensor Size (height)13mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 16:9
  • 3:2
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1036K dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Centre Spot
ISO sensitivity160 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-5
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Resolution1.44million dots
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting7fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPSAVCHD (1080p at 50 FPS) and MP4 (1080p at 25 FPS)
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
CIPA Rating340
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera, Lens, Body cap, Battery, Battery charger, USB cable, Neck Strap, Software CD-ROM
Dimensions
Weight340g
Width122.45mm
Height84.6mm
Depth71.4mm

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix G6

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Comments


7 Jun 2013 5:44PM
Looks a very nice camera and with leica R8/R9 like styling too! How well does the continuous AF work when set to 5FPS - is it possible to follow the subject (minimal blackout?) and how well is focus maintained?

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kodachrome 2 471
9 Jun 2013 4:57PM
I think we have a M4thirds camera at last that performs as good if not better than the Olympus O-MD E-5 and at a lot less money. The shape will appeal to many more people than the Olympus. Excellent review. I still though prefer my APS-C Sony A37 which is really no larger.
I think M4Thirds have finally come up with a viable alternative to a DSLR.
JohnHoppy 5 5 United Kingdom
11 Jun 2013 3:20PM
........."an excellent reason to switch from your DSLR".
Interesting. As recent as a year ago, I doubt anyone would have made a statement like that. With new developments from Fuji-Panasonic as well as Sony-Olympus, I wonder how long it may be before the established SLRs are taking their cues from the mirrorless boys.
Just wondering..........
brian1208 e2
11 10.2k 12 United Kingdom
12 Jun 2013 3:12PM
A comprehensive review Josh and you got me all excited with this phrase:


Quote: It is introduced with a new, more compact 14-140mm HD zoom lens

until I realised that the price of 629 was with the kit lens and not the 14-140 BlushSad
Briformac 2 1 United Kingdom
23 Nov 2013 12:27AM
I have a FZ200 at the moment and am rather disapointed with the poor dynamic range. I put this down to the small MOS sensor. I see that the G6 also uses a MOS sensor and before I purchase the G6 I am seeking some opinions in respect of the dynamic range capabilities of the camera. Can anyone help please?
joshwa e2
4 600 United Kingdom
3 Dec 2013 11:28AM
Hi Briformac, the G6 sensor is significantly larger than the sensor in the FZ200 so should show much better dynamic range. Shooting RAW will also help.
Briformac 2 1 United Kingdom
3 Dec 2013 4:19PM
Thanks joshwa Smile

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