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Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands-On Review

Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands-On Review - The new Panasonic Lumix G6 is Panasonic's latest Micro Four Thirds camera, and Panasonic's latest Digital SLR style camera. Can the G6 challenge the Digital SLR?

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

Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands On (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" which will be available from May with a body only price of £549.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Features

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.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands On (4)

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 Panoramic
  • Focus peaking
  • Mic socket
Designed to compete with the Digital SLR market, it's 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.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands On (6)

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 G5.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Handling

Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands On (11) (Custom)

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.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands On (12)

A number of 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. 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. A walkthrough of the Panasonic Lumix G6 menus can be viewed below.


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, and we will be putting the camera through our full speed tests when the camera is available.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Hands-On Photos of Equipment



Panasonic Lumix G6 Performance

As this is a pre-production sample, all sample photos have been resized to 5 megapixels at Panasonic's request.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Other sample images



Use of the electronic shutter can result in images being distorted and some images show classic signs of "rolling shutter" however the benefits of the electronic shutter is the ability to shoot silently. 

Panoramic (PP) | 1/320 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160
Panoramic (PP) | 1/320 sec | f/6.3 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160 - 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.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Digital filters



Video: Video is upgraded 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.


Value for money

The Panasonic Lumix G6 will be available body only for £549 (£50 less than the G5 body only RRP), or £629 with 14-42mm kit lens (£70 less than the G5 kit RRP when introduced), which represents good value for money considering the specifications and features available. 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.

Panasonic Lumix G6 Verdict 

Our initial impressions of the Panasonic Lumix G6 are that it's an impressive upgrade from the Panasonic Lumix G5 (which will continue to be available in the UK), and offers improved handling and design, with some useful and appealing upgrades, such as panoramic photos, Wi-Fi, new digital filters, built in mic socket, as well as OLED electronic viewfinder. Other upgrades that will appeal include updated video recording, as well as a mic socket, when combined with quick focus should provide excellent video quality.

The new 14-140mm zoom lens is impressive, with a brighter aperture, and more compact size, as well as extremely quick focus. We will be putting the Panasonic Lumix G6 through a full review when it is available, however even with a pre-production model we were impressed with the image quality and level of detail in photos.

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

Glass bridgeVenice TrattoriaHawkerClean out the BoilerGarden CompanionMallardAfternoon RestJust HangingAzure Bluehovering ...PatchworkMorning FogStormy seaswarm roseMale Banded
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Comments


JohnHoppy 5 5 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2013 1:41PM
A handsome beast! With high "haunches" reminiscent of a Sony A77, face on it has an air of a squatting animal about to spring into action! Panasonic have kept the articulated screen and better features of the G cameras, this is one I'd trade my G5 for, although they have evidently not changed the G5's "Achilles heel", which is its thumb wheel - I don't know if other users find the same problem, I find the G5's wheel less easy to use positively compared to G2 and others where the wheel is not on a corner. Let's hope the G6 is better in this respect. The "Clear Retouch" function sounds duff, though. At this money, Pany seem to have got it right. Improved 14-140mm too. I want one!

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ChrisV 7 786 26 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2013 6:21PM
One of the 'negatives' of these cameras [sub GH] is that they are only single dial. I've always found the push dial modifier on Panasonic's single dial cameras [I assume this feature is retained] is almost as good as having two dials - arguably it makes the adjustments available even more convenient [in A/S mode it's exp comp and in manual it flips between shutter and aperture].

I actually rather like the look of this camera - its improved LCD/EVF resolutions are attractive and I'd find the WiFi features very useful. If Panasonic [as claimed] have made significant improvements in noise control at high ISOs it does look like a compelling package at the price. There really isn't significant difference in bulk between this and the OM - the retro styling of the latter is neither a bonus nor a drawback SFAIC.
srh 10 33 1 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2013 10:28PM
Does it definitely have focus peaking? The Panasonic UK site doesn't make any mention of it, and nor is it listed under the cameras specifications. Some review sites are talking about, while others aren't. If it has it, then I for one would be very interested in it. If it doesn't, then I'll pass.

Cheers,

Simon.
GazzaG2003 11 252 England
25 Apr 2013 12:09AM

Quote: Does it definitely have focus peaking? The Panasonic UK site doesn't make any mention of it, and nor is it listed under the cameras specifications. Some review sites are talking about, while others aren't. If it has it, then I for one would be very interested in it. If it doesn't, then I'll pass.

Cheers,

Simon.

view the 1st video above the menu shows focus peaking.
srh 10 33 1 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2013 6:38AM

Quote: Does it definitely have focus peaking? The Panasonic UK site doesn't make any mention of it, and nor is it listed under the cameras specifications. Some review sites are talking about, while others aren't. If it has it, then I for one would be very interested in it. If it doesn't, then I'll pass.

Cheers,

Simon.
view the 1st video above the menu shows focus peaking.

It does indeed show it, but this is a pre-production model. It just seems very, very strange (to me at least), that Panasonic UK themselves are making no fuss over this feature at all, and don't even include it on the cameras specs on the UK website. Makes no sense to me at all!
ChrisV 7 786 26 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2013 9:31AM
Even the G3 has focus peaking, so it would be surprising were it omitted here.

Actually on the G3 it defaults to that when you choose single point AF, which I can find a bit of a nuisance when I'm in a rush [photographing events where you're trying to catch things quickly]. Anyone know if there's a simple way of disabling it when you don't want it [rather than switching to single area?]
srh 10 33 1 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2013 9:58AM

Quote: Even the G3 has focus peaking, so it would be surprising were it omitted here.

Actually on the G3 it defaults to that when you choose single point AF, which I can find a bit of a nuisance when I'm in a rush [photographing events where you're trying to catch things quickly]. Anyone know if there's a simple way of disabling it when you don't want it [rather than switching to single area?]

I think you're getting confused with something else. No G series camera has focus peaking to date. AFAIK, only the Sony NEX range offers it. Focus peaking is used to highlight what is in focus when using manual focus, and is not related to auto focus operation.

Simon.
JohnHoppy 5 5 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2013 12:05PM
Does the G6 have focus-peaking? Ephotozine says yes, but some other sites (dpreview for instance) donít breathe a word about it Ė does it mean itís really not that important? Ephotozine might like to answer this categorically. It amuses me, this argument - "If it doesn't have focus-peaking, I won't buy it" etc. Rather like, "If it's not at least 18mp, it can't deliver what I want" - whatever did people do before these technologies came along? - We never took any great pictures, right?!! I can recall the fuss when split screen focusing took over from ground glass! OK, focus-peaking will suit many (not everyone likes it), but you pays your money, takes your choice. I get fine 13x19 prints from my G5 and have absolutely no trouble with focus, looks like the G6 could be an ideal serious shooter's camera to rival the EM5. But if you're not already sold on the benefits of light mirrorless cameras with smaller lenses, you're probably not reading this anyway.
srh 10 33 1 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2013 12:54PM
I'm pleased I amused you then. I shoot entirely using legacy lenses with either a Sony NEX-7 or a Panasonic GH2. As a result, focus peaking is a very important feature for me, although it may not be for others. I very much like the ergonomics and handling of the GH2 so if a G series is released that has focus peaking, I would seriously considering upgrading to one. I never said a single thing about not being able to take great photos without focus peaking, and I have similar sized prints from my GH2 and legacy lenses which are also fine in every way. However, I shoot a lot of motorsport and where focus peaking really does offer an advantage is in its ability to allow you to focus track manually with a degree of accuracy.

So while focus peaking may not be so important to you or others, it is to me. Important enough that I won't buy a G6 if it isn't implemented on UK cameras, and will hang on to my GH2 instead. For the record, I agree wholeheartedly about the G6 being an ideal serious shooters camera, but then so is the GH2 and the G5.
srh 10 33 1 United Kingdom
25 Apr 2013 3:47PM
Panasonic have confirmed via the Lumix Experience website forum that focus peaking is included on the G6 Grin

Simon.
kodachrome 2 471
27 Apr 2013 11:22AM
It seems that Panasonic are on a rectifying mission since the G3. How long before a G7, to up date the G6.
I was never that impressed with Panasonic's colours and I reserve judgement on the G6.

Peter

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