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Panasonic Lumix GF6 Review

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Review - The Panasonic Lumix GF6 is a new all singing, all dancing, mirrorless camera with 16mp, Wi-Fi, and a 3inch touch screen. Find out how it performs in our review.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Panasonic Lumix GF6
Price : £499
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Angle

The Panasonic Lumix GF6 is the latest entry level mirrorless camera from Panasonic, and features a 16 megapixel sensor, 3inch tilting touch screen and built in Wi-Fi as well as NFC. It's available with the new 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens with Mega optical image stabilisation.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Features

Panasonic Lumix GF6 (4)

The Panasonic Lumix GF6 replaces the Panasonic Lumix GF5, and is a new camera with 16 megapixel sensor rather than a 12 megapixel sensor, as well a high resolution 3 inch tilting touch screen on the rear. Other upgrades include a new Venus image processing engine, improved AF performance, with a new low-light mode for improved focus. There are 19 filter effects, as well as a new panoramic shooting mode, with the option of applying filters to the panoramic shot.

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.

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • 3inch tilting 1040k dot touch-screen
  • New Venus Engine
  • Improved AF performance, with new low-light mode
  • 19 filter effects, Panoramic shooting
  • Full HD Video, stereo sound
  • ISO160 - 25600 (extended)
  • 4.2fps continuous shooting
  • Wi-Fi connectivity, NFC 
  • Retouch mode
  • Available in black or white

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Handling

Panasonic Lumix GF6 (5)

Handling - The top of the camera is where you'll find the re-introduction of the mode dial, which should make selecting modes easy, as well as the introduction of a sweep panoramic mode, that will automatically stitch the photos together as you pan the camera. Surrounding the shutter release button is a zoom control which can be used with the power zoom lenses, or in playback to zoom into photos. At the front is the textured front grip, which gives a good level of resistance as it is made out of rubber.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 (9)

On the rear the camera has a thumb grip, as well as the playback, display, scroll wheel, menu/set, Q Menu / Fn1 and Fn1 buttons and the tilting touch screen, which features a 1040k dot resolution and tilts to 180 degrees. The camera also features improved AF performance, with a new low-light focusing mode that is automatically activated in low-light and greatly improves low light focusing performance, although focus does become slower when this mode is activated.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 (1)

Underneath the camera has the usual metal tripod socket and battery / memory compartment, and battery life is rated at 330 shots according to Panasonic / CIPA standards, which is the same as the previous model, the Panasonic Lumix GF5, which is to be discontinued. In playback mode, a new retouch feature lets you edit out areas of the photo and remove objects using the touch screen.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 (8)

Wi-Fi - The built in Wi-Fi gives the Panasonic Lumix GF6 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.

Panasonic Image App Remote Panasonic Image App Playback Panasonic Image App Gps Log
Panasonic Image App Remote Panasonic Image App Playback Panasonic Image App Gps Log

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.

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.

Shutter Response <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.9
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.35
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
4fps (30 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 4fps (8 shots)

Continuous shooting is decent at 4fps, with up to 30 shots possible before slowdown when shooting JPEG images. Focus and shutter response is excellent and shot to shot times are particularly impressive.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 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 GF6 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The camera has reliable exposure, and to extend dynamic range you can use the iDynamic or HDR options, as shown above. There is a good level of detail in photos, and when using flash for portrait shots, there are no signs of red-eye.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Lens test images


Lens Performance - The 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens performs well giving detailed and sharp photos, with optical image stabilisation helping in low-light. The lens is one of the latest lenses in the Micro Four Thirds range, with a number of lenses available from both Panasonic and Olympus, as well as third parties such as Sigma, giving one of the biggest ranges of lenses available for Mirrorless cameras. 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. The built in HDR mode, or iDynamic option will help give better dynamic range if required, and the provided deep petal shaped hood gives good protection against lens flare.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - ISO ranges from ISO160 up to ISO12800, and extends to ISO25600. Noise is low at ISO160, and ISO200, with some signs of chroma noise at ISO400. There is a slight drop in detail at ISO800, although noise is still low. At ISO1600 there is again, another drop in detail, and noise becomes more obvious. At ISO3200 and ISO6400 noise is quite strong, and when viewing images at full size it's easy to see that images lack detail, although these could provide usable images if resized. ISO12800 images are soft, but again may provide usable images if resized. ISO25600 shows the most noise, and least detail, with strong colour loss, so this setting is best avoided.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten light giving a slightly warm result, with the tungsten preset giving a more accurate result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, and there are no fluorescent presets available. For more accurate results manual white balance settings are available.

Panasonic Lumix Gf6 Panoramic P1000400 | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160
Panoramic | 1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160

Panorama mode - The panoramic mode automatically stitches the photo together as you pan the camera from one side to another. You also have the choice of 15 filter effects, an example of "Impressive Art" is shown below.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Impressive Art Panoramic P1000548 | 1/500 sec | f/11.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160
Impressive Art Panoramic | 1/500 sec | f/11.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 160

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are 19 digital filters available, with examples shown above. A number of them can be customised, and the new "Sunshine" mode lets you set the position and size of the light, as well as giving you the choice of three different colours for the effect. There are also a number of photo styles, where you can customise contrast, sharpness, saturation, and noise reduction.

Video - The camera records full HD as AVCHD, or MP4, and gives a number of options including manual controls, ISO160-3200, mic level adjustments, silent operation (using the touch screen), and wind cut are just some of the options. Stop motion animation can be used to create timelapse videos within the camera, an example can be viewed here.


Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix GF6 is available for £499 with the new, more compact 14-42mm IS kit lens as shown, making it good value for money, priced in the same region as other mirrorless cameras with tilting touch-screens, with the following cameras offering similar features:

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 - 16mp, tilting touch screen, Wi-Fi option, £499 with 14-42mm lens
Sony NEX-5R - 16mp, tilting touch screen, Wi-Fi, £529 with 16-50mm lens
Samsung NX300 - 20mp, tilting touch screen, Wi-Fi, £599 with 20-50mm lens (without IS)

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 GF6 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix GF6 was introduced by Panasonic as a completely new camera when compared to the previous mode, the Panasonic Lumix GF5, and after testing the camera we can see why. The camera comes with a new sensor, built in Wi-Fi, tilting touch screen, mode dial, panoramic mode and many more new features that we've been asking for. This makes the GF6 a much more appealing camera to not just beginners, but also the enthusiast looking for a high quality mirrorless camera.

With an introduction price of £499 with the new 14-42mm IS kit lens, the camera is priced very competitively with similar models, and with the kit lens delivering excellent image quality, we feel that the camera offers very good value for money. Provided with a deep lens hood, premium neck strap, and a wealth of creative effects, as well as panoramic effects, the camera is packed with features, making it a fun camera to use, with a wealth of features to play with.

The Panasonic Lumix GF6 offers almost everything you could want from a mirrorless camera, with the most likely complaint about it likely to be the lack of flash hot-shoe, making it less appealing to the more serious photographer. For the majority of people having a built in flash will be preferable, and the re-introduction of the mode dial will make the camera easier to use for every level of photographer. Image quality is very good, with the camera delivering sharp detailed photos with good colour, and low levels of noise, although not as low as results from the Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5, due to use of a different sensor. The Wi-Fi implementation is very good, giving remote control and numerous shooting options straight from your smartphone or tablet. There are a few, very minor niggles, but we can very happily highly recommend the camera.

 
  The Panasonic Lumix GF6 packs a wealth of great features into a compact body, and delivers excellent images.

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Pros

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

Panasonic Lumix GF6 Cons

No flash hot-shoe
Loud shutter (compared to other mirrorless cameras)
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 GF6 Specifications

ManufacturerPanasonic
Image Sensor
CCD pixels16Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4592
Pixels (H)3448
Sensor TypeLive MOS Sensor
Sensor SizeMicro / Four Thirds
Sensor Size (width)17.3mm
Sensor Size (height)13mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1040k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity160 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure CompNo Data
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting4.2fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30fps, 25fps
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 Rating330
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight323g
Width111.2mm
Height64.8mm
Depth38.4mm

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix GF6

spiderbubble beeskipperpink lillythe vapourergreen cricketmontyhover flyslug facesun loungerfly or bee ?baby spidersflyscared of his own shadowlookin back
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Comments


lemmy 7 1.8k United Kingdom
2 May 2013 12:31PM
Very nice with many facilities the Olympus E-PL5 doesn't have. But - the Olympus has that excellent sensor.

A difficult choice but as a partner to my GH3, the Olympus makes more sense, in that bioth have the same excellent image quality (within the limitations of M43, of course).

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Paul Morgan e2
13 15.2k 6 England
4 May 2013 1:13AM
They only added the GX1 after cutting features on the GF series, now it looks like the GF series has them back, including a few more like a tilting screen and wifi.

Its a nice looking camera as well.

Could this mean the end of GX ?

Are wireless flash capabilities added to this one Josh.
Niknut e2
4 542 60 United Kingdom
4 May 2013 5:08PM
Impressive !!.....looks to be a high quality piece of kit, with lovely sharp images, & great ISO
performance with clean looking test charts up to 6400.....Mmmmmmmm, yummy !!!Smile

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