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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 Hands-On Review

We have a look at the brand new Panasonic Lumix GF5 - the new camera has a number of new features and promises ultra fast focus speeds.

|  Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 in Mirrorless Cameras
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

The new Panasonic Lumix GF5 replaces the Panasonic Lumix GF3 and has several updates when compared to the GF3, as well as a new rubber grip, it features a high resolution screen, improved AF performance, 14 creative effects, enhanced noise performance and updated user interface. We had a chance to test the new camera at Chessington World of Adventures.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 Features

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Key Features

  • New 12 megapixel Live MOS sensor
  • 3inch 920k touch screen
  • 0.09 second AF (compared to 0.1 second GF3)
  • Venus Engine 7HD II - Offers increased ISO, High Dynamic Range, Multi Noise Reduction
  • Expanded ISO range ISO160 - ISO12800
  • Full HD Video recording with stereo sound and MP4 1080 now available
  • 4fps continuous shooting (compared to 3.8 on GF3)
  • Built in pop-up flash
  • 14 Creative Effects, 23 Scenes with guides
  • Rotation detection
  • Metal buttons on rear of camera - Additional display button
  • Metal surround around lens mount
  • Black or White body
Panasonic Lumix Dmc-gf5 (4)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Panasonic Lumix GF5 Handling

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Handling - Handling is improved over the GF3 with the noticable front rubber grip. There are also improved buttons on the back that are now metal rather than plastic, as well as an additional display button with further function shortcuts on the touch-screen. The camera is particularly compact when used in conjuction with the 14-42mm X lens.

Menus - The new screen is very pleasing to look at and use with a responsive touch screen and redesigned menu system, with clever touches including a scrolling explanation of each feature. Another new feature is advice for different levels of photographer in the scene modes, the explanation explains what the scene mode does, then how to use it (for beginners), then advanced advice, then also what lens would be best for the mode.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Battery Life
- We took over 500 photos (mostly continuous shooting) with seemingly plenty of battery life left. Although we will need to wait for a full production version of the camera to carry out further testing.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Speed - While we were not able to carry out our full speed tests, we found the GF5 to perform extremely rapidly with particularly impressive focus speeds and shutter response. As Panasonic's previous Lumix G models have been known for rapid focus and performance we have no reason to doubt that the full production version of this camera will be equally responsive.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Panasonic Lumix GF5 Performance

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

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Pre-production sample photos, resized to 4mp at Panasonic's request. An additional ISO12800 option is available, when enabled in the camera's menus and this higher ISO setting does show quite high levels of noise, although it's possible the final version of the camera will improve matters.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 Other sample images

Sample Photos - Pre-production sample photos, resized to 4mp at Panasonic's request. The camera is capable of taking detailed and sharp shots despite the rather grey weather experienced when shooting and the detail in the shots of the goats is particularly impressive.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Pre-production sample photos, resized to 4mp at Panasonic's request. The GF5 improves on the GF3s digital filters / creative effects, adding a number of options including: One point colour, Impressive art, Cross Process, Dynamic monochrome, Soft focus and Cross filter.

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix GF5 is being introduced with the standard kit lens for £449, this is the same price as the GF3 with kit lens was when it was launched, however the GF3 has a number of added features and quality improvements, so it feels like the GF5 offers better value for money than the original. If the GF5 follows the GF3 over time, then the price of the GF5 should be equially competitive. 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 DMC-GF5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Panasonic Lumix GF5 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix GF5 is certainly a noticable upgrade to the GF3 with the camera giving more features, controls and options as well as improving on ease-of-use and camera quality. The camera feels more comfortable to hold and the improved metal buttons are pleasing to use. The screen looks great and it's extremely encouraging to see Panasonic taking on-board feedback from customers on how to improve and enhance products. The Panasonic Lumix GF5 is an excellent looking and feeling camera and we look forward to getting the full production version of the camera so we can put it through the full review process.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 Pros

Improved AF speed
Improved Continuous Shooting Speed
New rubber grip for improved handling
Excellent 920k dot touch-screen
Additional creative effects
Improved video recording with stereo sound

Panasonic Lumix GF5 Cons

More advanced users may be better off looking at the GX1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
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 resolution920k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest60sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Scene modes
  • Program
  • Manual
  • A
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity160 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Bracket
  • Manual
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting4fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
Video FPS25p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Wi-FiNo Data
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
Battery Life (CIPA rating)340shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery Charger, AV Cable, USB Connection Cable, Shoulder Strap, Stylus pen, CD-ROM

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Photographs taken using the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

Giant EBuggy RaceI am a PassengerMt. Baker National ForestRoath Park Lake, Cardiff, [circa 2015]These boots were made for planting!Factory Skyline [1]No 1, Capital QuarterMulticolour PegsEscalatorSticks & BricksCup stacksPub BookcaseOffice WindowsTrolley Family

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lemmy 15 2.9k United Kingdom
5 Apr 2012 2:10PM
The focusing speed of the GF/GH Panasonics is so fast already, it's hard to see how it can be faster.
StrayCat 18 19.1k 3 Canada
5 Apr 2012 10:32PM
To my mind, a proper viewfinder is not an accessory, it's a necessity. Is there no flash?

Just another unnecessary money making step to a proper camera.

joshwa Plus
12 927 1 United Kingdom
6 Apr 2012 8:45AM
There is a built in pop up flash, I've updated the article, there's also more images of the camera here:
MikeBe 15 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2012 3:49PM
Nice update to the GF3 but since you can get the GF3 currently for such good prices I would not hold off buying for this update.

No viewfinder, which is normally bad, but the compact size, especially when paired with the X Vario PZ 14-42mm lens means you really can fit it in a handbag or coat pocket to complement your DSLR.

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