Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 review

Our verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 remains a more DSLR-like experience to use than most current compact system camera models. The improvements to the sensor and processing engine enable an impressive performance and show that a smaller-format sensor can compete against APS-C models. The handling of noise is extremely impressive, allowing critical shooting up to ISO 3200 and the retention of high levels of detail even at ISO 12,800. Focusing remains an issue in low-light situations, though, and is something that may well lead to a hybrid contrast- and phase-detection solution in the future, like those now offered by Nikon and Canon.

Touchscreen controls have their benefits and in places really aid the G5's operation. However, the menu needs work to accommodate both cursor and touch operation properly. If a viewfinder is essential to your shooting style, the G5 is the most affordable offering and its results do not disappoint. The plethora of available lenses is a benefit to this system, and there are some stunning primes available that really get the best from the G5.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 - Key features

Eye sensor
While not included on the previous model, the eye sensor has returned to the G5. It provides quick EVF selection and activates the AF functionality.

LCD bracket
Allowing the screen to be adjusted by 180° horizontally and 270° vertically, the LCD can be placed at almost any angle for easy viewing.

Autofocus control
The options for autofocus in the G5 are extensive. From the menu it is possible to set the camera to continuously focus without the shutter being pressed. The theory is that your subject will already be in focus before you even move to take the shot, therefore reducing focus time.

Lens choice
The micro four thirds system offers the largest lens range (without an adapter) among compact system cameras, with the ability to use lenses from Olympus and the new dedicated micro four thirds lenses from Sigma on top of Panasonic's own collection and Leica-branded lenses.

Battery
The larger grip on the G5 provides more space for a battery unit and therefore the potential for greater power. This has resulted in an estimated 330 shots per charge compared to 270 in the G3, which is a welcome increase but perhaps not as great an improvement as expected.

Video
The video performance of the G5 makes it the most advanced in the range, delivering full 1080 capture at 50/60p. In the GH2 video was output at 50/60p, but recorded at 24p. The only downside for videographers is that the camera lacks a microphone input port.

Control dial
The thumbwheel provides the main function adjustment, but in contrast to the other buttons it has a rather ‘plastic' feel to it.

Q menu
This provides access to the most used functions, but unlike the main menu it appears in small icons around the edge of the screen.