Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 review

Build and handling

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 behaves much like the G3 in operation, managing to offer a close-to-DSLR feel despite the small form. Construction of the body still appears to be polycarbonate, but the rear buttons are now metal rather than plastic, giving a higher-class finish. The only exception is a rather plastic-feeling control wheel. The EVF is very clear and bright with performance matching the best currently on the market, and it is easy to view, even with glasses. When the G3 was introduced, the eye sensor was removed from the EVF, but thankfully the G5 sees its return, making the switch from rear screen to viewfinder all the quicker. The larger grip is a nice addition, too, and makes the camera feel more substantial, even though with a small lens it remains almost pocket-sized.

When the power zoom lens is attached, the new function lever allows easy control of the lens and gives the G5 the feel of a compact camera. It allows the left hand to remain supporting the camera, which means there is less likelihood of camera shake for video. However, for still use a regular zoom barrel is my preferred choice, and adjusting the zoom using the electronic controls either on the lens or the camera is a slow process.

Menu control is a bit of a mish-mash between touchscreen and cursor operation. The benefit is that most functions can be selected or controlled with both, but the downside is that, at times, it doesn't feel optimised for either. The Q menu (quick menu) can be quite fiddly to select with a finger, while with the cursor the movement is sometimes limited to the left and right selection when trying to get to functions above or below, such as in submenus. For those used to touchscreen gestures, there is also a lack of free scrolling in the menus or any pinch controls on playback. However, the touchscreen display options are useful, with the ability not only to choose to show histogram or virtual level overlays, but also reposition the histogram so it doesn't block important areas of the scene.

Image: The 14-42mm X-series power zoom lens provides a handy focal range, but can be slow to adjust the zoom