In this Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 review, Ian Burley tests the company's fifth-generation mirrorless, 16-million-pixel CSC, which has an articulated capacitive touchscreen, OLED EVF, Wi-Fi and NFC, plus improved low-light autofocus
Image: Shot at f/5.6 at 300mm, this image shows the fine detail that the G6 can resolve, and that a very shallow depth of field is possible with the right lens
With their smaller-than-average sensors, micro four thirds cameras have earned a reputation for higher-than-average noise and narrower-than-average dynamic range when lined up beside key APS-C competitors. The Lumix DMC-G6’s Live MOS sensor was competitive when we first saw it in the GH2 back in September 2010, but the competition has moved on and there is no escaping the fact that it lags behind other APS-C and even micro four thirds sensors.
Highlights are generally well preserved by the G6, but sometimes at the expense of shadow density and detail. However, it is possible to lift the shadows and retain a reasonable amount of detail. In one example with bright sunlit cumulonimbus clouds dominating the sky, and much of the foreground in shade, using a G6 raw file in Adobe Camera Raw 8.1 Release Candidate I lifted the overall brightness by 1.0 and shadow levels by 0.7 while trimming back highlights. The end result was not bad until I looked closely at the shadows, where noise had a subtle presence. Less extreme tonal adjustment is required with cameras employing the latest sensors, one example of which is Panasonic’s own GH3.
In normal day-to-day shooting in undemanding conditions, such as in a studio with good lighting, the G6 works very well. However, if it is necessary to stretch the camera in conditions that would benefit from an extended dynamic range, the G6 may leave you wanting more.