Panasonic Lumix G5 In Depth Review – CameraLabs

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Announced in July of 2012, the Panasonic Lumix G5 quickly became one of our favorite cameras of 2012 due to it’s high IQ and great performance.  Although it’s technically a mid level camera, the G5 is a well made, feature rich camera that performs so well in both still photos and video that it rivals front line cameras that are much more expensive; and because it’s a micro 4/3 camera, it can utilize an extensive array of high quality lenses.  Yet this camera inexplicably became one of the the most overlooked cameras of 2012 (and the MirrorlessCentral Sleeper Camera of the Year), and now it can often be found at a great price.

CameraLabs just posted an in depth review of the Lumix G5 – Is this camera worth another look?

Here’s CameraLabs Final Verdict

“The Panasonic Lumix G5 is a solid upgrade to the earlier Lumix G3 and maintains its position as one of the best value Micro Four Thirds models in the Panasonic line up as well as more generally. The combination of a new 16 Megapixel sensor and updated Venus Engine processor improves on the low noise characteristics and excellent image quality established with the G3 and adds 1080p50/60 HD video and 6fps continuous shooting. And as my quality and noise results prove, the G5 can keep up with the larger APS-C sensors of rival models in most situations.

The G5 demonstrates that a well designed touch-screen interface can happily co-exist on a body designed primarily for physical control and with features like Touch Pad AF Panasonic continues to explore new ways of integrating the two to improve handling.

A higher resolution EVF would have been nice, but by sticking with the existing big, bright 1.4 million dot viewfinder Panasonic has maintained the G5’s position as a highly capable, yet affordable enthusiasts’ compact system camera. Like the G3 before it, it offers much of the Flagship GH3’s capabilities in a smaller, lighter, cheaper and simplified package.

It’s not just potential GH3 owners who’ll be casting an eye in the G5’s direction. Alongside any current compact system camera equipped with a viewfinder (or, for that matter fitted with one as an optional extra) the Lumix G5 provides a compelling and cost-effective alternative. I should also add the older G3 remains in the Panasonic line-up for now and is even better value for money if you can do without the G5’s refinements.

If you’re looking for a camera that pushes boundaries and redefines how we take pictures, the Lumix G5 isn’t it. But for a rock solid implementation of core features combined with excellent handling at a great price it’s hard to fault and more than worthy of Cameralabs’ Highly recommended award. And lest we forget, as a Micro Four Thirds camera, the G5 enjoys access to by far the broadest selection of native lenses of any mirrorless format, which makes it even more tempting to enthusiasts and specialists.”  (Read full review on CameraLabs)

Good points

  • 920k dot flip-out LCD touch screen.
  • 6fps burst mode.
  • 28Mbps 1080p50/60 movie recording.
  • EVF proximity sensor.
  • Compact collapsible powered kit zoom.
  • Customizable Quick menu.
  • Access to broadest native lens catalog.

Bad points

  • Poor battery life.
  • Lacks Manual exposure movie modes.
  • Creative effects difficult to access.
  • Average wide angle on kit zoom.
(relative to 2013 system cameras)
The Panasonic Lumix G5 received an overall score of 84 out of 100 and was awarded CameraLabs’ Highly Recommended Status
Build quality:
Image quality:

16 / 20
17 / 20
18 / 20
16 / 20
17 / 20

My 2 Cents

After tirelessly researching countless mirrorless camera systems, it didn’t take much convincing to recognize that the Panasonic Lumix G5 is a great camera.  That’s probably why I bought one.  After all, I couldn’t pass up the amazing deals on the G5 right before Christmas, so I pulled the trigger and I’ve been more impressed with this camera each day.  The G5 is easy to learn, easy to use, it’s highly customizable and gives great results.

No…  it’s not quite on the level of a Lumix GH3 or an Olympus OM-D E-M5, but it’s also less than half the price, and it’s not really that far off of those cameras either.  If the GH3 and OM-D are 9’s, then the G5 is a solid 8.5 (There’s no such thing as a 10).

It’s also a much better “Hybrid” camera than the Lumix GH2.  Admittedly, the GH2 is a better pure video camera (You can manually adjust exposure while shooting and it has a Mic Input Jack), but the G5 performs equally well as a stills and video shooter – and it shoots at 1080p at up to 60fps.  Although it would be nice to have a Mic Input Jack on the G5, this isn’t a big issue for me personally because I usually record audio into a separate device, like a Zoom H4n.  To me, the biggest drawback while shooting video is that there’s no HDMI Live Out, so I can’t use a monitor.

Contrary to what CameraLabs lists as a bad point, I personally don’t find battery life to be much of an issue with the G5 as I’m regularly getting through most of a day shooting stills and videos on a single charge (i.e. – Christmas with the family), but you can always buy spares.

Additionally, I haven’t been having much trouble using the creative modes either, and it gets easier and easier the more you use the camera.  In fact, I’ve been having fun experimenting with different creative filters and programing my favorites for quick access using Custom Settings.

On the whole, I highly recommend the Lumix G5.  The 14-42mm standard kit zoom lens (not to be confused with the 14-42 X Power Zoom Lens) is average, so unless it’s included in a deal, don’t be afraid to go body only and start building your collection of high quality M43 glass.

Check out the Panasonic Lumix G5 Here


Dean Wiles says:

I have to agree, the battery life isn’t an issue, it is fine and far better than the G3. This camera at the price is the bargain of the year by far.

I’m with you on that, Dean. The G5 is by far the best camera for the money on the market today (that virtually nobody knows about). It’s a steal at $599 USD (with the kit lens), and would be the flagship camera in many other company’s mirrorless lineups.

Randy Heinsman says:

I upgraded to the G5 from a GF2 and I have been very happy with the results. It is still compact enough to easily carry wherever I go and has all the features I need. I’m very impressed with the low light capabilities which was one of the main reasons for the upgrade. This camera makes mixing stills and video such an easy task.

I completely agree, Randy!

The GF2 is a great little camera, and it’s only a 2 year old (and change) model. But the G5 is superior in so many way, so it’s amazing to see how far the technology has come in that short amount of time. Thanks for the feedback and please let us know about your experiences with the camera and different lenses. We’d love to hear more!

PhotoLynch says:

I saw the review browsing last night. Didn’t get to read it all. Battery life is an issue when recording my VLOGs that’s the only time though. It’s my fault for not buying a couple of extra batteries. Even just the cheapie ones.

Great camera more than advanced enough to not be the technology holding the photographer back. 😀

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