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Panasonic Lumix GF5 review

A fast, light and perfectly formed CSC

Our Verdict

For

  • Small size
  • Low noise images
  • Metal buttons

Against

  • No manual control in Creative Control mode
  • Slightly unresponsive touchscreen
  • Auto white balance inaccuracies

Panasonic has seen great success with the Lumix GF3, with its small size and beginner-friendly user interface appealing to a wide variety of users. So how does its successor, the Panasonic Lumix GF5, shape up?

Aimed pretty squarely at novice shooters rather than enthusiast photographers, the Panasonic GF5 manages to pack some pretty serious punch into its ever so small body.

Panasonic claims that its all-new 12 million pixel sensor is capable of delivering the same image quality as its bigger brother, the 16 million pixel Panasonic G3.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 review

Making an appearance just 10 months after the debut of the Panasonic GF3, not only does the Panasonic Lumix GF5 offer an improved sensor, but it also includes a new Venus Engine for fast performance, a redesigned user interface and some new filters and effects.

Ergonomics have been slightly reworked, with metal buttons replacing the plastic ones found on the Panasonic GF3, and the handgrip from the more advanced Panasonic Lumix GX1 being attached to the camera.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 review

The new Venus Engine has enabled Panasonic to push the sensitivity capability up to ISO 12800, meaning that this compact system camera (CSC) has the potential to perform better in lower light situations. It's also capable of shooting at up to four frames per second.

Panasonic is maintaining its "world's fastest autofocus" claim for the Lumix GF5, coming in at a speedy 0.09 seconds.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 review

Panasonic also says that it has recently commissioned some independent research that shows its AF precision, along with speed, is beating all of its rivals, both in the CSC arena and in the DSLR market.

A 920k dot touchscreen has been included on the Panasonic Lumix GF5, another feature that has been brought across from its predecessor. Full HD video - pretty much a prerequisite on most modern cameras - can be found too.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 review

Unlike the Panasonic Lumix GF3, the Panasonic Lumix GF5 is available to buy either with a Power Zoom X lens or with the larger conventional 14-42mm lens.

Because the camera's main target audience is beginners, Panasonic has really ramped up its efforts to appeal, with the inclusion of new scene modes, filters and on-screen tutorials and explanations of modes.

This camera is a direct replacement for the Panasonic GF3, and as such the previous model has now been discontinued. Panasonic expects GF3 stock to last until around June (in the UK).

So going forward, the Panasonic Lumix GF5 will be the company's entry-level offering, priced at £449 in the UK (about $710), or £579 (about $920) with a Power Zoom X lens.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenYes
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
GPSNo
USBYes
PictBridgeYes
Product FamilyLumix G
Image StabilizationNo
ColourBlack
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NamePanasonic
FeaturesFace Detection, Live View, Orientation Sensor, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsAVCHD, MP4
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)225 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH
Flash Memory CapacityNo
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Maximum Frame Rate60 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeLive MOS
Total Camera Resolution13.1 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody Only
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height66.5 mm
Width107.7 mm
Depth36.8 mm
Autofocus Points23
Product SeriesG
Image FormatsMPO, JPEG, RAW
Audio FormatsAAC
Focus ModesManual, Auto
ManufacturerPanasonic
Product ModelDMC-GF5
Product NameDMC-GF5 Compact System Camera
Product LineLumix
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberDMC-GF5EB-K
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.panasonic.co.uk
Marketing Information

A combination of the 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor and the Venus Engine achieves higher image quality. With the dedicated circuit, which reads out signals with minimum noise, the level of noise is significantly suppressed and S/N (Signal-to-Noise) value is improved in shooting at high ISO setting. The Multi-step Noise Reduction applies optimum noise reduction according to the brightness of the part of the image. Images recorded in low-lit situations are now dramatically clear.

The DMC-GF5 features outstanding compactness and ease of operation while pursuing high image quality. Panasonic did not compromise in the equipment of camera such as built-in flash. It embraces beautiful stylish round-form body design featuring buttons with glossy finish, ergonomically studied grip and high-resolution 920K-dot LCD. The DMC-GF5 is based on the Micro Four Thirds System that lets you use the versatile lineup of Micro Four Thirds System standard lenses, including the LUMIX G / LEICA DG lenses.

Battery Life330 Shot
Package Contents
  • DMC-GF5 Compact System Camera
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Pack
  • USB Connection Cable
  • Shoulder Strap
  • Software CD-ROM
Display Resolution920000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker