on January 1, 2013
I have a few friends with DSLR and micro-4/3 cameras and I was told to look at micro-4/3 due to it's lower cost of entry and portability. In the short term I wanted a new camera to take on my honeymoon, but my long term goal was to improve my photography skills beyond a compact point and shoot.
After much research I decided between the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic DMC-G5KK. While I feel the Olympus is a better camera on paper, I didn't feel the cost differential was justified in my case. Micro-4/3 is still a relatively new platform, and I think the cameras will improve quite a bit in the next couple of years. Perhaps in that time I'll upgrade to a camera with a more rugged body and in body stabilization. FWIW, I purchased the DMC-G5 ($699), which included the 14-42mm zoom lens, along with the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens ($332).
The combo is low profile and lightweight due to the pancake lens. I purchased the Crumpler "4 million dollar home" camera bag, which comfortably fits the G5, 20mm pancake, 14-42 mm kit lens, spare battery, charger, snackbar, and hand cleanser (a nice to have on vacation). I highly recommend this to anyone look at the G5 or other similarly sized micro-4/3s.
The 20mm pancake shoots amazing pictures with the G5. Landscapes and interiors look great, but portraits are amazing! I was overall quite impressed with photos I took on my vacation, the majority of which I used intelligent auto since I didn't have the time to learn about the camera. I would say I took 90% of my photos using the pancake since it was more convenient and much faster. I only used the zoom lens when I couldn't zoom with my feet.
My favorite things about the camera thus far:
1) Autofocus speed (combined w/ the 20mm)
2) Ergonomics and weight
3) HD video w/ autofocus
4) Large articulating touchscreen w/ AF tracking (touch screen and it will focus and track the subject!)
5) Depth of focus adjustment/box
6) RAW photos (works with Lightroom)
Things I dislike:
1) EVF sensor: even at the low sensitivity setting, my finger occasionally disables the LCD. I wish they put the sensor at the top of the EVF or something
2) Panasonic software: it's not well designed. You're better off buying Adobe Lightroom to handle the importing and post-processing.
To start with I have both the Panasonic GF5 and the G5 and I also shoot Nikon digital cameras. I've been very happy with the Panasonic G5 and M43 system. Many of the little things that bothered me with the GF5 like AF accuracy, AF hunting when recording videos, limited number of customizable function buttons, zoom lens blocking flash coverage at wide angle focal lengths, and no 1080p/60fps videos are resolved with the G5. Plus the G5 is 16MP vs the GF5 only being 12MP. The G5 also has features which my much more expensive Nikon doesn't have like an articulating touch screen and the ability to shoot 1080p/60fps videos.
What I love about the G5:
1. The G5 has a nice balance of buttons and customization which meets the needs of both novices and those wanting more control of their camera. For people purchasing a DSLR/DSLM camera for the time it probably won't feel as overwhelming as some DSLR's would. While it doesn't have the number of buttons as my Nikon DSLR with the use of the "Q Menu" I can get to more of what I want quicker than with my DSLR. The "Q Menu" allows you to create your personalized mini menu for quick access for those settings you adjust the most. In addition there are function buttons on the camera and touch screen which can be customized for the features you use all the time.
2. The articulating screen was one of the main selling points for me when purchasing the G5. The articulating screen is great when photographing with the camera above your head and near to the ground. I actually use it almost all the time when I photograph. You are steadier when you shoot with your hands and camera at your chest versus held up to your eye. If you like shooting candids or documentary of people you can get better shots if the camera is at your chest or waist level. As soon as your camera is at your eye and pointed at a person, that person starts acting different.
3. The articulating screen being a touch screen was another big selling point for me. The combination of the touch screen and pin point or single focus area creates a powerful tool for any photographer. I only shoot single focus area on my DSLR's. Unlike my Nikon DSLR which I have to hold a button down and use the pad on the back of the camera to scroll through the AF area points, with the G5 all I do is touch the area, any area except the very edge, on the screen I want the camera to focus on. Person moves from the right to the left of the frame, I touch their face, and hit the shutter button...that quick and simple. It is worth noting that the touch screen isn't as sensitive as a smart phone touch screen but it seems better than the GF5 screen.
4. I found that the GF5 when shooting in the 23 AF area where the camera selects the AF point would commonly focus on the background instead the person in the foreground who was in the center of the frame and filling up a majority of the frame. The G5 doesn't have that issue. The AF with the G5 is speedy and silent which is great for photography but a must have when shooting videos. It's focus speed is as fast as much more expensive prosumer DSLR cameras. The only issue I've run into is that when shooting sequential frames in continuous AF the AF doesn't perform as accurately as my Nikon DSLR.
5. The 1080p/60fps videos from the G5 are nothing short of beautiful. The 60fps produces very smooth looking videos. The 1080 resolution is very sharp and crisp looking, better than any other P&S, ILC, or DSLR I've had. The only other camera I have that shoots 60fps is the Sony HX20V. The G5 having a much larger sensor than the Sony HX20V produces a much shallower depth of field for beautiful videos. I actually like the depth of field with the G5 better than videos from APS-C cameras. The depth of field is shallow but a little greater than those from APS-C sensors. I find it to be a perfect blend for everyday videos. The AF while shooting videos is excellent also. Unlike my Nikon DSLR there is no focus hunting when shooting videos with the G5 and because the AF is silent I also don't hear the lens focusing. My GF5 even does some focus hunting.
6. The digital viewfinder is actually usable with the G5. There have been considerable improvements in digital viewfinder resolution, color, and contrast in the last few years. I remember playing around with one of Sony's first DSLM cameras a few years ago which had a digital viewfinder and thinking to myself there is no way I could shoot with this camera because of the digital viewfinder.
7. The G5 has an electronic shutter, E Shutter, feature to prevent shutter shock. Shutter shock occurs when the slapping of the shutter causes the sensor to vibrate when the picture is taken, some believe it can impact the OIS also, which results in a soft or slightly blurry image. It seems to primarily occur at shutter speeds of 1/60-1/250. When I heard about shutter shock and the E Shutter feature I was bit skeptical. I did a test shooting 100 frames with the E Shutter on and 100 with the E shutter off at shutter speeds of 1/60-1/320. For 50 of the frames with the E Shutter on and 50 with the E Shutter off, I used image stabilization. The other 50 for each I turned the stabilization off. People have tested the E Shutter photographing a chart while the camera was on a tripod (copy stand work), I wanted to see if there was a noticeable difference in real life photo situations. The images shot were of still life and I was hand holding the camera. When I used a telephoto focal length without stabilization I made sure my shutter speed was on the higher end of the range. The electronic shutter did give better results! I had no incidences of soft or blurry images with the E Shutter on and stabilization off. With stabilization and E Shutter on I had 2 soft or blurry images. With stabilization and E Shutter off, I had 4 soft or blurry images. The worst results came from stabilization on and E Shutter off in which I had 6 soft or blurry images. After the test I started photographing regularly with E Shutter on and have noticed more consistent, better results. Before doing the test I wasn't using E Shutter and was getting some mysteriously soft, blurry images. The downside of E Shutter is that it can't be used with the flash or ISOs greater than 1600. There can also be bending or distortion of shapes which are moving in the frame. I have witnessed the distortion once when taking a picture of someone moving in the frame while the picture was taken.
8. The compactness of the G5 is a nice selling feature. While the G5 isn't as small or pocketable like the GF5 it is significantly smaller and lighter than any Nikon DSLR I've owned. It is much easier to carry around the G5 with a couple extra lenses than my Nikon with a couple extra lenses. Some people may equate the compactness and lightness of weight as being cheap or like a toy camera but I think they are missing one of the advantages of the camera and M43 system in general.
What I don't like about the G5 kit:
1. The biggest down side of the camera outfit is the 14-42mm kit lens. The kit lens is kind of what it is, an inexpensive lens with a plastic mount, plastic body, and sticky zoom. It takes decent enough pictures but the corners and edges are pretty soft, at times even when stopped down to f/8. I do have a full review of the kit lens for anyone interested.
2. With the lowest ISO being 160 and a top shutter speed of 1/4000, on a sunny day the widest open your lens can be is f/2.8 or more commonly f/3.5. This really limits your ability to create images with a very shallow depth of field when using fast lenses.
3. If you go back and forth between the screen and viewfinder the eye sensor on the camera is nice to have. It is designed to sense when your eye goes to the viewfinder. It then turn the display off and viewfinder on therefore saving battery life. Even with the eye sensor sensitivity adjusted to low it is WAY too sensitive. If a shadow passes over the eye sensor the display turns off and viewfinder turns on. Even on a cloudy day if my hand passes over the sensor, 3" inches from the camera, the display turns off.
If you are already in the M43 system this is a great camera to add to your system or upgrade to. If you are looking at getting into a DSLR or DSLM camera system the decision to purchase this over other cameras similarly priced is a little more difficult decision to make. The G5 is a little more compact than an introductory DSLR. It is roughly a centimeter shorter in each dimension and weighs about 25% less than Nikon's D3200. The G5 has an articulating touch screen vs the D3200 which doesn't. The G5 shoots 1080p/60fps videos whereas the D3200 shoots 1080p/30fps. The G5 also costs $100 less than the D3200. The D3200 on the other hand has a larger sensor that performs better in low light. The D3200 has a better kit lens. The D3200 is 24MP vs the G5 which is 16MP. While M43 cameras have the best variety of lenses of any mirrorless system it still can't compete with the selection you have with Nikon or Canon. In the end it depends on which of those features are the most important to you as a buyer.
on August 22, 2013
I've finally decided to review the Panasonic G5 in hopes that it will help others. This is my first review. I am not a pro photographer. As a serious amateur, I normally shoot with Canon and Nikon DSLRs. I made this purchase in December 2012 because I wanted a camera with a quiet shutter when shooting funerals. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS CAMERA. Below is a list of features and comments, as well as the accessories I use (in no particular order).
The G5's shutter can be toggled between conventional or electronic. In the electronic mode, it is absolutely silent. Someone standing one foot away from you will not hear the shutter click. I have remapped the electronic shutter setting to the AF/AE LOCK (FN1) button on the back of the camera near the top. I don't want to waste the time going through the menus to change the setting. Press this key twice and it goes from conventional to electronic. Press twice again and it goes back to conventional. As mentioned by others, when the electronic shutter is enabled, the flash will not work and you cannot shoot above ISO 1600. Also, under certain conditions, when panning the camera while shooting a moving object, the picture may be distorted (elongated), especially around the edges of the frame.
Some people have mentioned that the camera seems cheap and "plasticky". The camera seems to be well made. The fact that it is made out of plastic helped me yesterday when the camera body separated from the lens and fell on the ground! It bounced but wasn't scratched and is still working! With a regular DSLR, it definitely would have been dented. I was testing the G5 body attached to a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L using a Fotodiox Pro Lens Mount Adapter. The camera strap was attached to the lens mount.
So shooting with the Fotodiox Pro Lens Mount Adapter with Built-in Aperture Iris, Canon EOS EF (NOT EF-S) to Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Camera ($54.95) from Amazon worked well. The attached Canon lens will shoot wide open with a 2x multiplier. You can set the G5 to Aperture priority and let it pick the shutter speed. If there is too much light, you can turn the aperture ring on the Fotodiox adapter to let in less light. The numbers on the dial do not correspond with any f/stop setting. Of course, the focusing is manual which is not a problem unless you are shooting with a wide angle (where the actual focus is hard to see). My camera fell off the lens because I accidentally pressed the lens release while walking. The lens release sticks out more than necessary.
The G5 with the kit 14-42mm lens has a very stiff zoom ring. If you are shooting video, you will not be able to do a smooth zoom. The image will jerk as the zoom ring is turned. I purchased the Panasonic 14-45mm lens which was included in older Panasonic camera kits. The zoom ring on these is very smooth.
If you shoot video, do not buy aftermarket batteries. The OEM Panasonic batteries have a chip that keeps track of the power remaining and then communicates this to the camera. When shooting in the MP4 format, the maximum recording time for one file is about 29 minutes. I'm not sure if it is the same for AVCHD. When I was using the Wasabi aftermarket battery during a video shoot, the camera thought the battery was out of power and immediately turned off! Luckily, I did not lose the file. I do know other people who have lost their video file because of this. Unlike aftermarket batteries, when the battery power is low, a Panasonic battery will write the video file to the card and then shut down. For shooting stills, aftermarket batteries are OK.
If you are a serious video shooter, the lack of a microphone jack will probably be a deal breaker. If you need one, you'll have to buy the new G6.
The frames per second rate on this camera is very fast and is similar to conventional DSLRs. However, the buffer is small so it fills up very quickly. When shooting action shots in RAW, the camera will stop shooting after holding the shutter button down for one second. I am using a Transcend 32GB Class 10 card available from Amazon for about $23. Other people on the internet have said that changing to a faster card did not increase the write speed. When shooting rapid sequences, it is better to disable the electronic shutter so you can hear how many shots the camera has taken.
Some people have complained about the electronic viewfinder. I like it because in low light situations, the viewfinder will "gain up" and you will be able to see dark objects as if they were properly lighted. Of course, this also means the camera can take a properly focused picture (although at a low shutter speed). Try this by turning off the lights in a room, leave your TV on and then go to a dark corner of the room and look through the viewfinder while pressing the shutter half way down. The camera will show you objects that your eye cannot see with the natural light!
One thing that bugs me about the camera is the touch screen. It works well but is easy to accidentally change a setting while carrying it around. If you flip the screen to the covered position, it is still possible to accidentally change a setting when carrying the camera if your hand touches the circular 4-way controller. I have accidentally changed the white balance many times this way. You can always press the Q MENU button to check/change all your settings at a glance.
One additional comment regarding the 4-way controller. The words are glossy chrome on a brushed chrome background so it is very hard to read. You have to tilt the camera at an angle till the words are readable. In dim light, the words are impossible to read so you need to know the positions by memorizing them. Look at the newer Panasonic G6 and you will see that they made it easier to read.
For video, I am using the "Opteka X-GRIP EX MK III Heavy Duty Steel Action Stabilizing Video Handle for Cameras & Camcorders" ($59.95 from Amazon). I like the all metal construction. The camera can be mounted slightly offset so you can access the battery compartment without removing the camera from the grip. You also need to mount the camera farther to the front or the camera will disable the flip LCD panel thinking that someone is looking through the viewfinder. Mounted in this position, the flip LCD panel might not close. I just fold the flip LCD panel back against the video handle. I wrapped some foam with black electrical tape around the handle at this point so the screen won't be scratched.
I also bought the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. The lens is extremely sharp and available light pictures are effortless. The lens is very short. The lens is a little noisy as it focuses. There are some situations where I could not back up enough to get everyone into a picture but this is offset by the low light capabilities.
There are 2 straps I use with this camera. I am a fan of the BlackRapid straps. The first strap is the BlackRapid wrist strap. It is $18.95 at Amazon. Be sure to buy the additional BlackRapid fastener which screws into the camera's tripod socket. The second strap is the "BlackRapid RS-Sport 2 "Slim" Sling Camera Strap with BRAD, ConnectR-2 & FastenR-3" at $69.95. I use this strap with light DSLRs. It has an additional strap that wraps around your shoulder and armpit which stops the main strap from creeping. You can wear a coat/jacket over this strap and then pull out the camera when needed. In this way, your hands are always free. When I use this strap, I usually wear a black shirt so it is very difficult for people to see you are carrying a camera since it is hanging behind your arm.
The software included to convert RAW images is decent. Use Adobe Lightroom if you already have it. I have been using Topaz DeNoise to remove high ISO noise. They have a 30 day full functioning trial. This is the best noise reduction program I have used so far. The presets work well to start. It can even remove noise banding!
I was a 35mm film Minolta owner for a long time, then Nikon (FM/FE), then more recently D50/D40/D60. I've had Panasonic FZ28/35 and found the sensor size and quality wanting. I looked at the Sony Alpha but found the a37 lacking a few things I wanted and the A57 too large/heavy. Earlier this year I had a Nikon D5100. Great camera. But I was looking for something smaller and lighter. The M 4/3 (MFT) platform is a clear winner. So much so that I no longer own the D5100. And it feels great to use the DMC-G5. I'm excited about shooting again!
Technically, the sensor on the DMC-G5 is a very strong performer. The UI gives you hints when you need them (like a flashing icon to push in and rotate the control wheel when you have overridden the standard exposure (EV) controls). The focus is among the fastest of any camera I've ever used. I really like the level indicators that appear in the viewfinder to let you know you are square to horizontal or vertical.
Overall the camera feels great in the hands and it is very light and yet not too small. So far I don't feel like there is any feature that I would use that is missing. I did sell the 14-42mm kit lens and put on an older Panasonic 14-45mm lens and the results are very solid.
The EVF is adequate. I would not use a MFT camera that did not have a viewfinder. LCDs are still hopeless in strong sunlight. I've found the EVF in this camera so good that most of the time I'm shooting with LCD folded in and turned off. It's that good. (And means I get more shots on one battery charge. And getting a second battery is recommended for this any any camera with an EVF.)
The ONLY thing that bugs me about this camera, and it's a nit, is the operation of the power switch. It's on the right of the control dial and it's the same place thus far on all the Lumix MFT. I would rather have this been a reactive switch where when you push it forward it changes the current power setting (push forward to turn on, push forward again to turn off). The absolute positioning seems strange but that's just to me. I've found myself pushing it forward when I want to turn the camera off. It's certainly not going to take away from the rest of the performance of the camera. (I think because my first digital camera as a Sony DSC-S75 who's power switch worked that way that's why I'm doing it on this camera.)
In the past a primary selling point for cameras, for those who cared about the future and building up a personal kit, was that you were buying into a system. This is still true. But now the system is more like a wider MFT 'system' which crosses manufactures and equipment both new and old. The fact that you can use Panasonic and Olympus lens AND many legacy lens with adapters is an astounding eye opener. Why not, like in the PC market, have uniform standards with many if not all interchangeable parts? Let the camera makers compete on features that are exchangeable. Thus far the other major camera makers have balked at joining the MFT party and they are missing out. Check The Online Photographer article entitled 'Micro 4/3 is the Big Kahuna' for some more perspectives. You should also be visiting 43rumors and sansmirror to be informed in MFT.
To me this is a great camera for the enthusiast who is looking for a lightweight highly versatile camera for a wide range of uses and who wants to spend less than $600-700. (DXOMark puts this camera ahead of DMC-G3 and DMC-GH2 in sensor measurements in all marks except for effective low light ISO which is strange because it's pretty good in low light.)
If I was going to buy up the chain in the MFT systems then either the OM-D E-M5 or DMC-GH3 would be the next steps up. (And keep the DMC-G5 as a second body.)
Update: 11-MAR-2013 - I have found a bug that the firmware needs fixing for. I discovered yesterday that if you switch back to review mode from standard still shooting mode like P or C2, it may not always make it back into review mode. It can appear that you are still in the standard view mode (through the lens). I was pressing review like four or five times and it would not switch over. Then I realized that if after you hit review, and nothing seems to have happened, if you click the command dial to the left or right, it will actually become unstuck from the TTL view and start showing you photos you have taken, Viola, you are in review mode. If anyone else has found this please comment.
Update: 10-JAN-2015 - I ended up selling the DMC-G5 on eBay. I took it on a trip to Sedona and when I looked at the images at home, I was disappointed. This sensor is really good for street photography. But on landscapes, it does not capture the detail sufficiently. It's hard to explain except that overall the images were a little mushy. I started having mixed feelings on DMC G-5 IQ and resale prices on eBay. So I have replaced the DMC-G5 with a used DMC-FZ150 (yes, down to 1/(2/3) sensor). But the DMC-FZ150 does a VG job overall. I have still kept my M 4/3 lenses as I ponder to go either with Oly OMD E-M5 body, DMC-FZ100, or Pentax K-5 IIs. If I don't go with the Oly then it means that M 4/3 did not provide sufficient quality in relation to sensor size (and cost) for my needs. I am concerned that M 4/3, and the camera manufacturers in general, are retreating up into the $tratosphere in terms of pricing. I own a Fuji XE-1 and only use the 18-55mm lens. I don't need F2 or F2.8 bulkly lenses that cost over $700 apiece. M 4/3 had great promise, maybe still does. Just not for me today.
on April 2, 2013
I really like this camera. I decided to say goodbye to Canon after many years and many lenses, wanting something more compact with a more modern feel. I was split between this and an Olympus E-PL5, but ultimately decided to keep the G5. Major "gotta have" features for me were: great low-light performance, picture quality, portability, a tilting touch-screen, and lens selection.
The G5 produces very nice pictures, with pleasing color. The 14-42 lens included in the G5KK kit is junk; it'll suffice for beginners, but compared even to other kit lenses, it's not as sharp, feels plasticy, and the zoom mechanism feels terrible - not smooth at all, and even after just a week it feels "notchy", i.e. there are certain spots in the zoom range where it jerks just a little. Luckily, there are many other Lumix lenses that are built much better, like the 45-150mm zoom lens I got as well.
I had an E-PL5 as well for a few weeks, and while I do think the E-PL5 produced slightly better pictures, the G5 was an overall better package. Some more notable features this has over the E-PL5:
- Built-in viewfinder
- Built-in flash
- Digital level
- HDR mode
I decided to stick with the G5 because of these features, but also because:
- The hand grip is better, easier to hold for my big hands
- The optical image stabilization, though built into the lenses instead of the body, is more effective than IBIS used by the E-PL5
- The menu system is better/easier to navigate on the Lumix
- Little touches, like included lens hoods, or a battery charger with flip-out AC plug, instead of a bulky corded charger Olympus uses
In terms of picture quality, there are plenty of reviews out there for both the G5 and the E-PL5, and while the general consensus is that the E-PL5 produces better images, I'd say it depends. I did many side-by-side shots (all in JPG mode), and found myself split on which image I preferred. Sometimes the G5, sometimes the E-PL5, sometimes they were equal. I'd say color reproduction is slightly more accurate on the G5 overall, whereas the Olympus's image processing tends to enhance some colors, leading to pictures that look nicer than reality. Low light pictures from the E-PL5 are slightly less noisy in general, but the G5 is close.
There are a few things I liked better on the E-PL5:
- Capacitive touch screen, it responds to finger touches much better
- Tilting touch screen, seemed easier to use and more natural than the vari-angle display of the G5
- Button feel; on the G5, they feel kinda mushy (especially the 4-way controller)
- Overall nicer build quality, less plasticy
In principle I like what Sony is offering with the NEX line, but I'm not happy with how they haphazardly mix and match features and price points. You have to buy the $900 NEX-6 before you can get a mode dial, but it doesn't include a touch screen of the $700 NEX-5R, which doesn't include the pop-up flash of the $500 NEX-F3. That, combined with overall higher prices and limited lens selection led me to choose micro 4/3 over NEX. To me, Canon's EOS M is a failure, so I didn't even consider it, even though I have plenty of Canon lenses to use with it.
So far I'm really happy with the G5 and like the pictures I'm getting from it. I'm sure I'll eventually upgrade if they introduce a G6 that improves in any of the areas I mentioned, or if I can get an Olympus E-M5 for cheap.
on September 7, 2012
I ordered my G5 after having seen nice early reports from a few online testers. I bought it within the first few days of it's release. I had considered buying the E-M5, but I had a few reservations about the way the LCD articulated and the higher price. I have a preference for the LCD articulation mechanics used on the G5.
I was pleasantly surprised by the images I captured at a high school reunion the day I received the camera. I immediately noticed an improvement over my previous Olympus Pen models in dynamic range. The high ISO noise levels were simply impressive compared to the Pens. I learned quickly how to use the custom white balance setting and my out of camera jpeg files have consistently accurate color rendition. The images are nice and sharp and will likely print well at print sizes larger than 16"x20".
I believe this camera is an excellent option for those considering the E-M5 based not on a direct personal comparison but from what I seen published at many sites online.
I recommend the G5 highly.
Panasonic DMC-G5KBODY 16MP SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD - Body Only (Black)
on June 5, 2013
I've had the camera a couple months, but I'm still playing around with it and trying to learn all of its capabilities. The picture quality is great as is its video quality. This camera is a big step up from your ordinary point and shoot. The controls and functions of this this camera can be a bit overwhelming to those coming from a shoot and point, but once its capabilities are learned, you won't be disappointed. Professional quality photos are easily obtainable once one can figure out all the controls and functions. Sadly, Panasonic's operating manual is somewhat vague and lacking. Thankfully, there are several websites that contain a wealth of information for tips on using your new G5. I highly recommend not only reading the provided hard copy manual that is provided with the camera, but also downloading and printing the CD manual that is also provided with the camera. And for even better understanding, I HIGHLY recommend checking out, 'How To Set Up Your G5 Like A Boss': http://youtu.be/Ig_BAu0LVaI Also, check out this informative page: http://cameraergonomics.blogspot.com/2012/12/setting-up-panasonic-lumix-g5-camera.html
As of right now, I'm giving the G5 four stars until I can honestly give the camera more of my time. The basic feel, overall build quality, and its picture quality has me pretty happy and satisfied. As I learn more about its controls and functions, I feel as though my review and opinion of this camera will only get better. Updates will soon follow. Until then......
on November 21, 2012
I am (was?) a Nikon girl, so when I was given a Panasonic camera as a gift, I didn't think I'd be impressed. I imagined that at high ISOs and in various light settings, my dSLR would have the Lumix G5 beat, hands down, and $700-800 seemed like a ridiculous amount for something that wasn't a Nikon or a Canon. Boy, was I wrong! This is a phenomenal camera. Even with the kit lens, it takes incredibly sharp pictures that show, at 100%, incredible detail and tack sharp focus. I was SHOCKED and am embarrassed by my prejudice. Panasonic wants to play, and their G5 is going to do it, this is a really, really fabulous camera, and at high ISOs performs pretty darn good.
I'm not really one for creative filters as a reason for buying a camera, but those are fun too if you like to play around a bit with them, and a few of the filters (like the dynamic monochrome) are particularly good.
I think once I pick up a new lens for it (the 2.8) I'll be set...my indoor and outdoor shots will all be awesome. If you are on the fence about this camera, seriously, it's worth every penny. I'm planning on uploading my photos soon to show how sharp and vivid the photos are, because I'm just astounded.
on December 14, 2014
I've been wanting to try a different camera for a while, now. I've been an avid photography hobbyist for a very long time and have used a wide assortment of equipment through the years. After my sister ruined my first DSLR camera and made no attempt to pay me for it, I just bought an advanced point and shoot to use for a while until I found what I really wanted. The advanced p&s cameras are pretty nice and really can perform just as well as a DSLR on many levels if you're into programming your own settings. About a year and a half ago I bought the Lumix DMC-GF3. It's a micro 4/3 camera. It really does take stunning pictures. The detail was exceptional. I just have a problem with cameras that don't have a viewfinder. I don't like the "camera phone" feel of cameras without viewfinders. While I understand that the EVF allows you to see things you can't see in the viewfinder once you set it properly, the G5 has an EVF that I can use if needed. Having both is a major plus for me. So, I decided to sell the GF3 and start looking for something else. I've used many different brands but have come to love Panasonic, and because I already had two lenses for my GF3, I decided to go with another Panasonic micro 4/3. Not knowing how well I would like the camera or how nice it would be and not wanting to spend a lot of money, I zeroed in on the G5. KEH had a used one listed on Amazon, comes with their usual 180 warranty so I purchased it (great price, by the way).
My first test with this camera was to use it at an NFL game last week. I had the G5 and also my DMC-FZ70. I've used the FZ70 for several different settings (outdoor, macro, artistic expressive, etc) but hadn't really had a chance to try it at an athletic event. I started off using the FZ70 and got some great shots but definitely see how the mega zoom lens is not all that worthy. But, I'm not here to review that camera. When I switched to the G5, oh man....the difference was immediately noticeable. Just viewing the pictures there on the spot, the clarity was amazing. I used some of the preset programs and am not disappointed. I also had my own settings programmed. I used the Panasonic H-FS45150K lens the entire time and was able to get some great close up shots. As I'm typing this I'm disappointed I don't have any of those pictures with me to post.
I can't wait to further test out this camera and am excited at all of the options available. I'm not trying to be a famous photographer so I'm not willing to spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment. I simply love to photograph my experiences and the world around me. I decorate my house with beautiful art and photographs are included in that. Cameras like the G5 make it so much easier to take exceptional pictures and be proud to hang them on my walls or give them away as gifts. I'm looking forward to getting a few other lenses for this camera.
Here are some of the photos.
on August 29, 2013
Bought this at reduced price to replaced a new camera body I "drowned" in a swimming pool. Since this was not advertized as brand new I was skeptical. However, the camera was actually brand new, not a mark to indicate previous use. I'm delighted with this product which has worked flawlessly over the past month of intensive use.
UPDATE: Review of Panasonic Lumix G5 with 14-42 kit lens: Placing my review on this page because could not write review on the G5+kit lens I originally bought.
Panasonic Lumix G5 with 14-42mm kit lens
Unbeatable for the price. The G5 MFT (micro four thirds)digital camera is ideal for informed novices to expert photographers. Probably will not compete with a full blown SLR but comes awfully close, as do many MFTs today. Go beyond the kit 14-42mm lens if you want to explore the full potential of the G5. I sold the notchy 14-42mm kit lens (reasonable pictures but a pain to zoom) for a used 14-45mm lens (smooth operation, steel mount instead of plastic, superior pictures). Also bought a used Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens (very sharp!) which, as many say, gets the most use and shows how good the G5 really is (see recently posted fotos). The Panasonic 45-150mm zoom lens complements my collection and gives great quality pictures even at 150mm.
Overall: the G5 takes good, true colour fotos, both indoors and outdoors. Size is perfect for carrying around, a huge advantage over the large SLR's. Over the past 3 months I've taken several thousand fotos, sufficient to expose the good and bad points of the G5:
-Nice molded grip, light body (even with zoom lenses) but not too light; relatively small size allows "carry anywhere anytime" convenience
-Versatility - opt to shoot with the convenient Auto (and extended iA function) for quick quality snapshots OR use one of the many options to set the camera up for just about any situation (5 Custom options in addition to the usual P,S,A,M); results will be good either way; nice array of light settings, including ability to modify each; if you don't like the incandescent light (I don't), use AWB or a Kelvin setting easily adjustable to your taste
-High resolution; excellent quality fotos up to ISO 3200; ISO 6400 is good for smaller prints
-14-42mm kit lens often a little soft but can be sharpened (in camera or post foto processing); can easily set up program for Standard, Natural, -Vivid, Scenery, Monochrome, Portrait fotos (increase/decrease brightness, sharpness, saturation, noise reduction to personal taste)
-Shoots RAW; also RAW+JPEG
-Bright clear flexible foldout/tilt LCD screen + excellent electronic viewfinder (EVF) for those who want to compose with either - I often use the -LCD for settings, and the EVF for composing
-LCD touch screen works well, need to find the right "touch" for best results (some complaints on sensitivity not really warranted IMO
-Most controls are well placed, intuitive for ease of use, mostly (see -ve's below)
-Love the Q (quick) menu button located right of EVF, use it all the time
-Nice option to switch LCD on or off/or to use the eye detector to turn LCD of when using EVF; I use the LCD for selecting focus area even if composing with EVF; nice feature
-Autofocus is fast as claimed; manual option a real asset for very specific objects; prefer to use manual focus on close-ups
-In-lens stabilization works well (not available in my Panasonic 20mm lens but do you really need it??)
-Lever behind shoot button can be used for several functions - I find it v handy for changing light settings, nicely placed
-The 4-function silver dial wheel is a boon, I use it all the time (as with my previous Panasonic point+shoot FH25)
The Not so Good:
-Terrible pdf User manual; strongly advise following links for fast set up . This, plus one of the zoom lenses, will really expose the G5's true potential and versatility.
PS: I dropped my first G5 in the swimming pool so immediately ordered a replacement body. After drying out the original it works perfectly, I mean as new! I'll use it as a backup since I'm sure the electronics will blank out on me one day. I'm just dumbfounded and have named it "Lazarus" (in keeping with an MP3 player that suffered a similar fate but is still working after one year of continuous use)