Customer Review

52 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid camera - Review updated in 2015, December 26, 2012
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This review is from: Panasonic DMC-G5KK 16 MP Compact System Camera with 14-42mm Zoom Lens and 3-Inch LCD (Black) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 21, 2013 7:01:30 PM PDT
MPower says:
How does G5 compare to D5100 in low light or indoors? Thanks.

Posted on Mar 23, 2014 8:51:42 AM PDT
macaphile says:
Do you think the GH4 will be overkill or something worth growing into. I like video and stills. Will do a complete upgrade to M4/3 with good lens. OM-D E-M5 seems to produce more pleasing stills but the video on the Panasonics are far above OM-D E-M5.
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