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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.
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on April 9, 2013
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.
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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!
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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.

UPDATE -
Here are some of the photos.
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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......
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on August 4, 2015
I have been using Panasonic Lumix cameras fort quite a while and have grown familiar with and become fond of the brand. In 2010, I bought the Lumix G1 micro 4/3 camera which was my first DSLR. I still own it and plan to use it as a backup.

For a little while now, I've been looking to "upgrade" if you will and I knew a Lumix DSLR would be the way to go. After doing some research on cost and features, I decided to go with this little guy. In the short period of time I have had it and based on my own personal testing with the G5, I am pretty excited about the result.

Possibly the best technical advances from my prior camera are the capability to use the LCD screen as a touch screen for controls and adjustments and the fact that this camera shoots video as well as still photographs. Another big consideration when buying this camera was that the ISO could go up to 128,000, significantly higher than the 32,000 maximum on my G1.

When tested, the photo quality is very good and I have no complaints. The video is OK. It will suffice for casual recordings but if you're a serious videographer, you will likely be underwhelmed. As far as the audio for videos goes, it's more than adequate. When it comes to the camera's ISO options, I wanted to see how far I could take it before noise and graininess overwhelmed the image. I was happy to learn that noise was kept to a minimum and barely noticeable at 64,000. At the max of 128,000, noise was pretty evident but could possibly be cleaned up in a decent noise reduction program.

There is a bit of a learning curve to the camera's controls and the focus can be a but temperamental with zoom lenses but overall I'm pretty happy with this purchase.
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on April 7, 2013
The G5 is my fourth Panasonic camera (after the TM700 video camera and the LX7 and GF3 still cameras). All have had their particular strong points compared with the competition, with relatively few negatives. This camera came with the bottom-end version of Panasonic's numerous mid-range zooms, the earliest 14-42mm lens (which I did not need), but the body was about a dollar cheaper with it compared with buying the body without it, so...;-) I did a quick check on the lens and found it more than acceptable optically. The lens was good to the corners by f8 at 14mm and usable at wider stops, and it was good to the corners at f5.6 at 25mm and also at 42mm. I sold it to a friend to offset some of the cost of the G5, but I first pointed out the common problem with it of having rough zooming action. I had been considering the GX1, but the G5 was less money with the built-in 1.4-megapixel EVF compared with the GX1 plus its similar-spec accessory EVF, and the video specs were better for the G5 (28Mbps 1080-60p video vs, 1080-60i derived from 30p and at a lower data-rate). I have not yet shot much video with the G5, but the first clips appear to be quite sharp, not a common thing with still cameras that can also shoot video, even very high-priced ones. Bottom line: I like this camera! It is easy to grip securely, the controls are well-placed (and they include a zoom lever for use with the two Panasonic "PZ" lenses), the menus are easy to use, the eye-level viewfinder is excellent (and its characteristics can be adjusted independently from those of the also-excellent 920k tilt-swivel OLED rear viewing-screen), both the video and stills are of high quality, and the price was right.
Highly recommended.
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on May 26, 2016
I originally purchased this to take better quality pictures of mine and my clients makeup for my social media accounts, but I have used it for so many more things! I am not a know-it-all when it comes to cameras, so that fact that I could use this successfully right out of the box says something. It has several settings that are automatically adjusted, but you could fool around with the settings if you are so inclined.

I have not only taken amazing images of myself and my clients I have also:
1) Recorded my niece's school play
2) Edited pictures straight from the camera
3) Downloaded pictures from my camera to my computer in under 3 minutes
4) Mass deleted a series of pictures directly from the camera

It's such an easy and elegant camera to use. I love it, and have recommended it to family and friends
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on August 3, 2013
The Panasonic DMC-G5KK is certainly one of the best cameras I have ever used. In addition to the fact that it is excellent for shooting still photos the instrument also works superbly for shooting moving targets. The recording capability of this camera for video recording renders it way above any other model cameras which I have used in the past, and which possess both these capabilities (video & still photos). The Panasonic DMC-G5KK could be classified as the best amongst the best.
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on January 26, 2018
I'm actually quite please and surprised with this camera. I bout the G5 so that I would have a slightly smaller and lighter alternative to my Nikon cameras. (I own a Nikon D5100, D5500, D3400, D7200, And a Nikon D7500). I was surprised upon using the camera to find that I actually prefer the electronic viewfinder of the mirror less camera to the optical viewfinder of my several DSLR's. Now, I know this is entirely opinion based, but this isn't my only reason to like this camera. The camera focuses surprisingly quickly, despite using a contrast-detect focus system instead of the phase-detect system of most professional cameras. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that this camera had a touchscreen - a feature that I didn't notice when reading the product description.

Battery life is okay, but not as good as my DSLR's, but that's to be expected.
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