Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 - Cameras - CNET Asia

Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 - Cameras - CNET Asia

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5

The Lumix DMC- GF5 follows in the GF3's design footsteps with a similar-looking chassis and button layout. The Lumix comes with a newly-developed 12-megapixel image sensor coupled with an improved Venus Engine image processor. There's also a higher-resolution LCD touch display (920,000 dots), a faster autofocus system (found in the GX1) and an expandable ISO range that goes up to 12,800. Capable of 4 frames-per-second burst-mode shooting, the camera also captures 1080p full-HD videos in 30fps and 25fps while recording sound in stereo.

What's New?

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5. (Credit: Shawn Low/ CNET Asia)

At first glance, both the GF5 and GF3 look identical as they share the same design and chassis. However, the new camera does come with some useful upgrades--both internal and cosmetic.

New 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor: Although the GF5's megapixel count remains unchanged, Panasonic claims the new image sensor is more light-sensitive, so you get better shadow detail in less-than-ideal lighting conditions. The camera's ISO range is also expandable to 12,800 compared with the GF3 (6,400).

New Venus Engine image processor: The GF5 also sports with a new image processor which is said to provide better noise-reduction performance and clarity to images taken in low-light conditions.

Advanced autofocus system: The shooter utilizes both contrast AF and an intuitive touch-AF control function--which allows users to quickly tap the screen to focus and even trigger the shutter--making for faster and more precise accuracy during image capture.

920k-dot resolution touchscreen: A higher-resolution 3-inch, 920k-dot-resolution touchscreen fitted on the camera's rear provides clearer image playback compared with the 460k-dot version found on the earlier model.

New video-recording format: Aside from an upgrade from a monaural to a stereo microphone, the snapper can now record full-HD videos in the MP4 format.


The new camera sports a thick, contoured handgrip. (Credit: Shawn Low/ CNET Asia)

Holding the GF5 in our hands, it seems that Panasonic has addressed the issue some GF3 users had in the past--the lack of a deeper handgrip. Shutterbugs would appreciate the new chunkier, rubberized handgrip (similar to the GX1) which will allow for a more secure hold on to the snapper, especially during extended periods of image capture.

In terms of autofocus performance, we found that the GF5 performed considerably faster than the GF3. In fact, its autofocus felt swifter and it acquired a focus lock on subjects more rapidly--being almost similar to the Olympus Pen E-P3 which we reviewed earlier.

The camera has a more refined touchscreen interface and sturdier metallic buttons. (Credit: Shawn Low/ CNET Asia)

We really liked the higher-resolution screen which makes images look sharper and remains visible under bright light. The shooter's user interface has been refined to look cleaner, too and shortcut menus fade in and out, which is a nice touch.

Also, beginners who are used to in-camera presets would be pleased to know that instead of the six camera presets, the GF5 would come with up to 14 special effects filters to beautify one's images.

Overall, we think the subtle improvements in the GF5 do make for a more enjoyable user experience and it certainly does have potential. The proof of the pudding would be to see if the GF5 trumps the GF3 in terms of image quality and high-ISO noise performance--something we'll find out once we conduct a full evaluation of the camera.


(Credit: Panasonic)

The GF5 will also be paired with Panasonic's latest Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH Power OIS pancake zoom lens which makes the already svelte Lumix, a whole lot slimmer. Compared with the normal 14-42mm kit lens, the newer pancake zoom is 35.8mm thinner and 70g lighter. It is also able to focus to as close as 20cm as compared with the 30cm minimum focusing distance of the standard kit lens.

Pricing And Availability

Although pricing in Asia hasn't been released yet, Panasonic has informed us that the Lumix DMC-GF5 will be available between end May and early June.