Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Review

Updated May 31, 2014
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 is a good value among compact interchangeable-lens cameras, reviews say. This Micro Four Thirds camera is smaller than a traditional digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera, with a great selection of compact lenses. However, other reviewers point out that the top-rated models are only a few hundred dollars more.

Ease of useProsSnappy performance, including very good photo and video quality , Touch-screen controls, Strong aluminum bodyConsChunky build, Basic video mode for its class, No weather-sealing

Performance

Very good photos and video, but not class-leading. Images from the Panasonic G5 look very good overall in tests, although they can't quite match a DSLR or a higher-end mirrorless compact. With a 16-megapixel image sensor, the G5 is not as good in dim light as the more advanced sensors on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 (Est. $825 with kit lens), tests show. Startup is sluggish in one test, but the G5 responds just as quickly as pricier mirrorless cameras otherwise. Autofocus is "super-fast," Goldstein says, and the G5 can shoot rapid-fire bursts of 6 full-resolution frames per second. Video quality is very good, experts say, at 1080p HD, and battery life is rated at 310 shots per charge, which is a bit lower than pricier models.

Durability

Solid aluminum body, but it's not weatherproof. The Panasonic G5 isn't weather-sealed like the costlier Panasonic GH3 and Olympus OM-D E-M5, which are splashproof and dustproof to survive demanding conditions. Still, reviewers praise the G5's solid metal construction.

"It's still extremely well-built with a high quality aluminum body, metal lens mount and metal tripod socket that belies its mid-range price point," says Goldstein at PhotographyBlog.com.

"Build quality is very good," say editors at TrustedReviews.com. Their only quibble is that the plastic command dial "feels a bit cheap compared to the rest of the camera." We found no owner complaints about the G5's build quality.

Features

Good feature set for its price. The lower-priced Panasonic G5 omits a couple of features. There's no built-in Wi-Fi, like the Panasonic GH3 (Est. $1,000 body only) has. You can't shoot a panoramic photo, as you can with the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Otherwise, though, features are class-competitive. The G5 has the usual pop-up flash and hot shoe, variety of special photo and video effects (High Dynamic, Miniature, Toy Effect, etc.) and microphone jack.

The G5 ships with a 14 mm to 42 mm kit zoom lens (you can buy it body-only for $100 less, if you prefer). Like other Micro Four Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus, the G5 has access to a large variety of very good lenses -- a definite plus, experts say.

Our Sources

1. TrustedReviews.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Review, Editors of TrustedReviews.com, Aug. 8, 2012

The Panasonic G5 is a Recommended pick here. Testers praise its build quality, intuitive touch screen, and impressive overall image quality and performance.

2. PhotographyBlog.com

Panasonic Lumix G5 Review, Mark Goldstein, July 24, 2012

PhotographyBlog.com counts the Panasonic G5 as one of its favorite compact-system cameras. It's not as good in dim light as a DSLR, but overall photo quality, video mode and handling make it a "realistic alternative to a bigger and bulkier DSLR," tester Mark Goldstein says.

3. PCMag.com

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5, Jim Fisher, Jan. 17, 2013

Receiving a rating of Excellent from PCMag.com, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 draws praise for its SLR-like design and fast burst shooting. The DMC-G5 wins the Editors' Choice award for compact interchangeable-lens cameras under $1,000.

4. ConsumerReports.org

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5K, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated

ConsumerReports.org tests 29 SLR-like digital cameras, including the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5. Editors rank the cameras from best to worst based on their photo and video quality, ease of use and more, and the ratings are very up to date. However, each camera's written review is short and not very detailed.

5. Amazon.com

Panasonic DMC-G5KK 16 MP Compact System Camera with 14-42mm Zoom Lens and 3-Inch LCD (Black), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of May 2014

The Panasonic G5 gets very high marks from over 145 owners here. Almost all rate it 4 or a perfect 5 stars. Among the few that give it 3 stars -- one user finds it too complicated, while another would have preferred a white camera.