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Panasonic Lumix GF5 Review

By on May 27, 2012
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An all-around excellent four-thirds camera that stands among the top of its class.

Tags:
Good: Excellent image quality that captures details and true to life colors; Strong sensor; Solid build design that doesn't feel cheap; Interface is efficient and easy to understand; Loaded with features for the casual user; Great quality of lenses.
Bad: High ISO ranges in low light lead to noise and loss of detail; Lack of viewfinder and hotshoe.
Price: AED
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Low-Light

Now you might be thinking that the camera doesn’t have any flaws in the image quality department, but there’s one department where it fell short and that is when it was night time and the subject of the image was moving at a fast pace. Coming back to images from MEFCC, we tested out the camera during the Cosplay competition on stage in the evening with jacked up ISO settings and that’s where you begin to notice not only some dirty noise at the higher levels but also a lot softer images with lack of detail compared to the previous ones.

Now to be fair, the sensors of these cameras are not as powerful as DSLR’s when it comes to low light conditions and that’s no hidden fact – but the fact is that we were using a 14mm f2.8 lens at this time and even still we managed to find grain on the image. If this was the kit lens which starts at f3.5, results would be worse. Not to mention it wasn’t even completely dark and this time but only sunset.

In later images, we tried to use the camera on moving subjects like these but the shutter isn’t fast enough to capture them handheld without blurring most of the image, but a tripod or a steady mount seems to fix it quite a bit.

Conclusion

All things considered, don’t get me wrong – the Panasonic Lumix GF5 is a very strong camera that will make a dent in the market if it hasn’t already. It has excellent image quality and low light performance that even with the problems mentioned above is better than most cameras of its kind. The lenses are of great quality and Panasonic has an entire range of them to fit your every need, so you know you’re covered in that regard. The ISO is expandable upto 12,800 which is quite unheard of in the range and stands at the top of line even with the fair amount of noise that it will give you. As long as you’re able to take a picture, that’s always a plus.

For the casual user, there’s enough creative filters and automated features to make the learning curve easier without actually compromising on the image quality. You may not always want to use those filters in-camera, but they’re a good tool to have nonetheless. The touch-screen is initiutive and the menu screens are easy to understand if you want to select most of the hidden settings. For others, there’s always the manual controls outside that can be used and the build quality on them is excellent.

The GF5 doesn’t feel like a cheap product but an actually thought-out one that aims to compete and give its competitors a hard time, and I think it does exactly that and more.

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About

Filmmaker and film writer. An ironically strange combination. Follow his tweets on @faisalhashmi for his escapades in film.

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