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Friday, 08 November 2013


It's been my only camera for about a year. Each time I'm tempted by the latest hot thing I sit myself down and try to come up with one proper reason why the new shiny thing would improve my output. Frustrating in a way but it saves a lot of money...

I bought the Lumix G5 at $399 and I thought that was a great deal. Seriously. Also bought the 100-300 lens and use this camera often as my "beach" camera--I can take it to the beach and if it gets soaked or sand/salt spray ruins it, I'm not out a lot of cash.

I have bought the LX5, the Nikon P7100 and P7800, the Canon G10 and G11 and a couple of other cameras for that price or north.
So for $300 bucks, this is such a deal!
Yes, noise is higher than APS-C or FF, and the camera is not solid magnesium nor weather-sealed, but how can you lose for $300?
Buy it now, even if the kit lens is lame. Buy it for your spouse, sig other, kids or your fourth back-up camera.
Just buy it.

I think the Panasonic G series is very much underrated. The menus are much, much easier to use than Olympus'. But for me it would be a RAW only camera. The jpegs aren't that great.

Darn it Mike. I could not resist. I have two Panasonic G1s, from when Panasonic and Olympus first introduced micro 4/3rds. I am excited to see how far the camera has advanced from G1 to G5. I have two 14-42mm kit lenses and the 20mm pancake lens too. I bought the body only for $259. Looking forward to receiving it for the same reason I bought the first two: it's less intimidating than my Canon 5D MkII when I am trying to capture people.

This is a great camera, I use it along with my D800E and EOS-M on a daily basis. When you shoot square in RAW the file stays square, unlike the Olympus cameras that revert to 4:3.
I do not care for the version of kit lens included, I use it with a prime instead.

My wife has a G5 and loves it. I can confirm that it is completely silent -- or rather, it can be set that way with a couple of limitations. I shot a church service with it -- what a marvelous feature.

Decent high ISO with usable files to ISO 3200. Raw files process nicely in Lightroom. A wide variety of available lenses, including the terrific Panasonic 12-35/2.8 stabilized zoom (which she swiped from me and I haven't seen again.)

Damn you! I did not need another camera. Don't tell my wife...

[Mum's the word. --Mike]

I was sorely tempted by this. IMO, mirrorless would sell better if there were more models with EVFs at prices that compete with entry level DSLRs. The G series is good, but a bit pricey when new (G6 versus a D3200) and the Sony A3000 is cheap, but the VF and LCD are both subpar.
This seems like an amazing deal. I like articulating VFs, it has an EVF, and I could add the 20/1.7 (though at more than the price of the kit.)
I forgot about the silent shutter.
But I already don't use my NEX-5 because my DSLR is better and my RX100 is close enough and very compact. I like the bargain pricing; just not sure why I need one :)

I use a G3 pretty much exclusively, and the feature I like most is the "flip-over" LCD. When it's shut (i.e. flipped over) the viewfinder operates: flip it open, and the LCD operates. Deeply satisfying.

The original 14-45mm kit zoom is a very good lens, too.


The G5 is an excellent little camera.My 14-42 kit lens is also very good at mid apertures.Much sharper than i expected and the equal of the well thought of 14-45.Ive lost track of the kit lens history but mine has the 52mm filter thread.The dynamic range is good but not great and if it had a little more DR i dont think i would ever need more in a camera.Panasonics seem to give a slightly gritty sharpness which doesnt sound nice but in fact is attractively different.I have bigger sensor cameras but use the G5 most often and love using it.

I started to test M4/3rd's when the G-3 deals got this low, now this, and I think this camera is far more interesting than the extra folderol they added onto the G-6. Just wish I had an extra 300 bucks...

BTW, the Lumix series G cameras are true examples of the upgrade phenomena in photography. You can't even sneeze before they introduce another G and drop the price of the last one to rock-bottom. I haven't checked, but it seems like it's 18 months from introduction to blow-out price!

Said it's $399 when I clicked on the link. I guess I was to slow.

HEY! I clicked on your link and it's $399 at Amazon but it's $299 at B&H. At least at time of this writing it is.

[B&H isn't open, though. I'll check tonight when they reopen and post an update if need be. --Mike]

Without the lens, Amazon is still showing it as $259. If I had the money, there'd be one less there.

I have a G5 and use it with a Sigma 19mm lens (for a 38mm eq or slightly more when I use it in 14Mpx 3:2 crop mode) for street photography. It's compact and discreet even with the mechanical focal plane shutter.

One thing that's really noticeable if you have the "first gen" Olympus E-P1/2 and E-P1/2 is how much faster the AF is. Even with the 19mm it's quick (and some of the other prime it's quicker). The sensor is rather better too with more dynamic range, faster readout and lower read noise (i.e. higher usable ISO) but not as good as the GX7 and GM1 (and OMD) sensors.

I like the articulated LCD too. Like my D5100 I usually have the display folded away to protect it and avoid getting "nose grease" on it. I chimp infrequently and I can do it in the EVF when needed. It makes the camera feel more like an "film camera". The articulated LCD also works nicely when taking shots in the "TLR" style at waist height in either landscape or portrait orientation.

I like the three physical function buttons. Mine are set to AF lock, metering mode and AF/MF. This makes the camera a lot quicker to operate (even up the eye). I use the eye sensor and flipping over the display to switch from LCD to EVF.

I dislike the modal manual focus UI. You have to click a button to get out of magnified "MF mode" after focusing manually unlike Olympus' "MF assist" which magnifies the screen whilst you turn the MF then reverts to normal magnification after a short time.

I'm not a fan of the menu system. It's pretty and "consumer friendly but not very dense and I do keep looking for things in the wrong places. I find calling "camera settings" menu "Recording" weirdly confusing as I never use video.

You can't set the minimum shutter speed in A mode. In Auto ISO mode the camera uses twice the (actual) focal length as the minimum shutter speed (i.e. this is the same as the standard "35mm eq focal length ~= minimum shutter speed" rule). You can't change it. This means I generally shoot in S mode for street photography (or M if the light doesn't vary)

There is no Auto ISO in M mode which something I've come to love on Nikon and Ricoh GRD that lets me set DoF and motion blur and let the camera set the ISO.

Finally the custom settings confused me (as they do some others). They don't record the "exposure parameters" like shutter speed and aperture only camera's menu settings. So they use the current aperture, shutter. You can't have a "quick street preset" (1/250th, S mode, multi-segment metering, Auto ISO, AF) but you could have a "street preset"(S mode, multi-segment metering, Auto ISO, AF, multiple shot) or a "landscape preset" (M mode, spot metering, MF, ISO 160, single shot).

On the whole a decent basic camera for $299 (I paid that for body only).

Mike says: The GX7 also has this mode, and reportedly the Panasonics' electronic shutter produces artifacts in certain situations. However, my first friend says he has successfully photographed in church

The G5 (and GX7 and GM1) have an rolling electronic shutter. Like most cameras this one doesn't have global electronic shutter due to needing more transistors in each pixel and related readout noise issues.


A rolling shutter works like a regular focal plane shutter above the flash sync speed so that not all of the sensor is exposed at the same time. A strip of exposed lines moves down the sensor from the top to the bottom. Each line is exposed for the required exposure time (e.g. 1/250s) but it takes these Panasonic sensors about 1/10th of a second or so to expose and read out the whole frame.

If the lighting varies during the exposure (e.g. fluorescent lighting) the resulting image will have bands of different intensity in the image. You can see this effect in the dpreview image (where it takes about 1/15 second to make the image -- 7 light dark bands of 60Hz light).

If the subjects move during the exposure they will appear distorted just like Lartigue's famous image (Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Car Trip, Papa at 80 kilometers an hour, 1913) of a racing car wheels being distorted out of round by a focal plane shutter. That won't be an issue in church :-)

Similarly if the camera moves you will see image disortions either irregular ones (from camera shake) or skew from continuous motion.

Of course you can also use these artifacts creatively too. Lartigue did.

There are other restrictions. The maximum ISO for the electronic shutter on the G5 is 1600 and you can't use the flash either (it's not fast enough to sync so it is disabled).

If you are aware of the limitations (i.e. you have static camera and static subject) and you need a silent camera then use the electronic shutter. Most of the time I use the mechanical shutter.

The Nikon 1 also has a electronic shutter option but the Aptina sensor in the camera can read out the sensor in 1/80s as it was designed for 4K video at 60Hz readout rate. In this case the distortions are much less noticeable. You can see this varies from sensor to sensor -- so don't overgeneralize these observations.

I wish I had timely seen this. I recently began using an LX3 to supplement my film shooting (LX3 is my only digital camera) and have really enjoyed it. I think there is tendency to chase the next new thing, but most of these cameras are better than we are for most purposes. (With those qualifiers, I may have actually said nothing).

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