The Panasonic GF5 probably has come a little sooner than most people expected — despite all the rumours and pictures of the camera floating around for the past few months — because the last time Panasonic released a GF camera was the GF3 in August 2011. The Panasonic GF5 is more of an update than a refresh of the entire line, keeping what has worked for the GF3 and tweaking almost everything to make a better camera.
- Updated 12.1MP LIVE MOS sensor
- New Venus Engine
- ISO100 – 12800 (Extended)
- 0.09s Autofocus
- Art Filter Preview
- Stereo Mic
- 1080p Full HD Video
- Improved Grip
- Improved GUI
The guts of the Panasonic GF5 has also been slightly stepped up — the GF5 uses an improved LIVE MOS sensor that is similar to the one used in the Panasonic GX1 (although you get 12.1 MP in the GF5 instead of the 16MP in the GX1). The Panasonic GF5 also packs an updated version of their Venus Engine, called the New Venus Engine (taking a leaf out of Apple’s book). The updated LIVE MOS sensor works together with the New Venus Engine to give improved noise reduction, and allows the camera to push up to ISO 12800 (extended) compared to the GF3’s ISO 6400, all this while maintaining the small size of the camera.
The Panasonic GF5’s menu is also tweaked to be more friendly for users just starting out with Panasonic’s GF system. It includes a guided scene mode that gives step-by-step instructions on how to set up the camera and how to frame the photograph according to the scene setting that the user selects.
The GF5 also includes a new and improved art filter system that allows the user to preview art filters before you take the photo. The Panasonic GF5’s art filter interface is greatly improved — compared to a largely text-based interface that the GF3 uses. The large on-screen buttons illustrating the art filters makes the art filter system a lot more user friendly.
(Left: Panasonic GF5; Right: Panasonic GF3) New and improved menu.
(Left: Panasonic GF5; Right: Panasonic GF3) The new art filter menu.
The camera's Intelligent Auto mode also works with the improved art filter system by recommending art filters to suit the scene that the user selects, helping you take better pictures.
The lightweight GF series is ideal for travelers who want an easy to use camera, but want to have the option of being able to change lenses on the go to vary their shooting options. Sticking to the MFT (Micro Four Thirds) standard means that the GF5 has access to a very wide range of lenses from Panasonic, Olympus, and (for the more serious shooter) Cosina. With the rumoured new X-lenses probably coming around the corner, you can be sure that Panasonic will be supporting the MFT standard for a long time to come.
First Impressions Video: