Panasonic Lumix GF5 review
Image Quality and Verdict
Panasonic GF5 review - Image Quality
The Panasonic GF5 features a 144-zone multi-pattern metering system, with Intelligent Multiple, Centre Weighted and Spot modes. The metering system generally performs well and captures accurate exposures, although it does on occasion underexpose. This is readily corrected using the exposure compensation or, alternatively, by simply altering the images in post-production as they still retain image detail.
Images exhibit a good dynamic range, with both highlight and shadow detail maintained. As a result, images exhibit a pleasingly even and natural tone out of the camera.
On first inspection, the white balance on the Panasonic GF5 performs well. As well as offering an auto setting, the camera features a host of presets, manual adjustment and white balance bracketing, so all occasions are catered for. While the camera performed well in overcast and in even lighting, at times in harsher lighting images did exhibit a colder hue, although this is easily corrected in-camera.
As well as offering a range of pre-set colour styles, the GF5 offers full customisation of the colour palette at the capture stage, thus allowing for an impressive level of customisation of your images' hues. However, you can be safe in the knowledge that if you let the camera judge colours of its own accord images will display a pleasingly natural palette.
We utilised the 14-42mm powered kit lens for the purpose of this test and, on the whole, it exhibits a good level of sharpness. There is a slight drop-off towards the edges of the frame, although not so much as to merit any hefty criticism.
The GF5's 12.1MP Live MOS sensor is capable of capturing a good level of detail. Any softening when viewed at 100% magnification is, once again, easily corrected during the post-production stage and, on the whole, the sensor performs well.
As well as being supported by the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, the GF5 comes bundled with Silkypix software for editing of Raw files. The first thing that strikes you straight out of the camera is that the Raw files display much more warmth than the JPEGs, as well as a wider tonal range, and more detail in areas of shadow. Sharpness is generally comparable, although a wider range of detail is captured with Raw files, and thus the preference would be to shoot in Raw where possible.
The GF5 has a new high-ISO of 12,800. From ISO 160-400 there is very little noise. Noise appears at ISO 800, though is well controlled, as is ISO 1600. At 3200 fine detail begins to be lost but it's usable. ISO 6400 exhibits grain and smoothing of detail, and though the 12,800 copes well considering the sensor size, it's worth having for the most trying conditions.
Panasonic Lumix GF5 review - Verdict
While the GF5's improvements over its predecessor are minimal, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when you consider that the GF3 was an award-winning model. The GF5 continues to embody the true meaning of what it is to be a Compact System Camera, and is sure to appeal to many. It maintains its compact dimensions and consumer usability, while continuing to deliver with regards to both performance and an impressive level of image quality. If you're happy without a viewfinder, and don't mind the incremental advances on its predecessor, then the GF5 could well be the CSC for you.