Panasonic want the G5 to rival the current crop of mid-price DSLRs. Does it deliver enough? We find out in the What Digital Camera Panasonic G5 review
Panasonic G5 review – Image Quality
Tone and Exposure
In use, the G5’s 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system works well. We tested the metering under a broad range of lighting conditions, from bright daylight to artificial light and the camera delivered consistently faithful results. Even in high-contrast images, the G5 did a very good job of metering the scene.
If you’re going to be shooting high-contrast scenes often, the camera’s iDynamic mode should help retain detail in the highlights and shadows, with three settings (Low, Standard and High) to choose from, as well as an Off mode. There’s a noticeable shift in the detail retained as you increase the strength, but this naturally means the image can end up looking a little flat when shot with the High setting.
On top of that there’s an HDR mode, which takes three shots in quick succession before merging them together for produce a final, single image. As with the iDynamic mode, there’s a noticeable increase in shadow and highlight detail, though as before, this does come at the cost of contrast, with the image looking a touch flat.
White Balance and Colour
Most of our test shots saw the camera set to Auto White Balance, and we found that the G5 delivered pleasing results when subjected to a range of different light sources. If anything, we’d like to see them a bit more saturated for some scenes, but this can either be corrected in post-processing or adjusted by selecting one of the different Photo Styles on offer. As well as Standard, there are Vivid, Natural, Mono, Scenery, Portrait or Custom options.
Sharpness and Detail
We captured images with a broad selection of lenses, including the excellent Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4 ASPH and the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH. When married with these lenses, the 16.05MP sensor is capable of delivering really sharp results with plenty of detail. However, if you’re not going to be splashing out on some of the pricier optics in the Micro Four Thirds lens line-up, the good news is that the more affordable optics are also capable.
Both the bundled Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. kit lens or the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH POWER O.I.S. lens also offered as part of a kit are good performers, though they benefit from being stopped down a little from their maximum aperture for improved sharpness.
With a newly designed 16.05MP sensor, the G5 delivers a sound ISO performance. Results up to ISO 800 appear clean with no apparent signs of image noise, with good levels of detail. Increase the sensitivity above that and image noise becomes more noticeable, though in-camera processing has done a pretty good job of keeping it under control. This has come at the expensive of ultimate sharpness, with results looking a touch waxy in some cases. It’s not quite a match for an APS-C based DSLR or Compact System Camera at higher sensitivities, but still puts in a very capable performance.