In a competitive field where many manufacturers are focusing the bulk of their research and development budgets, it takes a real gem of a camera to stand out. In scooping our consumer Compact System Camera award last year, the Panasonic GF3 affirmed its status as one such model and indeed one of the most desirable on the market.

The GF5, despite skipping a logical numerical step, is its successor and as such the model that’s tasked with filling its shoes. It arrives with several tweaks, although more fine-tuned than completely overhauled, but the question is – is it a worthy successor to its award-winning predecessor?

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Panasonic Lumix GF5

Overall score:89%
Image Quality:90%


  • Compact size, impressive screen, good touchscreen implementation, general image quality


  • Lack of viewfinder or accessory compatibility, incremental advances on its predecessor, a few build quality issues


Panasonic Lumix GF5 Review


Price as reviewed:


Performance and Value

Panasonic Lumix GF5 review – Performance and Value

As mentioned previously, the Panasonic GF5 retains the same touchscreen technology as that found on its predecessor, and this is certainly a good thing. Almost all of the camera’s functionality is accessible through this screen, via a few swipes of the fingers in the relevant areas, as well as a host of functionality designed specifically for touchscreen users.

The GF5 offers touchscreen selection of the camera’s AF points, touchscreen shutter release and even touchscreen control of the camera’s zoom (when using the powered 14-42mm lens). There’s no doubt that as touchscreen technology becomes more prevalent in consumer electronic devices, as well as everyday life, effective implementation will also become expected on consumer digital cameras, and this is certainly the case with the Panasonic GF5.

The good news regarding the GF5’s claims about its focus performance is that it largely matches them in use. Focusing speeds, even in situations of demanding lighting, are fast enough so as you barely notice the camera is indeed focusing.This is particularly pleasing if using the camera in its continuous AF setting as it allows the camera to be moved between subjects and maintain an accurate focus almost in real time.

While on the subject of accuracy, it’s worth noting that the GF5 also performs well on this front. In most conditions it manages to correctly locate the desired subject and capture a well-focused image, with the contrast-detect AF system only really starting to struggle in low-light conditions.

There are a host of focus modes on offer, with the model’s manual focus setting being particularly worthy of note. When shooting with the camera set to manual focus, a 100% preview appears on the screen, which can be moved around the frame, allowing for simple and accurate manual focus.

The quoted continuous shooting rate of four frames per second is also respectable, although it does arrive with certain caveats. If you’re looking to continuously shoot Raw files, you’ll only be able to capture four images before the buffer fills and the rate is greatly slowed. However if you stick to just JPEGS, and have a fast enough memory card, you’ll be able to shoot until the memory card is full.

If you’re looking to purchase this camera with a view to only ever using it in iA mode, you’ll be pleased to hear that the camera performs well in this regard. More often than not it succeeds in picking the right settings for a certain scene, and thus achieves good results. The same can be said of the model’s Creative Filter effects. While the effects might not be to everyone’s taste, there’s no doubt that they deliver results akin to their descriptions and, as can be seen with the popularity of services such as Instagram, are bound to appeal to a certain market.

The Panasonic GF5 is currently available at around the £600 mark, including the 14-42mm powered kit lens. This places it towards the more affordable end of the CSC market, although some £250 above the current street price of its predecessor in a similar lens and body kit.

Although on the face of it the improvements over the GF3 aren’t particularly numerous, the doubling of LCD screen resolution, along with new higher ISO setting, dual video recording modes and other tweaks, are certainly enough to make potential purchasers consider the upgrade.

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Performance and Value
  3. 3. Image Quality and Verdict
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