Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G6 - First Impressions

Since 2008 Panasonic have been producing Digital Single Lens Mirrorless cameras, offering the high performance that a digital SLR can give, but in an incredibly compact size. Following the recent announcement of the LUMIX GF6, Panasonic have today launched the LUMIX G6.

With the G6, Panasonic have looked to raise the bar in both image quality and usability over the popular G5. In terms of the image sensor, they have kept the 16.05MO Live MOS sensor, but have coupled it with a new powerful Venus engine and improved the ISO range from 160 ISO all the way up to 25,600 ISO (extended). This should enable photographers to continue taking great quality shots, even in situations where the available light is poor.

When shooting in low light situations, on some cameras you’ll find that the autofocus struggles or can be slow. With the G6, Panasonic have improved this with their ‘Accurate AF’ and ‘Low Light AF’ and also feature a range of other AF modes including AF tracking whereby the camera will lock onto any subject event it if moves. In addition to this, Panasonic have improved the burst speed to help those photographers get the perfect action shot for sports or wildlife, increasing the frames per second to 7 (as opposed to 6 on the G5) and up to 5 with AF tracking (the G5 has 3.7).

Of course, in the world of digital photography today, users want to be able to take high quality movies, and the G6 is no different. Recording in Full-HD 60p/50p, producing professional movie quality with minimal noise is no problem. Panasonic have added a 24p video mode to the G6 to give you a dedicated ‘film like’ appearance. Recording high quality sound should also not be a problem, and you can in fact adjust the mic levels within the camera. For situations where the built-in mic might not be good enough, the G6 features a 3.5mm terminal where you can add an external microphone such as the optional DMW-MS2.

In terms of the usability of the camera, the G6 has kept with the 3.0” free-angle LCD screen, although they have increased the resolution slightly and changed the technology behind to make it more accurate compared to previous models.

However, a noticeable difference over the G5 is that the G6 features cablefree connectivity introducing Wi-Fi and Near Field Communications (NFC). This will offer users of the G5 a much more flexible shooting experience, and is easy to operate once you’ve set it up with your smartphone or tablet. It certainly makes sense including this technology within the camera, as 10% of all phones in 2012 including NFC, and this is expected to treble in 2013. This is technology that can already be found in other Panasonic cameras as well, including the recently announced GF6 and compact TZ40. If you don’t have a device that includes NFC technology (such as an Apple iPhone or iPad) you can still use the Panasonic Image App for Android or iOS to share images or control the camera using Wi-Fi. The setup process is quick and only needs to be done once to pair the devices.

Announced alongside the G6 was a new 14-140mm lens. Compared to the old version, this lens delivers high quality results, particularly when shooting HD video. When using the lens you’ll also find that the AF speed is a faction faster, and it enables the higher level of AF tracking when used on either the G5 or G6. This lens also shorter and lighter than its predecessor and the lens barrel is constructed from metal compared to a resin. Full details on this lens can be seen at www.ParkCameras.com.

We haven’t been able to get our hands on the G6 as yet, but it certainly looks like a great addition to Panasonics award-wining line-up of cameras. The fast response times, compact size and the innovative NFC technology, make this a compelling choice for those moving up from a compact camera or looking for their first system camera.

Park Verdict
A versatile, high quality camera with easy to use touch screen operation and one-touch picture sharing.

We Love
♥ Lightweight, compact design can be taken anywhere
♥ Tilting touchscreen LCD display aids composition and makes operation easy
♥ Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology for easy image sharing

Andy Steel
Park Cameras Ltd.

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