Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 review

26 Sep 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Page 2 of 2Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 review

Impressively small and light, but the slim lens raises the price too much for what is ultimately a point-and-shoot camera


17.3x13mm 12.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (28-84mm equivalent), 362g

Autofocus performance was extremely quick. This is one area where Panasonic still holds a comfortable lead over Sony's NEX cameras. Rapid-fire shooting in the Single drive mode started enthusiastically, providing just 0.6 seconds between shots, but the camera couldn't save them as fast is it captured them. After four frames, it slowed to 1.8 seconds between shots. Continuous shooting started at 4.1fps, but slowed to 2.1fps after 13 frames. That's respectable, but the Sony NEX-F3 was a little faster.

CSCs usually excel for low noise thanks to their large sensors, but the GF5 is lagging behind the pack for noise performance. The Panasonic DMC-GX1 exhibited less noise, despite its higher resolution, and Sony's NEX cameras exhibited far less.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 sample shot

Heavy noise reduction makes these indoor skin textures look like they're out of focus - click to enlarge

This had obvious implications when shooting in low light, with a distinct lack of fine details at ISO 1600 and some ugly noise-reduction artefacts at ISO 3200 and above. However, it was impossible to escape the clutches of noise reduction, even in brightly lit scenes, with a smudged appearance to fine details even at the slowest ISO 160 setting. We have no qualms about the relatively modest 12-megapixel resolution of this sensor, but it really should be managing lower noise than this. Panasonic made the wrong decision by not including the GX1's sensor here.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 sample shot

Noise can be an issue even in bright light, with noise-reduction processing glossing over details – note how much more shadow detail we were able to get from the raw file - click to enlarge

The GF5 is expensive, but comparisons with the Sony NEX-F3 are fairer when the GF5’s paired with its bulkier zoom lens. This puts both cameras on a level playing field for both size and price. Then again, the GF5's compactness is, for us, its strongest attribute. With the bulkier lens, it fails to stand out. Those who want an entry-level CSC should go for the Sony NEX-F3, while those who simply want a high-quality, truly compact camera are better off with the excellent Panasonic Lumix DMC- LX7.

Basic Specifications

Rating ***
CCD effective megapixels 12.0 megapixels
CCD size 17.3x13mm
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 920,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-84mm
Image stabilisation optical, in kit lens
Maximum image resolution 4,000x3,000
File formats JPEG, RAW; AVCHD, MPEG-4


Memory slot SDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 330 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
Body material plastic
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier 2.0x
Kit lens model name LUMIX G X VARIO PZ 14-42mm (H-PS14042)
Accessories USB cable
Weight 362g
Size 67x108x65mm

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £519

Camera Controls

Exposure modes program, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed 60 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture range f/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-22 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 160 to 12800
Exposure compensation +/-3 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, i.Dynamic, i.Resolution, Shading Comp, colour space
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 20cm
Auto-focus modes multi, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket

Page 2 of 2Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 review