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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 review

Tim Smalley
28 Jun 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
439
inc VAT

The Lumix DMC-G10 is very fast and takes great photos, but it has the familiar traits of a camera built to a cost. If video isn’t important, the DMC-G1 is a better buy.

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Specifications

17.3x13mm 12.1-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (28-84mm equivalent), 558g

So-called hybrid cameras are the talk of the town at the moment as they’re designed to give users the best of both worlds. They promise the image quality and flexibility of a DSLR with similar controls and handling, but in a much more compact body.

Panasonic was the first company to release such a camera, the Lumix DMC-G1, after working with Olympus to develop the Micro Four Thirds lens mount. Thus far, they’ve been quite expensive with the Olympus E-PL1 and Samsung NX10 the most keenly priced at around £500 for a standard kit. The Lumix DMC-G10 is £50 cheaper, but still competes head on with these and a raft of very good low-cost DSLRs.

Like its predecessors, the G10 resembles a DSLR at first glance, but it’s quite a bit smaller – and thinner – because there’s no mirror mechanism between lens and sensor. The body is well sculpted and is covered in a subtly rubberised matte coating which looks and feels nice.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 (front)

To add to that pleasure, the hand grip fits comfortably with almost all controls within reach for one-handed operation. The buttons feel positive and precise, but there are a couple of changes we’d make to the layout. The LVF/LCD switch, which is on the left hand side above the 3in 460,000-dot LCD and switches between the rear screen and live electronic viewfinder, could be better-positioned. However, we weren’t that impressed with the electronic viewfinder’s meagre 202,000-dot resolution and found ourselves relying on the LCD screen in all but the brightest shooting conditions, making button placement less of an issue. The playback button is also in a slightly strange position, but it’s easy enough to get used to.

The G10 has a 12.1-megapixel Live MOS Four Thirds sensor and is combined with an upgraded Venus Engine HD II processor. The combination gives an expanded sensitivity of ISO 100 to 6400 and support for 720p HD video recording, which was missing from the original Lumix G1.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 (top)

It records HD video at 1,280x720 at 30fps in the Motion JPEG format, which isn’t particularly efficient, but the quality is good and the available My Colour digital effect filters are useful if you want to be more creative. Image quality in still photographs was also pleasing, with generally good exposure control, vibrant colours and good centre sharpness.

It’s also a very quick camera, almost as quick as an SLR, despite using a contrast-detect auto-focus system. The weaknesses of this type of AF system do become apparent in poorly-lit environments, where it starts to search a bit, but it behaved well in all other scenarios.

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