Panasonic G6 review: although the Lumix G6 uses the same 16.05MP sensor as the G5, the Panasonic G6 brings a more powerful Venus Engine and an improved touchscreen and electronic viewfinder.
Panasonic has used a mini-DSLR style for the Panasonic Lumix G6, and unlike many compact system cameras, it has a viewfinder built in – though the mirrorless design naturally means that this is an electronic device.
Here our head of testing takes a look at what this new Lumix camera has to offer in her Panasonic G6 review video.
Panasonic G6 Review Video Transcript
I’m Angela Nicholson, head of testing for Future Publishing’s photography portfolio and in this video I’m going to be looking at the Panasonic G6.
G5 owners will spot that the G6 looks a little bit different from their camera. The hump over the viewfinder, for example, is a little less pronounced, the controls on the back are black rather than silver and the surface of the camera has a slightly different texture. These things combine to make the G6 look a bit more serious than the G5.
Panasonic has added a couple of extra function buttons to the G6 bring the total count to 7 with 5 being physical and 2 on-screen. The default purpose of the function buttons is written next to them, and on the most part they work well, but it can be helpful to make the odd change here and there depending upon how you like to work.
I like to use Function button 3 to access the flash exposure controls for instance.
Panasonic has made it really easy to customise the function buttons, just find the option in the menu to reveal this screen and tap to see what customisation options are available and make any changes that you want.
This Function Lever on the top of the camera is really useful for changing the exposure compensation value or adjusting the focal length of a powerzoom lens, but if you hand the camera to a novice to take a shot they’ll make a beeline for it and alter the exposure before you’ve had a chance to tell them where the shutter release is.
As you’ve probably noticed, the G6 has a 3-inch touchscreen mounted on an articulating hinge. Unlike the G5′s screen, this is electrostatic so it responds to a touch of a finger rather than a press and as a result it’s noticeably more responsive.
It also provides a nice clear view in all but the very brightest direct light and the hinge means it’s really helpful when you want to shoot from very high or low angles.
It’s useful to be able to set the focus point with a touch of the finger on the screen and if you want, there’s Touch Shutter mode in which the camera is triggered to focus the lens and fire the shutter by touching the screen.
I also really like the TouchPad AF mode which allows you to shoot with the camera held to the eye, but set the focus point with your finger on the screen. I use my left eye so I tend to swing the LCD out to the side to avoid setting the AF point with my nose.
As the G6 is a mirrorless or compact system camera it has an electronic viewfinder and, although it has a faint grid-like texture, this OLED finder works very well. It displays plenty of detail and the colour and exposure match those of the final image pretty closely.
Another knock-on effect of the G6 being a compact system camera or CSC is that it relies on contrast detection for autofocusing. This is an area that Panasonic has been working on and I’m impressed by how fast the G6 can get subjects sharp, even in quite low light.
It also manages to keep up with moving subjects pretty well, even when shooting at 7 frames per second.
Panasonic has used the same 16 million effective pixel sensor in the G6 as it has in the G5 and our lab tests reveal that the two cameras produce raw files with very similar noise and dynamic range levels. However, at ISO 800 and above the G6 manages to resolve a bit more detail.
The G6′s multi-zone metering system performs very well in a range of conditions, as does it automatic white balance system and the camera produces high quality images with plenty of detail at the lower sensitivity settings. Naturally there’s some loss of detail at the higher sensitivity settings and images taken in low light at ISO 6400 or above are probably best kept below A3 size when printing.
Video quality is also high and if you use the Creative Movie mode, which is selected via the mode dial, then you can even set the aperture and shutter speed while shooting – though you’ll need to connect an external mic to avoid recording the sounds of making settings adjustments.
When continuous autofocusing is selected during video recording the camera brings the subject smoothly into focus in most situations, but there’s sometimes a little forwards and backwards adjustments.
All things considered, I think the G6 is a great compact system camera, it’s got a high quality viewfinder and Wi-Fi communication built-in, a variangle touch-screen, allows plenty of control over images and produces great results.