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The best Panasonic camera in 2021: from long zoom compacts to Lumix mirrorless

Best Panasonic camera
(Image credit: Panasonic)

When we're talking about the best Panasonic cameras, we're talking about a few different types. There's the mirrorless Lumix G cameras, which are arguably the most famous. Small and portable, with sophisticated 4K video features, these models are hugely popular with a range of photographers and filmmakers. Indeed, the Lumix GH5 is widely touted as one of the best consumer video cameras in recent years, and has been recently upgraded to the GH5 Mark II. Plus, we know there's a Lumix GH6 coming later this year!

The G-series cameras use Micro Four Thirds sensors, which are slightly smaller than the APS-C sensors in rival mirrorless cameras. While this may seem like a disadvantage, they make up for it with the fact that they can field smaller bodies and lenses, making the whole system more portable. Plus, there's also Panasonic's speciality – 4K video features. Many of Panasonic’s cameras are designed to be equally good at video as stills photography and some, like the aforementioned Lumix GH5 Mark II, are out and out video specialists. The Micro Four Thirds lenses can also be paired with the best Olympus cameras (and vice versa).

Lumix cameras also come in compact form, with fixed lenses. These include long-zoom travel cameras, bridge cameras and high-end compact cameras for enthusiasts. These are fantastic for those who prefer an all-in-one package, as opposed to the fuss and expense of swapping lenses. If you're a newbie, consider starting here. 

For the pros and enthusiast users, Panasonic has ventured successfully into the worlds of professional full-frame mirrorless cameras. Its Lumix S1 and Lumix S1R models, and the Lumix S1H cinema camera, have recently been joined by the Panasonic Lumix S5, which is arguably one of the best balances between features, performance and price that we've ever seen. It's certainly among the best mirrorless cameras you can buy right now. These cameras use L-mount lenses, in an alliance with Leica. 

We've divided up our guide into sections to make all this easier to navigate, Click the headings above to jump to Lumix G mirrorless, Lumix S mirrorless or compact cameras. Or, you can just scroll down as we count off the best Panasonic cameras you can buy right now!

The best Panasonic camera in 2021

Lumix G mirrorless

Panasonic’s Lumix G cameras come in two broad types. The ‘G’ models, like the Panasonic Lumix G9, have DSLR-style bodies with a viewfinder on the top and the ‘GX’ models have a smaller rectangular shape like old-fashioned ‘rangefinder’ cameras, and come with and without viewfinders, depending on price. The brand new G100 adds a third type – a micro-DSLR style camera with powerful vlogging features, a viewfinder and a vari-angle screen.

Best Panasonic camera: Panasonic Lumix G90/95

(Image credit: Panasonic)

1. Panasonic Lumix G90 / G95

The best Lumix G all round for features, versatility and price... for now

Specifications
Type: CSC
Sensor: Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Screen: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 2.1m dots
Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 2,360k dots
Lens: Micro Four Thirds
Continuous shooting speed: 9fps (6fps with AF)
Max video resolution: 4k
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Great build quality and handling+High-res electronic viewfinder +Fully articulated touchscreen
Reasons to avoid
-Quite big for a Micro Four Thirds camera-Feels expensive for what it is

The Panasonic Lumix G90 (G95 in the US) is a great stills and video camera for enthusiasts and vloggers. The handling and control layout are great, and the autofocus feels very snappy indeed. The only issue is the price. It's a good camera for stills photographers, video and vlogging, and Panasonic's underrated 4K Photo modes offer capabilities other cameras don't have. The Lumix G90/G95 isn't cheap, however, though it does have Panasonic's V-Log mode as standard rather than a paid for extra. It also has some strong competition from other Lumix models, so keep reading to see other Panasonic Lumix alternatives. The Lumix G9 is (below) is especially good for experts and videographers, while the new G100 could prove to offer almost everything the G90/G95 does but in a smaller, cheaper and more user-friendly camera. We can't wait to try one!

Read more: Panasonic Lumix G90/G95 review

Best Panasonic cameras: Panasonic Lumix G100

(Image credit: Panasonic)

2. Panasonic Lumix G100

Panasonic's new vlogging camera is good at stills too

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3
Lens mount: MFT
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Beginner/enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Quality video and stills+Audio-recording capabilities
Reasons to avoid
-No in-body stabilization-No headphone jack or USB-C port

Vloggers and creatives more broadly will enjoy the simplicity of the Lumix G100. It makes it easy to capture high-quality video and stills with its approachable button layout. Even people uninterested in the technicalities of capturing great-looking videos will be able to get results with this camera. There’s an inherent risk of dumbing things down too much when creating a camera for social media creatives, but Panasonic has avoided that pitfall with the Lumix G100. By giving it a decent viewfinder and “proper camera” ergonomics, Panasonic has given the G100 an edge in a highly competitive market. This is a great camera to start with if you're more interested in vlogging than regular photography – or both!

Read more: Panasonic Lumix G100 review

Panasonic Lumix GX80

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3. Panasonic Lumix GX80 / 85

A great pocket-friendly entry-level Lumix G that also has a viewfinder

Specifications
Type: CSC
Sensor: Four Thirds
Megapixels: 16.0MP
Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch
Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,765k
Lens: Micro Four Thirds
Continuous shooting speed: 8fps (40fps elec shutter)
Max video resolution: 4k
User level: Intermediate
Reasons to buy
+Compact yet has an electronic viewfinder+Advanced features but good value+8fps continuous shooting
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively modest 16MP sensor

Incredible value for money, with or without its smart little 12-32mm kit zoom lens, the  Panasonic Lumix GX80  /  G85 shoehorns a host of high-tech features into its diminutive, compact-style build. These include 5-axis image stabilization, Light Speed AF, Post Focus and 4K ultra-high definition for both video and rapid-fire stills, as featured in Panasonic’s top-end cameras. There’s also a high-res electronic viewfinder built into the back of the camera, along with a tilting touchscreen. If you want a camera that goes large on features and performance, but with a small build and price tag, this is an ideal choice. It's a great camera for travel, and its price makes it great for beginners, too. 

Best Panasonic cameras: Panasonic Lumix GH5 II

(Image credit: Panasonic)

4. Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II

One of the best consumer video cameras ever made gets a refresh

Specifications
Type: CSC
Sensor: Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Screen: 3-in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,840k dots
Viewfinder: Electronic, 3,680k
Lens: Micro Four Thirds
Continuous shooting speed: 12fps
Max video resolution: C4K/4K UHD up to 60p
User level: Professional/Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Includes V-Log L profile+Excellent 6.5-stop stabilisation+Wireless streaming support
Reasons to avoid
-Minimal upgrade on GH5

The original Panasonic Lumix GH5 was pretty widely regarded as one of the best consumer video cameras you could buy, so it makes sense that the Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II wouldn't mess too much with that formula. In fact, this is a very minor refresh all around, but the video features it does add make it definitely worth considering for those who produce video content. The new stabilisation system provides up to 6.5EV steps of compensation, which is hugely handy (while not everyone likes the smaller Four Thirds sensors, they are easier to stabilise). It also now has live-streaming capabilities, and the video autofocus functions very well. Those who already own a Lumix GH5 or GH5S probably don't need to upgrade, but if you're looking for a new mirrorless filmmaking camera, this is a fantastic buy. It's also no slouch with stills either!

Best Panasonic camera: Panasonic Lumix GX9

(Image credit: Panasonic)

5. Panasonic Lumix GX9

A compact but powerful camera designed for enthusiasts

Specifications
Type: CSC
Sensor: Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,340k tilt touch
Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,760k tilt
Lens: Micro Four Thirds
Continuous shooting speed: 9fps
Max video resolution: 4k
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Tilting viewfinder and touchscreen+High 20.3MP count for MFT+Hybrid stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Less easy to handle than DSLR-style models

If you want a smaller and more portable camera than Panasonic's DSLR style models, but you don’t want to compromise on features and technology, the GX9 is the answer! Its slender body features a high-res electronic viewfinder built into the back, rather than having a chunkier DSLR-style design. Good for shooting from any angle, the viewfinder and rear screen both have a tilt facility. And while small in build, the GX9 goes large on the inside, with a newly developed 20.3MP sensor that gives you the same resolution as the G90/G95 and Lumix G9, but in a much smaller camera. Other attractions include 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization and 4K capture for both video and rapid-fire photos. The GX9 is ideal for travel and for use with Panasonic's smaller lenses.

Read more: Panasonic GX9 review

Lumix S mirrorless

Announced in 2018 and on sale from the spring of 2019, the new full frame mirrorless Lumix S models are designed for experts and professionals. Currently there are three models to choose from, but which one is the best buy? We've left out the Lumix S1H because that's a specialized cinema that's a little too high-end for this guide, but that still leaves two to choose from…

Best Panasonic cameras: Panasonic Lumix S5

(Image credit: Panasonic)

6. Panasonic Lumix S5

Panasonic's new compact mirrorless camera is just stunning

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots
Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,360k dots
Lens: L-mount
Continuous shooting speed: 7fps
Video: Uncropped 4K UHD up to 60/50p
User level: Intermediate/expert
Reasons to buy
+Best in-class video performance+Magnesium frame and vari-angle screen+Dual SD card slots
Reasons to avoid
-HDMI port not full-size-Only contrast AF

Despite its compact size, the Lumix S5 shares the impressive 24MP CMOS sensor housed in the Lumix S1, but with improved AF. It also has a tough weather-resistant body and delivers up to 6.5-stops of image stabilisation with compatible lenses. Its standout features include class-leading dynamic range and 4K video recording, as well as 96MP high resolution RAW+JPEG capture. It’s tough to beat in this category. The Lumix S5 is smaller than the Lumix S1 and S1R before it, and cheaper too. It matches the Lumix S1 for stills and beats it for video, coming close to the capabilities of the far more expensive Lumix S1H. What a camera!

Read more: Panasonic Lumix S5 review

Best Panasonic camera: Panasonic LUMIX S1R

(Image credit: Panasonic)

7. Panasonic Lumix S1R

It’s the highest-resolution full frame mirrorless camera yet!

Specifications
Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame
Megapixels: 47.3MP
Screen: 3.2-inch, 2,100k
Viewfinder: Electronic, 5,760k
Lens: L-mount
Continuous shooting speed: 9fps
Max video resolution: 4k
User level: Expert/professional
Reasons to buy
+Huge resolution+Excellent build and controls+High-end 4K video
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy and expensive

If you need top-quality stills photography, the Lumix S1R is worth the extra over the Lumix S1. It costs substantially more, but it has almost twice the resolution. Both are pretty big, hefty cameras, though, and the same goes for the L-mount lenses we’ve seen so far from Panasonic and Sigma (also part of the new L-mount alliance, along with Leica). If you need to travel light and shoot stills and video equally, the smaller format Lumix GH5 or Lumix G9 models (above) might be a better choice. A firmware update in November 2019 has made this camera's XQD memory card slot compatible with the latest CFexpress memory cards, so Panasonic is ahead of the curve here.

Panasonic Lumix S1R review

Lumix compacts

Are you looking for a small but versatile travel camera for the whole family to use, a powerful supertelephoto bridge camera or an advanced compact camera for when you need to leave your main camera at home? Panasonic has all three...

Best Panasonic camera: Lumix TZ90

(Image credit: Panasonic)

8. Panasonic Lumix TZ90 / ZS70

A brilliant but affordable travel camera with a generous zoom

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor: 1/2.3-type
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch
Viewfinder: Electronic, 1,166k
Lens: 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 (effective)
Continuous shooting speed: 10fps (4k 30fps)
Max video resolution: 4k
User level: Intermediate
Reasons to buy
+Typically big ‘TZ’ zoom range+Smart selfie mode
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively small 1/2.3-type image sensor-Small grip area

Sensibly priced but rich in features, the Panasonic Lumix TZ90 compact camera has a smaller sensor but a 30x zoom lens with a more generous range than the 10x or 15x zooms in the pricier Lumix TZ100 and TZ200 models. The effective 24-720mm focal length range of the Leica lens takes you all the way from generously wide-angle coverage to extreme super-telephoto, while fully retracting into the camera for pocketable stowage. And despite its super-slimline dimensions, there’s an electronic viewfinder as well as a tilting touchscreen around the back that can go through a full 180 degrees for those essential travel selfies!

Best Panasonic camera: Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000

(Image credit: Panasonic)

9. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

A great bridge camera with a powerful zoom and a 1-inch sensor

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor: 1.0-type
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Screen: 3.0-inch, 921k pivot
Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,539k
Lens: 25-400mm f/2.8-8 (effective)
Continuous shooting speed: 12/50fps (4k 30fps)
Max video resolution: 4k
User level: Intermediate
Reasons to buy
+25-400mm effective zoom range+5-axis Hybrid OIS
Reasons to avoid
-Less telephoto reach than the FZ330-No touchscreen

More sensibly priced than Panasonic’s range-topping FZ2000 bridge camera, this one is also a better option than the cheaper FZ330 because it has a physically larger image sensor with a higher megapixel count of 20.1MP instead of just 12.1MP. It doesn’t stretch so far into super-telephoto territory, but still delivers an effective zoom range of 25-400mm from its Leica lens. Light Speed AF helps to track fast-moving action, and 5-axis hybrid optical image stabilization helps to keep things steady. 4K video capture is available and the maximum continuous speed for stills is 12fps or 50fps, when using the mechanical or electronic shutter respectively.

Best Panasonic camera: Panasonic Lumix LX15

(Image credit: Panasonic)

10. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 / 10

Our favourite Panasonic compact camera for enthusiasts

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor: 1.0-type
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch
Viewfinder: None
Lens: 24-72mm f/1.4-2.8 (effective)
Continuous shooting speed: 10/50fps (4k 30fps)
Max video resolution: 4k
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+Relatively large 1.0-type sensor+Good zoom lens
Reasons to avoid
-No viewfinder-260-shot battery life

There are currently two ‘LX’ cameras in Panasonic’s premium range of compact cameras. Both are very attractive propositions; the LX100 Mark II combines a Micro Four Thirds format image sensor with a Leica zoom lens. For value, however, we prefer the Panasonic Lumix LX15. This camera has a smaller 1.0-type image sensor and a Leica Summilux zoom lens with an ‘effective’ 24-72mm focal length range, in full-frame terms. The camera is wonderfully compact yet packs some seriously powerful features, including Light Speed AF, hybrid stabilization, and 4K definition for both video and bursts of stills at 30fps.

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