Panasonic’s LUMIX G5 digital camera has all the controls and accoutrements you’d expect to find on a full-sized digital SLR — it’s got a big control dial and menu buttons on the rear, top-mounted shooting mode dial, a built-in pop-up flash, and more.
The feature that makes the LUMIX G5 stand out from smaller mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX GF5 and Canon PowerShot G15 is its integrated electronic viewfinder. It’s a small hump on the top of the camera, mimicking a digital SLR’s optical viewfinder, but it’s actually a tiny LCD screen with 1.44 million dots — when you move your face close to it, it powers up to give you a live view of the camera’s sensor, showing you exactly what your picture will look like.
Panasonic has designed the G5 so it’s as easy to hold as a digital SLR, only smaller. It’s still got the finger-grip bulge on its right-hand side, to make it easier to grip, and there’s a textured grip at the back for your right thumb to rest on.
You can use your other hand to operate the camera’s 3-inch touchscreen, which flips outwards on an articulating hinge, tilting upwards and downwards as well as in or out. The combination of movable screen and integrated electronic viewfinder means that when it comes to seeing what your pictures are going to look like, the G5 is one of the best cameras possible.
The LUMIX G5 can be bought on its own, without a camera lens, or it can be purchased with Panasonic’s 14-42mm zoom lens or 14-42mm + 40-150mm lens kits. It’s not the X Series Power Zoom kit lens that these photos show, though — although the Lumix G5 is certainly very compact with them attached.
Inside the camera is what’s important, and Panasonic has updated its LUMIX G Series cameras with a new sensor. The Live MOS sensor inside the LUMIX G5 is a 16-megapixel one, significantly improved from the 12-megapixel variant that the cameras have been using for years. This means better pictures no matter what light you’re in — and these pictures are detailed enough to rival any entry-level digital SLR camera.
All in all, the Panasonic LUMIX G5 has the body, and the brains, to handle all but the most serious photographic demands. It’s also got the advantage of being a lot smaller than you’d expect it to be. If you can’t decide whether you want a compact camera, a digital SLR, or a mirrorless model, the LUMIX G5 sits comfortably across all categories.