The Lumix G5, Panasonic's new Micro Four Thirds camera, was leaked yesterday and officially announced today — we headed over to the Getty Images Gallery in London for a closer look. The G5 is being billed as a companion rather than a replacement for the older G3, adding a 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor with a new Venus chipset. Maximum ISO has been boosted to 12,800, useful for low-light situations, and the continuous shooting rate now tops out at six frames per second.
In terms of video capture, the G5 offers MP4 as well as Panasonic's usual AVCHD format, but the latter still provides higher quality, offering a bit rate of 28 Mbps at 1080p and 60 frames per second. Software-wise, Panasonic has made some minor changes to the way the camera stores files, grouping MP4 clips with stills for easier access, and has added a new "Touchpad AF" feature, allowing users to adjust the autofocus area via the touchscreen.
The screen itself is impressive, offering 920,000 dots to the G3's 460,000. As with previous models, it's fully hinged and capable of 360-degree vertical rotation, automatically adjusting to backward or forward placement. Perhaps most importantly, it snaps into the body tightly and firmly, contributing to an overall feel of solidity. As a unit, the G5 is comfortable to hold and use, with a nice, rubbery grip and well-placed shutter button.
Ultimately, ergonomics is the G5's biggest selling point — it's compact and well-built, capable of slotting easily into most bags while delivering some pretty serious performance. At a reported US price of $799 with the standard 14-42mm zoom lens, it's hardly cheap, and is unlikely to convince many G3 users to upgrade. But if you're a first-time buyer looking for mid- to high-range performance in a small package, it could just hit the spot.
Zenonas Kyprianou contributed to this hands-on.