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Panasonic Lumix G6 - Design & Performance

By Paul Nuttall

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Panasonic Lumix G6

Summary

Our Score:

9

Panasonic Lumix G6 – Design

As has been the case previously with the G series of Panasonic Cameras, the Lumix G6 looks and feels like a DSLR, as opposed to the more 'compact' strand of CSCs. Despite this similarity, however, the G6 is still noticeably smaller than most DSLRs.

One of the features that hints at this DSLR-esque appearance is a pronounced and sculpted handgrip that allows for a solid and comfortable hold on the camera when shooting.

Although the Lumix G6 has a touchscreen, it’s not left wanting for physical controls. As well as buttons for ISO, AF, White Balance and Drive modes, the Panasonic Lumix G6 features five customisable 'Fn' buttons that users can assign a mode to from a selection of over 30.

Where the Panasonic Lumix G5 has an aluminium front panel, the G6 has instead reverted to matt plastic. Unfortunately this means the G6 lacks the same tactile and quality feel, and can feel a touch plasticky in certain areas.

As well as a command dial on the rear of the camera, there's a function lever located behind the shutter button that offers control over other settings that you might wish to modify while shooting.

Panasonic Lumix G6 – Performance

The Lumix G6, in general, offers a good level of performance. It’s fast. The headline continuous shooting speed of 7fps is generally attainable, although when shooting in Raw this is limited to just 8 frames before the buffers fills and the shooting slows. If you're happy just shooting JPEG, this is extended to some 20 frames, which is in keeping with rival cameras.

As mentioned previously, the Lumix G6 has Panasonic's Light Speed AF technology that promises some impressive focusing speeds. With the camera set to Single AF, focusing speeds are impressive, shifting between opposing ends of the focus scale in an instant. The only time it really struggles is in dimly lit shooting scenes.

One of the other focus settings is '1-Area AF' – this allows you to choose between four preset sized focusing areas that can be placed anywhere around the frame using the touchscreen on the rear of the G6, and proves useful in a range of situation.

The Panasonic Lumix G6's ‘Continuous AF’ and ‘AF Tracking’ settings offer varying levels of success, although so long as the subject isn't moving too fast through the frame performance is acceptable.

One particularly impressive area of the Lumix G6's performance is the LCD screen. The vari-angle construction means that it's possible to shoot from almost any angle, as opposed to the restricted range seen in some other models.

A slight gripe with the screen is with the 3:2 aspect ratio. While this works well when capturing video, it's out on sync with the sensor's 4:3 native ratio, and as such it results in black space either side of the image when capturing stills.

You’ll soon dismiss any misgivings with the aspect ratio, however, once you use the capacitive touchscreen. It’s particularly responsive, only requiring light touches to operate, while the range of behaviours required are instantly familiar to either smartphone or tablet users.

If the LCD screen isn't to your liking and you instead favour a viewfinder, then you'll be pleased to know that the EVF on the G6 performs well. The 100% coverage is welcome, refresh rates appear quick and in general it copes well in bright sunlight.

The EVF does on occasion struggle to match the dynamic range of the sensor, displaying burnt highlights when the detail is actually captured, although on the whole it performs well.

To fully utilise the wireless capabilities of the Lumix G6, you'll have to install the Panasonic Image App on either your smartphone or tablet – Android and iOS supported. Once installed, the app is simple to get up and running and connected with the camera, and before you know it you can be controlling the camera and transferring images from it to your mobile device.

Bugblatter

May 24, 2013, 10:32 pm

Wi-fi but no Miracast? Missed opportunity; great way to show photos on the TV.

DarthDave

May 24, 2013, 11:43 pm

I've been trying to decide between this and the Sony A65 as a back-up/B-camera for short films. Purely judged in terms of video performance, which is better and offers more flexibility and control over the image and sound? Is there anything about the A65 which outweighs the larger, cheaper range of lenses you can get for the Panasonic? Does the larger Sony sensor have a significant impact in video mode? (And on a side note, which takes better stills?) Thanks.

Andy H.

May 25, 2013, 10:19 pm

Video quality is significantly better on here compared to the A65. A65 is somewhat soft for video. I owned the A65 for a while, I'm pretty sure it didn't have manual audio control, which adds favor to this one.

The advantage of the bigger sensor on A65 means narrower depth of field. There might be better dynamic range for video, but I'm not sure. All lenses get image stabilization, though for video it is digital rather than physical. There are a number of inexpensive Minolta lenses which are nice and which work very well on the A65.

All in all, this camera is a lot more appealing for video, though A65 is decent as well.

jeffharris

May 25, 2013, 10:42 pm

The G6 has a mini-HDMI port. The same port works well when I connect my GH2 to an HDTV.

Brian

May 26, 2013, 11:02 am

This review is almost identical to the review on whatdigitalcamera.com, which was published two days earlier. Is there a licensing agreement between your two sites, or is this just a blatant copy?

Bugblatter

May 26, 2013, 12:02 pm

It's far more convenient having the camera in your hands and sending
the images wirelessly. Otherwise you either need a long lead or you have
to sit in front of the TV. You probably have to rummage around behind
the TV to plug it in too. I've done both with my S3 and Miracast is far
less hassle.

ronnbot

May 27, 2013, 4:26 am

My tv has no wifi, but has secondary inputs on the side, so using an hdmi is better, especially there's no compression or latency typically associsted with sharing/mirroring via wifi.

andyvan

May 27, 2013, 7:03 am

What Digital Camera is a sister title of ours. They sit across the hall from us and provide us with camera reviews.

DarthDave

May 27, 2013, 2:35 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your experience. That was a big help!

Bugblatter

May 28, 2013, 6:34 am

I've plugged a PTV3000 into my TV. No noticeable compression and a tiny amount of lag. A little too much lag for action games but no problem for viewing photos. Miracast may be small now but will become far more ubiquitous during the lifetime of this camera.

philip alexander

May 29, 2013, 11:53 pm

I'm looking for a camera to make short films with and to generally record stuff. Would this be a better option than cameras like the 60D and the T4i and those types of cameras? Thanks

Kevin Leigh

September 4, 2013, 8:02 am

What's your view on the G6 over the new GX7 for a keen amateur who shoots in jpeg, wants low light ability & quick focusing, and often relies on the full auto mode for ease of shooting to concentrate on the picture itself?
Both cameras seem to offer similar features. The obvious difference I read is that tilt-screen at the back of the G7 does not twist as well but it appears to have a better electronic viewfinder (almost double the pixels). Anything else of real-world importance?

Pete McGete

September 20, 2013, 9:40 pm

I just have to answer this. Why would you persist in mentioning this miraculous Miracast as the future of camera to TV connection, and making that "fact" reason to bash on the G6 not getting this "obviously awesome" feature?
I research video gear and cameras on a daily basis - the amateur way via web browsing - and have never ever come across an audience for TV connectivity, other than clean HDMI live output from cameras, or just mini-HDMI ports for easy sharing whenever that would be needed. Lets face it, as soon as you've got a so called smart TV, you get an USB input with it, which you can use a SD adapter with, or just a SD input straight into the TV. No lag, 10 second setup maximum, and 100% reliable.
Zeriouzly...

mAVruik

September 23, 2013, 11:40 pm

There is an Imaging app used to control shooting. Add more features for that app for playboard control, hook in your camera via HDMI, sit in your sofa and use ur phone to control the play!!! Sounds interesting, yeah it does!! Better than holding a camera for control and all the lag associated with it!!
I guess u dont need MIRAAAACASTRO after all!

Bugblatter

November 12, 2013, 8:02 pm

Where did I say it was the future? Where did I say it was awesome? Where did I bash the G6? You've basically made up your own comment in your head and then criticised it.

Crazy Brian

December 13, 2013, 8:41 pm

Don't worry about the resolution of the EVF on the G6. If it wasn't for the overlaid data it would be easy to forget that it is electronic instead of optical. I don't own the GX7, which is a better built camera with a better sensor. From the comparison shots I've seen though I think it's hard to tell the difference in the real world, even in low light.

MrSonicAdvance

March 20, 2015, 3:13 pm

I love my G2 and hated the GH2 (for stills.) Should I upgrade to the G6? The focus-peaking is a key attraction for me. I might love my G2 but I use my FZ200 more. The FZ1000 is more than I want to spend.

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