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Panasonic Lumix G DMC-GF6 Digital Camera Review
panasonic20141111aa.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Michelle Grima and Michael Gazzola

In short, the Panasonic Lumix G DMC-GF6K digital single lens mirrorless camera looks, feels and performs well above its price tag.
 
Adopting functionality from it's predecessors, inspiration from DSLR cameras and lending user-friendly technology standards found in smart-phones the GF6 is a camera Panasonic have obviously worked hard on putting together.
 
Offering expanded developments in almost all areas of this next series model, the ISO has improved, there's touch screen functionality, camera shake technology and a host of great additions to get the camera running better than ever in automatic mode, so you, the photographer, can spend more time composing the 'money shot'.

Appearance and Functionality

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The Panasonic Lumix G DMC-GF6K look suggests its designers have been influenced by a 1960's era, yet keen to stay in touch with a fresh 21st century styling.
 
Hints of silver and black give a more timeless appeal and most certainly delivers a clean, sharp, minimalistic modern feel.
 
The addition of a 'Mode' dial to the top of the camera is a very welcomed addition, offering the standard M,S,A,P options, plus Movie, Custom, Scene and Creative filter modes. Whilst this dial may seem a small note, it certainly makes the user experience a whole lot more easier and quicker when switching between modes.
 
There is a fantastic array of functionality, yet the one that stands out is iA (Intelligent Auto) mode. In this mode, the camera, based on what it sees / focuses on selects automatically which mode it should be in. If a face is detected it will go into portrait mode, if it sees food it will go into a (new) food mode, and the same for dark candle lit rooms or if you're out skiing. Furthermore, AF Tracking, Intelligent D-range Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, and Intelligent ISO Control all come into play in iA to allow the user to just (pardon the pun) focus on the subject.
 
panasonic20141111ad.jpgAnd to take the iA mode one step further, there is iA Plus mode that lets you adjust 'defocusing' area in the background, tweak exposure compensation and alter 'white balance' for even more control.
 
A second function well worth noting is the built-in Wi-Fi functionality (IEEE 802.11 b/g/n), which lets you use your smartphone or mobile device to remotely change the camera settings (focus setting, exposure compensation, ISO, WB and Photo Styles) using the LUMIX App. Just a single quick set up and you're on your way.
 
And thirdly, a little ground breaking technology addon is the addition of 'NFC' (Near Field Communication) technology. NFC has been around for a while in smart-phones, with a younger generation being aware that they could tap devices together (with the right App installed on both devices) and simply transfer / share an image or contact details, notes or just about anything really from one device to another. So now with the GF6, with NFC enabled devices image sharing goes to another level.
 
Side note, like so many cameras in this price bracket it doesn't come with built-in internal memory so at the time of purchase make sure you include a quality memory card such as the 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I to handle the 16mp capture and Full HD video recording capabilities.

panasonic20141111ac.jpgImage Quality / Lens Quality

 
Sporting Panasonic's Live MOS Sensor and delivering 16mp capture, the Micro Four Thirds technology in its prime range produces images that are crisp and clean in both Jpeg and RAW still file options.
 
Tested with the 14-42 interchangeable lens results delivered good colour accurate skin tones in exterior and general interior photography scenarios. With so many lighting options/ bulbs in houses, testing a camera's white balances out, between switching from fluoro, to led lighting, tungsten and window light the Panasonic Lumix G DMC-GF6K white balance did an excellent job adapting. And if you're ever up against a trickier than standard situation there is the option to delve into a specific 'White Balance' mode or go one step further and use a Custom mode.
 
Images captured between 100 ISO and 800 ISO produced the least grain. Whilst the specifications note that the camera is capable of capturing images at 25,000 ISO this is true, however they're average at best. Pushing the camera to 1,600 ISO starts to show some grain, and at 3,200 ISO it becomes more obvious. After this grain becomes quite dominant in the image as you start to see the real difference in sensor sizes of a Full Frame capture and Four Thirds capture, with 6,400 then 12,800 and 25,000 ISO producing images that are not likely to be printed any time soon.
 
However, shooting between 100 ISO and 800 ISO will cover most people's photography requirements and for the remaining 10% you can happily head into the 1,600 ISO and 3,200 ISO ranges comfortably knowing you'll still be producing some very good imagery.
 
For those who really want to view their imagery at it's best we suggest looking at high resolution, quality monitors such as those produced by the EIZO brand, for enhancing, retouching or simply viewing images in one of the best possible digital forms.
 

View street test images via our Facebook page


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LCD


Dominating most of the camera's rear, the 3-inch 180 degree tilting touch TFT LCD screen delivers beautiful preview images and clear menu functionality courtesy of a 1040K dot resolution. 
 
There is plenty to like about a camera that's loaded with great funtionality for your creative side and a 180-degree flip screen to excite the handling, sensory experience. Holding the camera above crowds, or low to the ground for a cat-like perspective is a tidy addition and one that will allow the user to explore new angles and inspire the photographer within.
 
Adopting touch screen technology, this camera can be virtually operated all via its rear touch-LCD screen. This not only includes flicking through menus, but also choosing focal points, triggering the camera to shoot and even retouching images within the camera itself.
 

Video

 
Starting at the top, this camera is capable of Full HD 1920×1080 30fps and 25fps video capture, in both MP4 and AVCHD modes. There are also scaled down captures at [HD] 1280x720 and [VGA] 640x480. For those looking to gain more control over their video capture, the P / A / S / M modes allow the user to enjoy control of their capture.
 
A new feature offers 'Stop Motion Animation', enabling the production of stop motion (stop frame) video in camera with the pictures that are sequentially shot while moving the object by degrees. This effect makes the object appear as if it is moving by itself.
 
And according to the specs, the Panasonic Lumix G DMC-GF6K comes with high-quality Dolby Digital stereo sound along with a zoom noise reduction system for the stereo microphone, and an Auto Wind Cut function which blocks out most of the noise from background wind.
 

 
 
 

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Conclusion  

 
As the Lumix GF series continues to grow, so too does the functionality set within each new release. Panasonic's Lumix G DMC-GF6K is no exception, with the addition of Near Field Communication (NFC), an even more clever Intelligent Auto (iA), the addition of Stop Motion Animation in video mode and touch screen functionality just to name a few, all on top of the standard expectations a buyer would have for a camera in this price bracket is nothing short of fantastic. For around $900 this camera really does pack a punch and will keep the photographer going for 300+ shots before the battery needs recharging.
 

Recommendations 

 
Camera House Click Through
SanDisk Click Through
EIZO Click Through
   

Ratings

 
Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Video quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
LCD screen 3.5 stars
Value for money 4 stars
Street Price - Body Only $899
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 16.00 Megapixels
Sensor Type
Live MOS Sensor
Image Sizes 4 Sizes / 4 Aspect Ratio
Lens -
Lens Mount
Micro Four Thirds mount
Resolution Settings: Stills [4:3] 4592x3448(L) / 3232x2424(M) / 2272x1704(S) / 1824x1368(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[3:2] 4592x3064(L) / 3232x2160(M) / 2272x1520(S) / 1824x1216(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[16:9] 4592x2584(L) / 3232x1824(M) / 1920x1080(S) / 1824x1024(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
[1:1] 3424x3424(L) / 2416x2416(M) / 1712x1712(S) / 1712x1712(When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Third System standard)
Resolution Settings: Video [Full HD]1920×1080, 30fps (sensor output is 30p)
[HD]1280x720, 30fps (sensor output is 30p)
[VGA] 640x480, 30fps (sensor output is 30p)
[Full HD] 1920×1080, 25fps (sensor output is 25p)
[HD] 1280x720, 25fps (sensor output is 25p)
[VGA] 640x480, 25fps (sensor output is 25p)
[Full HD] 1920×1080, 60i (sensor output is 30p)
[HD] 1280 x 720, 60p (sensor output is 30p)
[Full HD] 1920×1080, 50i (sensor output is 25p)
[HD] 1280 x 720, 50p (sensor output is 25p)
Face Detection Yes
Manual Focus -
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Focal-plane shutter
Still Images: 1/4000 ~ 60
Motion image NTSC: 1/16000 ~ 1/30
Motion image PAL: 1/16000 ~ 1/25
ISO

Auto / Intelligent ISO / 160 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400 / 12800 / 25600 (Extended)

(Changeable to 1/3 EV step)

LCD Monitor
Type: TFT LCD with Touch panel, Tiltable monitor
Size: 3.0inch / 3:2 Aspect / Wide-viewing angle
Pixels: 1040K dots
Filed Of View: Approx. 100%
Monitor Adjustment: Brightness, Contrast and Saturation, Red tint, Blue tint
Viewfinder -
Flash Type: TTL Built-in-Flash, GN6.3 equivalent (ISO 160 ·m), GN5.0 equivalent (ISO 100 ·m), Built-in Pop-up
Flash Mode: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Synchronisation Speed: Less than 1/160 second
Flash Synchronisation: 1st. Curtain Sync
Hot Shoe No
White Balance Auto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Incandescent / Flash / White Set 1, 2 / Colour temperature setting
White balance adjustment: Blue/amber bias, Magenta/green bias
Colour temperature setting: 2500-10000K in 100K
White balance bracket: 3 exposures in blue/ amber axis or in magenta/ green axis
Self Timer 3 images after 10sec, / 2sec / 10sec
Stills Format/s
Still Image: JPEG (DCF, Exif 2.3), RAW
Video Format/s MPO (When attaching 3D lens in Micro Four Thirds standard)
Motion Image: AVCHD (Audio format: Dolby Digital 2 ch)
MP4 (Audio format AAC 2ch)
Video Recording Time/s 29m 59s
Storage Type - External SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card (Compatible with UHS-I standard SDHC/SDXC memory cards)
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity USB: USB 2.0 High Speed Multi
HDMI: miniHDMI TypeC
HDMI: Video: Auto / 1080i / 720p / 480p (576p in PAL system)
HDMI: Audio: Stereo
Audio video output: Monaural Type, NTSC/PAL, NTSC only for North America
Audio video output: *Check the website of the Panasonic sales company in your country or region for details on the products that are available in your market.
Power Source Battery Charger
Battery Options Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1025mAh)
Bettery Life
Approx. 330 images with H-PS14042
Approx. 340 images with H-FS1442A
Approx. 340 images with H-FS45150
Dimensions 111.2mm x 64.8mm x 38.4mm
Weight Approx. 280g / 9.88 oz (Body only)
 

 
 

About Panasonic

 

Panasonic Australia is a proud member of the Australian corporate community. With long standing links to local manufacturing and with hundreds of employees, Panasonic Australia is committed to fostering good relationships with consumers, businesses and governments alike.

 

On both a Local and International basis Panasonic is deploying long term strategies related to stable economic growth, responsible use of resources and being friendly to the environment.

 

The pages contained within the 'About Us' area will give you an insight into how Panasonic Australia operates and an overview of our companies history.

 

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