The most immediate and striking feature of the Lumix GF5 is its size. Attach the new and very neat X-range compact power 14-42mm zoom lens, and it retains the profile of a compact digital camera. Gasp! You say… how can this be? The powered zoom lens is a fraction of the size of the H-FS equivalent standard lens.
With every excess millimetre shaved off it, this size of body felt a bit dainty for my big square hands! But I’ve got used to this tiny camera and it has grown on me, as its size has proved useful in bad weather. It is a very light and portable camera, perfect for downtown street photography and for taking with you on long hikes up big hills, particularly when it’s hooked up with the power zoom lens. It’s almost pocket-sized.
This low-profile camera hides some clever new abilities up its slim sleeves, which I’ve done my best to explore during the wettest April for some 20-odd years! For those interested in HD video – and who isn’t? – the rack-style focus offered by the smooth powered zoom lens and touchscreen focus control lends an air of professionalism straight from Hollywood, which is hard to find anywhere near this price range. I’m giving this feature four stars without even using it… OK, now I’ve used it (have another star! Five!).
Of course, this new lens will not be the standard-issue baseline kit. But it’s a powerful combination of high quality, small and portable – and one that I’d recommend for HD video and stills enthusiasts alike.
For anyone looking to dip their toes into the Lumix stream and step up into the SLR world from compact, this is going to be a big bag of opportunities – taking the amateur snapper through to excited enthusiast with nothing more than a pair of eyes, a fully charged battery and a reasonably fat memory card. I’d recommend a class-10 card for the best results if you’re shooting video. Still images, however, seem to work fine with any class of card; I even tried an old 4GB micro-SD card with an SD adapter, and it worked no problem at full-res 4000 x 3000 pixels.