Body and handling

The G100 (left) is appreciably smaller than the mid-sized G95 with which it shares a sensor.

Key Takeaways:

  • G100 is small but with substantial, DSLR-style grip and large viewfinder
  • Fully articulated touchscreen is suitably bright for outdoor working
  • Menus are long but well organized, with a good degree of customization allowed
  • Battery life is reasonable, rather than impressive: you'll need to plan around this for shooting long videos

The G100 is an impressively small camera, seemingly owing as much to the GM line of cameras as any of Panasonic's current models. We're already covered the implications of this downsizing (the simplified shutter mechanism and electronic image stabilization system) on the previous page. In the hand, the camera feels dense and solidly built, without being excessively heavy.

The use of such a small body provides room for a prominent command dial on the front lip of the camera, surrounding the shutter button. However, there's not backward-facing dial as could be found on the GM5, instead there's a rather fiddly dial around the four-way controller acting as a secondary control point.

Fully articulated display

As you'd expect from a camera aimed at vloggers, the screen can be flipped forward to aim it at themselves.

As you might expect from a camera designed to make vlogging simple, the G100 has a fully articulating touchscreen. Much like the one on Sony's ZV-1 vlogging camera, the screen doesn't fold out by a full 180 degrees, instead stopping a little short.

The screen itself is a remarkably bright 1.84M-dot LCD. Panasonic says the panel and backlight are pressed close together in way that maximizes brightness and viewing angle. In outdoor lighting we found it to be usefully bright.

Electronic viewfinder

Perhaps unexpectedly for a vlogging camera, the G100 includes a built-in viewfinder. It's a field-sequential display, which projects its three primary colors one after another but it refreshes fast enough that it's unlikely you'll notice. I'm usually fairly sensitive to the distracting 'tearing' effect that can happen if you move your eye as the screen is refreshing, but it took me a while before I was sure it was even happening on this camera.

The result is an impressively large and bright viewfinder, which I found useful now that Seattle's blanket cloud cover is developing the occasional gap.

User interface and menus

Other than the 'Self shot' mode, most of the G100's interface is pretty standard for a recent Panasonic camera.

The main menu is fairly straightforward, with options separated into fairly logical tabs. The most complex of these - the Custom Settings tab - is sub-divided into five sections to make it easier to find the setting you're looking for.

The main menu is fairly logically arranged. The tab at the top left varies, depending on which drive mode you've selected.

The bottommost tab is a customizable 'My Menu' tab

There's a customizable 'My Menu' tab if there are menu settings you regularly find yourself needing to change.

You get a different version of the menu with a video, rather than camera tab at the top left, if you set the mode dial to Creative Movie mode. Similarly there's a different initial tab in the Slow&Quick mode.

Q.Menu

There's also a Q.Menu that appears as an overlay on the live view while you're shooting.

This is the 'Preset' version of the camera's Q.Menu, that you get by default.

By default this arrays a series of settings along the top and bottom of the screen, but there's also a Custom option (Custom Settings > Operation > Q.Menu) that lets you select up to fifteen settings that appear in a more touchscreen-friendly display.

Function buttons

The Exposure Compensation button is the first of four customizable function buttons on the camera. Fn2 is at the bottom of the rear face of the camera, while Fn3 and 4 are on the left-hand shoulder.

There are four buttons on the body that can be re-assigned as Function buttons. By default, these are the Exposure Comp, Q.Menu, LVF and Smartphone Transfer buttons, but each can be repurposed, with the option to assign one function for record mode and a different function for playback.

There is also a touchscreen tab on the right-hand side of the LCD that pops-out to reveal another five (virtual) function buttons, meaning it's easy to give yourself quick access to a variety of settings.

In use

For the most part, the menus and button arrangement is fairly familiar from other Panasonic bodies. The menus are laid out logically enough that you can find options pretty quickly without having to memorize their location and, between the custom buttons the customizable Q.Menu and the My Menu tab, it's easy enough to give yourself access to the settings you find yourself regularly wanting to change.

This is an example of the 'Custom' form of the Q.Menu, customized here to group video-related settings together. Up to 15 options can be arranged over up to three pages.

The irritations we had tended to relate more to the things you can't change. You can't re-define or disengage the functions assigned to the cardinal points of the four-way controller. Between this and the imprecise secondary dial and the easily-pressed four-way controller, we managed to accidentally shoot a whole sequence of images in a manual WB, rather than Auto.

Battery

The battery and memory card are located behind the same door on the base of the camera. The tripod socket is nearby (on-axis with the lens), but just far enough away that the door can still open when the camera is mounted on the accessory selfie tripod/grip.

The Panasonic G100 uses a DMW-BLG10 battery with a capacity of 7.4Wh. This provides a CIPA battery life rating of 270 shots per charge, without relying on a mode that puts the camera to sleep all the time. It's not a great figure but it's typical for a camera in this class, and is likely to be sufficient for a day or so's shooting without too much concern.

The camera can be recharged over its Micro-USB socket. A wall adapter is provided but there's no external charger for keeping a spare battery at-the-ready.