Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Hands-on Preview
Less than a year after releasing the G5, Panasonic is back with another mid-range G-series Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens camera aimed at the upper entry-level DSLR/ILC market. The G6 sits above the recently-announced GF6 and below the GH3 in Panasonic's lineup and, although most of its key specifications are fairly familiar to anyone that's been watching the G-series for a while, the G6 does bring a couple of interesting new features, as well as some solid specification upgrades.
An interesting new feature is 'Clear Retouch', - a simple touch-based 'heal' tool. This function can be applied to captured images in review mode - you simply touch the area that you wish to clone-out and the camera attempts a context-aware fill, removing the offending object/blemish. We've only had a limited time with a pre-production camera, but we're not all that impressed by the feature's implementation. The 'healing' seems to be based on a highly simplistic proximity match, which we've found is more likely to insert bizarre, distracting textures than to effectively conceal unwanted scene elements.
More usefully, the G6 joins the GF6 in offering Near Field Communcation (NFC). NFC is a very short-range means of exchanging data that allows the camera to share details of its Wi-Fi connection with compatible smartphones or tablets through simply touching them against one another. The list of compatible devices includes many recent Android devices, though Apple has yet to embrace the technology.
Panasonic G6 specification highlights
- 16MP Live MOS sensor
- ISO 160-12,800 (extendable up to 25,600)
- 3.0", 1.04 million dot capacative LCD
- 1.44 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with eye sensor
- Full AVCHD 1080/60p video with full manual control (and 2.4X digital teleconverter option)
- 3.5mm external mic socket
- 7 frames per second continuous shooting, 5 fps with AF-tracking
- 23 Scene modes including 'Cute Dessert' and 'Sweet Child's Face'
- iAuto mode can automatically detect when to use 9 scene modes
- 'Clear Retouch' touch gesture-based heal tool
In terms of core photographic features, the G6 offers a solid set of specifications, including the same sensor as the once range-topping GH2, albeit without that model's multi-aspect feature. Maximum effective resolution is 16MP effective, from 18MP (total pixels). Panasonic claims that the G6 offers superior image processing though, including improved noise reduction enabling it to achieve a maximum native ISO sensitivity of 12,800, extendable up to ISO 25,600.
Like its predecessors, the G6 has a built-in electronic viewfinder, an OLED unit no less, boasting 1.44 million dots (800 x 600 resolution). We're not sorry to say goodbye to the older field-sequential technology, with its associated issues with rainbow 'tearing' (issues that are not unique to Panasonic). Panasonic claims that the G6's finder is three times more responsive than that of the G5, too, and our first impressions are certainly very encouraging.
Of course, there's more than one way to compose your image, and the G6's fully-articulated rear display offers 1.04 million dot resolution. This is essentially a slightly wider, 3:2 aspect ratio screen, rather than the G5's 4:3 panel. As we'd expect from recent Panasonic G-series cameras it's also touch-sensitive though it now uses a capacative system that offers multi-touch control and should be more responsive than the pressure-senstive example that came before it. That said, as usual for mid-range and high-end G-series cameras, the G6 still has plenty of 'hard' control points for photographers that prefer a more traditional ergonomics.
NFC-simplified Wi-Fi connection
Connecting the G6 to a an NFC-equipped smartphone is as simple as starting the Panasonic Image App, pressing the Wi-Fi button on the camera and tapping the two devices together. NFC works over such short distances it may take a couple of attempts to locate the antenna on your smart device, but once located, it's all pretty simple.
If your device doesn't have NFC, the process involves manually selecting the right Wi-Fi connection in your phone's settings, then typing in a fairly long password (as is the case with most Wi-Fi cameras). Once you've paired your devices, the camera will remember the connection to speed up the process in future.
The Panasonic Image App gives a pretty good level of control over the camera - allowing the user to position the camera's focus point, control a power zoom lens and the ability to control exposure (though this didn't appear to be available when we tried the currently-available version of the app). Once a shot is taken, it can be uploaded across to your smartphone - either at full or reduced resolution.
In addition to smartphone connections, the G6 allows you to create an account on Panasonic's Lumix Club cloud service. With this established, you can send images up to Lumix Club by connecting to a local Wi-Fi router, with the option that they are then posted on to various popular social networks, via Lumix Club. Alternatively, if you're connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your computer, you can get the camera to push all your images across to your computer as you shoot.
An advantage of using the GH2's sensor is that the G6 is able to offer more comprehensive video functions than the G5. It gains a socket for attaching an external mic as well as gaining full PASM exposure control over its movie capture. The G6 can capture movies in 1080 60p/60i/30PsF and 24p in AVCHD mode, along with 60p and 30p video in MP4 format (Cameras bought in PAL regions get the same combinations but with 50 and 25 frames per second).
Compared to its peers:
|A house for sneakers by fotoselect|
from Feet, shoes, anything to do with HUMAN feet
|A Sunday Stroll by TexasGal|
from call any vegetable
|Green roots by cand1d|
from Lichen and moss
|Start of study by Shirsendu Bandyopadhyay|
from Seven Story plots - Rebirth
Video editing software package Video Pro X has received what is described as its biggest update yet to mark ten years since Magix Video Pro was launched.
Back in 2010, Canon announced that it was developing the world's largest CMOS sensor, measuring about 40 times larger than full frame. The company has just updated its website with more details.
Samyang has launched its latest lens, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF. This telephoto prime is a direct competitor to Canon's $1,600 alternative—and considering it's expected to retail for half the price, it looks like quite the bargain.
Scanning film takes forever and photographing negatives is a pain. The Pixl-latr aims to provide a simple solution.
Google has published an 18-page study fully detailing its synthetic depth-of-field technology that makes its single-camera Portrait Mode possible. The in-depth paper shows a degree of openness and academic mindset unusual for the industry.
Rugged, waterproof compact cameras are tough enough to survive even the most action-packed vacation, but they're not the only choice for capturing those great memories. Photographer Josh Root takes us through the options.
Kodak has restarted production of one of its most famous film emulsions - Ektachrome. Popular Science editor Stan Horaczek recently go to take a look inside.
The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD is an affordable F2.8 standard zoom for full frame Sony E-mount cameras. What's it like, what are the trade-offs, and what are the alternatives? Chris and Jordan take a closer look...
We've updated our Best Drones buying guide and there's a new winner. Find out which drone was our favorite and learn more about all current models in our updated guide.
A teardown of a Nikon D850 has provided proof that the camera's sensor is made by Sony Semiconductor. The chip's design and performance already strongly supported this, but the confirmation also gives a hint about how the industry works.
Leica Camera has announced a new compact camera that features a 24-360mm F3.3-6.4 zoom lens and a 20MP 1” MOS sensor. Essentially a re-badged Panasonic Lumix ZS/TZ200, the Leica C-Lux will save Raw and JPEG files, will offer 4K video and has a viewfinder with a 2.33 million-dot resolution.
Leica has launched a limited edition M10 with a contoured handgrip designed by luxury car manufacturer Zagato. And, to celebrate the opening of a new part of the company's Wetzlar factory, a pair of Leica-made watches are due this autumn.
The new Mijia gimbal provides 3-axis stabilization and can charge the battery of the attached device.
YouTuber George Tomlin explains the concept of sub-framing and details how you can use it to take not only make the composition more interesting, but also provide context for the scene you're shooting.
British photographer Drew Gardner tells us how his gigapixel image of the queen's birthday parade came together.
YouTube channel Company Man has shared a 12-minute video explaining the history of Kodak and the factors that led to it going from industry leader to bankrupt business.
Neewer, a photo gear brand out of China, has launched a new budget APS-C lens for Fuji X and Sony E mounts. The Fuji X mount lens offering has appeared on Amazon as a new release with a $119.99 price tag, but is currently listed as unavailable.
Two years after launching its first photo filter, Aurora Aperture is back at it again with the Kickstarter launch of its PowerXND Mark II filters.
Nikon has announced the development of the AF-S NIKKOR 500mm F5.6E PF ED VR lens. Thanks to its use of 'phase fresnel' optics, Nikon claims that the lens will be small and light enough to be used handheld.
MIOPS has opened up a Kickstarter campaign for its latest product, the Capture360. This pocket-sized device is a versatile motion control box designed to be as simple or robust as your needs desire.
Lowepro has released the FreeLine BP 350 AW, an all-new daypack that features Lowepro's adaptive interior divider system it calls QuickShelf.
Currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, the Instant Magny 35 supports Fujifilm Instax Square film and doesn't require any camera modifications. The instant film back is described as ideal for rangefinders and SLRs from Pentax, Leica, Olympus, Canon, and Nikon.
Utah-based tripod manufacturer Really Right Stuff has updated all 17 of its tripods with updated features and better ergonomics.
The new Technical Camera app offers comprehensive manual controls and a range of features for users who prefer to take control of the capture process.
Someone finally made a 1"-sensor compact with a fixed prime lens that can take great photos, but it's aimed at Scuba enthusiasts more so than land-based photographers and has a few operational quirks.
Leica has released details of the twelve finalists for this year’s Leica Oskar Barnack Award, one of who will take the €35,000 (approx. $41K) top prize. Organizers say that 2500 photographers submitted work to the competition this year.
One week after it was first seen in leaked images, Samyang—also known as Rokinon in the US—has unveiled a ‘tiny but wide’ 24mm F2.8 lens for full-frame Sony cameras.
Whether you're hitting the beach in the Northern Hemisphere or the ski slopes in the Southern, a rugged compact camera makes a great companion. In this buying guide we've taken a look at seven current models and chosen our favorites.
Every photographer knows about APS-C sensors, but what about APS film? This week, Chris and Jordan take a stroll down memory lane and try out the original APS format, a technology that promised to streamline the film workflow, but which ultimately lost out to digital technology.