Design & Operation

The GF6 looks a lot like its recent predecessors, with the (presumably faux-retro) flourish of a silver top-plate. The main changes are the addition of a conventional exposure mode dial on the top plate, along with a compact camera-style zoom lever surrounding the shutter button. The screen now tilts, both downwards and up, and can be set to face forwards for shooting self portraits. The tilting screen means the body is a little thicker than the GF5's.

An additional button on the back is used to set up Wi-Fi (using NFC with suitable devices), or alternatively can serve as a second customisable function button during shooting (Fn2). A built-in flash pops up out of the top plate, but in keeping with the GF-series' low-end positioning there's neither a hot shoe for a more powerful flash unit, nor a port for an accessory viewfinder. The standard package is rounded-off by Panasonic's latest, very compact Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS kit zoom.

The overall result is a camera that ends up looking extremely similar to the Sony NEX-3N in terms of both control layout and features. It's also remarkably like its closest Micro Four Thirds competitor from Olympus, the PEN E-PL5; this lacks a built-in flash, but has a hot shoe and accessory port instead.

Top of camera

The top of the camera gains both a conventional mode dial, and a lever around the shutter button. This controls exposure compensation or zoom, depending on whether you have a power zoom fitted. On the left side are the built-in stereo microphones for movie recording and tiny speaker for playback, with the pop-up flash in line with the lens.

In your hand

The GF6 is a small camera, but the contoured and textured front grip makes it feel reasonably secure in your hand. There's a decent thumbgrip too, and the slightly thicker body will probably feel more comfortable than its slimline predecessors for many users.

Flip-up screen

The GF6's screen is not just higher-resolution, it's also articulated. Flipping it into the 'up' position gives a mirrored live view, for easier self-portraits, and adds touchscreen icons for several of the camera's face processing modes. A clever extending armature mechanism lifts it higher up than a simple hinge could, meaning that unlike on the NEX-6, barely any of the screen is blocked by the camera body.

The screen can also tilt downwards for overhead shooting, or of course be set to any point between the two extremes.

Body elements

The GF6 gains an extra physical function button, in addition to two added to the pull-out tab on its touchscreen.

By default this enables Wi-Fi.
Once Wi-Fi is engaged, tapping the hotspot of an NFC-compatible device on this symbol on the side of the camera will start the process of establising a connection (your aim has to be pretty precise, as the 'N' in NFC really does mean near).

If your smartphone doesn't support NFC you can copy a password from the screen of the camera into your Wi-Fi settings, which isn't that much slower.
The GF6's 1025mAh battery offers up to 7.4Wh of power, leaving the camera good for 340 shots per charge, according to CIPA standard testing.
The GF6 retains the build-in pop-up flash that sits directly above the lens mount.
The GF6 hides an HDMI and USB socket behind a little hatch on the side of the camera.

Function Buttons

In keeping with its aim of allowing some camera control, the GF6 adds a selection of Customizable function buttons over the solitary example offered by its predecessor. The two physical buttons and the pair of on-screen buttons can be set to control the following functions. This additional control comes in addition to the customizable Q.Menu interface.

Options that can be applied to the Fn buttons:
• Wi-Fi
• Q.Menu
• AF/AE Lock
• One Push AE
• DoF Preview
• PhotoStyle
• Aspect Ratio
• Picture Size
• Quality
• Focus Mode
• Metering Mode
• Flash Mode
• Flash Adjust
• i.Resolution
• i.Dynamic
• Ex Tele Conv.
• Digital Zoom
• Stabilizer
• Sensitivity
• Restore to Default
• Motion Pic Set
• Picture Mode
• Histogram
• Guide Line
• Step Zoom
• Zoom Speed
• REC Area