Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 Preview
It's taken a couple of generations of camera for manufacturers to really work out who wants to buy mirrorless cameras and, as a result, what features they should offer. Panasonic's GF series has slalomed around the demographics before arriving at a similar conclusion to that reached by several of its rivals - a small camera that can work as a point-and-shoot, but with some expectation that the user might want to take more control over it.
By this we mean that the GF6 is a small camera with a compact kit zoom, flip-out screen and a dedicated mode dial - a very similar set of features to those offered by the Olympus E-PL5 and Sony's NEX-3N. This puts the GF6 somewhere between the enthusiast-friendly GF1 and the more point-and-shoot orientated GF5. But, while it gains features that will appeal both to the point-and-shoot and the take-control crowd, the GF6's trump card is Wi-Fi. Or, more specifically, the best implementation of Wi-Fi to hit the market so far.
In common with a couple of recent Panasonic compacts, the GF6 gains Near-Field Communication (NFC), through which the camera can establish a conventional Wi-Fi connection simply by tapping devices together. 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. The list of compatible devices includes many recent Android devices, though Apple has yet to embrace the technology.
In addition to an extra control point provided by a top-plate zoom lever encircling the shutter button, the GF6 gains an additional customizable Fn button on its rear, plus another two on a 'pull-out' tab on its touch screen. These direct controls come in addition to the camera's user-definable Q.Menu. Equally, though, the camera retains its point-and-shoot-friendly iA button that provides one-button access to the camera's fully-automated mode.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 key specifications
- 16MP Four Thirds sensor (as used in GX1)
- Tilting 'Cell-touch LCD' touchscreen - 1.04m dots (720 x 480 pixels)
- Near-field communication (NFC) to simplify Wi-Fi connection
- Mode dial and four customizable function buttons (two on-screen)
- 1080p30 video as MP4 or AVCHD (presented as 60i PsF in AVCHD mode)
- Jog lever around shutter button (which operates zoom or exposure compensation)
- Sensitivity expandable up to ISO 25,600
- Faster startup (as quick as 0.5 sec with non-power-zoom lenses)
The GF6 is the second mirrorless camera we've seen to gain a compact-camera-style zoom lever around the shutter button but, whereas the Sony NEX-3N is often bundled with a power zoom lens, the same isn't true for the GF6. However, when you attach a conventional zoom lens, it instead controls exposure compensation. This makes a lot of sense to us, since arguably the most useful additional property a point-and-shoot user might want to gain control over, simply, is image brightness.
Many of the camera's basic specs have also been upgraded over its predecessor - the rear screen is a higher-resolution panel, but it's what's in front of it that users are likely to notice. The touch capability is now capacitive, rather than the GF5's pressure-sensitive design, and the front glass has been attached without an air gap, reducing internal reflection and improving visibility. This more precise touch screen allows the implementation of touch-based photo editing (including a Clear Retouch mode that attempts to remove distracting object s from your images, which sadly we haven't been able to test yet). The screen also tilts, both downwards for overhead shooting and upwards to face forwards for self-portrait shots.
NFC-simplified Wi-Fi connection
Connecting the GF6 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 GF6 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.
Compact 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom lenses
|Panasonic's latest compact 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II kit zoom (center), compared to its predecessor (left) and the 14-42mm powerzoom (right).|
The GF6's compact size is complemented by a couple of the smallest zooms available for any interchangeable-lens cameras. The basic kit zoom is the recently-announced Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS, which is on of the smallest around that features conventional rotary zoom and focus rings (it's about the same size as Olympus's collapsible M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R).
The GF6 can also be used with the tiny 'pancake' Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS powerzoom, which can be controlled by its top-plate zoom lever for very compact camera-like operation. As can be seen in the comparison above, both are considerably smaller than Panasonic's previous 14-42mm kit zoom, which is pretty typical in size for its type.
70-200mm F4 zoom lenses may not get as much attention as their faster F2.8 siblings, but for many photographers these lenses hit the perfect sweet spot of price, performance, and weight. This week, we go to the Calgary Stampede with the Canon 70-200mm F4, Nikon 70-200mm F4, and Tamron 70-210mm F4.
Blackmagic recently worked with Apple to develop Blackmagic eGPU, an external GPU that brings "desktop-class graphics performance" to the new MacBook Pro laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Lightroom alternative Luminar has received numerous updates across both its Mac and Windows versions, primarily improvements to existing features, as well as support for additional cameras from Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, and Pentax.
Sony has quietly updated its RX100 V, bringing a couple of the goodies from the RX100 VI travel zoom. The updated RX100 VA gains a new processor and various firmware tweaks but misses out on the VI's other hardware improvements.
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro series of notebooks with 15in and 13in models that are claimed to be better for intense image and video editing. The company says the new models are the most advanced ever, and that they feature 8th generation Intel Core processors for faster performance.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Adobe will announce a full-fledged Photoshop version for the iPad at its annual conference in October.
The last day to place an order for Apple photo prints and related products is September 30th.
Manfrotto has launched its new Noreg camera bag series with the Backpack-30 and Messenger-30 models. Both bags are designed for premium mirrorless camera systems, each featuring internal camera units that can be removed and used independently of the larger bags.
Industrial designer Thomas Müller has created a concept device that attempts to democratize film development using an all-in-one device that sits on your countertop.
Mastin Labs has released its latest set of presets titled 'Kodak Everyday.' The pack includes film emulation presets for iconic Kodak films, including Ektar, Gold and Tri-X.
Canon has released firmware update 1.0.4 for the EOS 6D Mark II, adding important bug fixes for "rare instances" of issues with the touch panel and operation buttons.
In an email to DPReview, Nikon Inc. has confirmed ''The Nikon 1 series cameras, lenses and accessories are no longer in production'.
Nikon's new Coolpix P1000 boasts an extraordinary zoom range and a suite of powerful stills and video features in a (relatively) compact body. We're taking a detailed look at this powerful compact's key features.
PhotoMirage, a new Windows application from software company Corel, transforms images into "mirages" by adding movement to elements like water or clouds. Unlike a cinemagraph, it does not require video footage – instead animating a single static image.
Tamron's version 2.0 firmware update for its 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD claims to have addressed reported issues with autofocus during video shooting.
Lens maker Moment is leaning into the software sector, launching a newly-revamped smartphone camera app targeted at enthusiast photographers.
A groups of researchers from NVIDIA, MIT, and Aalto University have developed an AI capable of removing noise and grain from images with incredible accuracy.
If the 24-2000mm equiv. zoom range on Nikon's Coolpix P900 just wasn't enough then you'll be excited about today's announcement of the Coolpix P1000. This camera has a once unthinkable 24-3000mm equivalent F2.8-F8 lens, though it's anything but light and will set you back $999.
Hong Kong flash system manufacturer Cactus has released new firmware for its V6 II Transceiver that will allow it to wirelessly communicate TTL information between a Canon or Cactus flash and a Canon camera. The X-TTL update makes it possible to trigger Canon flashes and retain full TTL control with that flash either on or off camera.
Want to create pro quality lighting for your videos, but don't have thousands of dollars to spend on expensive video lights? In this video, our friends over at ShareGrid demonstrate how to professionally light a model with some work lights, a bit of poster board and even a shower curtain.
Phase One has launched its new Latitude processing presets series, the latest addition to the company's Capture One Style Packs product launched last year. Both Latitude style packs contain eight presets, each with original, bright, and dark variations, for a total of 24 styles per pack.
Godox has announced the impending launch of its upcoming AD400Pro, a 400WS monolight with wireless shooting capabilities and a battery life of 390 full-powered flashes.
The instant camera market is heating up, and with four formats and 15+ cameras to choose from, we felt it was high time to examine them all and pick our favorite.
There's an old axiom in filmmaking which states that an audience will forgive a poor quality picture, but not poor quality sound. This week, Chris and Jordan bring in an audio pro to demonstrate why a cheap microphone positioned correctly will outperform an expensive model placed incorrectly.
With enough reach to land itself in 'travel zoom' territory, the Sony RX100 VI is well suited for a wide range of shooting situations. We've made a significant update to our initial sample gallery with plenty of samples from the past few weeks.
Hamm Camera Company has launched its second crowdfunding campaign to bring a fun, affordable pinhole camera to life.
Samsung's upcoming flagship smartphone could offer a significantly wider zoom range than current high-end models.
According to the lawsuit, the US Postal Service issued a new Forever Stamp design in December 2010 that mistakenly features the Statue of Liberty replica in Las Vegas created by Davidson rather than the original statue in New York.
Rachel and Daniel of Mango street share six video transitions you can do in-camera to make your footage stand out.