Just one year after its announcement, it was in April 2012, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF5 is replaced by the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 which brings some improvements in terms of the already very convincing autofocus of its predecessor and image quality with the adoption of a new 16-megapixel sensor. The Panasonic mirrorless camera accesses WiFi and NFC.
Yes ! A new sensor for the Panasonic GF6
If you buy a mirrorless camera instead of a more conventional compact camera, it is especially for its high image quality which is at the level of a DSLR. Panasonic has been surpassed last year by Olympus with their new MOS sensor versus their aging Live Mos and is back this year with a new 16-megapixel Micro 4:3 sensor. I would strongly tempted to think that this new sensor will behave in a much more convincing way compared to last year’s 12MP sensor when I’ll work on the GF6 review. I’d bet that benchmarks will be more flattering as they are for the Olympus OM-D E-M5. The signal from the sensor is processed by a new Venus Engine processor that enables the GF6 to reach of ISO 3,200 in auto mode and ISO 25,600 in extended settings. This sensor can shoot movies in Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels / 50i. Video is encoded in AVCHD and the sound is recorded in stereo via the built-in microphone.
The autofocus has been one of the most difficult thing to develop on mirrorless cameras one told me a Japanese engineer from Panasonic. Panasonic wanted to keep the advantages of contrast detection on its Micro Four Thirds cameras range and now reaps the benefits with a system developed around contrast detection which is frankly fast and efficient, both with very fast lenses and at extreme aperture settings. Panasonic does not specify any focusing time this year, but the press release announcing the DMC-GF6 highlights the velocity of its autofocus and I doubt I will ge disappointed later today when I’ll have the GF5 for a hands-on preview in Austria.
The GF6 autofocus GF6 UI benefits from a touch screen with which you can focus on any area you see on the screen simply by touching it with your finger. Designating the subject on which to focus on the GF6 will also allow it to adjust the exposure to the subject.
GF6 creative arsenal : 19 artistic filters, stop motion, self-portraits
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 offers many artistic filters (19). This is 5 more than the Panasonic GF5. Added filters must be more or less Instagram inspired vintage filters: old days, bleach bypass, toy pop, Fantasy. A new filter adds stars patterns on shining lights. A shooting mode is dedicated to self-portrait that takes advantage of the screen which can tilt at 180° vertically. The Lumix GF6 also offers Stop Motion recording.
Panasonic GF6: Wi-Fi and NFC
2013 is the year of wireless cameras! Panasonic has been one of the first camera manufacturers to provide the market with cameras equipped with a wireless Wi-Fi connexion. This is also the case for the Lumix GF6 which offers both WiFi and NFC in order to easily connect the camera with a tablet or smartphone here to control the camera remotely, there to immediately share a photo with friends via email, social networks, etc.. Once a camera has been paired with a wireless device, it will recognize it in the future and reconnect without being necessary to re-enter loggin information.
Wireless connectivity allows you to GF6 four main things:
- Control your camera remotely using your smartphone or tablet while viewing on your device’s screen what your camera sees and will capture. This will certainly be very useful also in video mode. On the tablet or smartphone, you can access various settings like zooming when using the GF6 with a motorized lens, the aperture, shutter speed, exposure correction, etc..
- Automatically transfer photos and videos, as soon as you released the shutter button. In playback mode, you can choose when displaying an image on the screen to upload it directly on the smartphone or tablet. The GF6 can also retrieve geopositionning datas transmitted by the GPS sensor in your smartphone or your tablet to geotag your photos.
- Share photos and videos on Panasonic Cloud Service, the Lumix Club. We can also choose different destination folders to store the image for Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Twitter or YouTube.
- Use WiFi to wirelessly (DLNA) stream photos and videos contained in the GF6 on a Panasonic TV itself compatible like Panasonic Vieira of course …
Touch screen and adjustable
The Panasonic GF6 has a touch screen, but it is also tiltable at 180° and provides a rather comfortable definition of 1,040,000 dots. Panasonic changed its design, and in particular the manner of stacking the layers (the pannel, the sensitive layer, etc.) To reduce reflects and glare. Panasonic also announced a better color reproduction of the image displayed by the screen of the GF6, an improvement measured 20% closer to reality … The GF5 screen had a very cold temperature image.
Power zoom control
If you use a Panasonic power zoom lense of the latest Lumix G X lenses serie, you can control the zooming from the small lever diretly on the camera like on a conventional compact camera… This function is obviously very consumer oriented in order to seduce compact enthusiasts but it can also come in handy when using the GF6 with one single hand or when recording video.
iA and iA +, 23 scene modes
Found naturally on the Lumix DMC-GF6 iA mode and iA +, a smart scene mode cooked and perfected for the past ten years by Panasonic. In addition to detecting the shooting scene and adjusting settings, the GF6 iA mode can access the AF tracking, widen the dynamic range, recognize faces and increase ISO setting to have sharp moving subjects. The iA + mode differs from the usual iA mode offering photographers more controls like creating a digital bokeh, tune the exposure compensation or the white balance.
Among its scene modes, the GF6 inaugurates the food scene mode which allows you to share the content of your plate designed by a top chef on your Facebook profile or blog instantly … In total, the GF6 offers a choice of 23 different scene modes.
Price and availability of the Panasonic GF6
I am still expecting a confirmation from Panasonic but one thing I know is that the Lumix GF6 will be sold bundled with the G X 14-42mm power zoom lens, a tiny little lens with a pretty surprising optical quality.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6: first opinion before the review
This new MFT mirrorless camera seems very attractive to me and makes a nice summary of the progress made by the Panasonic in the segment since 2008. The adoption of the new 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor is a good omen for the image quality of the GF6. The autofocus is certainly even faster and accurate than its predecessor which was already doing really great. The Touch AF through the touch screen is a neat addition for the UI. The GF6 is compact, gets now a lever for zooming control and provides the freedom of WiFi improved by the simplicity allowed by the NFC. Add to that more intelligence in the iA and iA+ mode, new filters and a video mode which matches what I would expect of such a camera in 2013, and you definitely have a bestseller on the mirroless cameras market for 2013.
I would just miss one thing on the GF6 so userful for travel photography, a built-in GPS sensor.
Stay tuned on PhotographyDailyNews.com later today for my hands-on preview of the Lumix DMC-GF6, and hopefully some real life sample images of Wien, Österreich, if Panasonic can provide me with a full production model of the camera.