Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10

    leadpic_DMC-G10

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    Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10

      In summary

      Most of the features of the DMC-G2 in a lighter, more affordable camera body.Attach the LCD monitor to the back panel, remove the touch screen overlay, reduce the viewfinder resolution to 202,000 dots and disable the stereo sound recording capability and you've converted the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 into the DMC-G10. You've also saved $300 in the process. In this review, we'll focus on the differences between the two cameras, as shown in the table below. . . [more]

      Full review

      leadpic_DMC-G10

      Attach the LCD monitor to the back panel, remove the touch screen overlay, reduce the viewfinder resolution to 202,000 dots and disable the stereo sound recording capability and you've converted the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 into the DMC-G10. You've also saved $300 in the process. In this review, we'll focus on the differences between the two cameras, as shown in the table below.

      DMC-G2

      DMC-G10

      Focus modes

      Face detection, AF Tracking, 23-area-focusing/1-area-focusing, Touch (1-area-focusing in Face detection, AF Tracking, Multi-area-focusing, 1-area-focusing)

      Face detection, AF Tracking, 23-area-focusing/1-area-focusing

      Other focus controls

      Touch shutter, Pre AF (Quick AF/Continuous AF), Touch MF Assist (5x, 10x); AF-Assist lamp

      Pre AF (Quick AF/Continuous AF), AF-Assist lamp

      Viewfinder

      Live View Finder with 1.44M dots, 100% FOV; 17mm eyepoint

      Live View Finder with 202K dots

      LCD monitor

      3-inch free-angle TFT LCD with touch panel, 460K dots

      Fixed 3-inch TFT LCD with 460K dots

      Video formats

      AVCHD Lite

      QuickTime Motion JPEG

      Microphone jack

      Yes

      No

      Still capture during movie recording

      Yes

      No

      Interface terminals

      USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HD AV output, Mini HDMI (Type C); PAL/NTSC video; stereo Mic-IN; Viera Link

      USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HD AV output, Mini HDMI (Type C); PAL/NTSC video, Viera Link

      Weight (body only)

      371 grams

      336 grams

      In most other respects, the two cameras are identical, although the G10 is only offered in black and won't be available as a body only. We've covered everything else in our review of the Lumix DMC-G2. However, we will also run the G10 through our standard suite of Imatest and shooting tests and report on them here.

      DMC-G10-Front

      Front view of the Lumix DMC-G10. (Source: Panasonic.)

      DMC-G10--Back

      Rear view of the Lumix DMC-G10. (Source: Panasonic.)

      DMC-G10-Top

      Top view of the Lumix DMC-G10 with the 14-42mm kit lens. (Source: Panasonic.)
      Design and Functionality
      The DMC-G10 has been designed primarily for photographers who want to step up from their digital compact camera to the superior image quality of the Micro Four Thirds System. While lacking the touch screen convenience of the G2, it still comes with an easy-to-operate user interface plus popular digicam functions like Intelligent Auto, Face Detection AE/AF and HD Motion JPEG video (instead of AVCHD Lite).

      Its build quality is pretty good and the SLR-like plastic body is the same size and shape as the G2. It also has the same ‘tactile' rubber-like cladding, which makes it very comfortable and secure to hold. The LCD monitor covers two thirds of the rear panel and is fixed in place. The review camera's monitor was quite prone to finger-marking and marks could only be removed with a specially-designed microfiber cloth.

      Whether you'll miss the touch screen convenience and the adjustability of the monitor is largely a matter of personal preference. Both features have their plusses and minuses and different people will see different advantages and disadvantages, depending on their own wants and needs.

      As in previous G-series models, all displays on the LCD are replicated in the viewfinder, allowing you to change menu settings without taking your eye away. And it is here we can see clear and unambiguous differences between the G2 and the G10.

      Although both cameras have the same monitor resolution, the very low resolution of the EVF on the G10 makes everything look slightly blurred. It can be difficult to read icons on the screen and displayed images can appear coarse-looking and unsharp, particularly in dim lighting. (However, if you rely on the LCD for framing shots and adjusting camera settings, this may not matter much at all.)

      The button controls on the rear panel are identical to those on the G2 and access the same functions. However, on the top panel, some key differences exist. The focus mode dial has only three positions - and you can't access the AF point selection modes directly from this dial, as you can on the G2.

      The Movie button on the G2 is also eliminated on the G10. Instead, video clips are recorded by pressing the shutter button. A second press stops the recording. Video clips are captured in Motion JPEG format, with four resolutions supported: 1280 x 720 pixels, 848 x 480 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels.

      You can't record still pictures while shooting video clips with the G10 and you can't adjust aperture settings. There's no support for the My Colour, Film and Scene modes, which can be adjusted on the G2 and you can't divide clips and create Cut Animation videos with in-camera editing functions.

      For details of the Sensor and Image Processing, Playback and Software and Kit Lenses, refer to the review of the Lumix DMC-G2.

      Performance
      Overall performance for shooting both stills and video clips was somewhat better than we expected on the basis of our tests on previous Lumix G-series cameras. Autofocusing speeds were similar to the G2 we reviewed a few weeks ago and reasonably fast for a contrast-based system, although slow when compared with the phase-difference systems used by DSLR cameras.

      Metering was generally accurate, regardless of the metering mode selected, and exposures were similar to those taken with the G2 - right down to the limitations of the sensor's dynamic range in sunny outdoor lighting. However, this was only a problem with JPEG images; raw files had more latitude for correction of both highlights and shadows.

      Interestingly, we obtained better results in our Imatest tests on the G10 than we got with the G2. However, we feel that both cameras fall within the range of variability you would expect from mass-produced cameras, with the G10 reviewed being closer to the top of the range, while the G2 was closer to the bottom. Variations in lens quality could also account for a significant part of the differences between the two cameras. However, as we're not able to compare them side-by-side, we can't provide definitive answers.

      Imatest showed resolution to be slightly below expectations for a 12-megapixel camera at ISO 100. However, as in the G1, it remained relatively high right up to ISO 1600 but dropped sharply at ISO 3200.

      Imatest showed resolution to be close to expectations for a 12-megapixel camera with JPEG files and above expectations for RW2.RAW files. The graph below shows the results of our tests using JPEG files for the focal length and aperture ranges of the 14-42mm kit lens.

      G10_Res-vs-FL-graph

      Resolution remained relatively high right up to ISO 1600 but tailed off at ISO 3200, falling lower at ISO 6400. In the graph below, the raw file results are based on RW2.RAW files converted with the latest version of Adobe Camera raw in Photoshop CS5.

      G10_Res-vs-ISO-graph

      Test shots taken in dim lighting with and without flash were similar to shots taken with the G2 we reviewed. Little noise was visible at sensitivities up to ISO 800. Stepping up to ISO 1600 produced a noticeable increase in granularity and some blotchiness in the darker areas of the picture.

      By ISO 6400, both colour and pattern noise were visible and shots were distinctly blotchy, particularly in long exposures. Switching on noise reduction processing improved image sharpness a little but didn't eliminate the granularity caused by the image noise.

      Not surprisingly, tests for lateral chromatic aberration produced similar results to our tests using the G2, although it never extended into the moderate band. In the graph of our Imatest tests below, the red line marks the boundary between ‘negligible' and ‘low' CA, while the green line divides ‘low' from ‘moderate'.

      G10_CA-graph

      Auto white balance performance was also similar to the G2. The test camera left residual orange casts in shots taken under of incandescent lighting and green casts with fluorescent lights. The both pre-sets came close to neutrality and manual measurement produced neutral colours. With adequate scope for in-camera tweaking of colour balance, this issue is largely irrelevant for serious photographers.

      Flash performance was also similar to the G2 and the built-in flash provided even illumination of an average-sized room throughout the camera's ISO range. Flash exposures were also well balanced for low-light portraits and close-up shots in which flash provided the main illumination.

      We used the same Class 6 8GB Silicon Power SDHC card for our video and response times tests as we used in our review of the G2. Interestingly, we were quite impressed by the quality of the video clips we obtained from the review camera as the HD clips were every bit as clear and sharp as the AVCHD Lite clips we recorded with the G2. This was quite unexpected. The VGA clips also appeared to be sharper and better resolved. There was little quality difference in the audio recorded by the two cameras.

      The review camera took just over one second to power up ready for shooting. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.9 seconds, regardless of file format, because it took between 3.2 and 3.3 seconds to process JPEG, RAW and RAW+JPEG files.

      With the high-speed continuous shooting mode, the review camera captured 10 frames in 4.7 seconds. Processing appeared to be on-the-fly as it was completed within 4.5 seconds of the last shot recorded. Raw file capture is limited to six frames in a burst at approximately 2.6 frames/second. It took 15.3 seconds to process this burst.

      For RAW+JPEG capture, the review camera could only record four frames in a burst, which covered 3.4 seconds. It took 17.3 seconds to process this burst. Frame rates were slower with the medium- and low-speed settings, the former recording 10 JPEG frames in 5.2 seconds and the latter taking 6 seconds to capture 10 JPEG files. Processing times were similar to the high-speed burst mode.

      Conclusion
      We've nominated the Lumix DMC-G10 as an Editor's Choice on the basis of the Imatest performance of the review camera - and because it represents the best value-for-money of any of the G-series cameras we've reviewed to date. This assessment is based on the assumption that most users will buy the camera for taking still pictures and only occasionally record video clips.

      When making our decision, we took account of the lower-resolution EVF and lack of touch-screen capabilities and also considered the non-adjustable LCD monitor. All of these, we felt, were relatively minor deficiencies in a camera where most shots will be composed on the LCD monitor and where the standard user interface is reasonably accessible and well-designed. For $300 less than the price of the G2, we feel the G10 represents good value for money.

      The G10 will suit buyers who want to shoot high-definition video clips and don't demand Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) or stereo soundtracks. Overall performance here is above-average for the format used. And the G10 has the advantage of using a video format that is more widely supported by third-party editors than the AVCHD Lite format used by the G2.

      Buy this camera if:
      - You're transitioning from a digicam to a more sophisticated camera and want straightforward controls and logical, easy-to-use menus.
      - You're interested in capturing and adjusting raw files (there's plenty of potential in the G10's raw files but you need better software than the bundled application to exploit it).

      Don't buy this camera if:
      - You need a pocketable camera (the G10 isn't).
      - You only shoot JPEG images.

      IMATEST GRAPHS

      JPEG image files

      G10_P1000061_colorerror_JPG
      G10_P1000061_colors_JPG
      G10_P1000061_YBL73_ca_JPG
      G10_P1000061_YR38_cpp_JPG
      G10_P1000061_YBL73_cpp_JPG

      Raw image files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw 6.1 in Photoshop CS5.

      G10_P1000061_colorerror_RAW
      G10_P1000061_colors_RAW
      G10_P1000061_YBL73_ca_RAW
      G10_P1000061_YR38_cpp_RAW
      G10_P1000061_YBL73_cpp_RAW

      SAMPLE IMAGES

      G10_P1000115_AWB-tung

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

      G10_P1000117_AWB-fluoro

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.

      G10_P1000141_night-ISO100

      25-second exposure at f/4; ISO 100, 25mm focal length.

      G10_P1000144_night-ISO800

      25-second exposure at f/10; ISO 800, 25mm focal length.

      G10_P1000147_night_ISO6400

      10-second exposure at f/18; ISO 6400, 25mm focal length. No noise reduction.

      G10_P1000148_night-ISO6400-NR

      10-second exposure at f/18; ISO 6400, 25mm focal length. With noise reduction.

      G10_P1000134_flash-ISO100

      Flash exposure, ISO 100; 42mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6

      G10_P1000137_flash-ISO800

      Flash exposure, ISO 800; 42mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6

      G10_P1000140_flash-ISO6400

      Flash exposure, ISO 6400, 42mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6

      G10_P1000084_14mm

      14 mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/9.

      G10_P1000088_42mm

      42mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/13.

      G10_P1000088-fringing-crop

      Crop from 100% enlargement of the above image showing minimal coloured fringing.

      G10_P1000096_2x-digital-zoom

      42mm focal length with 2x digital zoom; ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/8.

      G10_P1000097_4x-digital-zoom

      42mm focal length with 4x digital zoom; 1/250 second at f/8.

      G10_P1000100_4x3

      4:3 aspect ratio; 34mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/10.

      G10_P1000101_3x2

      3:2 aspect ratio; 34mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/9.

      G10_P1000102_16x9

      16:9 aspect ratio; 34mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/10.

      G10_P1000103_1x1

      1:1 aspect ratio; 34mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/9.

      G10_P1000112_dynamic-range

      Example of the limited dynamic range in JPEG images: blown highlights.

      G10_P1000109_dynamic-range

      Example of the limited dynamic range in JPEG images: blocked-up shadows.

      G10_P1000104_HD-video

      Still frame from HD video clip at maximum resolution; bright outdoor lighting.

      G10_P1000105_WVGA-video

      Still frame from video clip at WVGA resolution.

      G10_P1000106--VGA-video

      Still frame from video clip at VGA resolution.

       

      Specifications

      leadpic_DMC-G10

      Image sensor: 17.3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS sensor with 13.1 million photosites (12.1 megapixels effective)
      A/D processing: 12-bit
      Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
      Focal length crop factor: 2x
      Digital zoom: up to 4x
      Image formats: Stills - RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.21); Movies - AVCHD Lite/QuickTime Motion JPEG
      Image Sizes: Stills - 4:3: 4000 x 3000(L), 2816 x 2112(M), 2048 x 1536(S); 3:2: 4000 x 2672(L) / 2816 x 1880 (M) / 2048 x 1360 (S); 16:9: 4000 x 2248 (L) / 2816 x 1584 (M) / 1920 x 1080 (S); 1:1: 2992 x 2992(L), 2112 x 2112(M), 1504 x 1504(S); Movies: 1280 x 720, 848 x 480, 640 x 480, 320 x 240, all at 30 fps
      Image Stabilisation: Lens-based
      Dust removal: Supersonic wave filter
      Shutter speed range: 1/4000 to 60 seconds plus Bulb (up to approx. 4 minutes)
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 3 EV in 1/3 EV steps
      Exposure bracketing: 3, 5 or 7 frames in 1/3 or 2/3 EV steps, across +/-2 EV
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay plus 10 seconds delay + 3 images
      Focus system: Contrast AF system
      Focus modes: Face detection, AF Tracking, 23-area-focusing/1-area-focusing
      Other focus controls: Pre AF (Quick AF/Continuous AF), AF-Assist lamp
      Exposure metering: 144-zone multi-pattern sensing system with Intelligent Multiple, centre-weighted and spot modes
      Shooting modes: P, A, S and M plus 11 Scene presets (Portrait (Normal, SoftSkin, Out-Indoor, Creative), Scenery (Norm., Nature/Architecture, Creative); Sports (Norm., Out-Indoor, Creative); Close-up (Flower, Food, Object, Creative); Night Portrait. (Night Portrait, NightScene, Illuminations, Creative); Sunset, Party, Baby1/2, Pet, Peripheral Defocus)
      Picture Style/Control settings: Colour: Standard, Dynamic, Nature, Smooth, Nostalgic, Vibrant; Black and white: Standard, Dynamic, Smooth. Others: My Film1, My Film2, Multi Film
      Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
      Custom memory: Up to three sets of camera controls can be registered
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400; Intelligent ISO
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, Flash, White Set 1,2, Colour temperature setting (2500-10000K in 100K steps); Blue/amber & magenta/green adjustments; WB bracketing 3 shots on B/A or M/G axis
      Flash: Pop-up flash; GN 11
      Flash modes: Auto, forced on, forced off, slow synch; red-eye reduction is available
      Sequence shooting: 3.2 frames/second for 7 RAW or ‘unlimited' JPEGs
      Storage Media: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards
      Viewfinder: Live View Finder with 202,000 dots, 100% FOV; 17mm eyepoint
      LCD monitor: 3-inch TFT LCD with 460,000 dots
      Video Capture: Yes; AVCHD Lite (1280 x 720@ 30 fps) and QuickTime Motion JPEG
      Playback functions: Single, multi, calendar playback, category playback; up to 16x zoom magnification, slideshow, re-size, trimming, aspect conversion, rotation, face recognition editing, still capture from movie clip, protection, deletion, DPOF tagging
      Interface terminals: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HD AV output, Mini HDMI (Type C); PAL/NTSC video; Viera Link
      Power supply: 7.2V, 1250mAh lithium-ion battery pack; CPIA rated for 120 pictures/60 minutes with LCD ON
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 124 x 83.6 x 74mm (body only)
      Weight: 336 grams (body only)

       

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      Rating

       

      PR-EdChoice-web-100

      RRP: $999 (as reviewed with Lumix G Vario 14-42mm /F3.5-5.6 ASPH / MEGA O.I.S lens)

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Ease of use: 8.5
      • Autofocusing: 7.5
      • Image quality: Stills 8.5; Video 8.5
      • OVERALL: 9.0

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