Features & Controls
The Panasonic website lists 23 lenses that fit the Micro Four-Thirds mount, plus adapters for its Lumix G series and Leica M and R series Four-Thirds lenses. In addition there are four optional conversion lenses for telephoto, macro, wide-angle, and fisheye.
The camera uses a supersonic wave filter for dust reduction.
Shown here is the Lumix G Vario 14-42mm lens, extended at full zoom. The aspheric lens employs 12 elements in 9 groups, with maximum apertures of f3.5 (wide) and f5.6 (telephoto). The minimum aperture is f22. The lens has a minimum focal range of 1 foot and offers optical image stabilization.
The compact body measures 4.72 x 3.28 x 2.79 inches (excluding protrusions), and weighs just 1.24 pounds, including an SD card, battery, and lens.
This lens is very compact, almost as shallow as a pancake lens. Note that the lens lacks a focus ring and zoom ring to achieve its small size. Both functions are assigned to the corresponding levers on the side of the barrel. This means both zoom and manual focus are motorized functions and lack the precision and tactile feedback of directly moving optical elements with a zoom ring or focal ring.
The angled 3-inch LCD offers a very high resolution of 920,000 pixels, making it ideal for framing shots in all but the brightest afternoon light (when the electronic viewfinder comes in handy). The articulation allows you to get creative with your angles, and rotates 180 degrees forward (helpful for self portraits), which also allows it to fold up against the camera body for protection.
The EVF has a very high resolution of 1.44 million pixels, though even with that high of a resolution is still not as reliable an image as an optical viewfinder when trying to focus manually. The eyepiece is outfitted with a sensor that automatically turns on the EVF when your eye approaches.
The touchscreen function of the LCD works great for tapping your way through the menus, though it sometimes is unresponsive when swiping. Note the conveniently located thumb wheel at top right - it's a fine alternative to the touch screen for quick menu navigation.
Note the overall layout of the controls. The button placement is well organized and very customizable. In addition to three customizable function buttons on the back panel, there are two customizable positions on the touch screen that serve as virtual Fn buttons.
On the top panel, the zoom lever sits just behind the shutter button (in addition to the zoom lever on the lens). Next to the mode dial is a dedicated movie button and an iAuto button. You select in the menus whether the Intelligent Auto button launches iAuto or iAuto Plus mode, which allows you to adjust brightness and color settings using slide bars on the touch screen display.
In addition to the typical Program, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority and Manual positions, the mode dial offers scene mode and creative control positions, plus two custom selections.
Just below the mode dial on the back panel are the Quick Menu and AF/AE Lock buttons. Pressing Quick Menu displays common menu items, depending on the mode or display style being used. You also can customize the selections of the menu, displaying up to 15 recording functions and menu settings.
You also can assign one of these functions to the auto focus/auto exposure lock button, which also serves as Fn1.
The four-way control offers positions for changing the ISO, white balance, drive mode and auto focus mode. In all cases, the menu items are displayed on the touch screen and you simply tap your selection. In the case of auto focus, you can tap on your intended subject to move the AF box.
Above the four-way control are the playback and display buttons. Below is the delete/menu close button, with also serves as the customizable Fn2 button.
You can turn the EVF (or, Live View Finder) on and off using the button to the left of the eyepiece, though you don't need to - by default the viewfinder's sensor is activated and turns it on when your eye approaches. The menus offer two sensitivity settings for this function.
This button doubles as the customizable function button Fn3.
The camera offers the following flash modes:
- Auto / Red-eye Reduction
- Forced On
- Forced On / Red-eye Reduction
- Slow Sync.
- Slow Sync. / Red-eye Reduction
- Forced Off
Using the 14-42mm kit lens, the rated flash range is as follows:
- 0.99 feet to 30.8 feet (wide)
- 0.99 feet to 19.4 feet (telephoto)
Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.