Last week we brought you news of the new Panasonic Lumix GF2. If you're on a tighter budget, sharing the same Micro Four Thirds lens mount is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10, a 12.1 megapixel option for those wanting a smaller form factor for portability and user friendliness yet the look, layout and responsiveness of a more ‘serious’ camera.
Like other hybrid models it’s mirrorless, allowing for both the smaller body size and more physically diminutive lenses, as there’s now less space between sensor and lens.
Panasonic Lumix G10: Lens
Despite the double-digit model number, the 12.1 megapixel Lumix DMC-G10, sharing a Live MOS chip with the Olympus E=PL1, comes across as a pared down version of Panasonic’s costlier Lumix DMC-G2.
Despite overall dimensions being an exact match, the G10’s is just a tad lighter than the Panasonic Lumix G2 at 558g.
It comes with the same 14-42mm, 28-84mm equivalent lens kit form. The lens is optically stabilised as the G10 doesn’t feature in-body anti shake. This is an omission it shares with Canon's EOS 500D and the Nikon D3100, another pair of possible competitors.
Available in black body colour, it omits the G2s touchscreen and the quick access movie record button. The LCD monitor, like on most DSLRs, is also fixed so lacks the tilting flexibility of the G2’s or the Sony Alpha A33 translucent mirror ‘SLT’ rival.
The electronic viewfinder has a lower resolution at 202k dots, but is perfectly usable, and to be honest we didn’t notice a marked difference between the G10 and G2 in terms of operation.
Anyone who has handled a DSLR before will find the control layout similar, whilst it also includes useful features from Lumix compacts lower down Panasonic’s range. For example, timesaving user friendliness is maintained via a ‘Q.Menu’ (Quick Menu) button which provides a short cut to the adjustment of key features to save otherwise wading through menu screens to select the setting you want.
Panasonic Lumix G10: Features
As we’d expect of a DSLR/compact hybrid, you get 1280x720 HD video saved in Motion JPEG format rather than AVCHD favoured elsewhere. The monitor again comes in handy when shooting moving images as well as stills, where its higher than usual 460k-dot resolution, which provides near life-like visibility, gets a chance to truly shine.
For anyone thinking about switching off the built in flash for a more natural look and taking photographs in low light you get improved maximum sensitivity setting over the original G1, here a top ISO6400, as on the G2.
Panasonic Lumix G10: Conclusion
To be picky the kit lens can suffer from some barrel distortion at maximum wide angle, but edge-to-edge sharpness is well maintained. What we really enjoyed were the G10’s colours – especially vivid if selecting ‘Expressive’ colour mode. Overall pictures have a softer more filmic look rather than the overly crisp feel we’re used to getting from digital images, which we feel here makes for a plus.
For those after a bargain, the G10 is the current cheapest Micro Four Thirds body plus kit lens on the market. Anyone upgrading from a Panasonic compact could not go wrong.
Panasonic Lumix G10 launch date: Now
Panasonic Lumix G10 price: approx £350 with 14-42mm lens, find out more from Panasonic