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The advance of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras is still a developing tale.
The GF6 is a good example of where we’re at, but don’t think for one moment that what the camera offers is indicative of what a MILC camera should offer.
The beauty of this style of camera is that it’s small, with access to a range of lenses that are similarly compact in size. It can be used as a point-and-shoot, it’s pocketable (with lens removed) and equipped with a sufficient number of controls that most people will cotton on to.
One price you pay with the GF6 is that there is no turret viewfinder, a big help in bright ambient light, nor is there access to an optional finder. There is however, a vari-angle touch screen LCD that tilts vertically through an approximate 180 degrees arc.
The CMOS captures a maximum image size of 4592×3448 pixels, leading to a 39x29cm print.
Video can be shot in AVCHD or MPEG4 formats, up to Full HD 1920×1080 pixels resolution. And you can shoot stills during a video recording.
At first sight, the camera is attractive. A soft chrome top deck and the rest in black.
Top deck: at left is a button to activate the flash cell; just right of the latter is the mode dial holding positions for auto, PASM, ‘creative’ video; two custom settings; panorama shooting; scene modes (23 in all) and a creative control mode that takes you into a magic world of 19 shooting styles that include a retro look, high and low key effects, mono, cross processing etc.
If you get the feeling, from the scene modes and creative control effects in the GF6, that this is a dabbler’s camera … you’d be right! The more expert may scoff at this situation but, if it helps photographers to get more out of their camera, I’m all for it.
Moving further to the right you see the shutter button, on/off button, direct access to the intelligent auto mode and the video record button.
One annoyance: the video record button is only mills away from the iAuto button … too easy to hit the latter when you really wanted to activate the former. Far better to have placed the video button on an edge as most other camera do.
The camera’s rear is fairly simple in layout: replay; screen display options; four way control dial offering exposure variation, AF modes, white balance options, single/continuous shooting and self timer. Central is the menu/set button.
Beneath the control dial is a quick access menu button and a Function button.
My main gripe with this arrangement is that the control dial has four positions (AWB, etc) but each of these is identified by tiny white text on a silver background. Impossible to see!
The menus are clearly laid out.
There is easy wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi with compliant smart phones and tablets that lets you monitor the camera’s view from a smartphone and set zoom, focus, shutter release, shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation.
With High Dynamic Range, the camera merges three shots with differing exposure levels into a single picture; this will help with subjects of an extreme bright to dark brightness range.
The Instant Transfer feature allows data to be transferred automatically to the device whenever the shutter is fired. You can also do this via the touch screen.
Only at ISO 6400 did noise begin to intrude. At ISO 25600 the noise was much higher but resolution held up surprisingly well.
Quality: above average with precise colour rendering and fine resolution.
Why buy the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6: budget level entrée into the world of interchangeable lens photography.
Why not by the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6: no viewfinder.
In other respects I found the camera to be quite spiffy and easy to use. If you’re keen to dip your toe into interchangeable lens photography, want to post process RAW files, shoot decent video etc … this one’s for you!
The beauty of the GF6 is that you can get around the various modes with great ease. Not too challenging.
Image Sensor: 16 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multiple, centre-weighted and spot.
Effective Sensor Size: Four thirds 17.3×13.0mm CMOS.
Lens Factor: 2x.
Compatible lenses: Micro Four Thirds.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Shutter Speed: 60 to 1/4000 second; flash sync 1/160 sec.
Burst Speed: 4.2 fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4592×3448 to 1712×1712. Movies: 1920×1080, 1280x720p, 640×480.
Viewfinder: 7.6cm LCD screen (1,040,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, AVCHD/MPEG4, MPO (3D).
Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 160 to 12800 (25,600 with boost).
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini, WiFi, DC input.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC adaptor.
Dimensions: 111x65x38 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 323 (inc battery).
Price: Get a price on the Panasonic DMC-GF6 16MP Mirrorless Compact System Camera with Lens Kit at Amazon.