Review Panasonic Lumix G100

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is a compact and light camera that has been specially developed for vloggers. The G100 has extra microphones on board for this and a specially developed grip ensures that you can take ergonomically sound selfies. The Lumix G100 is also a pretty nice holiday camera for non-vloggers.

Click on the camera for specifications, prices and test results.

TEST RESULTS Panasonic Lumix G100

PROS

CONS

  • Vertical filming possible
  • Good audio
  • Compact and light
  • Spacious 0.73x viewfinder
  • Good grip
  • Built-in flash
  • Grip as an accessory
  • No IBIS (in-body image stabilization)
  • Substantial crop with maximum stabilization
  • DFD autofocus
  • USB 2.0
  • No earphone jack
  • Not particularly weather resistant

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is a nice entry-level camera for anyone who sometimes wants to film themselves.

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is the first M43 camera that has been specially developed for vloggers and YouTubers. Most Panasonic cameras are already perfectly usable as hybrid film/photo cameras, but the G100 has a few extra features that make it stand out. One of these is the ability to film vertically without rotating the camera. The G100 can thus film in both 16:9 and 9:16. An extra large wide angle useful then if you also want to get yourself in the picture. The second distinction is that Panasonic has partnered with OZO Audio by Nokia for the built-in microphones. There are three of them, and the sound quality should therefore be better than that of the standard microphone, so you can capture yourself without an extra microphone on the hot shoe. As a third extra, the G100 comes standard with the LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm F/3.5-5.6 ASPH. MEGA OIS and the DMW-SHGR1 grip. You can connect and power this via the camera’s USB 2 port. The grip includes a start-stop button and can also serve as a tripod.

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is not the successor to the G90. It has a three-digit series number. And that indicates a slightly lower series. This is clearly visible in the body of the G100. Not only is it smaller and lighter than that of the G90, but it also has far fewer controls. So it’s more of an entry-level model, where the G90 is more of a mid-range camera. You can therefore better compare the G100 with an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III than with, for example, an EM 5 Mark III. Both the price and the lack of extra gaskets to make the camera weatherproof also indicate this. In Panasonic’s range, the camera will then be above the viewfinderless G880 and below the G90. This puts it in about the same segment as the Panasonic Lumix GX9. That is a camera with a rangefinder design and a slightly more extensive interface. But the GX9 does not have a turning and tilting screen and has a slightly smaller and less good viewfinder. The GX9 is therefore less interesting for YouTubers than the G100.

BUILD

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is a very light camera, weighing only 303 grams without a battery. With battery, 342g. If you buy the set with the 12-32 mm, an additional 70 grams is added for the lens, and the entire package weighs 412 grams ready for use. So don’t expect a robust metal body. Extensive use of plastic has been made for the Lumix G100. The camera is also not completely weather resistant, which is actually quite a shame for a device that is so light that you would always want to have it with you (and always want to use it…). The Lumix G100 is a G model. That means it has more the design of an SLR than of a rangefinder, complete with protruding viewfinder right above the mount, just like the G90. The G100 is not only much lighter and smaller, it also has fewer controls. There are only three push buttons on the back of the camera, in addition to a selection wheel. There is no selection wheel to the left of the viewfinder housing, and operation is simplified to the right of the viewfinder as well.

A smart step by Panasonic is to place the USB and HDMI connection on the right. That was also the case on the Lumix GM5, a camera that is somewhat the spiritual predecessor of this G100 in terms of compactness. You can connect the grip to the USB port of the G100 and turn the screen at the same time without the USB cable getting in the way of the screen. You can also use the USB port to power the camera. The camera has a small flash on top of the viewfinder. It does not fold up very high and has a guide number of 3.6 at ISO 100. The flash sync speed is 1/50th of a second.

SCREEN AND VIEWFINDER

The Panasonic Lumix G100 has a new viewfinder. According to Panasonic, the number of pixels corresponds to that of a 3.8-megapixel regular viewfinder. That’s about 50 percent more than the GX9’s sequential viewfinder, and the G100’s viewfinder is really visibly better. The magnification, at 0.73x (full frame eq.), is beautiful, the sharpness is high, as is the contrast. The only thing that is unfortunate is that you cannot manually adjust the color rendering, the brightness and the contrast. By default, they are quite spicy. That produces a nice picture, but one that differs quite a bit from the end result.

The 3-inch/7.5-cm screen can of course turn and tilt so that you can see yourself. It has a 16:9 ratio. That means that you don’t use it completely when you shoot in the standard 3:4 format, but it is ideal for filming. It is touch sensitive, even with the camera to your eye, and you can also operate the menus with it. The screen has 1.8 megapixels and is quite bright, so that you can work with it well during the day while filming.

AUTOFOCUS SPEED AND ACCURACY

The Panasonic Lumix G100 has the same AF system that we know from a number of other Lumix models, with a maximum of 49 fields. It’s very fast in S-AF, but unfortunately not the very best in C-AF for video. This has to do with the fact that Panasonic still does not use phase detection autofocus. Systems with phase detection can recognize very well which point to focus on and can often do so in a smooth focusing stroke. Panasonic’s DFD system only uses contrast detection. Admittedly in a very clever way, so that the camera also knows which way to focus, but it often requires some correction at the end. This causes some restlessness in the viewfinder, which you also capture when you film.

During vlogging, you can see that the focus sometimes has to make some minor corrections in the background, which sometimes oscillates in sharpness. Thanks to the good face recognition, your face generally remains sharp during vlogging.

The Panasonic Lumix G100 also has the option to speed up or slow down the image in the Q&S mode, which stands for Quick and Slow. With the G100, you can film up to 120 frames per second, and the autofocus will still work at that speed. The sensitivity of the AF system runs from -4 to 20 EV.

SENSOR AND IMAGE QUALITY

The sensor is the familiar 20-megapixel M43 sensor that we also find in almost all other Panasonic models. This allows the camera to take well-detailed images with a – for this sensor size – very decent dynamic range. M43 cameras have the smallest sensor of all system cameras. But this sensor is twice as big as the 1-inch sensors in the better compact cameras and Sony’s vlogging counterpart, the Sony ZV1. The sensor is also at least five times bigger than the sensors found in best smartphones. You can clearly see that difference in the sharpness if you use shots slightly larger than on Instagram. You can also see it in the dynamic range. That is nice, without the camera having to use HDR techniques that smartphones have to resort to. Although this sensor has been in use for a few years now, the images that you take with the newer Panasonics are different from those from the somewhat older models. This is mainly due to the color rendering. Panasonic has made significant progress in this area. You can of course see that especially in the jpegs, but you also have to adjust the RAWs less for a beautiful, natural and saturated rendering.

IMAGE STABILIZATION

Micro Four Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus have excelled in image stabilization for years. Panasonic and Olympus – as pioneers in the field of IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) – have the most experience with image stabilization in the body and with Dual IS, the combination of IBIS and OIS in the lens. Unfortunately, the Panasonic Lumix G100 does not have built-in image stabilization on the sensor. The G100 has a five-axis Hybrid IS system. Hybrid means in this case: stabilization in the lens plus electronic, software stabilization.

The G100 is thus missing one of the things for which you would choose an M43 camera, and that’s a shame, especially for a camera that is meant for videographers. If you are vlogging and walking at the same time, then you really need the electronic image stabilization. That stabilization has two modes: standard and high. If you choose high, the image will be slightly less sharp, but quieter. Unfortunately, you will certainly also have to deal with a considerable crop of the image in 4K. With the Lumix 12-32 mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom supplied as standard, your head as a vlogger comes is quite large in the frame, and you get to see a lot less of the background and the environment. That is not ideal. The part of the sensor used is therefore hardly bigger than what you would get with a 1″ sensor, due to the 2x crop. That is of course not what you buy an M43 camera for.

A longer grip or a wider wide angle could solve this. However, you cannot extend the grip. Panasonic does offer a larger wide angle with image stabilization. Two of them: the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25 mm f/1.7 ASPH and the Panasonic LEICA DG 8-18 mm F2.8-4. However, both weigh and cost a lot more than the G100 body. Unfortunately, Panasonic does not (yet) offer a light and affordable, stabilized 8 or 10mm wide angle. In Full HD, you have less trouble with a crop with Hybrid IS, and with only the OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) of the lens, you use the entire sensor and therefore also the full field of view of the lens.

Despite the lack of built-in image stabilization in the body, the Hybrid IS works quite well, although you can see the difference from Dual IS systems. You can film reasonably with it without a gimbal, and that’s nice. It saves a lot of extra weight, and that counts if you walk around all day with a camera at arm’s length.

VIDEO

The Panasonic Lumix G100 can film in 4K in both 24 fps and 30 fps and in Full HD up to 60 fps. In the “Slow & Quick” mode, you can also shoot Full HD MP4 files up to 120 fps, creating a 4 slow motion as the end result. The G100 uses the H.264 codec, and the bitrate is up to 100 Mbps in 4K30f. The maximum bitrate in Full HD is 28 Mbps. Most modern SD cards won’t have a problem with that, but H.264 is tough for most computers in post-processing, as extracting the compressed files is quite demanding on the processors. The G100 can film in V-log using LUTs and, according to Panasonic, the dynamic range is about 12 stops. However, the G100 does not film in 10bit, and that is actually what you would prefer if you want to film with a log profile. Tools such as zebras and focus peaking are also included. And of course there is the option to film vertically, which is useful for Instagram. A handy extra is that the frame around the image turns red when you film. That is easier to see than a blinking red dot somewhere on the screen.

SOUND

The most unusual thing about the Lumix G100 is of course the OZO audio system. Due to the placement of the 3 microphones, the camera can record sound all around, but can also select a specific direction of the sound. You can thus choose to record sound from behind the camera (if you provide commentary during filming), from in front of the camera (for an interview or vlogging) or around. A unique option is to let the sound run along with the facial recognition. This way the sound can go with someone walking through the image. Overall, this system works quite well. It ensures that you, as a vlogger, can easily turn the camera to visualize something other than yourself, without your sound immediately dropping out. However, the microphones are not fitted with pop caps or wind deflectors. So you have to be careful with the circumstances.

However, for a would-be vlogging camera, the lack of a headphone input is a strange thing. You can fine-tune the audio levels in the menu, but without the option to actually monitor the sound, this is of little use to you. The argument is that vloggers often don’t wear headphones. But at the very least, as a vlogger, you would like to check before making a recording whether your sound is good, whether there is not too much wind or ambient noise, for example. Even after the recordings, you cannot properly listen to whether everything is good. And if a recording is not good, you would rather not wait to find out until you’re back in the studio.

ConclusiON: REVIEW Panasonic Lumix G100

 Panasonic LUMIX G100
 specifications
  
sensorM43 20.3 Mp
video3,840 x 2,160 24/25/30f Full HD to 60 fps
ISOauto, 200-25.600 (100 exp.)
max. series speed 10 fps C-AF, 30 fps Burst
storage media 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC
battery capacity 270 shots
dimensions 115x82x54 mm
weight (incl. battery)342 g
list price € 749.00 (body with 12-32mm)
importerwww.panasonic.nl
  
 rating
image quality 7.5
focus 8.5
light metering 9
white balance9
screen/viewfinder8
price-to-quality8
bonus8
  
final score8.3

The Panasonic G100 is a nice entry-level model, with which you can also vlog reasonably well. For the serious vlogger, however, there are better options.

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is a camera with two faces. It has been marketed as a vlogging camera. The built-in audio is smart and works reasonably, although with strong wind you lack the option to put something like a windshield on it, and you don’t have a headphone input. The substantial crop of the electronic stabilization means that the included lens is not ideal for vlogging, certainly not in 4K. However, there is no affordable alternative as long as Panasonic does not release a cheap, stabilized wide angle (zoom). A Panasonic Lumix G9 or G90 is therefore a better choice for advanced vloggers. The Lumix G100 is fine for novice vloggers and as a camera. The viewfinder and screen are excellent, the sensor performs well, and the low weight and small dimensions make the G100 a very nice camera to always have with you.