Panasonic has announced its new G100 camera (G110 in some regions) and it offers some very interesting features – like Nokia’s OZO Audio technology which allows the camera to listen to sound from every direction to pick out and record only what you want it to capture. It’s not perfect, though. In fact, there are a couple of points that have essentially become dealbreakers for me.
There’s no IBIS. Yes, that’s right, no IBIS. So, you’re reliant on using stabilised lenses or dealing with electronic image stabilisation. The 4K video also has the same 2.52x crop factor of their other 20-megapixel cameras, which means that 12-32mm kit lens essentially offers the same field of view as 30-80mm on full-frame.
Anyway, here’s the slightly awkward launch “event” video, featuring YouTubers Rachel and Jun, who’ve been having a play with the camera recently.
|Sensor||20.3-megapixel Mifro Four Thirds LIVE MOS (1.6x)|
|Lens Mount||Micro Four Thirds|
|Max resolution||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|ISO||200-25600 (100-25600 expanded)|
|Crop Factor||2x (2.52x when shooting 4K video)|
|File format||RAW, JPG|
|Stabilisation||Electronic (no IBIS)|
|4K Video||4K UHD (3840 x 2160) at 29.97fps|
|HD Video||Full HD (1920x1080) at 119.88fps)|
|Audio||3 built-in microphones (Nokia OZO Audio) / 3.5mm microphone socket|
|Focus type||Auto and manual focus|
|Viewfinder||3.68m-dot electronic viewfinder|
|LCD||1.84m-dot 3" articulating touchscreen TFT LCD|
|Dimensions||116 x 83 x 54 mm (4.57 x 3.27 x 2.13″)|
|Weight||352 g (0.78 lb / 12.42 oz)|
|Launch price||$749 / $799 with grip|
Despite seemingly following on from their G80, G90 numbering system, the G100 is not, in fact, a G90 successor. It actually sits somewhere in between the G90 and the GX9. It has a relatively compact size, similar to the GX9, except for that obnoxiously large EVF sitting above the lens. As a video-oriented camera, I’m not entirely sure why it needs an EVF at all, really.
But the G100 does carry across some features from the G90 that are somewhat essential for vlogging, too, like the flippy out LCD and a 3.5mm microphone socket. Although it appears that the 3.5mm microphone socket may not be required so much due to the addition of Nokia’s OZO Audio technology that lets the camera listen in all directions.
The G100 features three built-in microphones that it uses to listen out in all directions. You can then either have it automatically guess what it thinks you want to hear or you can switch it over yourself. So, if you’re standing in front of the camera talking to it, it can hear you. If you’re standing behind the camera, talking about something you’re looking at, it can also pick your voice up quite well, if the demo starting at 8:45 in the video above is any guide.
Of course, when you want a little more focused audio with an on-camera shotgun, or stepping away from the camera with some wireless lavs, you have the ability to plug those in, too.
There are, I think, some odd decisions with this camera. It’s obviously not stills-focused, so why go with the 20-megapixel sensor over the G80’s 16-megapixel sensor (2.2x 4K crop), which would open up that crop factor a little and give you a wider and more reasonable focal length for handholding the camera while vlogging? 12mm sounds really nice and wide, but not when it ultimately offers the field of view equivalent to that of a 30mm focal length on full-frame.
Sure, the obvious solution is to just shoot 1080p, where the camera can then utilise the entire size of the sensor and you just get the regular 2x crop of Micro Four Thirds, but then it feels like 4K is there just for the sake of being there and doesn’t really serve much other purpose, unless you’re 6’4″ and have really long arms. And, for anybody buying a video-focused camera for vlogging, most of the stills they’re going to produce are for social media anyway, so what benefit does 20-megapixels offer over 16?
Holding back the IBIS also seems like a big mistake. For those that do want to shoot 4K, if they have to go to a wider lens to get the field of view they need when filming themselves, it most likely won’t be a stabilised one. So, to force users to rely on electronic image stabilisation is somewhat off-putting. I can’t believe that it’s simply a size issue and that they didn’t have room to fit IBIS when other cameras like the GX80 and GX9 have it, especially when they waste so much space on top with that electronic viewfinder (again, not really a stills oriented camera – what’s the point?).
One other thing they do offer in the G100, which is nice, though, is the V-LogL colour profile. This should offer a lot of flexibility in post to maximise the dynamic range of the sensor, although is it going to be overkill for the target market for such a camera?
It’s a good attempt and overall it’s not a terrible camera, but the lack of IBIS and such a tight crop when shooting 4K seems to really miss the mark for me. I think Panasonic already has more suitable options out there if you’re not obsessed with the grip.
I still want to add another Panasonic to my collection. I was hoping it could be the G100. I was hoping it’d essentially be a mini GH5 (with the GH6 rumoured to be on the way), but I think I’ll dedicate a G80 as my permanent vlogging camera and go for a G9 instead – at least that way I’ll have one that can do 4K60 for a little slow-mo.
If you want one, though, the Panasonic G100 is available to pre-order now for $749 in a kit with the 12-32mm lens or for $799 for the kit + the tripod grip that offers external shutter and record control.