Panasonic’s GF5, leaked a couple of weeks ago on Instagram, is now officially official. The new Micro Four Thirds camera skips right over the superstitiously suspect name GF4 (which apparently sounds like “death” in Japanese), but does little more than add polish and a new sensor. But what a sensor.
The slimline body houses the new 12.1MP Live MOS sensor, which is capable of shooting down to ISO 12,800 (think black cat in a coal cellar), and a redesigned “Venus Engine” — Panasonic’s image processor. This adds such exotic flavors as “3D Noise Reduction” and “Multi-process Noise Reduction.” This is fancy-speak for the ability to apply different noise reduction to different parts of the photo, treating highlights and shadows separately.
Focusing is also improved. It can lock on in as little as 0.09 seconds, and somehow focus on as little as one pixel. You can also touch-to-focus and touch-to-zoom (with powered zoom lenses).
If you were in the market for the GF3 and somehow forgot to buy it, then this is probably the perfect camera for you. If you already own a GF3, then you’re probably fine sticking with what you’ve got.
The GF5 will launch later this year and will cost $600 when bundled with a regular 14-42mm zoom, and $750 with a powered 14-42mm zoom. A relative bargain.