Panasonic has arguably done more with mirrorless technology than any other manufacturer. After all, it launched the first mirrorless camera. After that, it expanded its G-series of cameras and lenses in many different directions, notably developing some of the most popular video-centric mirrorless options we've seen yet.
The focus may now be on what the company does with its newer S series, having recently launched the S1R and S1. Still, the S series is not a replacement for the more established line, and the demand for smaller, lighter, and more accessible models like the G95 is still there.
The previous generation Panasonic Lumix G85, also known as the Panasonic G80, was an excellent upper-entry-level mirrorless offering, with great image quality and a wide-ranging feature set to recommend it; but, after two and a half years, certain features are looking a little dated. So it's time for something fresh to take its place, and the G95 essentially picks up from where the G85 left off.
Price and availability
Panasonic Lumix G95 is priced at Rs 95,990 in India with a 12-60mm kit lens and Rs 1,09,990 with a 14-140mm lens. The mirrorless camera is available across leading retailers both offline and online across India.
Crafted like a DSLR, the Lumix G95 has a centrally placed viewfinder, a substantial grip, and twin command dials for speedy and convenient operation. The ergonomics and usability have been improved over the G85, and possibly because of this, the new camera is a tiny bit larger in every dimension and a touch heavier too.
That's great if you want to use longer lenses, as you'll have good support from the generous grip. The G95 isn't exactly small for a Micro Four Thirds body although you do benefit from far smaller lenses for the G95.
Even so, it manages to be relatively lightweight while feeling very well constructed. The rubber used around the grip and on the backplate has a coarse texture that makes getting a good hold on the camera easy, while the command dials move in precise and coarse increments. The various buttons around the body are also a bit larger and better marked than on the G85, and all give good feedback in day to day operations.
There's little to fault overall, although one small thing that irks us is the menu pad dial, both because it's relatively flush with the rubber surround, and also because of its proximity to the LCD screen, which makes it difficult to turn without continually hitting the panel.
Panasonic has been using 20.3MP Four Thirds sensors inside its G-series cameras for some time, and the G95 receives it as well. While some may see this as a sub-par sensor than the 24/26MP that's standard across many other cameras at the same price point, it is at least a step up from the 16MP sensor found inside the G85.
It is the same sensor that's found inside the G9, which is still the company's flagship camera in the series, and it works across an ISO range of ISO200-25,600. Panasonic has omitted an optical low-pass filter to enable it to capture crisper details, and image stabilization is built into the body too.
This system can be used as-is when the lens you're using lacks image stabilization, although if you partner it with a stabilized lens, the two systems will work together. This technology is known as Dual Image Stabilization 2, and it promises five-axis correction to a maximum of five stops. It is something that appears to be unchanged from the G85.
The older G85 offers 4K video recording, and the Lumix G95 continues this, although the new model is decidedly more video-centric than before.
For a start, it includes a VLog-L profile to provide a better starting point for grading, something that's only available for S1R and S1 users at an additional cost. And the fact that this is included by default here shows how credible Panasonic considers the camera to be for video purposes.
4K videos can be captured to 30, 25, and 24p, while Full HD video can be achieved at frame rates up to 60p (and beyond to 120fps in the High-Speed Video mode). It is backed up by a slew of supporting options, from microphone and headphone ports – the latter missing from the G85 – through to electronic stabilization, and the intelligent 4K Live Cropping feature, which lets you perform smooth pans and zooms without the need for the particular kit.
On the rear of the G95 is a 3-inch LCD with a 1.04 million-dot resolution, and this flips out from the camera body and spins around to face the front via a hinge to its side. It's also touch-sensitive, enabling the user to set the focus point, swipe through images, and navigate the menus, among other things.
Above this lies an electronic viewfinder that's based around a 2.36 million-dot OLED panel, with a magnification of 0.74x in 35mm terms, and an eye sensor just above it that switches between the finder and the LCD as the user's face approaches and moves away.
In terms of functionality elsewhere, the model offers everything we expect at this level, with Panasonic's usual sprinkling of extra features on top. The 1,728-zone multi-pattern metering system offers Multiple, Center-Weighted and Spot options, and exposure control covers the PASM quartet plus exposure compensation and bracketing options.
The 9fps burst mode is unchanged from the G85, although this drops to 6fps when you want to use live view, or maintain autofocus between frames. Panasonic reckons this can be maintained for 45-plus raw frames or more than 300 JPEGs, which is perfectly acceptable for a model of this sort.
Color modes, or Photo Styles in Panasonic parlance, range from the usual Standard, Vivid, and Natural options through to various black-and-white options and Cinelike settings. On top of that, fun effects such as Retro, Cross Process, Toy Effect, and Fantasy let you apply pre-defined looks to your images.
There's also a small flash on the top plate that has a guide number of 9m at the base ISO200 setting, while other features include Face and Eye Detection, a silent shutter, and both timelapse and stop-motion settings. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also on board, allowing for wireless image transmission and remote control of camera settings from an iOS or Android device running the Panasonic Image app.
The Lumix G95's CIPA-rated battery life of 290 frames per charge (regardless of whether you're using the LCD or the EVF) may look underwhelming, but Panasonic points out that switching to the Power Save mode will boost this to 1,000 frames. The average user will get more than 290 frames per charge regardless, however, and USB charging does at least make it convenient to power up the camera.
All images and videos are sent to an SDHC or SDXC memory card, with a single card slot located behind a door at the camera's side. There's support for both the UHS-I and UHS-II standards, as well as for UHS Speed Class 3 (U3), which promises a minimum sustained write speed of 30MB/s.