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The 5 Best Panasonic Cameras of 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Panasonic Cameras

Panasonic produces a range of cameras under its LUMIX brand, from point-and-shoots to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. The company is known for standardizing and developing the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system of cameras and lenses in collaboration with Olympus. In 2018, Panasonic also entered into the L-Mount Alliance with Sigma and Leica to begin producing cameras using the latter's L-mount standard. Under this alliance, Panasonic has begun to move into full-frame cameras, though it continues to offer many MFT, bridge, and compact cameras to suit a variety of budgets and experience levels.

We've bought and tested over 75 cameras, seven of which are Panasonics. Below you can find our picks for the best LUMIX cameras and see how the brand stacks up in today's camera market.

Updates

Best Panasonic Cameras


  1. Best Panasonic Camera

    While Panasonic is a relative newcomer to the full-frame market, they knocked it out of the park with the Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5. Aimed at enthusiasts, this is the best Panasonic LUMIX camera for hybrid shooters interested in both photography and video. It's well-built and feels good in the hand, with a high-resolution touchscreen and decent viewfinder. Plus, dual SD card slots, ports for days, and in-body image stabilization (IBIS) make this a great videography camera. It even records 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally, and though it's heavily cropped, the camera can also record 4k at 60 fps. To top it off, this is also one of the best low-light performers we've tested.

    "What's the catch?" you might be thinking, especially at this price point. Well, for one thing, the camera can't shoot bursts faster than 6 fps, which isn't terrible but falls far short of the standard set by competing high-end full-frames. It also uses Panasonic's Depth From Defocus (DFD) autofocus system, which is a contrast-detection AF that's great for still subjects or slower-moving subjects but doesn't perform as well when you're shooting something quick or erratic like a bird. Ultimately, it's a highly capable camera for a wide range of photo and video work—but sports and wildlife shooters are better off looking elsewhere.

    See our review

  2. Best Panasonic Camera For Video

    Panasonic's GH series has long been a favorite among videographers and YouTubers, and the LUMIX GH5 II is one of the best cameras in the company's lineup for video work. Unlike the Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5, the GH5 II uses a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor; however, that leaves more room in the body to implement best-in-class IBIS, along with giving the camera more focal reach. There are also plenty of M43 lenses available, giving you a ton of flexibility in what kind of videos you want to shoot.

    Video quality is great, but where the camera shines is its internal video recording capability and resolution options. On top of 1080p and UHD 4k, it can also record DCI (Cinema) 4k and anamorphic 6k to get a wider, more cinematic aspect ratio. It comes with V-Log and internal 10-bit 4:2:2 up to 30 fps (or 60 fps with 4:2:0 sampling). Plus, a dizzying array of recording formats and codecs. If it wasn't already clear, this is a video and filmmaking powerhouse, and though it's since been superseded by the Panasonic LUMIX GH6, the GH5 II is still a great option for most video shooters.

    See our review

  3. Best Panasonic Vlogging Camera

    If all the talk of codecs and chroma sampling went over your head, but you're still interested in shooting videos or vlogs, fear not! The Panasonic LUMIX G100 is a great little vlogging camera. It's much more portable and much more affordable than the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, which is probably overkill for many YouTubers who are just starting out or just want a simple setup to create content with.

    It has a simple control scheme and is easy to use. Case in point: when you flip its screen around to face you, the camera automatically goes into 'Self Shot' mode, enabling face/eye detection, audio tracking, and a three-second recording start timer to make vlogging easier. The unique directional mic is better than most internal mics, but you also get a microphone input to attach a dedicated mic. There are a fair amount of frame rate options, including a slow-motion mode in 1080p. Just be aware that the 2x crop factor plus an additional crop in 4k can bring the frame pretty tight on your face unless you use an extension pole. Still, if you're looking for something lightweight and portable that won't break the bank, the G100 is a very solid vlogging camera.

    See our review

  4. Best Panasonic Bridge Camera

    Bridge cameras can be solid options if you like the convenience of a built-in lens but still want the shooting experience and ergonomics of a DSLR. Thankfully, Panasonic has you covered with the LUMIX FZ1000 II. It's a solid all-around camera for casual and family shooters, with a versatile zoom lens that covers a wide focal length range of 25–400mm (full-frame equivalent). That gives you a lot of room to shoot everything from far-off birds and wildlife or your nephew's soccer game.

    Naturally, you won't get the same image quality out of this thing as you would with one of the larger-sensor options mentioned above, but it does use a 1-inch sensor, which is larger than most superzoom cameras. It also feels good in the hand, has a handy vari-angle screen, and a great viewfinder. Plus, it has plenty of extra features, like a '4k PHOTO' mode that lets you pull stills out of 30 fps video clips, that give this camera a lot of value for its price.

    See our review

  5. Best Panasonic Compact Camera

    While a bridge camera like the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II gives you the convenience of a built-in lens, it isn't very portable. If you want something you can easily carry around for street photography or travel, the Panasonic LUMIX LX100 II is an excellent choice. This premium point-and-shoot is aimed more at enthusiasts, with dedicated exposure dials that give you more control over settings without diving into menus.

    The camera also stands out among point-and-shoots for its multi-aspect sensor. It uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor, but only uses a portion of it with a smaller lens opening, letting you adjust the aspect ratio of your photos without affecting the camera's field of view. And even though it's only using part of the sensor, it still captures high-quality photos, especially for a compact camera. Plus, the built-in lens opens up quite wide, which is good for low light, and you get a bit of zoom range for flexible framing.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Advanced video features. Panasonic cameras typically have sophisticated video features like support for Log picture profiles and excellent internal recording capability.
  • Micro Four Thirds system. Along with Olympus, Panasonic standardized the Micro Four Thirds system, featuring 4/3 sensors and MFT-mount lenses. MFT cameras have some advantages, like smaller camera bodies, longer focal reach, and generally cheaper cameras and lenses.
  • Portable designs. Many Panasonic cameras have smaller bodies for greater portability and simple, uncluttered designs.
  • Autofocus lags behind some of its competitors. While Panasonic has continued to improve autofocus performance on its cameras, it isn't quite as effective or reliable as some competitors like Sony.
  • Fewer full-frame options. Panasonic is a relative newcomer to the full-frame camera market, so the company has fewer full-frame models to choose from.
  • Cameras tend to have slower continuous shooting speeds. Some of Panasonic's higher-end cameras have slower continuous shooting speeds than cameras from competing brands.

While Panasonic has a shorter history of making cameras than some of its competitors, it's still managed to produce a variety of innovative cameras that are sometimes ahead of the curve, particularly when it comes to video specs. Panasonic cameras tend to have less reliable autofocus and slower continuous shooting speeds than Sony or Canon, but the company is a mainstay in the realm of Micro Four Thirds cameras and a good fit for those who want a more portable camera system or a camera with powerhouse video features.

Lineup

Panasonic offers a range of mirrorless, MFT, bridge, and compact cameras, with most models beginning with the prefix 'DMC' and its newer line of full-frame mirrorless cameras beginning with the prefix 'DC'. The following are some but not all of the most popular series in Panasonic's full lineup.

Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Cameras

  • S series = Full-frame mirrorless cameras with L-mount lenses. Smaller numbers (S1) indicate higher-end cameras, while larger numbers (Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5) sit lower in the lineup.

Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras

  • G series = Mid-range SLR-style mirrorless cameras, with some models, like the G9, falling towards high-end. Higher single-digit model numbers typically indicate higher-end cameras, while the newer triple-digit G(xxx) model is the brand's entry-level vlogging camera.
  • GH series = High-end SLR-style mirrorless cameras with advanced video features. Higher model numbers indicate the latest models in the series.
  • GX series = A newer lineup of rangefinder-style mirrorless cameras that sit between entry-level and mid-level. These generally have smaller bodies but offer some higher-end features that you might find on G or GH series cameras.
  • GF series = Entry-level rangefinder-style mirrorless cameras.

Bridge/Compact/Point-and-Shoot Cameras

  • FZ series = DSLR-style bridge cameras with small sensors and fixed long-zoom lenses. Smaller model numbers, like the FZ80, are more budget-friendly, while larger model numbers, like the FZ1000 II, are higher-end models that feature larger 1-inch sensors.
  • LX series = Premium compact cameras with manual controls. The latest triple-digit models in the series utilize Micro Four Thirds sensors but use a smaller lens opening, allowing the camera to shoot at various aspect ratios natively without reducing the field of view.
  • TZ/ZS series = 'Travel Zoom' compact point-and-shoot cameras.

Recent Updates

  1. Oct 19, 2022: Restructured article for readability and to better cover user needs.

  2. Feb 18, 2022: Reviewed article for accuracy with no change to recommendations.

Conclusion

Panasonic cameras are some of the best consumer options for advanced video and filmmaking features. While the brand is relatively new to the full-frame camera market, it's already become a viable competitor to brands like Sony and Fujifilm in the mirrorless market. If you're looking to invest in the Micro Four Thirds system, Panasonic is still one of the few brands to look at. Its collaboration with Olympus in the MFT arena and its entry into the L-Mount Alliance also means that investing in one of these systems opens up your lens options, making Panasonic a cost-effective camera brand to invest in.

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