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 produce 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.
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 Aimed at enthusiasts, this is the best Panasonic LUMIX camera we've tested, though it's since been replaced by the Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5 II. It's well-built and feels good in the hand, with a high-resolution touchscreen and decent viewfinder. Dual SD card slots, in-body image stabilization (IBIS), and all the inputs you need for video peripherals 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.
"What's the catch?" you might be thinking, especially at this price point. Well, for one, the camera has a slow max burst rate of 6 fps, which isn't terrible but falls far short of the standard set by competing cameras. This model, unlike its successor, also uses a slower contrast-detection autofocus system that's great for still or slow-moving subjects but doesn't perform nearly 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.
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 Micro Four Thirds sensor, so it isn't as capable in low light. On the flip side, the smaller sensor means more room in the body to implement best-in-class IBIS, along with more focal reach. There are also plenty of MFT lenses available, making it versatile for a range of different video styles.
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 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.
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 that's more accessible to newcomers. It's much more portable and much more affordable than the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, which is probably overkill for many content creators who want a simple setup to get started with.
To that end, the camera is very easy to use, with simple and intuitive controls. For instance, 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 if you want better audio. 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, this is a very solid vlogging 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 with a wide full-frame equivalent focal length range of 25–400mm. That gives you a lot of room to shoot everything from far-off birds and wildlife to your daughter'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 bigger than most superzoom cameras. It also feels good in the hand, has a helpful vari-angle screen, and has a great viewfinder. It's packed with extra features, including a '4k PHOTO' mode that lets you pull stills out of 30 fps video clips, giving this camera a lot of value for its price.
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 hands-on control over settings.
The camera also stands out among point-and-shoots for its multi-aspect sensor. It has 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. The built-in lens has a fairly wide max aperture, so it performs relatively well in low light, and you get a bit of zoom range for flexible framing.
Panasonic and Olympus are both leading producers of Micro Four Thirds cameras. Panasonic has a wider range of camera offerings, along with more video-centric options. Olympus cameras tend to be more rugged and portable, making them great travel cameras.
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. However, 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.
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
Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Cameras
Feb 16, 2023: Added brand comparison to Olympus and renamed the Panasonic LUMIX LX100 II from 'Best Panasonic Compact Camera' to 'Best Panasonic Point-And-Shoot Camera'.
Oct 19, 2022: Restructured article for readability and to better cover user needs.
Feb 18, 2022: Reviewed article for accuracy with no change to recommendations.
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.