The back end of the G6 has 7 tiny Function buttons and each button can be assigned a particular function that you use most frequently, depending on the mode the camera is in (Recording or Playback). The
default functions are shown below:
Fn 1: Quick Menu (You can select between: Metering mode, Aperture value, Shutter speed, Exposure Compensation, Sensitivity, White Balance, Photo Style, Flash mode, Motion Picture Set, Picture Setting, Quality,
Focus mode and AF-area mode.
Fn 2: AFL/AEL
Fn 3: Peaking (highlights in-focus areas when using manual focus)
Fn 4: Wi-Fi
Fn 5: LVF/Monitor Switching
Fn 6: Touch AE
Fn 7: Level Gauge
The Lumix G6 offers 3 types of metering: 144-segment Matrix metering, Centreweighted and Spot. You can link the spot meter to a single autofocus point. As you change the exposure, its effect can be seen on the Camera’s LCD or on the EVF. Another useful feature is the intelligent auto (iA) which is found on most Panasonic models. The iA mode takes all guesswork away and provides perfect exposures – ideal for beginners and for those who just want to concentrate on framing rather than on technicalities. Panorama photography is the ‘in-thing’ these days, and the G6 makes it very convenient to create panoramas – just set the camera to the Panorama Mode and pan the camera in relation to the scene, and presto! You have the panoramic splendour of the scene
captured on your G6. Multi-exposure (4 exposures on a single frame) is also possible for creative effects.
Some other useful features on the G6 are iDynamic (Intelligent Dynamic Range Control) and iResolution (Intelligent resolution). The former compensates for contrast and exposure when there is a great difference in brightness between the subject and the background; the latter improves on image sharpness and resolution. Then there is the Time-Lapse feature that allows you to record images at regular intervals so that they can be
stitched to form a movie clip. The user can choose between sRGB and Adobe RGB Colour Space. Shutter speeds available range from 60 sec to 1/4000 sec for still images and 1/25-1/6000sec for Motion
image (PAL). An Optical Image Stabilizer detects and corrects for hand movement during exposure, but you need to use a lens that supports image stabilization. If you like to keep a record of your children or pets growing up, the G6 can record their names and age on the images. This feature is available in Profile Setup.
The G6 offers various Photo Styles (Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, and Custom) and 4
aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1). Here are the largest image sizes in pixels at the various aspect ratios: 4:3 – 4608×3456 (16MP); 3:2 – 4608×3072 (14MP); 16:9 – 4608×2592 (12MP) and 1:1 – 3456×3456 (12MP). Pictures can be shot in JPEG, Raw, Raw+JPEG.
The following Focus modes can be selected by the user: AFS (Autofocus, Single shot), AFC (Autofocus Continuous) and AFF (Autofocus Flexible. In this mode the camera automatically switches between AFS and AFC depending on the status of the subject – whether stationary or moving). ISO sensitivity on the G6 can be set to Auto, iISO (Intelligent ISO), or from 160-12,800, but can be boosted to 25,600 if need be. Automatic correction
for darkening of corners is possible (Panasonic calls it Shading Compensation – Shading Comp. in short). 3D recording is possible if you use a 3D lens.
Like almost every camera today, the Panasonic Lumix G6 too needs a good study and understanding of its features before you can use it with flair. There are just too many features, and knowing them is important to use the camera to its full potential.
The camera can fire off 7 frames per second at full resolution. I always keep my cameras (all cameras) in high speed burst mode (so that I don’t miss an opportunity to fire off a quick burst when the need arises) and have enough practice to fire a single shot for normal use. On the G6 however, because the firing is so quick, I often found that I fired more than one frame! We found the G6 a pleasure to use.
The Panasonic Lumix G6 was tested using the supplied 14-42mm kit lens.
The overall performance of the Panasonic Lumix G6 was very good. The 3 exposure meters performed very satisfactorily. We noticed that in lighting with strong contrast, the G6 managed to save the highlights
from overexposing, but it did that by slightly underexposing the shadows (which of course can be ‘opened up’ in
any image editing program). Overall, the image sharpness was good – at all marked focal lengths, at wide open aperture, central sharpness was good, but corners were softer, especially at 14 and 18mm settings. Stopping down the lens by 1 to 1.5-stops improved the central as well as corner sharpness. By f/11, images started
to appear slightly softer due to the effects of diffraction of light.
On the White Balance front, the G6 gave perfect results for AWB as well as the Preset in ‘Cloudy’ conditions, but in all other lighting conditions, except ‘Incandescent’, gave a slight blue cast. When used in incandescent lighting, it gave a red cast. In all fairness, any room lit by incandescent lighting usually has bulbs of different wattages, and hence it is unfair to judge the White Balance under such conditions unless you are sure that all the
bulbs are of the same wattage, and all are used for equal number of hours.
Some darkening of corners at the widest focal length was noticed at all aperture settings, but in practical
use this may be insignificant. Barrel distortion was noticed at 14 and 18mm settings. Strong against-the-light shots that included the sun produced flare, but I did not notice any chromatic aberration, which is a very good thing.
The G6’s native image size at full resolution is 11.52 x 15.36 inches at 300 ppi. At 16.7% screen size, images were free of digital noise all the way up to ISO 12,800. At 25% screen size, we could see some noise at ISO 6400 upwards (if we really looked for it). Similarly, at 50%, noise could be seen from ISO 3200 upwards. At
100%, noise could be seen from ISO 800 onwards, but in an emergency, I would use up to ISO 3200. ISO 6400 and ISO 12,800 were too noisy for my liking.
HD Video quality was excellent, though we did notice slight degree of moire when capturing details with regular patterns.
Value for Money
The MRP for the Panasonic Lumix G6 has not yet been declared. However, it retails in the USA at $750 with the 14-42mm kit lens (currently about Rs.46,500). We have assumed an Indian price of Rs.62,000 with
the 14-42mm kit lens.
The Panasonic Lumix G6 maintains top image quality and video output similar to the other highend
mirror-less models from Panasonic. In particular, the G6 is great for fast bursts and combined
with a suitable long-range zoom, would be a great alternative to heavy (and much more expensive)
D-SLRs for wildlife photography. Landscape photographers will be very happy with the details it can
produce; the panorama mode and the HDR feature can add to their enjoyment. Best Buy!