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The best Panasonic cameras in 2019

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Panasonic makes pocket-sized point-and-shoot cameras right up to pro mirrorless models, but which one is right for you?

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Panasonic makes some great compact cameras for casual photographers, from the waterproof Lumix FT7 right up to the long-zoom FZ1000 bridge camera, but it’s probably best known for its interchangeable lens G-series mirrorless cameras. These come in a whole range of prices and sizes, from the low-cost Lumix GX800 (see our guide to the best cheap cameras) up to the high-end Lumix G5 and G9 models. 

Panasonic’s G-series cameras use Micro Four Thirds sensors slightly smaller than the APS-C sensors in rival mirrorless cameras, but they make up for this with smaller and more compact cameras and lenses, and with Panasonic’s speciality – 4K video features. Many of Panasonic’s cameras are designed to be equally good at video as stills photography.

Panasonic has also moved into the professional market with its full frame mirrorless Lumix S series. These are bigger and heavier cameras designed for experts and come with a whole new range of L-mount lenses. Obviously these are more specialised, but we couldn’t do a guide to Panasonic cameras without including them!

So we’ll kick off our guide by picking the best Lumix G mirrorless cameras right now, then choose our top Panasonic compact cameras and then take a look at the new Lumix S models. You can use the navigation bar at the top of this page to jump straight to each section.

BEST PANASONIC LUMIX G CAMERAS

Panasonic’s Lumix G cameras come in two broad types. The ‘G’ models have DSLR-style bodies with a viewfinder on the top and the ‘GX’ models have a smaller rectangular shape like old-fashioned ‘rangefinder’ cameras, and come with and without viewfinders, depending on price.

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1. Panasonic Lumix G80 / G85

If we had to pick one ‘best’ Lumix G camera for everyone, this would be it

Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.0MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k pivot touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,360k | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 9fps (40fps electronic shutter) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Enthusiast

Great build quality and handling

High-res electronic viewfinder 

Fully articulated touchscreen

Modest 16MP image sensor

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G80 (or G85 in the States) boasts excellent handling thanks to its DSLR-style layout. It’s also really well made, with a dust and splashproof construction that includes a magnesium alloy front section. Inside, there’s 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization that can work in conjunction with optically stabilized lenses, plus Panasonic’s 4K Photo mode for 30fps 8-megapixel image capture. The G80’s premium quality stretches to an excellent high-res electronic viewfinder and fully articulated touchscreen, and the G80 is also highly competent at 4K movie capture. The best news is the price right now – that’s because there’s a new 20-megapixel G90/G95 on the way in the middle of 2019.

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2. Panasonic Lumix GX9

Sometimes the best things come in the smallest packages

Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,340k tilt touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,760k tilt | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 9fps | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Enthusiast

Tilting viewfinder and touchscreen

High 20.3MP count for MFT

Hybrid stabilization

Less easy to handle than DSLR-style models

If you want a smaller and more portable camera than the G80 but you don’t want to compromise on features and technology, the GX9 is the answer! Its slender body features a high-res electronic viewfinder built into the back, rather than having a chunkier DSLR-style design. Good for shooting from any angle, the viewfinder and rear screen both have a tilt facility. And while small in build, the GX9 goes large on the inside, with a newly developed 20.3MP sensor that gives you 25 per cent more megapixels than the Lumix G80 and many Micro Four Thirds cameras. Other attractions include 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization and 4K capture for both video and rapid-fire photos.

Read more: Panasonic GX9 review

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3. Panasonic Lumix GH5

This is still the ultimate hybrid Panasonic stills/4K video camera

Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.2-inch, 1,620k pivot touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 3,680k | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 12fps (6k 30fps, 4k 60fps) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Professional/Enthusiast

Excellent all-rounder for both video and stills

Superb electronic viewfinder

Good layout of controls

ISO range comparatively limited

Exceptional for both stills and video capture, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 is a brilliant all-rounder. It positively screams ‘high-res’, from its ultra-high-resolution electronic viewfinder and fully articulated touchscreen to its 20.3MP image sensor and 4K 60p video recording – along with super-fast 6K 30fps and 4K 60fps stills modes. The DSLR-style design brings great handling characteristics and easy access to advanced shooting settings. You also get 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization and Light Speed AF. The only drawback is that the high megapixel count in a Micro Four Thirds format sensor results in a relatively limited ISO range. 

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• The best Micro Four Thirds lenses for your Panasonic camera

4. Panasonic Lumix G9

Keen on sports and action? The Lumix G9 makes the ideal upgrade

Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k pivot touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 3,680k | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 12fps (6k 30fps, 4k 60fps) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Professional/Enthusiast

Highly effective image stabilization

Top panel status LCD

Fast continuous drive rates

MFT sensor smaller than APS-C rivals

With a relatively high megapixel count for a Micro Four Thirds camera, the Panasonic Lumix G9 combines a 20.3MP image sensor with super-fast autofocus and a rapid 12fps continuous drive rate. This rises to 30fps for 6K stills, and as much as 60fps for 4K stills. The ultra-high-resolution electronic viewfinder helps you to track the action in the finest detail, and there’s a fully articulated touchscreen around the back. You can expect to retain the finest detail in your images as well, thanks to an excellent 6.5-stop stabilization system. It’s Panasonic’s most stills-focused camera, but still offers excellent video capture facilities.

Read more: Panasonic Lumix G9 review

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5. Panasonic Lumix GX80 / 85

A great pocket-sized entry-level Lumix G that also has a viewfinder

Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.0MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 2,765k | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 8fps (40fps elec shutter) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Intermediate

Compact yet has an electronic viewfinder

Advanced features but good value

8fps continuous shooting

Relatively modest 16MP sensor

Incredible value for money, with or without its smart little 12-32mm kit zoom lens, the  Panasonic Lumix GX80  /  G85 shoehorns a host of high-tech features into its diminutive, compact-style build. These include 5-axis image stabilization, Light Speed AF, Post Focus and 4K ultra-high definition for both video and rapid-fire stills, as featured in Panasonic’s top-end cameras. There’s also a high-res electronic viewfinder built into the back of the camera, along with a tilting touchscreen. If you want a camera that goes large on features and performance, but with a small build and price tag, this is an ideal choice.

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6. Panasonic Lumix GX800 / 850

Panasonic’s cheapest mirrorless model is such a bargain!

Type: CSC | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.0MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: None | Lens: Micro Four Thirds | Continuous shooting speed: 5.8fps (4k 30fps) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Beginner

Relatively inexpensive

4k video and burst shooting for stills

No viewfinder

Only 16MP

Not only is the Panasonic Lumix DC-GX800 the least expensive model in Panasonic’s line of interchangeable-lens cameras, it’s also great on the go. It’s particularly small and lightweight, especially when paired with the 12-32mm zoom that’s available as a kit option. The lack of a viewfinder helps to keep the camera’s size to a minimum, and there’s a simple, no-fuss control system based around a touchscreen at the rear. The screen has a 180-degree tilt facility, which works well with smart selfie modes, complete with ‘beautifying functions’ and the options of face shutter and buddy shutter. It’s a capable performer too, with Light Speed AF, 4K UHD for video and rapid-drive stills, and even a Creative Panorama mode. It makes a smart budget  travel camera, enabling you to put yourself in the picture anywhere around the world, and share the results via built-in Wi-Fi.

BEST PANASONIC COMPACT CAMERA

Are you looking for a rugged, pocket-sized camera for the whole family to use, an advanced pocket camera for when you need to leave your main camera at home, a compact long-zoom camera for travel or a powerful supertelephoto bridge camera? Panasonic makes all four…

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7. Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 / 100

Our favourite Panasonic compact camera for enthusiasts

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1.0-type | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: None | Lens: 24-72mm f/1.4-2.8 (effective) | Continuous shooting speed: 10/50fps (4k 30fps) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Enthusiast

Relatively large 1.0-type sensor

Good zoom lens

No viewfinder

260-shot battery life

There are currently two ‘LX’ cameras in Panasonic’s premium range of compact cameras. Both are very attractive propositions; the LX100 Mark II combines a Micro Four Thirds format image sensor with a Leica zoom lens. For value, however, we prefer the Panasonic Lumix LX15. This camera has a smaller 1.0-type image sensor and a Leica Summilux zoom lens with an ‘effective’ 24-72mm focal length range, in full-frame terms. The camera is wonderfully compact yet packs some seriously powerful features, including Light Speed AF, hybrid stabilization, and 4K definition for both video and bursts of stills at 30fps.

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8. Panasonic Lumix TZ90

A brilliant but affordable travel camera with a generous zoom

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-type | Megapixels: 20.3MP | Screen: 3.0-inch, 1,040k tilt touch | Viewfinder: Electronic, 1,166k | Lens: 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 (effective) | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps (4k 30fps) | Max video resolution: 4k | User level: Intermediate

Typically big ‘TZ’ zoom range

Smart selfie mode

Relatively small 1/2.3-type image sensor

Small grip area

Sensibly priced but rich in features, the Panasonic Lumix TZ90 compact camera has a smaller sensor but a 30x zoom lens with a more generous range than the 10x or 15x zooms in the pricier Lumix TZ100 and TZ200 models. The effective 24-720mm focal length range of the Leica lens takes you all the way from generously wide-angle coverage to extreme super-telephoto, while fully retracting into the camera for pocketable stowage. And despite its super-slimline dimensions, there’s an electronic viewfinder as well as a tilting touchscreen around the back that can go through a full 180 degrees for those essential travel selfies!

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