Panasonic Lumix G110 Review – A year later

by Nicole on December 3, 2021
Panasonic Lumix G110
Positives
  • Compact body with a viewfinder makes it a great choice for photographers on-the-go
  • Ability to edit Raw images in camera
  • Directional audio tracking
  • Choice of lenses
  • In-camera charging is handy
Negatives
  • Focus hunting while in video mode, mediocre performance of IS in video mode
  • Extreme crop when shooting in 4K
  • 10 minute recording time in 4K, 29:59 in 1080p
  • Internal flash won't work as 'fill'

The G110 is a 20MP mirrorless camera designed explicitly for vloggers and content creators. A year later am I still happy with it?

Its small size makes it portable and versatile but there are tradeoffs. Let’s dig into this camera and see who exactly it’s a fit for.

  • Key specifications
  • 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • Electronic image stabilization (works in sync with in-lens IS)
  • Directional audio with tracking mode
  • Fully articulated high-brightness 1.84M-dot LCD panel
  • 3.68M-dot equivalent electronic viewfinder
  • Video up to 4K/30p and FHD up to 120p with slow/quick options
  • Mechanical shutter extends to 1/500 sec, electronic shutter to 1/16,000 sec

Ultimate vlogging Camera with great stabilization

With Panasonic’s explicit focus on vlogging, it should come as no surprise that the bulk of the G100’s stand-out features relate either to video or that the camera be small and light.

Surprisingly the G110 does include physical image stabilization, something that I would think would be very important in a vlogging camera. Walking and talking are something that are commonly associated with vlogging.

It instead uses electronic IS (EIS) system in video mode that can work in sync with in-lens stabilization. It uses the gyroscope sensors and algorithms from Panasonic’s sensor-shift IS systems. The compromise is that it imposes significant crops on the footage.

Five-axis digital correction is used when shooting in 1080 and four-axis stabilization when capturing 4K.

Self Shot Mode – Flip that screen!

The feature that’s missing on most cameras that you’d want to use for vlogging is the display that flips around so you can see what you’re shooting.

When you flip the screen the G110 automatically engages the Self Shot which turns on face detection and tracking audio mode. There an on-screen touch tab appears on the display that allows you to select a series of functions you might want to use, like: Skin smoothing or background control which blurs the background. By default photos and video in self shot mode have a 3sec timer to allow you to get in place. If you have it in Touch Shutter mode it will fire the shutter when 2 faces are detected. It took me a while to figure out what was going on with that mode as I was mostly testing the camera while I was alone.

In the menus you can change whether AF is initiated before or after the 3-second countdown has happened, or you can turn off ‘Self Shot’ mode entirely.

To make it easy to tell when the camera is recording, a red frame appears around the screen when it’s capturing footage.

‘OZO’ directional audio

The three microphones (one on either side of the viewfinder, near the front, the third at the back right) are used to provide a series of direction-specific audio response patterns. There’s also a tracking mode, linked to face detection, that reduces background noise coming from other directions.

These offer a series of ways of using the camera’s three built-in microphones, if OZO sounds familiar it’s technology licensed from Nokia’s ‘OZO’ VR project.

In the camera’s default ‘Auto’ mode, the camera will use tracking mode if there’s a face present and surround mode if there isn’t.

Video modes

The G110 offers a range of video modes including UHD 4K and Full HD, with fast and slow-mo options in the latter.
It’s important to note that different modes have different recording limits. I shoot longer videos, so I had to figure out how to get the longest recording time possible.

Video features

The G100 inherits a number of features from Panasonic’s higher-end video cameras, including the 8-bit variant of the V-Log L gamma curve, and the on-screen VU audio meters, to help with setting volume levels.

The G100 also gains the ability to show framing guides for a variety of aspect ratios. These include 1:1 and 9:16, so you can shoot content for YouTube, but make sure that the action all takes place in a region that can be best-cropped for Instagram.

The G100 can also shoot vertical video, including all necessary metadata within the files to ensure they’re played back in that orientation.

Battery Life

The Panasonic G100 uses a DMW-BLG10 battery with a capacity of 7.4Wh. This provides a CIPA battery life rating of 270 shots per charge, without relying on a mode that puts the camera to sleep all the time.

We were happy that it could run off an external battery pack as we thought if we weren’t able to charge it between shoots we would need a couple of extra batteries.

Shooting 20min of continuous video on a tripod used up XX% of battery life.

Image Quality

We primarily shot in Intelligent Auto mode while shooting stills with the G100 and were impressed by the quality of out-of-camera JPEGs. The images shot with the G100 have a nice amount of contrast and colors that popped.

I found the colors to be a little over-saturated, which works for those who might be looking for more vibrant footage.

I did an interview using my Sony A6400 and found the colors to be too saturated with no options to turn things down. I opted to shoot using one of the filters as it was closer to the white balanced shoot I was getting on the Sony.

If I didn’t have this camera as a side by side, I would have thought that the punchy colors looked good, a bit heavy but not out of place.

The G100 is built around a 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor and although the image quality is great when shooting outside in sunny conditions and low ISOs, it starts to degrade at ISOs above 3200.

When shooting in Intelligent Auto mode the G100 does a very good job of figuring out what you are trying to shoot, and adjusting its settings to match

Since the G100 is primarily aimed at vloggers and content creators it’s important that it can produce good-looking stills even if the photographer lacks technical know-how, and on that level the G100 succeeds. The G100 does a good job of metering and the out-of-camera JPEGs are generally quite good. The camera gives users the ability to edit Raw files in-camera to adjust settings like white balance, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation and shadows.

Autofocus

When shooting stills the autofocus on the G100 is pretty impressive. It’s good at detecting faces and eyes and holding onto focus even if your subject is moving around. The video autofocus is a different story though. The autofocus in video mode does a lot of distracting focus hunting, knocking subjects in and out of focus with even the slightest movements. It’s better when the camera is in vlogging mode and the algorithm for tracking faces and eyes kicks in. If you are planning to use the camera for capturing ‘walk-and-talk’ footage and combine it with video sequences, that wandering autofocus will likely be a dealbreaker.

I was working on my own video, but honestly I came across this video by MarkusPix and he really did a great job of showing the blogging scenes in a better quality that I was able to shoot myself! I still like the G110 a year later, but think this video really shows its full potential.

 

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Rating
Design / 8
Camera / 8
Sound / 8
Performance / 8
Battery Life / 7.5
Software / 8
Price / 7.5
Editor's Choice / 8.5
Hardware / 8
Display / 8
Panasonic Lumix G110

If you assess the G100 as a camera designed for vloggers, you ultimately end up with a camera that is trying to do a lot of innovative things, but failing to do any of them particularly well. The audio tracking capabilities are pretty impressive, but they don’t mean much when you are dealing with a camera that struggles to hold autofocus and has such a tight crop in 4K mode that it’s useless for walk-and-talk style vlogging shots (without a really wide lens attached).

As a stills camera the G100 fairs slightly better. It has a nice viewfinder, a bright LCD screen, the ability to change lenses and an extremely compact body. The autofocus is good, as are the out-of-camera JPEGs and the ability to edit Raw images in camera makes this more appealing to someone who wants to quick share what they're shooting.

Although the audio-tracking is clever and works quite well, it’s just not enough to make this a camera we’d recommend for vlogging. If you're in the market for a vlogging camera, we think the Sony ZV-1 makes a lot more sense thanks to its autofocus capabilities and its directional 3-capsule microphone.

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