Post update on 01.Aug.2020
A little bit over two years ago i entered the world of the small mFT sensors with the Lumix G6. But now there was time for a upgrade.
With this entry in the mFT world i began to complete my equipment and i’m amazed because of the reduction in size and weight compared to my Canon 5D MK II.
The newer camera bodies from Panasonic offer image stabalization as a part of the body, so my 20mm/1.7 and the Olympus 9-18mm will benefit from this feature, and 4K video is default.
I fancied the Lumix G81 for quite a while now, but last week with a special offer from a bigger dealer in addition to the Panasonic winter cash back offer i couldn’ reist 😉
Even the dimensions of the Lumix G81 differ a couple mm only you can state a bigger camera size of the new camera compared to the Lumix G6 even if you don’t place a Lumix G6 aside for comparism. Maybe this is due to the more square upper part of the body of the new camera, which now contains a mini flashgun.
The Lumix G6 is pretty compact but like the new G81 it is definitly not a camera for your jacket 😉 But too me handling of the new G81 is a little bit better because of the size.
Because of my experiecnes with new camera modells from Canon i was positivly surprised that the G81 camera is using the same rechargable batteries.
Of course i tried out the stabalisation system in the body, and it works very well. You can test out yourself only, but presenting the results is not possible because the conditions in picture takeing (holding the camera, pushing the release button and soon ) differ, but i got sharp images with 1/3 sec. with the 20mm/1.7 (but i also blurred 1/15 sec. with the stabalized Panasonic 2.8/12-35mm)
One statement on Panasonic website and in the general discussion is that the new G81 doesn’t have a biult-in AA filter and therefore gains in contrast and overall image sharpness. Of course there is a discussion about the possible negative effects like Moire effects because f the lack of this AA filter. Since the Lumix G6 is still available i made a small test, mounted both cameras on a tripod. Since the lowest ISO setting with G81 is ISO 200 (if extended ISO is deactivated) and the lowest ISO setting on the G6 is ISO 160 i captured at ISO 200. Here is the result.
Viewing this result on my 27 inch monitor i can’t state any significant difference, at least the differences are so marginal that there is no difference for pratical image shooting. Image sharpness and details are on a very high level on both cameras.
The JPEG engine of the G81 is under criticism for wiping out to much details in favor of noise reduction on high ISO settings. Meanwhile i often capture both RAW and JPEG at the same time, in particular on vacations, because its just easy to share a JPEG first. So i did a small test on the JPEG ooc behaviour with ISO above 800. Sometimes you read the advice to modify the noise reduction amount in the picture style settings to -4 or -5 to preserve more details. And here is the comparism:
Reducing the settings for noise reduction did not improve image quality as much as expected, maybe i should have tried are more extreme setting 😉 There is a loss on fine details, but anyway the image was captured at ISO 6.400 and thes result is more than usable. If you capture in RAW you can preserve more details with tools Google DFine 2.
The Lumix G81 is a great camera and i didn’t expect any increase in sharpness because of the missing AA filter. Other features like the built-in stabalizer or 4K video mode were more important to buy this camera. Additional features like the 4k foto mode or RAW processing in the camera i’ll try out later. I’m looking forward if the G81 camera is compatible with the GSimpleRelease app to do focus stacks with the cam.
What do you think about the upgrade, or is it an update only? Let me know in the comments and questions are welcome too.