There are almost enough dedicated vlogging cameras for every YouTuber to have their own dedicated model, but the latest addition to the field, the Panasonic G100, brings something new to the table – some nifty voice-tracking audio. (We’ve already had some hands-on time with the G100 – to read our thoughts head to our hands-on: Panasonic G100 review).
The combination of three internal microphones and Nokia’s Ozo tech, which we’ve already seen in smartphones like the OnePlus 8 Pro, means the Panasonic G100 can pull off spatial audio tricks like tracking voices throughout a scene. It also cleverly works in tandem with the G100’s face recognition.
The G100 is effectively a shrunken version of the Panasonic G95 / G90 (it’s the latter outside the US), and Panasonic says its new camera will complement that model in its lineup rather than replace it. Like the G95 / G90 it’s a Micro Four Thirds camera with a 20.3MP MOS sensor that can shoot 4K/30p video, but at 345g (without a lens), it’s considerably smaller than the 533g G95 / G90.
The G100 also crams in five-axis image stabilization and vlogging-friendly features like frame markers, to lets you preview various different aspect ratios for uploading to social media.
There will also be a tripod grip (sold separately), to help you hold the camera and pull off basic operations like starting and stopping recordings. If you buy the G100 (body-only or with the 12-32mm kit lens) before August 31 in the UK, Panasonic will be bundling this tripod for free.
Vlog till you drop
There’s already lots of hot vlogging camera competition in the form of the Sony ZV-1, Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III and Sony Alpha A6400, but the Panasonic G100’s size and features make it a potentially strong contender.
Its main achilles heel might be that it still uses contrast-based DFD (Depth from Defocus) autofocus, which previously hasn’t proven to be quite as snappy and reliable as the phase-detect AF used by rivals like Sony. The latter is a particularly useful feature when it comes to shooting video.
But we’re interested to see exactly how well Nokia’s Ozo Audio tech works with the Panasonic G100’s triple-microphone setup. Panasonic says this is linked to the camera’s face recognition, and adjusts the recording range and direction according to the movement of the person in frame.
It can also automatically switch to ‘surround’ audio capture, or direct the recording to the person behind the camera, making it potentially useful for recording both interviews and environmental sound.
Panasonic claims this audio setup means “there’s no longer any need to invest in a separate external microphone”, which sounds like a stretch, but there is also a 3.5mm mic input if you want to attach an external mic.
With other vlogging-friendly features like a side-flipping screen and five-axis stabilization onboard, the G100 certainly has a lot going for it, particularly at what seems a pretty reasonable price tag.
The Panasonic G100 will be available from the end of July in various bundles. You’ll be able to buy the G100 with a 12-32mm kit lens for $749 / £679 / AU$1,299, or with the 12-32mm kit lens and a tripod grip for $799 / £719 / AU$1,399.
In the UK and Australia, the G100 will also be available body-only for £589 / AU$1,099; there isn’t a body-only option in the US right now.