Panasonic has taken the wraps off its latest Micro Four Thirds camera, with the Lumix G100 marking a distinctly new direction within its range. It’s not, as its name might suggest, an update to last year’s enthusiast-focused G90, but instead a tiny SLR-shaped camera which has been specifically optimized for vloggers.

To this end, it boasts a top-mounted electronic viewfinder and fully articulated rear screen, along with a relatively simple control layout that’s designed to be approachable for users stepping up from smartphones.

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is designed to be easy to use

Perhaps the most interesting new feature is the high-tech OZO Audio by Nokia mic system. This is designed to work with the camera’s subject recognition to keep the built-in microphone focused on the subject, even if they move across the frame. It also employs a third rearwards-facing capsule that promises improved audio when the user is narrating to camera. In addition there’s a 3.5mm stereo socket for an external microphone, but no support for headphones.

To keep footage steady, 5-axis hybrid image stabilisation combines electronic and in-lens optical IS, with the latter also used for shooting stills. However there’s no in-body stabilisation.

Rear controls are kept relatively simple

Key specs include a 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor offering sensitivities up to ISO 25,600, continuous shooting at 10 frames per second, and 4K video recording at 30fps. The viewfinder boasts an impressively high 3.68m-dot equivalent resolution, and is complemented by a 1.84m-dot 3-inch touchscreen.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are built-in, the battery charges via USB, and the G100 can even be used as a webcam over HDMI. This all fits in a diminutive body that measures just 116 x 83 x 54mm, and weighs a mere 412g with the tiny collapsible 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom on board.

The camera will be sold body-only, with the tiny 12-32mm retractable zoom, or in a kit with the tripod grip

While Panasonic is primarily marketing the G100 based on its video prowess, we think it has the potential be a really nice little camera for stills photographers too, especially given the firm’s strong selection of small, inexpensive optically-stabilised lenses.

The Panasonic Lumix G100 is due to go on sale at the end of July for £589.99 body-only, £679.99 with the 12-32mm lens, or £719.99 with the new DMW-SHGR1 tripod grip, which incorporates shutter and movie-record buttons. Early adopters who buy the body or lens kit before the end of August will get the grip free.

You can see full details of the Panasonic Lumix G100 here on Panasonic’s website