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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Compact System Cameras
The GF1 adopts the Micro Four Thirds System standard, which was developed as an extended version of the Four Thirds System standard for digital camera systems. By using this standard and developing a camera body that eliminates the mirror box and optical viewfinder unit, LUMIX was able to achieve a dramatic reduction in both size and weight compared with conventional digital SLR cameras, to create a new-generation system camera that features Full-time Live View, high-speed, high-precision Contrast AF, HD movie recording, and more. The GF1 is small enough to take anywhere yet sophisticated enough to take you as far into photography and movies as you want to go.
Submitted by EOSThree a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: August 7, 2010
Strengths: Image quality. It's good, very good. It is a little better than my G9 at low ISOs, but at high ISOs it blows it away. Very useable at 1600.
Size, it's nearly as small as a high end compact camera with the pancake lens attached. It's definitely bulkier with any of the zooms attached but still much smaller than the nearest size SLR. I can fit a kit with a range of 14-200mm(28-400 FF equiv.) In a very small fanny pack.
HD video. I really didn't care much about the movie mode, but it's quite impressive. The AVCHD codec allows for a large amount of "film" to be recorded. The quality is excellent. I guess it doesn't have 1280p but I don't know if I really need that in my still camera.
Build. It feels solid. It looks good. It has the heft of a quality piece of kit without being overly heavy. The Panny lenses have the same feel, I don't feel like I have to baby this equipment.
Flash. It's nice to have a pop up flash. Yeah it's not the best for coverage, but it's better than nothing and is great for some quick fill. I am definitely glad it's there.
Layout. The layout of the controls is similar to the GH1 and the controls are very easy to use. The controls are intuitive and for the most part the menus are easy to follow and find your way around in. I like the Q menu for most of the settings I use on a regular basis. The single dial works like two because it doubles as a button.
Weaknesses: Placements. One of the weaknesses I've found in the controls is the placement of AF/AE lock button, my thumb consistently found this button when I wasn't trying to. Not a big deal, but frustrating at times.
Histogram. The GF-1 has a live histogram, this is nice. Unfortunately it's not reading the pixel values of the sensor, but reading the light meter. This can cause quite a disparity between the live view histogram and the actual output. It took me a while to figure this out, and I was frustrated over and over when I dialed in EC to move the histogram where I wanted it only to have the photo not exposed anywhere near properly. I have worked around this by checking the histogram on the review and then compensating more if need be. It should be noted that this phenomena mostly occurs in extreme lighting conditions with high contrast. I have decided that I will probably just turn the live histogram off.
Lenses. I am pretty happy with the selection of lenses offered at this time. I would like to see some more fast primes that will make this camera a compact when they are mounted. I love the Pancake and would like to see similar lenses in different focal lengths.
The purchase price was for the 14-45 Kit.
Panasonic took the features of their Micro Four Thirds cameras and smashed them down into a compact size. This makes for a nicely sized body with a decent size sensor. It's a little larger than a high end compact, but the IQ more than makes up for the bulk.
This little beauty is in direct competition with the Olympus PEN series.
The GF1 has a better screen, faster more accurate auto focus, a built in flash, a more compact HD move codec, and a faster pancake lens.
The Oly PEN has in body IS, stereo sound, and a cool collapsible kit lens.
I think the Oly looks a little better, but for overall usefulness and performance the Panny wins. It's an easy replacement for my compact, with better IQ and much better high ISO performance.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $850.00
Purchased At: Adorama
Similar Products Used: None
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by copperchef a Professional
Date Reviewed: December 23, 2009
Strengths: + Size and form factor.
+ Manual controls with smart semi auto features such as White Balance and ISO
+ Speed (Fast startup)
+ Good image quality especially in low light
+ Raw files
+ Flexible system with lenses and LCD viewfinder
+ Usable artistic modes
+ Paired with the 20mm pancake lens it is very pockable/portable
+ Hotshoe for ext. flash or pocket wizard
+ HD (720P) video
+ Built in flash
+ Good autofocus compared to Point & Shoots and other micro 4/3s cameras
Weaknesses: - Relatively expensive when compared to the lowest priced dSLRs and high end point&Shoots.
- No inbody vibration reduction. (Lens dependent)
- LCD Viewfinder accessory is only so-so compared to others available
- no 1280P video
- video mode does not allow full manual control over exposure
- Autofocus slower than dSLRs
The GF1 is an amazing camera with great image quality and small size. Fits very nicely in the hand just like an old school rangefinder. This is excellent for street photography due to its size and non-intimidating appearance. The image quality is high with very nice low light performance. The display is also a beautiful screen which is very usable.
A bonus I did not expect to use are the artistic modes. They create some interesting looks and the ability to shoot raw+jpg means you can choose to have that look applied or a "clean" raw image to do your own adjustments. Pure and Silhouette are my personal favorites.
This camera is also extremely flexible as a system. Panasonic already has a nice set of lenses from 7mm to 200mm with a pancake 20mm and a 45mm macro lens also. In addition micro 4/3s lenses from Olympus and other panasonic 4/3 lenses are usable via an adapter. What's even more impressive is the fact that Nikon, Canon and Leica lenses are also usable with an adapter. Being a nikon user for a dozen years this leaves me with many lenses to use with this camera.
720p HD video is also a nice feature giving you *some* controls over how the video looks including color styles and DOF preference.
This is a camera you're able to carry just about everyday in most situations. In the 6 weeks I've owned mine I've put over 600 shots into it and I use 3 others on a normal basis. This is one camera I just enjoy carrying with me and using.
When you want to move up from a Point & Shoot for quality and control or if a dSLR is too big or attracts too much attention, this is the perfect camera to use. This camera has enough auto features for a beginner and enough features for a pro so it would be a great camera to learn photography. Unfortunately, the relatively high price will keep it more in the hands of the advanced/pro photographer who wants a great everyday camera.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $800.00
Similar Products Used: Panasonic Lumix LX3
Canon 1Ds Mk3
Canon 5D Mk2
Type of photography: Fine Art
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