Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Review
The Lumix DMC-G1 is a 12.1 megapixel camera with interchangeable lens that uses the Micro Four Thirds System. It’s somewhere between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot digital camera, but because of its features and ability to change lens, it is considered more like a DSLR. There's a lot of one-sidedness between people who love it, and people who hate it. But if you're in the market for a compact camera with the power of a DSLR, the Lumix DMC-G1 comes highly recommended.
When you first take a look at the DMC-G1, it looks pretty odd, and nothing like you've seen before. The mode dial is large for such a small camera, and the shutter button stands out from the rest of the controls. The 14-45mm lens, on the other hand is quite small.
When you hold it in your hands though, it feels comfortable, and has a very good grip. It doesn't feel flimsy and cheap either. In fact, feeling it feels quite smooth and soft. I almost want to sleep with it everyday.
On the top of this camera, you'll find the mode dial and 2 switches around it. One switch powers on/off, while the 2nd switch is used for setting the drive mode. Unfortunately, we sometimes find it quite easy to make changes to the mode by mistake when we turned the dial. On the top, we also have the shutter release button, which is flat instead of round. Below the shutter is the front dial. Depending on what button you're in, it does different things. If you're in manual mode, this dial lets you switch between aperture and shutter speed settings in the LCD display. If you're in program mode, this dial turns on the EV adjustment mode. On the back of the camera, you have an LCD display, and a fairly standard set of buttons to the right.
Like a point-and-shoot, the DMC-G1 uses an electronic viewfinder. This means that instead of viewing what the picture would look like through pressing your eye against a small clear piece, you will have to look at the LCD screen itself. Now, this may be either good or bad, depending on what kind of photography you’re interested in and what are your needs and standards for a camera. If you want a transition into DSLRs, you might want to consider getting a camera without an electronic viewfinder.
However, the EVF on the G1 is excellent. It displays colors accurately, has 100% coverage, is bright, and speedy. The LCD displays a Quick Menu for changing settings through one central location, and can be set to display the information around the edges of the screen.
The G1 has a number of interesting modes and features, particularly geared towards amateurs or creative photographers. One of the more noticeable ones provides previews of the changes to settings the user makes, like aperture and exposure. This is a great way to experiment and allow the user to get a sense of what each setting does and how it can affect the picture.
The image quality of the G1 is excellent, and even beats some DSLRs in this price range. There is some over-saturation, particularly in red and blue, but not as much as other cameras in the market. Colors are nice and bright, but not overly bright. Hue accuracy is solid as well, and the only minor flaw we saw was the yellow was shifted a bit toward green in some places. It's not a major problem though.
Noise profile was very good. We noticed no noise at all in ISO 100 and 200. At 400, very little noise crept through, but nowhere near intrusive. At 800, there's a bit more chroma noise, and loss of details, but nothing major. At 1600, more details are lost, and there's also some yellow blotching in several places. At ISO 3200, the detail loss is very noticeable, and you're going to have to stick with very small prints. Overall though, we were impressed with the high ISO performance of the DMC-G1, and it actually is better than other DSLRs we've tested in this price range. There is noise in high ISO, make no mistake about it. But the noise appears so fine-grained, that it doesn't make your prints look so bad.
The kit lens is pretty solid, and our images were very sharp across the frame. We didn't noticed any fringing at all. You can use the digital zoom up to 4X. When we did, shots looked very soft, but there were very little artifacts. All in all, not a bad kit lens. Plus it has optical image stabilization, which is always a good thing when you're shooting in low light.
Not only does the G1 have better image quality than other DSLRs, but it is just as fast. From powering up to its first shot, it takes 0.8 seconds. In high contrast or bright settings, it takes 0.4 seconds to focus and shoot. In dimmer settings, 0.6 seconds. For continuous shooting, we clocked it at 2.6 frames per second. Although it’s not the fastest in the industry, it is adequate for non-professional photographers. When used with a fast SD card, the G1 can shoot at a rate of 2.6 to 3 fps.
There's no movie capture ability in the G1, unfortunately, so if capturing video is of high priority, you may want to invest in another camera.
- Mirrorless 12.0-megapixel digital camera with interchangeable lens
- First Micro Four Thirds camera
- Electronic viewfinder
- 3.0” LCD screen that can flip
- Built-in flash
- Many manual and automatic modes
- ISO sensitivity ranges from 100-3200
- Autofocus modes include 23- and 1-area, face detection
- Smaller than most entry-level DSLRs
- 3.0” LCD screen
- Screen is able to flip and twisted, allowing for more options
- Performs well under large ISO sensitivity range
- Familiarity of a point-and-shoot
- Great image quality, compares to other DSLRs
- Interesting modes and settings
- Preview setting
- Awkward weight and dimensions, cannot be stored in pocket but is not too heavy
- Electronic viewfinder (can be good or bad)
- No movie capture
The Lumix DMC-G1 is an interesting camera that brings light of a new type of DSLR. It is a hybrid of both DSLR and point-and-shoot, and blends the best of both kinds. It image quality rivals, and even exceeds some DSLRs, especially when it comes to high ISO performance. The performance is not too shabby either. About the only area where it's weak compared to DSLRs is continuous shooting, so if you commonly use cameras to shoot action, you might want to invest in a digital SLR instead. Other than that, if you're looking for a camera that has the power, image quality, feature set, and performance of a digital SLR in a more compact, lighter body, the Panasonic DMC-G1 is highly recommended.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
Lowest Price: Amazon for $499.00.
Note: This is a 38% off Amazon coupon and one of the best deals for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1.
If you're not ready to buy yet, bookmark this page so you can compare prices here and buy it for the lowest price when you are ready to buy this camera.
|Amazon||$499.00 (Cheapest Price)|
|B&H Photo Video||$599.95|
|Hunts Photo & Video||$699.99|
Prices last updated on: Tue, 28 Mar 2017 10:41:39 PDT