Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Review
The Lumix GF-1 is one of a handful of micro four thirds cameras in the market
For those that aren't familiar with these type of cameras, let me explain.
Panasonic and Olympus both created the Micro Four Thirds category last year. They feature a lens mount that is smaller than typical SLR's. It doesn't use the mirrors typically used in DSLRs either. Rather, it uses a four-thirds CMOS to capture images straight from the lens. Sensors are around 25-30% smaller than your typical SLR, but 9 times larger than your typical point and shoot.
What you get is a camera that is a bit smaller than a DSLR, but similar photo quality. Pretty cool, we must say.
The GF1 is too heavy to fit into any pocket. But it feels great carrying it around. It features a solid body, and has an almost retro/vintage look. In other words, it just looks plain stylish. Guys, this is a chick magnet, I kid you not.
We love controls in the GF1. There's not a lot of buttons that will confuse you. There's a few dedicated buttons for controlling the focusing mode, exposure lock, and video. It's all laid out very intuitively, and if you're a camera expert you should have no expert navigating all the features. If you're a newbie, as with all cameras, you will need a few days and a manual to learn everything.
One neat feature is the ability to preview changes to settings such as shutter speed and aperture You can see what effect increasing the shutter speed will have on your photos (though it's not 100% accurate).
TThe GF1 doesn't feature a viewfinder. But don't worry, the LCD screen with its 460,000 pixels let you focus extremely well because of the auto-zooming.
Though, we hardly need to use it, the GF1 does have a flash for those that need it.
Let's move on to what really matters now. The image quality. For the most part, we were impressed by what we saw. The exposure and color accuracy is better than that of the G1. Using a ISO of 1600, photos were still acceptable printed as large as 12 X 16.
The biggest issue we have is the noise level. Even though the GF1 supports up to ISO level of 3200, you don't want to go above 800 - there's just too much noise. For an entry level DSLR, I suppose you can't ask for better image quality, but we've seen better in other similarly priced DSLRs.
That said, if you compare the image quality with that of a point and shoot, it's no contest: the GF-1 wins.
When you take a shot using the GF-1, it feels absolutely like shooting a DSLR. As soon as you pull the trigger, it takes a shot instantly. If you've used a DSLR before, it won't be any different, but if you came from a point and shoot, you'll be impressed at the difference.
A feature that stood out from us was the live view system... boy, we loved it! When you hold the shutter mode effect button, it previews the motion blurb you'll see in your final shot. There's a catch though. This feature doesn't work quite that well in daylight, in low light conditions, it worked much better.
The video quality is solid. The AVCHD video is not video camcorder quality by any means, but to the naked eye, it's great quality. Of course, as with all AVCHD video, you need to transcode it before you can upload them to the internet. Download a manual if you're unsure how to do this.
The battery life is just average at 350 shots. We hear people being able to take more than this without the battery running out so we think it's just a conservative estimate. They also estimate 2.5 hours of shooting video before recharging, which is pretty good and matches more camcorders.
As mentioned, one of the other cameras in this category include the Olympus EP-1. We think the Lumix GF1 beats this camera in many aspects including having a sharper screen, faster autofocus, and built-in flash (Olympus doesn't have this).
The only area where the EP-1 beats the Lumix GF1 is in image stabilization. The Ep-1 has image stabilization inside its body, but the GF1 has to rely on the kit lens. This means, no matter what lens you use on the Olympus, it will always has image stabilization.
- 12.1 megapixels
- Max ISO of 3200
- AVCHD video
- Weight: 10.1 oz
- Supports SD memory card
- Sleek, retro, cool design
- Solid build
- Image quality better than any point and shoot
- Shutter blur preview works well
- Doesn't handle noise as well as similarly priced DSLRs
- Image stabilization is not built in body
We gotta be honest, we love the GF1 for many reasons but what it comes down to is looks. The GF1 simply looks so cool, and gives us an ego boost just carrying it for the entire day. If you're a trendsetter, the Lumix GF1 is the right camera for you. Be different, buy the GF1.
If you're looking for a compact design with image quality rivaling that of DSLRs, the GF1 is a good buy. It's more sophisticated than your average point and shoot, has much more features to play with, and produces much better image quality than any point and shoot camera.
As we said, there's only a handful of cameras in this category, but the Lumix GF1 clearly stands out from the pack with its stylish design, its shutter blur preview, and solid build.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
Lowest Price: Amazon for $778.98.
Note: This is a 13% off Amazon coupon and one of the best deals for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1.
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|Amazon||$778.98 (Cheapest Price)|
Prices last updated on: Mon, 13 Jul 2020 17:46:23 PDT