Published on October 21st,2009 at 5:43 PM
By >Daimaou - G.G-B

Lumix GF1, Redefining Power and Compactness – The Review

The Lumix GF1 is Panasonic’s latest micro four thirds camera and their most compact… While I haven’t tested too many micro four thirds, I got the chance to play with a G1, GH1 and Olympus E-P1 and got a pretty good idea of what to expect… Hey, after all I’m the proud owner of a GH1 which happens to be my dedicated camera when shooting most of my Let’s Visit Tokyo videos (some were shot with our beloved 5D MK II). So far I’m impressed with the Micro Four Thirds Technology, and the GF1 literally blows my mind and gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Panasonic Lumix GH1 Specs
– 20mm + 7-14mm + 14-140mm HD Lens with optical image stabilizer
– 12.1 Megapixel resolution
– Live MOS Sensor
– 720/30p with HDMI 1080i output
– 3” Free-angle LCD
– ISO Range : Auto / 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 / Intelligent ISO

First Impression
The GF1 is the direct competitor to the Olympus E-P1, and while I was very pleased with the E-P1 overall GF1 body quality is even better. Slightly lighter and smaller that the E-P1, the GF1 is also made from better material and we like the E-P1 has a metallic body that feels comfortable/good in your hands. Despite its compact size, the GF1 tries to keep the same ergonomics as its older brother. If you own or have used a GH1, the GF1 isn’t much different in terms of button design, with an exception with the Q.MENU button, placed differently and and hard to get used to… Same applies for the video recording button placed next to the shutter… Both the GF1 and GH1 share the same menu, UI and so on.

Like the E-P1, the GF1 doesn’t feature a viewfinder, its 3” LCD is really fantastic and way better than the Olympus’. If you really feel the need for a viewfinder you can get an optional one that you can place on top of the camera where you would usually place an additional Cobra style flash.

The Olympus E-P1 is very well built, but I was very disappointed by its lens quality that felt cheap, mainly due to choice of plastic… Panasonic gave their lenses, both the 20mm, 7-14mm and 14-140mm HD lens the best attention possible, and each feels just right, like a real professional lens, something that once gives you’re the satisfaction and shoots some excellent photos and videos.

Let’s Shoot
Happy with the GH1, pleased by the Olympus E-P1 photo quality, I expected pretty much the same experience with the GF1… And I WAS WRONG… No, the GF1 is even better than the E-P1 or GH1, not light-years away better, but just enough for me to regret the GH1 and wish to have a GF1 to shoot pictures with. Still weak in low light compared to a DLSR and still giving a different kind of pictures than a DSLR, the GF1 is really impressive and gives you fantastic shots with its 20mm, 7-14mm (my favorite) or the 14-140mm HD lens… Providing Sharp and very detailed pictures, the GF1 really blows my mind and I never expected such beautiful picture taking ability in a such compact body… Since pictures worth a 1000 words, here are some example shot with the GF1. Decide for yourself!

You can download and access to original full resolution pictures below, follow these links

Video Mode
As you may know I’m a huge fan of the GH1 when it comes to its AMAZING 720/60p video mode (the 1080/24p mode is in fact interlaced, and not as good as the 720p mode), and even outperforms the Canon EOS 7D 720/60p video mode… Very incredible… the GH1 doesn’t give a “moiré pattern” or jello effect with video… Something that even Canon with both their 5D MK II and 7D can’t match.

Despite the fact the GF1 uses the AVHCD Lite Codec (only capable of 720/30p), I expected video mode to be as good as with the GH1… And… unfortunately no… The GF1’s video mode is far from being as good as the GH1 and suffers like both the Canon EOS 7D and 5D MK II. It will give you an horrible Jello effect if you pan too quickly…

I’m sure you don’t have the same requirements as we do when shooting video, you will probably not have to track me driving a Gallardo LP560-4 at over 200km/h (where the Jello will render the whole shot useless), so in most cases the GF1’s 720/30p video mode will be enough for you… Don’t expect too much from it though, since like the GH1, the GF1 isn’t very comfortable in low light and will require you to comprise a bit if you shoot video at night.

Once again, if you only want a great compact camera capable of shooting good 720p video… the GF1 is perfect!

To put it simply, if I had to get a compact camera today to shoot photos of press events or press conferences and don’t want to invest in a big DSLR and want to keep it simple… I wouldn’t hesitate to invest in a GF1. Having the ability to choose among different lenses like a DSLR, fitting in your pocket (fitted with the 20mm), and providing amazing photos in a compact body and acceptable HD video… the GF1 IS the camera to own right now.

Category Review Cameras
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  • IGT

    I believe it’s the smaller one. Japan however does have the large one’s head also. IIRC.

  • Daimaou

    There is one in Paris as well…

  • ff

    Japan copy everything that belongs to those of other countries.

  • aho

    That statue was sent from France.



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