Panasonic GF1 Micro Four-Thirds Camera

The Panasonic GF1 is a new micro four-thirds camera that sports a 12 megapixel sensor, 720p HD video mode, and 3-inch LCD screen. This gorgeous little camera appears to be a crossover between the retro-chic Olympus E-P1 and the Panasonic G1 digital SLR. If you’re in the market for a carry-me-everywhere camera then you better take a look at the GF1...

The new Panasonic GF1 Micro Four-Thirds CameraThe new Panasonic GF1 Micro Four-Thirds Camera Top view of the GF1 with the new 20mm pancake lensTop view of the GF1 with the new 20mm pancake lens Back view of the GF1, including the 3 inch LCD screenBack view of the GF1, including the 3 inch LCD screen

Panasonic Lumix GF1 Specifications

  • 12.1 megapixel Four-Thirds Live MOS sensor
  • 720p HD video @ 30 fps (AVCHD or AVI format)
  • ISO 100 – 3200
  • 3.0" LCD screen with 460k pixel resolution (60 fps preview)
  • 3 frames per second continuous drive (up to 7 RAW files, JPEGs till card is full)
  • Pop-up flash with guide number of 6m (at ISO 100) + TTL hot-shoe
  • 119 x 61 x 36.3mm dimensions
  • Weighs 285g (camera body only)

The Panasonic GF1 will be available in black, red, and silverThe Panasonic GF1 will be available in black, red, and silver

The reason we’re excited about the new GF1 is because Panasonic have made massive leaps and bounds in the compact camera ‘for photographers’ arena. The Panasonic LX3 is widely regarded as a superb casual camera for photographers who primarily use a DSLR. Panasonic have blended their successful compact camera formula with technology from the G1 digital SLR, to produce the GF1.

Think of the Lumix GF1 as a combination all the best bits from the Panasonic armoury: The 12 megapixel Live MOS sensor & 144-zone metering system from the G1, and the 460k pixel 3-inch LCD screen found in the LX3 to name a few. Even the styling from LX3 has had deep influences on the new GF1 and that’s no bad thing!

Panasonic LX3 and GF1Panasonic LX3 and GF1

The Lumix GF1 is launched alongside a new 20mm f1.7 pancake lens (weighing just 100g), plus you can use the full line-up of micro Four-Thirds lenses from Olympus and Panasonic. The Panasonic 20mm f1.7, 7-14mm f4, 14-140mm f4-5.8, & 14-45mm f3.5-5.6 lenses should cover most bases; or if you already own standard Four-Thirds lenses they can be mounted to the GF1 via an adapter (DMW-MA1) – just check for autofocus compatibility.

If you prefer to use a viewfinder rather than a screen to compose images then the GF1 has you covered with an optional Live View Finder, the DMW-LVF1. The Live View Finder is attached via the hot-shoe, provides a 100% field of view, and has a 202k pixel resolution.

The GF1 with DMW-LVF1 Live View Finder attachedThe GF1 with DMW-LVF1 Live View Finder attached

Panasonic GF1 v Olympus E-P1 Comparison

In a nutshell the key difference between the Panasonic GF1 and Olympus E-P1 are:

  • The GF1’s 3.0” LCD screen has a 460k pixel resolution (E-P1 = 230k).
  • Pop-up flash (EP-1 only has a hot-shoe).
  • GF1 movies can saved as AVCHD or motion-JPEG (.AVI) files, the E-P1 records motion-JPEGs.
  • E-P1 offers ISO 6400, where as the GF1 stops at ISO 3200.
  • GF1 offers 144-zone metering; the Olympus E-P1 metering has 49-zones 324 zones.
  • E-P1 has sensor-based image stabilisation, the GF1 doesn't.

Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic GF1Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic GF1

Overall the Olympus E-P1 and Panasonic GF1 are very similar, but the GF1 specifications just edge ahead. We’ll have to wait and see the results from a side-by-side shootout...

View the Panasonic GF1 Camera & Kits and Wex Photographic