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Cameras Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 review

£799 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Panasonic

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Of very similar dimensions and build quality to Canon's PowerShot G1, the 12.1Mp Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 offering is the only model here with interchangeable lenses. But in using the new Micro FourThirds system, it's technically not a digital SLR.

Of very similar dimensions and build quality to the Canon PowerShot G1, the 12.1Mp Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 offering is the only model here with interchangeable lenses. But in using the new Micro FourThirds system, it's technically not a digital SLR. Updated, December 1 2009.

Powering up in just over a second, the DMC-GF1 does away with the internal mirror mechanism to bring lens and sensor closer together. Its manufacturer is therefore claiming the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 as the world's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens digital camera, with both RAW and Jpeg capture offered.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 doesn't have an optical viewfinder (an electronic viewfinder costs an extra £165), so you must rely on the impressively clear 3in LCD for composing and viewing snaps. A pop-up flash is included, along with an accessory shoe. Artistic types will enjoy the colour effect controls - we particularly liked the ‘dynamic art' option.

There's also a Peripheral Defocus Mode that blurs potentially distracting backgrounds to draw attention to your sharply focused subject. Up to and including ISO 400, images are noise-free.

With a very narrow ridge to the front and the lack of any rear padding, we found it difficult to get a firm grip on the Panasonic when shooting handheld. Still, it's possible to use the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 as a glorified point-and-shoot - the intelligent Auto mode recognises given scenes and subjects and adjusts its settings automatically.

There's a dedicated button for HD video capture and you can also shoot in AVCHD Lite or Mpeg formats at a resolution of 1280x720. If you're attaching a zoom lens you'll need to manually adjust framing and focus when filming, however. An HDMI port is provided.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 presents a highly portable option for photo enthusiasts who want the option to switch lenses without the bulk of a digital SLR. Anyone who already owns a digital SLR will find this less appealing as a replacement, however, since they will have to invest in a whole new set of Micro FourThirds-compatible lenses.

NEXT: our first look, from September 2009 >>

EXPERT VERDICT ON PAGE 3 >>

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Expert Verdict »

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 with 20mm lens Scores 8.9 out of 10 based on 99 reviews
12.1Mp CCD
20mm lens
Live MOS sensor
Micro Four-Thirds
3in (460k) LCD
maximum resolution 4,000x3,000
Jpeg/RAW sill image capture
1,280x720 video recording at 30fps
2x optical zoom
SD/SDHC
miniHDMI
USB 2.0
PictBridge-compatible
119x71x36mm
285g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

With solid build and a relatively compact shape and form, we like the ability to swap and add lenses and comprehensive range of features. Unfortunately the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1's optical viewfinder costs extra;, and it is weightier than equivalent compact with battery inserted and lens attached.

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2

    The 12 megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 is the smallest interchangeable-lens camera in the company's Micro Four-Thirds System lineup.

  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF1-K review

    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF1-K

    The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF1-K is a compact, easy to use, and definitely stylish D-SLR-like camera. It's based on Micro Four Thirds technology and is available in lens kits. One kit includes a gorgeous 40mm, f/1.7 pancake lens, while the other includes a 28-90mm zoom lens.

  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF5 review

    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF5

    Panasonic’s LUMIX GF5 completes the GF-series’ transition from compact enthusiast to super-compact point-and-shoot mirrorless camera. Read our Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF5 review to find out more.

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 review

    Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2

    Updating the original Panasonic G1 Micro FourThirds digital compact, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 mimics the shape and control layout of a digital SLR.

  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH2 review

    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH2

    The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH2 is a digital camera that has it all. It can shoot high-quality stills, it performs well as a high-definition video camera, and it offers you the luxury of using both a touchscreen and physical buttons.


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