The Micro Four Thirds system is a much talked about system, promising to offer DSLR-like quality in a camera as small as a point and shoot. The Panasonic GF1 is one such miniature marvel with with interchangeable lens options. Let us take a closer look at this camera.
The GF1 is a micro system camera, small in size and big in features. It is nothing like a compact, and nothing like a DSLR either, but a true hybrid. You get a wonderful 20mm pancake lens as part of the kit (40mm if you want 35mm equivalency). This is very much in line with the purists’ idea of using a 50mm prime to shoot images with a natural-to-the eye perspective. On the other hand, the technology packed into the GF1 could very well make it the perfect option as a first digital camera, for those of you who still stick to film. To minimize space, Panasonic has altogether done away with a traditional viewfinder, so you need to employ the 460,000 dot rear LCD as your only composition tool. You could always get an optional view finder to sit in the hot shoe, if you hate the idea of framing your photographs on an LCD screen. The GF1 has a 12 MP MOS sensor, producing fine quality and resolution.
We liked the ‘My Color’ mode on the GF1, and this enables you to preset color tones anywhere from a true black and white to a warm tone on your color images. Traditional scene modes make the camera easy to use if you are used to compacts, while the i-Auto or intelligent mode allows the camera to select the most suitable scene mode based on the quality of light and subject detail. The ‘Peripheral De-Focus’ mode allows you to move a cursor on the LCD, selecting your critical point of focus, and we wonder why other camera makers haven’t used such a feature extensively. On the manual mode, you can focus using a traditional lens ring and again this is a boon if you are used to conventional prime lenses on film cameras. The camera itself, or the 20mm lens which you get as a part of the kit, do NOT have an image stabilization mode which has become commonplace by today’s standards. However, we were not too bothered by the absence of image stabilization. The GF1 DOES offer the RAW mode, for those of you who love post processing. In addition, it allows you to capture HD movies at 720P. One area where this camera could take the backseat to a DSLR is the slowish burst mode. Again, this didn’t bother us too much.
The GF1 is a true hybrid, looking like a compact and working like a DSLR! This is THE camera for you if you want DSLR quality from a compact body. This is also a good bet if you are changing over to digital for the first time. We endorse this product, and expect it to do well.
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