The Lumix DMCGH1 is the latest in the line of micro four thirds models from Panasonic. With its impressive video capabilities this could well be the best model from the micro basket out there. The camera’s all new lens system gives near-silent auto focus capabilities, meaning you can safely use AF even in the video mode, without having to worry about lens focus noises ruining your recorded audio.
There’s more to the GH1 than just noiseless AF, and let us take a look at some of the new features.
Features – The GH1 gives out a 12MP image much like its successor, but uses a 14MP sensor to make this file. ISO ranges include manual steps from a low of ISO 100 to a high of ISO 3200, apart from the auto option of course. The Intelligent auto mode steps up the ISO when it detects that the subject is in motion, thereby reducing chances of an image blur.
The camera’s drive modes include a great burst functionality, which can be customized to shoot as low as 2 frames per second, or a high of three frames per second. Other modes include the standard single shot mode, the self timer mode and the auto bracketing mode. Understandably from the size of the camera, and the absence of a mirror reflex, it uses a contrast detect system for the AF capability. This works reasonably well, with AF modes including face detect mode, a tracking mode for moving subjects, a 23 point AF mode and a spot AF mode. A good AF assist lamp and a focus lock feature further enhance the AF capabilities of the GH1.
The GH1 uses a 144-zone multi pattern metering system and gives you choices like intelligent multiple, spot metering and center weighted metering. You are able to set exposure compensation to + or – 3EV in steps of one-third stops. For the novice user, the camera offers 25 scene modes to help with metering. The IA or Intelligent Auto mode gives you the option to use the Mega Optical Image Stabilization feature of the GH1, the Intelligent ISO, auto scene selection, auto face detection, the AF tracking feature and even Intelligent Exposure! That’s quite a range of features for a micro system camera! Add to this the film modes, which allow you to choose from 12 different film types, giving you some pretty interesting film-like effects.
Verdict – This is a winner! Apart from its awesome still capabilities, the GH1 is also a superb video recorder. Whether the improved features are able to justify the increase in price is something that we will have to wait and see, but we believe the camera will sell well nevertheless. The introduction of the all-new 14-140mm lens for the GH1 will no doubt further the possible success of this camera. We endorse this camera, and expect to see more accessories launched by Panasonic, cementing the position of the GH1 as a winner in the micro segment.