Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Review

October 8, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 cartouche

This Handycam looks amazing in photos. I was looking a new camera having best picture quality. I am very impressed by design of Lumix DMC-GF1 announced by Panasonic. I am very happy to know features like, broad feature set, strong photo capabilities, smooth automatic operation and easiest to use when running automatically.

5:17 am - Friday, October 9, 2009

#2 Sam

Toutes les photos sont mélangées !!
Avec quelle optique : 20mm , 14-45 ... ?
Par exemple :avec 14-45 : 1,7 est impossible

All photos are mixed!
How optics: 20mm ?  , 14-45mm ?
Eg 14-45 with 1.7 is not possible ...

10:02 am - Friday, October 9, 2009

#3 Mark Goldstein

All of the sample images were taken with the 20mm pancake lens.

1:19 pm - Friday, October 9, 2009

#4 kw

In your conclusion you mention the G1 in a few places, then go back to the GF1. The G1 is a different Panasonic camera, but I think you meant GF1….. Please correct if that is the case.

Otherwise, thx for the review! Good stuff.

6:10 pm - Friday, October 9, 2009

#5 fad

This camera is inferior to the G1/GH1 because it lacks their two biggest advantages, the viewfinder and the articulated lcd.  Yet it’s not smaller enough to make a significant difference.

The 20mm/1.7 lens is not good for narrow depth of field.  It is equivalent to a 40mm/3.5 lens on a full frame camera.

8:11 pm - Friday, October 9, 2009

#6 Eddykilowatt

I’m ready to move up from my S5IS and Micro 4/3 is where I’ll be moving to.  I sure *would* like to see either a swingable LCD, or an optical viewfinder, on a camera that’s as low-key looking as the GF1 (or the EP1), though.

Sure, I want it all… isn’t that what Moore’s Law has taught us?

9:08 pm - Friday, October 9, 2009

#7 Sir Henry Casingbroke

I am just wondering whether the micro 4/3 Panasonic auto-focusing lens, fitted to the 4/3 Olympus “Pen” EP-1, would improve the EP-1’s allegedly notoriously slow autofocusing, or not - because the autofocus is also a function the firmware and/or design of the camera as a whole?

(The EP-1 has an advantage over the Lumix of having its shake-control inside the camera body; the GF-1 relies on this at the lens, albeit, note, none is fitted to what is destined to be its “prime” the 1.7).

So, can anyone authoritatively answer this question?

12:17 pm - Saturday, October 10, 2009

#8 Dennis

I have a fujifilm F30 and am wondering what advantage in image quality (i.e. low light and/or high ISO) would I get with the GF1 if any?

1:35 pm - Sunday, October 11, 2009

#9 nickspur

On autofocus versus E-P1, since the recent firmware update the E-P1 focusing speed is much improved but since the E-P1 will autofocus ALL 4/3rds lenses, with the adapter, the algorithm is different resulting in a slower AF performance. The Panasonic cameras will only autofocus legacy lenses that adhere to the Olympus “live view” focusing method. I think it may be possible for Olympus to offer a revised firmware so that users could either continue with full lens support or update the firmware so that there would be no speed difference between the two brands.

7:42 pm - Sunday, October 11, 2009

#10 nickspur

And I did want to mention that I bought the GF1 body only on 6 October for £479.99 (including a 4GB SDHC, a case and a mini tripod) from Best Cameras of St Helens thus saving £69 from Jessops price.

7:45 pm - Sunday, October 11, 2009

#11 bbgun

I have a few issues with the firmware selections.
Currently in aperture priority mode with Auto ISO or iISO on the camera defaults to 1/30 of a sec before raising the ISO. This pretty much guarantees a blurry photo. Ideally the auto iso would have a setting for lowest shutter speed that is user acceptable before the auto iso goes into effect (Like a Nikon DSLR) or at least default to a hand holdable amount like 1/125 a sec. I know I could switch to shutter priority but the then camera always default to 1.7 which I don’t always want either.
I wish Panasonic would be to add the Auto ISO setting option to the manual mode. Users could then pick the shutter speed f-stop combo you wanted & let the camera adjust the exposure by changing the iso.

3:47 pm - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#12 Mandeno Moments

The GF1 isn’t my cup of tea (I’d prefer the viewfinder, grip, and articulated LCD of the G1), but it’s a very clever piece of kit and shows what can be done when you don’t have to build a camera around a film transport.

The GF1 + 20mm could be good for inconspicuous street photography (because it won’t look like a ‘serious’ camera), and if there was an eveready case that held that combination you could have an ideal carry-everywhere camera with excellent image quality.

As indirectly stated in the review, a camera is always more stable when held against your eye, as opposed to being held at arm’s length.

10:44 pm - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#13 David Wilson

Re the E-P1: I think I have to disagree that that the firmware update has done anything to improve the camera’s focusing speed. The update only addresses C-AF (continuous auto focus) in any event and it’s still unusable for video or sport modes. I have a Lumix 45-200 lens for my E-P1 and it focuses quickly and quietly. I’ve found that the Pen’s in-body IS gives better results that the Lumix’s OIS. I also use the Pen with Nikon lenses, obviously via an adaptor and with manual focus only, however my suggestion to anyone interested in m4/3 is get an Olympus body and Lumix lenses! BTW can’t wait for the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 to use with the Pen - the only way you’ll get IS with that lens!!

3:57 pm - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

#14 Chris Wain

I’m thinking of getting a GF1.  I see there is an M-lens Leica adapter ring available, so presumably I could use the f2 Summicron from my early-model M3.  But the Summicron is collapsible.  Anyone know if that would be a problem with the GF1?  I’d certainly prefer to keep it collapsed when not in use.

5:21 pm - Thursday, October 15, 2009

#15 townsend

I’m hesitate to buy the GF1, though it has many strengths. It’s meant for the “serious” photographer, yet the absence of a EVF handicaps it, and the optional EVF has been criticized in reviews. Built-in image stabilization would seem to be critical since you have to hold the camera at arm’s length to compose a photo w/ the LCD, and yet it’s not there. I would have far preferred sometime kind of built-in view finder IN PLACE OF the flash (then one could add a flash via the hot shoe). I think we are one generation away from something more useable. A good start, though.

2:45 am - Sunday, October 18, 2009

#16 Blebo

I’m considering whether to get the GF1 or the Canon EOS 500D. Has anyone compared them directly? I’m returning to an interest in photography after a 20 year break, and these seem to be about the level I should start with.


8:07 pm - Sunday, October 18, 2009

#17 chris wain

Well, I’ve swallowed hard and bought a GF1 and so far the results are good.  First use (discreet press pix) were in a low-light situation in a church hall and the results were good.
The camera needs a belt-attached case (preferaby hard) big enough to take the camera with viewfinder and 20mm attached.
The loss of the flash-shoe isn’t a major problem as far as I’m concerned, because I rarely use flash and in any case would probably use my Nikon slr.
But one possible solution is to try a slave unit on a bar attached by screw-threa.  This would give a front flash (because the flash on the body has to be operating to trigger the slave-unit) but hopefgully the latter would give key modelling and soften shadows.  It’s worth trying.
I’m awaiting the arrival of the M-adapter ring to try using my 50mm f2 Summicron (which needs to be taped open permanently, apparently) for manual use.  And the 14-140 zoom is on order.  So I’m waiting to see whether it lives up to the initial promise.

11:47 am - Thursday, October 22, 2009

#18 Peter Harris

“I have a fujifilm F30 and am wondering what advantage in image quality (i.e. low light and/or high ISO) would I get with the GF1 if any?”

The gf1 has a sensor maybe 9 times larger than the f30 and shoots raw.  It’s a whole other world.

9:53 pm - Friday, October 23, 2009

#19 Gonzalo

I have exactly the same concern that Blebo#16, not sure if buying gf1 or canon eos 500d, I’ve been searching the market for quite long time and don’t want to regret, my main concern with panasonic is photos in low light conditions, especially when I am going to a lot of gigs. This will be my first dSLR camera after owning a simple ixus point and shot.
Appreciate the advices, thanks

3:34 pm - Monday, November 9, 2009

#20 Peter Harris

Regarding the choice between the gf1 and the 500d:  Two advantages of the canon are: system flexibility and image quality. 

The sensor is slightly larger so IQ - particularly long exposures - will be slightly better.  This is debatable.  But the 4/3s seem to lowlight issues.

Canons - with adaptors - use lenses from many manufacturers while retaining infinity focus and having focus confirmation.

The 20mm pancake for the panansonic is sweet in size but mediocre in performance.  (There’s a lot of in camera correction going on) That said - the gf1 is a very pretty camera - this is, perhaps, not the case with the canon.

Optical viewfinder - canon.

I think the canon is the better camera, and buying it invests you in a large camera system.  If you want to upgrade or add another camera you don’t have to start from scratch.

4:46 pm - Monday, November 9, 2009

#21 Peter Harris


If video isn’t important to you, the rebel xsi (450d) is a wonderful camera and you’d save a couple of hundred bucks over the 500d.

I use it all the time and find the results to be very very good.

4:52 pm - Monday, November 9, 2009

#22 vlady

have to add the audio file to the snapshot in Lumix GF-1

10:04 am - Thursday, November 12, 2009

#23 nyk

What about the Canon EOS 55D Rebel / T2i? 
It’s only $800, shoots HD video, and is a full DSLR.  Is the only disadvantage is that it’s bigger than the GF-1?  It’s a lot smaller than other true DSLR’s.  The GF-1 is definitely prettier, but in terms of features for $, can someone tell me why I should not get the T2i?

8:12 am - Sunday, March 14, 2010

#24 nyk

Oops, sorry, typo:  Canon EOS 550D, not 55D.
Has anyone done a comparison between the Canon EOS 550D Rebel / T2i, since it’s only $800?

8:42 am - Sunday, March 14, 2010

#25 Josh Taylor

This camera takes incredible photos but when something goes wrong with it, and it might, good luck. the customer service is shitty at best and they would not fix the flash on my 14 month old camera, said i had to pay for a new one. ill look for someone who wants my business. good luck, your gonna need it.

2:59 am - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

#26 Mike B

One of the main advantages of the GF1 and similar four thirds cameras is their size and weight. But for this their is a compromise to be made in handling and lack of viewfinder, which if you wear glasses for reading may be a big problem.

Given the current low price for the G10, with viewfinder and good handling, this is the best option if size and weight are your biggest concerns. Given it only weighs about 50g more with the same lens fitted why bother with the GF1 (or Olympus PEN cameras)?

A canon 500D may give slightly better pictures in low light but with most common lens attached will be bigger and considerably heavier than the G10. I know i can have the G10 around my neck all day without feeling tired but the same is not true if i carry my Nikon D90!

For the average family a camera such as the G10 is an ideal compromise, not too expensive to worry too much about damage and not too big or heavy to stop you taking it with you!

9:12 am - Saturday, October 16, 2010

#27 faiz

which is better? GF1 or lx5

11:27 pm - Wednesday, December 29, 2010

#28 Peter Lewis

Ive just purchased a Red GF1 and the build quality is quite remarkable.

Why people criticise it for not having a viewfinder is beyond me because i have used a fair number of cameras both film and digital and it’s rare for me to use any viewfinder.

I always use the LCD screen knowing that what i am looking at will be what i photograph.

I was very fortunate enough to see my camera with 20mm 1.7 lens advertised at just under £400 and the Red looks far superior than Black or White.

My previous camera was a Leica D-Lux 4 which takes lovely shots but does not have changeable lenses.

The GF1 looks and performs beautifully and if you are after a top quality camera consider it as a sound investment.

3:34 pm - Friday, January 28, 2011

#29 Peter Lewis

The Lumix LX5 is about the best point and shoot camera with a stunning Leica 24mm lens and build quality and performance to die for but the Lumix GF1 steals the show with it having a much larger sensor.

The GF1 also has the ability to change its lens when the LX5 has a magnificent fixed Leica lens.

If you want a high quality pocket sized camera which produces amazing photographs then the LX5 is a fine choice but with the Pancake 20mm lens the GF1 will produce better results because of its larger sensor and lens choice.

Neither camera is cheap but if you are considering one or the other go for the GF1 with a red body, the quality of construction and photograph for the price is remarkable.

3:46 pm - Friday, January 28, 2011

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 720p, DSLR, micro four thirds, high definition, 3fps, dmc-gf1, gf1, panasonic gf1, dmc gf1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Review

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