Released in 2008, the DSLR-styled Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 introduced the world to the Micro Four Thirds standard. Micro Four Thirds - and by extension the Panasonic G1 - represented the first complete break with legacy SLR technology going back well over half a century, and as such it represented an important moment in digital photography's short history. It would be fair to describe it as the first truly 'all digital' interchangeable lens camera, and a camera that arguably, finally delivered on the promise made for the Four Thirds system when it was first introduced back in 2002 to allow the design of dedicated, high-performance digital camera lens systems that are more compact than their 35 mm film SLR camera lens counterparts.
The G1 was, and still is a slightly curious camera; it is technically innovative but it's far from revolutionary; it simply replaces one means of getting the image into the viewfinder for another one, and the result brings some benefits (it's small, has some clever features and is darn cute) but also some disadvantages. Whilst it had a transformative effect on the digital camera market, the G1 certainly didn't reinvent the digital SLR. But in hindsight it represented an impressive debut for a system that has turned out to have huge potential.
|Body type||SLR-style mirrorless|
|Max resolution||4000 x 3000|
|Effective pixels||12.1 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)|
|ISO||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, (3200 with boost)|
|Lens mount||Micro 4/3 Lens Mount|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Min shutter speed||60 sec|
|Max shutter speed||1/4000 sec|
|Storage types||SD/MMC/SDHC card|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||360 g (0.79 lb / 12.70 oz)|
|Dimensions||124 x 84 x 45 mm (4.88 x 3.31 x 1.77″)|
The first Micro Four Thirds camera offers a viable - and enjoyable - alternative to a conventional SLR, and is capable of excellent results. The lack of video is disappointing, and the electronic viewfinder isn't for everyone, but overall this is a very impressive debut indeed.
Good for: Anyone wanting SLR quality and compact camera ease of use. An easy to carry 'walkaround' camera.
Not so good for: Low light work, anything fast-moving