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Compared to...

Although technically, it isn't a DSLR, Panasonic has designed the G1 to mimic one in both specification and appearance. It is also priced well into DSLR territory, so it seems reasonable to compare its be-mirrored peers. Here we have chosen three of those peers to compare it to, each of which competes with the G1 in one way or another. The E-520 is the smallest image stabilized DSLR available and offers a high degree of external control. The Sony Alpha 350 has the most seamless Live View system of any current DSLR which allows it to match the G1's compact-camera-like familiarity, and a flip-out screen that helps it match the G1's flexibility. Finally, we've included the 450D, which is the market leader in many countries and probably the strongest all-round DSLR in its price range.

As usual for an interchangeable lens camera, we've tested the G1 using a 50mm prime lens, which our tests have shown to be virtually identical in performance at the apertures we use for our tests, with the exception of the Olympus Zuiko 50mm F2.0 Macro that is slightly more consistent across the frame. And it's that Olympus lens (that has to be manually focused on the G1), that we've used on the Panasonic.

 
Panasonic DMC G1

Canon EOS 450D

Sony A350

Olympus E-520

Price (Body only)
(With kit lens)

n/a
$670/£500 [check]
$570/£410
$630/£500 [check]
$650/£N/a
$750/£375 [check]
$430/£N/a
$540/£400 [check]
Construction Plastic Plastic
Plastic Plastic
Dust removal

• Supersonic Wave Filter
• Anti-static coating

• Sensor-shift shake
• Anti-static coating
• Sensor-shift shake
• Anti-static coating
• Supersonic Wave Filter
• Anti-static coating
Image stabilization • Kit lens • Kit lens • Sensor shift • Sensor shift
• Horizontal and Vertical panning modes
Sensor type LiveMOS CMOS CCD LiveMOS
Sensor size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 22.2 x 14.8 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
Pixel density (MP/cm²) 5.0 3.7 4.0 4.0
Effective pixels 12.1 million 12.2 million 14.2 million 10.0 million
Aspect ratio 4:3 3:2 3:2 4:3
FOV crop 2.0x 1.6x 1.5x 2.0x
Image size 4000 x 3000 4272 x 2848 4592 x 3056 3648 x 2736
Live View • Yes
• Up to 4x Digital zoom
• Extra 2x Optical zoom
• Guidelines and Histogram
• Yes
• Up to 10x magnify
• Contrast or Phase AF
• Different modes
• Yes
• No view zoom
• AF without mirror flip
• Yes
• Up to 10x magnify
• Contrast or Phase AF
• Different modes
Lens support • Micro Four Thirds
• Four Thirds (via adapter, with AF limitations)
• Canon EF/EF-S • Sony Alpha
• Minolta A-type
• All Four Thirds lenses
File formats • JPEG
• RAW
• JPEG
• RAW

• JPEG
• RAW

• JPEG
• RAW
Auto focus • Contrast AF system
• 0 to 18 EV
• 9 point
• 1 cross-type
• -0.5 to 18 EV
• 9 point
• 1 cross-type
• 0 to 18 EV
• Eye-start AF option
• 3 point
• 1 cross-type
• 0 to 19 EV
Metering sensor 144 zone sensor 35 zone 40 segment 49 zone sensor
Metering range 1 - 20 EV 1 - 20 EV 2 - 20 EV 1 - 20 EV
Metering modes

• Intelligent Multiple
• CWA
• Spot

• Evaluative
• Partial
• Spot
• CWA

• Evaluative
• Spot
• CWA
• Digital ESP
• CWA
• Spot
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
Exp. comp. +/- 3.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV
Exp. comp. EV steps 0.3 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3 or 0.5 EV 0.3, 0.5 or 1 EV
Sensitivity range (boost setting) 100 - 3200 100 - 1600 100 - 3200 100 - 1600
Auto ISO adjust Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shutter speed 60 - 1/4000 sec 30 - 1/4000 sec 30 - 1/4000 sec 60 - 1/4000 sec
Continuous rate
(high)
• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 7 RAW frames
• 3.5 fps
• 53 JPEG/Fine frames
• 6 RAW frames
• 2.5 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/Fine
• 4 RAW frames
• 3.5 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 8 RAW frames
White balance • 8 presets (with adj)
• Manual preset
• Bracketing
• 6 presets (with adj)
• Color temp (K)
• Manual
• 6 presets (with adj)
• Color temp (K)
• Manual
• 8 presets (with adj)
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
Built-in flash • Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 11 (ISO 100)
• Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 13 (ISO 100)
• Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 12 (ISO 100)
• Electronic pop-up
• Guide no. 12 (ISO 100)
External flash • Hot-shoe • Hot-shoe • Hot-shoe
• Wireless flash
• Hot-shoe
• Wireless flash
Flash sync speed 1/160 sec 1/200 sec 1/160 sec 1/180 sec
Storage • SD/ SDHC/ MMC
• SD (Inc SDHC) • CF (inc. UDMA) • Compact Flash card
• xD Picture card
Viewfinder • Electronic
• 100% coverage
• 1.4x magnification
• Pentamirror
• 95% coverage
• 0.87x magnification
• Pentamirror
• 95% coverage
• 0.74 x magnification
• Pentamirror
• 95% coverage
• 0.92x magnification
LCD monitor • 3.0" TFT LCD
• 460,000 dots
• 3.0" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• 2.7" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
LCD articulation Yes,
180°swing, 180° swivel
No Yes,
45° down, 90° up
No
Top panel LCD No No No No
Vertical grip No Yes, BG-E5 Yes, VG-B30AM No
Dimensions 124 mm x 84 mm x 45 mm s
(4.8 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
132 x 99 x 75 mm
(5.2 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
136 x 92 x 68 mm
(5.4 x 3.6 x 2.7 in)
Weight (inc batt) 400 g 522 g (1.2 lb) 664 g (1.5 lb) 490 g (1.1 lb)

 

The G1 is, like many entry-level DSLRs, aimed at compact camera owners looking to upgrade. There will be some people attracted by its small size, of course, with some of them wondering whether they couldn't get the same results out of something smaller or simpler. Depending on how you look at it, the G1 is either a DSLR without the mirror, or a large-sensor compact camera with interchangeable lenses. And interestingly, it's not the lack of mirror or the interchangeable lenses that are likely to have the biggest effect on the G1's performance - it's the large sensor.

To show the extent of this performance difference, we've lined up the G1 against the Canon G10 (the highest resolution compact we've tested so far), and the Fujifilm S100fs, a stand-out do-it-all superzoom that performs well (for a 'compact'), at high sensitivities. For these comparisons, we will test the G1 with its standard kit lens, the G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6.

 
Panasonic DMC G1

Fujifilm FinePix S100FS

Canon Powershot G10

Price

$670/£500 [check] $685/£443 [check] $584/£378 [check]
Image stabilization • Kit lens • Lens • Lens
Sensor type LiveMOS CCD CCD
Sensor size 17.3 x 13.0 mm 2/3 - inch (8.8 x 6.6 mm) 1/1.7 (7.6 x 5.7 mm)
Pixel density (MP/cm²) 5.0 19 34
Effective pixels 12.1 million 11.1 million 14.7 million
Image size 4000 x 3000 3840 x 2880 4416 x 3312
Live View

• Yes

• Yes • Yes
File formats • JPEG
• RAW
• JPEG
• RAW

• JPEG
• RAW

Auto focus Contrast AF
TTL TTL

Metering modes

• Intelligent Multiple
• CWA
• Spot

• Evaluative
• Partial
• Spot
• CWA

• Evaluative
• Spot
• CWA
Sensitivity range (boost setting) 100 - 3200 100 - 10000 100 -1600
Auto ISO adjust Yes Yes Yes
Shutter speed 60 - 1/4000 sec 30 - 1/4000 sec 30 - 1/4000 sec
Continuous rate
(high)
• 3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 7 RAW frames
• 3 fps
• 50 JPEG/Fine frames
• 3 RAW frames
• 1.3 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/Fine
White balance • 8 presets (with adj)
• Manual preset
• Bracketing
• 7 presets (with adj)
• 1 Custom
• 8 presets (with adj)
• 2 Custom
Built-in flash • Electronic pop-up • Electronic pop-up • Electronic
External flash • Hot-shoe • Hot-shoe • Hot-shoe
Internal Memory None 25 MB None
Storage • SD/ SDHC
• MMC
• SD/ SDHC
• xD
• SD/ SDHC
• MMC, MMCplus
• HC MMCplus.
Viewfinder • Electronic • Electronic • Optical
LCD monitor • 3.0" TFT LCD
• 460,000 dots
• 2.5" TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• 3.0" TFT LCD
• 461,000 dots
LCD articulation Yes,
180° swing, 180° swivel
Yes,
180°swing
No
Dimensions 124 mm x 84 mm x 45 mm 133 x 94 x150 mm 109 x 78 x 46 mm
Weight (inc batt) 400 g 918 g 350 g
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