Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Review
When Panasonic announced the DMC-G1 in September 2008, the industry saw its first real innovation for a long time: an electronic viewfinder interchangeable lens camera with a large (Four Thirds size) imaging sensor. Panasonic had managed to overcome a whole list of technical hurdles to produce the camera and the G1 featured an electronic viewfinder that got pretty close to a good mirror and prism, plus a contrast-detect autofocus that in terms of speed and accuracy could rival 'traditional' phase-detect systems of DSLRs.
However, the G1 was lacking one feature that had been a standard on digital compact cameras for a long time and had just found its way onto digital SLRs as well: video recording. There are no obvious technical barriers to the implementation of a video feature on mirrorless cameras such as the G1 (in fact it should be much easier than on a DSLR) and therefore it did not come as a big surprise to anyone when, only a few months after the G1 launch, in March 2009 Panasonic rectified this 'issue' with the announcement of the DMC GH1. The new model is, despite a new sensor design, essentially a G1 with an added movie mode.
However, the GH1's HD movie mode is more than just another add-on feature. In combination with the newly developed 14-140mm F4.0-5.8 kit lens that has, in terms of aperture control and focusing, been optimized for shooting video, it transforms the GH1 into a true stills/video hybrid that can record HD video while at the same time producing high quality stills images. And whilst doing all that it is still in line with Panasonic's original reasons for introducing the Micro Four Thirds system; to produce smaller cameras that act more like compact DSCs whilst offering the quality and versatility of a DSLR.
It all looks great on paper but can the GH1 keep up in real life with the marketing promises? Read our review to find out.
Please note that because of the operational similarities between the Panasonic DMC-GH1 and G1 a proportion of text and images in this review has been taken over directly from the Panasonic DMC-G1 review.
Compared to G1 - key differences
The list of new features on the GH1 compared to the G1 is not very long. Despite its new sensor design the GH1 is essentially a G1 with an added HD video mode. However, this arguably most important new feature is likely to make the camera appeal to a much larger group of potential buyers. The following list and table give you an overview of all differences between the two models.
- HD video mode with stereo sound recording
- New sensor which provides four different aspect ratios with the same angle of view
- New 14-140mm F4.0-5.8 stabilized kit lens with a design that has been optimized for shooting movies
- Face recognition
Panasonic GH1 vs. G1 feature and specification differences
Panasonic DMC GH1
Panasonic DMC G1
|Sensor||• 4/3 type MOS ('Live MOS sensor')
• 14.0 million total pixels
• 12.1 million effective pixels
• RGB (Primary) color filter array
|• 4/3 type MOS ('Live MOS sensor')
• 13.06 million total pixels
• 12.11 million effective pixels
• RGB (Primary) color filter array
|Image sizes||• 4000 x 3000 (4:3)
• 2816 x 2112 (4:3)
• 2048 x 1536 (4:3)
• 4128 x 2752 (3:2)
• 2928 x 1952 (3:2)
• 2064 x 1376 (3:2)
• 4352 x 2448 (16:9)
• 3072 x 1728 (16:9)
• 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
• 2992 x 2992 (1:1)
• 2112 x 2112 (1:1)
• 1504 x 1504 (1:1)
|• 4000 x 3000 (4:3)
• 2816 x 2112 (4:3)
• 2048 x 1536 (4:3)
• 4000 x 2672 (3:2)
• 2816 x 1880 (3:2)
• 2048 x 1360 (3:2)
• 4000 x 2248 (16:9)
• 2816 x 1584 (16:9)
• 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
|Aspect ratio||• 4:3
• AVCHD :
|No video capability|
|Metering modes||• Intelligent Multiple
|AE Bracketing||• 3,5,7 frames
• 1/3 or 2/3 , +/-2.0 EV steps*
|• 3 frames
• 1/3 to 2.0 EV steps
• USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed)
|• USB 2.0 (High Speed)
• Video output (PAL / NTSC)
• Wired remote control DMW-RSL1 (optional)
|Dimensions||124 mm x 90mm x 45 mm||124 mm x 84 mm x 45 mm|
|Weight (body only)||Approx. 385g / 13.58 oz||Approx. 380 g / 13.40 oz
Micro Four Thirds
The GH1 is, like the G1 and the recently announced Olympus E-P1, a Micro Four Thirds camera. Olympus and Panasonic announced the new, mirrorless format / lens mount based on (and compatible with) Four Thirds in August 2008. The Micro Four Thirds system uses the same sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm) but allows slimmer cameras by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder. The new format has three key technical differences: (1) roughly half the flange back distance (distance from mount to the sensor), (2) a smaller diameter lens mount (6 mm smaller) and (3) two additional contact points for lens-to-body communication (now 11 points). Removing the mirror mechanism allows this shorter flange back distance, meaning lenses for the new mount can be considerably smaller than current Four Thirds designs. The format will require framing to be carried out using Live View on either the LCD monitor or an EVF. Existing Four Thirds lenses can be used on Micro Four Thirds cameras using an adapter.
Micro Four Thirds is an extension of the Four Thirds standard that Olympus, Leica and Panasonic have used for their recent DSLRs. An adaptor ring is available, allowing existing Four Thirds lenses to be mounted. Auto Focus only functions on lenses compatible with contrast-detect AF, which limits choice. Click here for an up-to-date list of compatible lenses on the Panasonic website.
Panasonic originally released this lens roadmap for Micro Four Thirds when the G1 was announced. By now (July 2009) all the lenses on the map apart from the 20mm F1.7 have been launched. Additionally Olympus has announced two Micro Four Thirds lenses with the E-P1- a 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 and a 17mm F2.8.
Like the Panasonic LX3 compact camera the GH1 now uses a multi-aspect ratio sensor. At any aspect ratio (even at 4:3) it only uses a crop from the total available sensor surface which is slightly larger than a standard Four Thirds sensor in order to accomodate the different aspect ratios. At first sight this may seem strange but the result is that the lens offers the same diagonal angle of view regardless of selected aspect ratio, making it much easier to get a feel for the behaviour of the lens. It also means you make the most of the sensor area, getting similar pixel counts in all modes.
|The image on the left shows the result of shooting the same scene at the same zoom setting using different aspect ratios. As you can see all three shots end up with the same angle of view.|
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 Body & Design
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Operation & Controls
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Operation (Live View)
- 9 Displays
- 10 Menus
- 11 Menus
- 12 Performance & IS
- 13 Photographic tests (RAW)
- 14 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 15 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 16 Photographic tests (DR)
- 17 Photographic tests (Kit Lens)
- 18 Photographic tests
- 19 Movie Mode
- 20 Compared to
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 28 Compared to (Resolution)
- 29 Compared to (Resolution)
- 30 Conclusion
- 31 Samples
|Tomatillos and Red Jalepeno Peppers by Kukla|
from Herbs, spices, sauces, or condiments
|Little Kickers by Gfancher|
from sports T&I including banners
|ABD_9819 Bald Eagle by kasjun|
from A big year - birds 2018
|the eyes by aarif|
from -Portrait Challenge 2018-
On paper, the Sony a7 III is a tempting option for photographers who've been considering a switch to full-frame mirrorless. But how does its image quality stack up? We compare it to the Mark II and a few of its other peers.
Erez Marom shares the details behind this beautiful aurora photograph, captured on Haukland Beach in the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway, on a moonless evening.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence and 'computer vision' to identify and provide information about businesses, landmarks and other objects using your phone's camera. And now it's available for iPhone users, too.
The company posted a record quarterly revenue of $2.08 billion for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. That represents incredibly healthy year-over-year growth of 24 percent.
In the job posting, the Times' describes this role as "one of the most important and high-profile jobs in visual journalism." If you're looking for a high profile job in photojournalism, you could do a lot worse than being Photo Director at The Gray Lady.
According to a recent report out of South Korea, Samsung is increasing production of its ISOCELL image sensors in a bid towards market leadership for image sensors. To reach this goal, Samsung will have to dethrone current market leader Sony... no small task.
In this video, large format photographer Ben Horne shows off the incredible resolving power of 8x10 slide film by pixel peeping a massive 709.6-megapixel drum scan of one of his landscape shots. And you thought 100MP medium format was big...
Photographer Wendy Teal tells the heart-breaking story of a wedding she shot at a hospital on just 24-hours notice. The mother of the bride had been given one week to live, and Wendy responded to the couple's desperate social media plea for someone to capture their special day.
This tiny little plug-and-play VR/AR camera for Android phones uses a pair of greater-than-180° FOV fisheye lenses to offer both 360° video/photo capture and 360° livestreaming at 1440p resolution.
Syrp has announced the Magic Carpet Pro: a slider that offers filmmakers an 'infinitely extendable' range thanks to built-in track levers that let you connect lengths of track without the use of tools.
At CP+ we sat down with executives from several major manufacturers. Among them was Kenji Tanaka, of Sony, who talked to us about the a7 III as well as its plans to attract more pro shooters – without ignoring APS-C and entry-level customers.
How do you shoot macro photography on an 18x24cm large format wet plate camera? You 'connect' two large format cameras together! That's how wet plate photographer Markus Hofstaetter did it, and you can read about the whole process in this article.
The Fujifilm X-H1 is a top-of-the-range 24MP mirrorless camera with in-body stabilization and the company's most advanced array of video capabilities. We've tested the X-T2's big brother extensively to see how it performs.
Motorsports photojournalist Jamey Price recently flew to Canada with Lamborghini for the car company's Winter Accademia 2018, where clients get to drive the latest Lamborghini supercars on snow and ice. Yes... it is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
For the Pixel 2 smartphone's Motion Photos feature, Google built on its existing Motion Stills technology by adding advanced stabilization that combines software and hardware capabilities to optimize trimming and stabilization.
This "high-capacity advanced spider tripod" system can handle a maximum load of 65kg / 143lbs thanks to its reinforced design and 8-layered carbon fiber legs.
Photographer William Briscoe captured the beautiful two-for-one timelapse just outside Fairbanks, Alaska on January 31st, braving -31°F (-35°C) temperatures to get the shot.
"After his camera was stolen from his room in the orphanage, he switched to an iPhone for his photography, reasoning that the image quality of a big, heavy camera was less important than the freedom of a cell phone. 'Quality? Screw it, I’d sketch things with a pencil if I could draw,' he wrote in a blog post."
Chinese manufacturer Vivo has announced some AI-powered Super HDR tech to compete with Google's HDR+ system. Both systems combine multiple images to create a final shot with more dynamic range and less noise, but Super HDR claims to do so more intelligently.
The YouTube channel JerryRigEverything recently tore down (or rather, tore apart...) the new Samsung Galaxy S9, giving us the closest look at yet at the new smartphone's camera hardware.
The Leica l Model A, dating from between 1926 and 1927, comes with a card signed by Earhart herself. Unfortunately, this is the only 'proof' that the camera really did belong to her.
The Rokinon AF 35mm F2.8 FE is a budget-friendly option for users of Sony's a7-series that are looking to get into the 35mm focal length.
The 'semantic image segmentation model' categorizes every pixel in an image and assigns it a label, such as “road”, “sky”, “person” or “dog.” And now, Google has released its latest version as open source, making it available to any developers whose apps could benefit from the tech.
Huawai is teasing the upcoming P20 smartphone's low-light and zoom capabilities in a couple of tongue-in-cheek teaser videos on YouTube.
Fuji's latest firmware update for the GFX 50S adds two new features: a focus stacking mode, and a 35mm format mode that takes 30.5MP photos using the center portion of the camera's medium format sensor.
The crash has raised serious questions about 'startling safety gaps' in the doors-off photo tour industry. After a brief safety video, passengers are strapped in with heavy-duty harnesses and given only a knife to cut themselves loose in case of emergency.
For the first time in five years, Adobe is raising the price of some Creative Cloud subscription packages. The good news for photographers: The $10/month CC Photography plan that includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic CC will stay the same.
In a statement, Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai said the company will "go on the offensive" in mirrorless cameras, aiming to clinch 50% of the entire interchangeable-lens camera market.
In this month's 'Race Issue,' National Geographic asked historian John Edwin Mason—who specializes in the history of photography and the history of Africa—to investigate the iconic magazine's coverage of people of color around the world.
We spoke with Sony's Senior General Manager of the Digital Imaging Business Group, Kenji Tanaka, at CP+, and he told us that in his opinion, Canon and Nikon will join Sony in the full-frame mirrorless market by next year's CP+ show.