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
|Llyod's Building Elevators by Jonathan Shapiro|
from Your City - Elevators
|Fire Lake by bbadgett|
|Tail Fins...1961 Cadillac Sedan DeVille by J Warren|
from Car Shows 2018
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.
The Atomos Ninja V external video recorder and monitor will be ready to ship at the end of this month. The 5.2in Ninja V is designed to provide a smaller option, while still offering many of the features of the larger 7-inch models.
Having shot with the camera, spoken to Canon and read the tea leaves, here's what DPR Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks the EOS R tells us about Canon and the RF's mount's future.
After last week's teaser, lighting manufacturer Profoto has announced its 'small big' new product. The B10 is designed to be used as studio flash head but in a very small body, and has a powerful continuous light source for videographers as well.
Konseen has launched Photo Studio, a new light box tent large enough to photograph people, as well as objects.
Seagate has introduced new high-capacity hard drives for Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices: the 14TB IronWolf and 14TB IronWolf Pro HDDs.
The case was first announced earlier this year as a Kickstarter campaign and comes with a range of features aimed at iPhone photographers.
Manfrotto has introduced a new two-in-one tripod to its Befree lineup. Called the Befree 2N1, this new addition is both a tripod and monopod in one and is available with both of Manfrotto's locking mechanisms.
This new high dynamic range editing software comes with an AI-powered Quantum HDR Engine for improved photo merging.
Apple has unveiled the next generation of its iPhone X in the form of three variants: the 5.8" iPhone XS and 6.5" iPhone XS Max with OLED screens, and the 6.1" iPhone XR with an LCD and single rear camera.
Ahead of the launch of the CamRanger II the company has announced a mini version of its wireless remote control system that it says has a longer range than the original in a body half the size.
Lens manufacturer Sigma has announced a trio of fast cinema lenses for full-frame camera systems, that it says will also be available in the future in the LPL mount for Arri’s large format camera system.
LumaPod is a a new tripod being funded on Kickstarter that takes just four seconds to set up and uses patented tension technology to keep your shots steady in a compact design.
X-Rite ColorChecker Video XL is an oversized color target for wide-angle, long distance, and aerial shooting.
ExperimentalOptics has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its second lens design, a 35mm F2.7 lens it claims is the world's 'smallest fastest pancake lens.'
The new XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR and XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR are aimed at enthusiasts and professionals, and add considerable versatility to Fujifilm's growing XF lens lineup. We've been taking a look.
The Getty family is working to regain control of stock photo agency Getty Images, according to multiple reports published late last week.
The Phoneslinger line, a modular bag system for mobile photographers, has been launched on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform.
CamRanger has announced the impending arrival of its CamRanger 2 wireless tethering and trigger system, complete with redesigned apps, updated wireless features, and support for select Sony and Fujifilm systems.
As well as high-resolution stills, the new Nikon Z7 also shoots 4K video and 120p HD video. We recently spent two days with director Chris Hershman, shooting a music video on the Z7 for pop artist Emily Blue.