Panasonic Lumix GF1 Review
Presumably in order to keep the size down, the GF1 eschews the articulated screen featured on the GH1/G1 in favor of a fixed version. Otherwise it's unchanged; 3.0 inches, 460,000 dots, 3:2 aspect ratio. Sure, it'd be nice if it had one of the latest 920k dot screens, and yes, technically it doesn't fit the aspect ratio of the sensor (so if you shoot at the 'native' 4:3 setting you get black bars down the sides of the preview) but it's a better than the low res screen on the Olympus E-P1, and it can be used in all but the brightest direct light. We compared the E-P1 and GF1 side-by-side in all conditions from the brightest direct sunlight to total darkness, and in every case the difference - if there was one - was in the GF1's favor.
|The LCD is big and bright, and the resolution allows for accurate focus assessment.|
Electronic Viewfinder LVF1
The G1 and GH1 have been widely praised for their high resolution viewfinders; the Olympus E-P1 criticized for it's lack of one. The GF1 sits somewhere between the two, offering an optional 'Live View Finder' (the DMW-LVF1), which clips onto the hot shoe. The resolution is nothing like the G1/GH1 (202k dots), nor is the finder anywhere near as large - it's more like a mid-range bridge or super zoom camera than an SLR (the LVF1 gives you around 0.52x magnification, compared to the G1's 0.7x magnification). From a size point of view, therefore, it's not far off most entry-level digital SLRs, but from a resolution point of view you're not going to be using it for fine focus checking.
But it does work, and it does allow you to use the camera at eye level if that's how you prefer to shoot, and in very bright light (where the main screen suffers the usual glare problems that plague all LCDs). It also helps keep the camera steady when shooting macro or at long telephoto settings (and even for movies), simply by virtue of the fact the camera is resting against your face.
The viewfinder image may be small and you may be able to see the pixels, but it's pretty sharp and contrasty, and has a high frame rate (60fps). Best of all you can tilt it up through 90 degrees; great for macro and studio work, though to be honest the tilting mechanism is largely redundant for most users and undoubtedly added to the cost and bulk of the unit. We understand the downgrade from the G1/GH1 (apparently the engineers did try, but it proved impossible to make a removable version), but we're slightly disappointed that, unlike its bigger siblings, the GF1 doesn't have the option to use the main screen as a status panel when shooting with the viewfinder; it's one or the other.
The viewfinder shows exactly the same user interface as the screen on the back, though as it has a different aspect ratio (4:3) you'll get different masking (black bars) depending on which you're using. The LCD and LVF can be set to different display styles (there are only the two to choose from).
The LVF1's biggest problem is that the cost makes it difficult to justify for the occasional use it's likely to get from most users. If you're the kind who can't live without an eye-level viewfinder then the LVF1 may well be an essential accessory (and, crucially, one that's not even an option for Olympus E-P1 users), but to be honest if you are a viewfinder diehard then you'd be better off with the G1 anyway.
For us the VLF1 is the perfect solution to the fact that you sometimes (such as in very strong light) need an eye level finder, and it really is small enough to pop into your pocket most of the time. I was more than happy using the GF1's screen for composition nine times out of ten, but was thankful that I had the option to pop the VLF1 on when glare became an issue.
Screen / Viewfinder view
There are two different display mode options when shooting images with the GF1. "LCD monitor" mode looks most like a compact camera display, with icons overlaid on the image. "Finder mode" is very similar but places a black bar across the bottom of the screen, to make it more familiar to DSLR users used to using an optical viewfinder with a status bar along the bottom. Sadly you can't get it to show one view in the viewfinder and the other on the screen as the GF1 cannot display on both LVF and rear LCD simultaneously.
The behavior in both screen modes is very consistent - the command dial controls exposure compensation in most 'scene' modes, or one of the shooting parameters in the 'P, A, S and M' modes. In these modes, pressing the command dial toggles to control exposure compensation, the other shooting shooting parameter or program shift, depending on the mode. Accessing the other settings just requires pressing the Q.Menu button at which point the arrow keys or command dial allow navigation and a press of the 'set' button or command dial engages the setting. Note that not all settings are available in all modes (Scene modes and Intelligent Auto modes have a reduced set of options).
|'Finder' mode. Using Q.Menu brings up a horizontal array of icons for each setting.|
|In LCD mode. Q.Menu brings up vertical lists of settings, with a description at the top of the screen.|
As mentioned, the layout of the information is consistent between the viewfinder and the rear LCD and in the two views. The result is no hunting around for settings - they're always shown in the same place. And, unlike a DSLR, the GF1's viewfinder can show you the options for each setting, rather than just reflecting the current settings. The diagram below shows the detailed view.
|1||Flash setting||11||AF mode|
|2||Film mode||12||Metering mode|
|3||Optical Image Stabilization mode||13||Recording mode|
|4||Drive mode (blank in single frame mode)||14||Aperture|
|5||Movie record quality||15||Shutter speed|
|6||Picture size/ aspect ratio||16||Exposure indicator|
|7||Quality setting||17||Sensitivity setting|
|8||Power LCD mode||18||White Balance|
|9||Intelligent exposure||19||Frames remaining|
|10||Battery status||20||Focus confirmation|
Battery / Card Compartment & Battery
The GF1 comes with the same battery as the G1 and GH1. It has a 1250mAh, 7.2V rating, meaning it can deliver 9.0Wh, in excess of the power output we've seen from recent entry-level DSLRs with small batteries (though, of course, it's reasonable to assume the GF1 will draw more power than those cameras, unless they're used in their Live view modes).
Battery life is around 380 shots (CIPA standard) or 430 shots using the LVF, not bad at all for a camera without an optical viewfinder. The battery and SD card share a compartment under a plastic locking door on the base of the camera.
Like most of cameras at this end of the market, the GF1 accepts the popular SD format of memory card (including the larger capacity SDHC variety).
The GF1 uses Panasonic's DMW-BLB13PP battery. The DE-A49C charger also offers a 9.3V DC output that the optional DC cable/dummy battery (DMW-DCC3) can be plugged into.
On the left hand side of the camera (viewed from the rear) is a combined USB/video out connector and a HDMI port for connection to your HDTV, plus a socket for the optional wired remote control. Unfortunately there isn't an external microphone socket (something you do get with the GH1).
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Introduction
- 3 What's New
- 4 Specifications
- 5 Body & Design
- 6 Body & Design
- 7 Body & Design
- 8 Operation & Controls
- 9 Operation & Controls
- 10 Operation (live view)
- 11 Displays
- 12 Menus
- 13 Menus
- 14 Performance
- 15 Photographic tests (RAW)
- 16 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 17 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 18 Photographic tests (DR)
- 19 Photographic tests (Kit Lens)
- 20 Photographic tests
- 21 Movie Mode
- 22 Compared to
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 30 Compared to (Resolution)
- 31 Compared to (Resolution)
- 32 Real world GF1 vs EP1
- 33 Conclusion
- 34 Samples
Oct 14, 2009
Sep 2, 2009
Oct 10, 2012
Oct 12, 2012
|Hot Air Balloons Over Bagan by User9320321874|
|Blue mood by darub|
from Fixed lens shootout.
|Yellow Warbler by LeeS|
from A Big Year - birds
|Waiting for the Parade by tcoker1103|
from - La Vida Loca - (Black and White Street Photography+ A Border)
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.