Panasonic Lumix G1 is a Micro Four Thirds DSLR-like camera with interchangeable lens; it's far smaller than a conventional DSLR but has features to fight its corner. So how does the Lumix G1 fare when put to the test? The What Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix G1 review investigates...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

Overall score:85%
Image Quality:85%


  • 3in articulating LCD, overall design and build quality, compact size


  • Price at odds with specification, over-sensitive LVF eye sensors, image flatness


Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Review


Price as reviewed:


Image Quality & Value For Money

Panasonic Lumix G1 review – Image Quality

Lumix G1 review – Raw And JPEG

Pansonic Lumix G1 review - sample imageIn Raw files, the Lumix G1 records a much wider range of tones is evident throughout the frame with much improved contrast between shadow and highlight detail, which is itself easy to improve in Raw conversion software, while fine detail appears improved thanks to a reduction of the grain apparent in JPEG files. White balance is also more pleasing when shooting Raw images; though, as mentioned, white balance is no great shakes with a Raw file as it’s easily and non-destructively altered in Raw conversion software such as Adobe Camera Raw.

Another big difference between Raw and JPEG files is the way in which noise at high ISO settings appears. With JPEG files noise is well controlled, but at high ISO settings fine detail is lost thanks to in-camera noise reduction. On Raw files, however, noise is far more apparent thanks to the lack of noise reduction. This does mean that fine detail is better preserved, and chances are your specific noise-reduction software is likely to do a better job than the camera can manage.

Panasonic G1 review – Exposure & Tone

The general look and feel of the exposures from the Lumix G1 is satisfactory. They do suffer from a distinct lack of contrast and punch, however, with most shots requiring a tweak of shadows and highlights or a subtle curve adjustment in post-processing to reach a desirable level. Having said this, the ‘flatness’ of tone and exposure does have the benefit of preserving shadow and highlight detail, and as such avoiding any loss of overall detail.

Lumix G1 review – White Balance And Colour

Pansonic Lumix G1 review - sample imageThe Panasonic Lumix G1 renders colour well in virtually all situations. Even with bright and challenging light, the camera manages good colour reproduction, though much the same as with exposure and tone, a tweak in post-processing doesn’t go amiss. White balance, however, doesn’t fare so well: images generally appear cold, and though this is a minor flaw – considering how easily rectifiable white balance is in a Raw file, for example – it would still be nice to have a reliable white balance directly out of camera.

Panasonic Lumix G1 review – Image Noise

The Lumix G1 deals with image noise well, generally speaking, throughout the ISO range. Images are usable right up to ISO 1600, though there is a fairly steep fall-off in quality when switching to ISO 3200.

Lumix G1 review – Detail And Sharpness

An undeniable plus point on the Panasonic G1 is the amount of detail displayed and the relative sharpness. Though images do display a very slight inherent grain, general detail rendition is excellent, while edge sharpness is spot on without any excessive over-sharpening or the like.

Panasonic Lumix G1 review – Value For Money

As is so often the case with the first product of a new type of technology, the Lumix G1 is by no means cheap. At time of review a G1 and compulsory 14-45mm kit lens will set you back around £550.

Consider that price tag for a moment – for over £100 less you can pick up the Sony A350 and 18-70mm kit lens; meanwhile, grabbing yourself the similar-sized Olympus E-420 and kit lens will see you save more than £200; not to mention the bevy of bridge cameras available around that price point.

What’s in no doubt is that in the Lumix G1 you’ll be getting yourself a cracking little camera, but you have to think how long it will hold its current price point. The fact is that this is the first Micro Four Thirds camera of many, with Panasonic themselves confirming the impending release of a camera in the system with integrated video modes. Throw into the mix forthcoming models in the system from Olympus, and the sensible option seems to be to wait for it to fall to a more realistic price tag – after all, it’s already £100 down from its RRP.

Panasonic Lumix G1 review pages:

Lumix G1 review – other What Digital Camera links:

  1. 1. Panasonic Lumix G1 Review
  2. 2. Design & Performance
  3. 3. Image Quality & Value For Money
  4. 4. Verdict
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