The Panasonic GF1 is the latest in line from Panasonic's G-series - a much-touted Micro Four Thirds system that offers DSLR quality in a compact body. What Digital Camera test the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1C kit with the 20mm f/1.7 pancake kit lens...
In Panasonic’s eyes – and with the notable lack of any full-on DSLR cameras of late – the G-series is the future of photography. Its general design ethos isn’t entirely unique, though the only other camera on the market that’s a close match is the Olympus E-P1 – a reimagining of the Olympus PEN from 50 years previous, albeit digital.
The Panasonic GF1 is still smaller and lighter, though the difference is slight and only by a marginal number of grams and millimeters. Not to draw away from how small this is though – with the pancake lens attached it could easily fit into a gent’s coat pocket or ladies’ handbag. That’s certainly the key in this design, its notable compactness.
In use the Panasonic GF1 is very much like a Panasonic compact in terms of menu systems and operational buttons, albeit with some additions for the more complex controls available here.
There’s a mode dial on the top, and standard d-pad on the back. The addition of a q-menu button for quick menu adjustment, an AF/MF to control focus mode and a rear thumbwheel to cycle through options, f/stops and the like escalates ease of use to the next level.
The pop-up flash is user controlled by the press of a button, allowing for discreet non-flash shots even in darker conditions.
On the movie front there’s a one-touch record button for seamless shooting between stills, or the mode is also available on the mode dial. It’s extremely easy to pick up and use, whatever your level.
Overall the Panasonic GF1 is much like a stripped down version of its bigger brother the G1, albeit without the chunky grip, DSLR-styling or articulating screen.
The camera body itself is very robust, feels well made and looks the part. It’s even available in three colours – red, black or silver (those outside of the UK have a white option too) to suit a wider audience.