By Gavin Stoker | on January 31, 2010
Price When Reviewed: £495 . £695
Pros: Solid, substantial build; relatively compact; swappable lenses; comprehensively featured.
Cons: Optical viewfinder costs extra; weightier than equivalent compact with battery and lens attached.
With a similarly solid build and size to Canon’s G11, the 12.1-megapixel Lumix is the only one here that lets you change lens – something it shares with digital SLRs.
The GF1 brings the lens and sensor closer together – hence the neat compact build – even with the 20mm lens attached (40mm equivalent in 35mm terms). It offers both Raw and JPEG capture.
There’s no optical viewfinder (an electronic viewfinder is available for £165 extra), so composition and review is on the impressively clear three-inch, high-resolution LCD.
However, it does include a built-in pop-up flash, plus a hot shoe for adding an external flash. Getting a steady grip when shooting handheld proved difficult.
Up to and including ISO 400, images are noise free, but stray above that you’ll get grain in shadow areas.
Then there’s HD movie recording, with AVCHD Lite or Motion JPEG formats, though resolution is 1,280 x 720 pixels rather than Full HD 1,920 x 1,080. If using a zoom lens you’ll have to adjust focus manually, since there’s no zoom lever.
The GF1 is highly portable, offering interchangeable lenses without the bulk of a digital SLR. But digital SLR owners will have to buy new Micro Four Thirds compatible lenses to get the most out of it – which isn’t cheap.