The Lumix G1 isn’t a true digital SLR, but with removable lenses and high-grade output, it’s similar in use. Looking at the spec, it may be difficult to tell apart from the Four Thirds Lumix L-10, but the real difference is its size.
The G1 swaps the reflex mirror and optical viewfinder of a true digital SLR for full-time live view using an electronic finder, yet crucially retains the Four-Thirds size sensor. As well as the electronic finder option, live view can be switched to three-inch (460,000 pixels) LCD screen and used much like a digital compact instead.
That has made the G1 marginally bulkier than the Canon G10 compact in use, but boasts a physically larger 12-megapixel LMOS sensor and has interchangeable lenses. While that’s currently limited to just two, the 14-45mm (28-90mm) and 45-200mm (90-400mm), more will be added, and an optional adaptor allows full-size Four Thirds lenses to be used.
Panasonic chose not to make the camera as small as they could have, though. It has a handy pull-out screen, for example, that adds to its depth, and there’s a sizeable handgrip.
Be that as it may, it’s the size of the lenses that really impresses. The bundled 14-45mm is truly tiny, yet retains an internal focus motor for swift AF as well as an optical image stabilization system. In our tests, we took decent handheld photos using a shutter speed about two stops lower than a digital SLR with no anti-shake.