• Price When Reviewed: 435

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We were impressed with the quality of the electronic viewfinder – while not a match for a good optical finder, it’s well detailed and a cut above previous types. There are other benefits, such a magnified view to check focus accuracy, and extensive viewfinder info including a real-time histogram. All this is duplicated on the main pull-out three-inch screen. It’s a quality panel but the surface is easily smeared – though even in bright light, this isn’t detrimental to the image.

We found the G1 quick and easy to work with, and, like a digital SLR, there’s practically no shutter delay. It also has a much wider range of AF modes than just about any other digital SLR, including adjustable wide-area, subject-tracking, face-detection and user-selectable spot options. Auto-focus operation was accurate, as was exposure control and colour balance, although there was an orange cast under indoor lighting.

While the G1 has some features from Panasonic’s compact cameras such as the Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, its 3fps continuous shooting option puts it well ahead of any compact. Bursts of up to seven Raw frames, or unlimited JPEGs using a fast writing SD card is pretty much on a par with rival digital SLRs.

Image captured at ISO 100.

Image captured at ISO 1600.

We’ve no real concerns with picture quality from the 12-megapixel sensor at low ISOs, but noise levels are quite high and detail suffers at ISO 1600. Colour saturation is still reasonable, but at ISO 3200 picture quality and colour decline markedly. Still, the G1 has lots to commend it. We would choose it over a high-end compact every time and we’re even tempted to leave the bulky full-frame digital SLR in the studio, at times.