Panasonic Lumix GH-1 review
The Panasonic DMC-GH1 is something of a wild card in the DSLR market. It doesn’t have the traditional mirror, shutter and curtain arrangement of traditional DSLRs – instead, the sensor is on all the time, and the viewfinder is simply a very small LCD screen, complementing the pivoting 3in, 460,000 pixel screen on the back. The sensor uses Panasonic’s take on the Micro Four Thirds standard, a derivative of the Four Thirds sensor found in the Olympus E-450. To read the marketing bumph you could be forgiven for expecting an incredibly small camera with DSLR-like quality, but this isn’t the case. The GH1 isn’t significantly smaller than any of the other DSLRs on test.
It comes with the most impressive lens, though. The Micro Four Thirds sensor has a crop factor of 2x, which means the maximum focal length of any lens is doubled: the 140mm lens of this kit is equivalent to 280mm on a 35mm-frame camera. The 10x zoom is the most powerful here, and the image stabilisation is a particular plus on a lens this long. It also shoots 1080p HD video at 24fps, and has a stereo microphone.
We liked the DMC-GH1’s image quality. It wasn’t the best on test, but with all the cameras so close we were prepared to forgive it the occasional outburst of noise on our ISO 1600, f/22 test. The lens resolved a decent amount of detail, and although we wouldn’t want to print the DMC-GH1’s high ISO images at large sizes, it’s fine for most scenarios.
Impressively, the DMC-GH1 performs like a DSLR. Shot-to-shot time was negligible, except when processing long exposures. And in continuous mode it hit a maximum speed of 3.8fps, although over five seconds it ran at a less impressive 1.7fps.
The big problem is the price. At more than a thousand pounds including VAT, the DMC-GH1 is incredibly expensive. For this much money we’d want better performance and quality, and a true optical viewfinder. Unless you’re desperate for 1080p video, there are better options.
|Camera megapixel rating||12.1mp|
|Camera screen size||3.0in|
|Camera optical zoom range||10x|
|Camera maximum resolution||4,000 x 3,000|
|Camera optical image stabilisation||in kit lens|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||124 x 45 x 90mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||Lithium-ion|
|Battery life (CIPA standard)||320 shots|
|Aperture range||f4 - f5.8|
|Camera minimum focus distance||0.51m|
|Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)||28|
|Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)||280|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/4,000|
|Bulb exposure mode?||yes|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 3EV|
|ISO range||100 - 3200|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||3.0fps|
|Memory-card type||SD, SDHC|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Tripod mounting thread?||yes|
|Data connector type||Proprietary USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||yes|
|Software supplied||PhotoFun Studio 3.1 HD Edition, Silkypix Developer Studio 3.0 SE|
|Accessories supplied||Shoulder strap, USB cable, video cable, lens hood, AC adapter|