Panasonic Lumix GH-1 review

£1101
Price when reviewed

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.

Details

Image quality 4

Basic specifications

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

Weight 900g
Dimensions 124 x 45 x 90mm (WDH)

Battery

Battery type included Lithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard) 320 shots
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
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
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? yes
Memory-card type SD, SDHC
Viewfinder coverage 100%
LCD resolution 460k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
Body construction Plastic
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

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