A little over a month ago, Panasonic made big waves in the digital camera
world with their announcement
with Olympus) of the Micro FourThirds standard. Today, the first camera to
use the m4/3 standard has arrived: the Lumix DMC-G1. Since it doesn't have
a mirror, it can't be called a digital SLR. Instead, Panasonic is calling it
a digital interchangeable lens camera.
I had a chance to use the G1 a few weeks ago, and I'll share my impressions
with you, right after I go over the specs:
Lumix DMC-G1 [specs]
- 12.1 effective Megapixel Live MOS sensor; same size as on a regular FourThirds
- Micro FourThirds lens mount, with 2X focal length conversion ratio
- First two lenses to be announced are the F3.5-5.6, 14 - 45 mm and F4.0-5.6,
45 - 200 mm lenses; both have image stabilization
- Lenses coming in 2009 include: F4.0, 7 - 14 mm, F1.7, 20 mm, and F4.0-5.6,
14 - 140 mm OIS
- Supports regular FourThirds lenses via the optional DMW-MA1 adapter
- World's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera
(according to Panasonic)
- Body is 4.9
x 3.3 x 1.8 inches in size, weighs 385 g; compare that to the Olympus
E-420, which is 5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 inches and 380 g
- Will come in three colors: black, blue, and red
- Venus Engine HD image processor
- Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system
- Since there's no mirror inside the camera, it's live view only on the DMC-G1
- You get 100%
field-of-view, customizable displays, and preview of shutter speed and
- Flip-out, rotating 3-inch LCD display has 460,000 pixels
- Super high resolution electronic viewfinder has an unbelievable 1.44
million pixels and 1.4x magnification
- Shooting info is displayed on the main LCD when you're using the EVF;
when you put your eye to the viewfinder, the LCD shuts automatically
- Full manual controls, plus Intelligent Auto Mode (complete with face detection
and auto scene selection)
- 23-point contrast detect autofocus system with speeds that rival traditional
phase difference AF
- Camera can take 7 RAW and an unlimited number of JPEGs at 3 frames/second
- Hot shoe for external flash
- SD/SDHC memory card slot
- Ports include USB 2.0 High Speed, HDMI, and remote control
- Uses DMW-BLB13 lithium-ion battery; 350 shots per charge with the EVF,
and 330 with the LCD
- Will ship with the 14 - 45 mm lens this November; pricing to be announced
While I don't have a camera to preview yet (the lucky folks at DP
to get one), I did get to spend some time with a preproduction G1 a few weeks
ago. The shooting experience feels very much like using a fixed-lens Panasonic
camera: the shooting modes (like Intelligent Auto) and the menu system felt
strangely familiar. If you're using something like a DMC-FZ18, you can pick
up the G1 and feel right at home.
The camera wasn't quite as small as I was expecting. It's smaller than the
Olympus E-420, but not that much so. Panasonic said they could make
the G1 even smaller, but they didn't want to screw up usability. The lenses,
on the other hand, are much more compact than their FourThirds counterparts.
I found the G1 easy to hold, thanks to a decent-sized grip. The LCD and electronic
viewfinder are both spectacular -- they're very sharp, and totally customizable
too. You can change the UI to match the color of your camera, choose what options
are shown on the screen, and even move grid lines around manually.
The biggest concern I had when the Micro FourThirds standard was announced
was focusing performance. At that time Panasonic said that the camera would
use contrast detect AF, and you've seen how slow that can be on digital SLRs.
Naturally, when I got my hands on the camera, the first thing I had to do was
try the autofocus system out. I was blown away (to put it mildly) with just
how fast the AF performance was. It's easily on par with both digital SLRs
(with their live view off, of course) and point-and-shoot cameras.
One feature I was expecting that didn't show up was a movie mode. Panasonic
says that they'll have a model that supports HD movie recording sometime in
2009. I was also disappointed to see the G1's battery life numbers (330-350 shots
per charge), which are quite a bit lower than other D-SLRs, though those don't
use live view exclusively.
That's all for now. As soon as I get my hands on the Lumix DMC-G1, I'll review
PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G1: WORLD’S SMALLEST AND LIGHTEST DIGITAL INTERCHANGEABLE
World’s First Micro Four Thirds System Camera Features Portability,
Ease-of-Use and Colorful Blue and Red Models For Personalized Style and Active
Secaucus, NJ (September 12, 2008) – Panasonic today announced the world’s
Micro Four Thirds system camera, the LUMIX DMC-G1, the world’s smallest
digital interchangeable lens camera, weighing in at approximately 385 grams (0.85
Based on the new Micro Four Thirds System standard, the LUMIX G1 eliminates the
internal mirror structure that defines digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras,
reducing the size and weight by nearly half.** With the mirror-less system, the
flange back, which is the distance between the mount and the image sensor, has
reduced from 40 mm – as specified in the Four Thirds System – to
approximately 20 mm.
The new Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1 will enhance the advanced photo quality and
flexibility made possible by the Four Thirds™ System, and with its innovative
consumers will appreciate the portability of a smaller camera body and lenses.
will be available in mid-November as a kit with the new LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-
5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S lens. Also available in November, and announced today, is
LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/MEGA O.I.S.lens.
“With the LUMIX G1, we are filling a void that has existed for a long time
in the digital
camera market because consumers wanted the power of an SLR, but previous models
were bulky and inconvenient,” said David Briganti, National Marketing Manager,
Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “The LUMIX G answers this challenge
consumers can benefit from the flexibility of changing lenses; a quick Auto Focus;
sensor that produces high-quality photos. By packing all those powerful assets
extremely compact body with easy-to-use features familiar to point-and-shoot
are excited about G, as it brings new possibilities to the consumer.”
The LUMIX G1 is also the world’s first interchangeable lens camera that
will come with
color variety – with availability in black, blue and red models – allowing
personalize their style through color, something very popular with point-and-shoot
For current Four Thirds users with a collection of lenses, an optional mount
allow Four Thirds lenses to be compatible with the LUMIX G1.*** Also, today,
introduction of the Micro Four Thirds System, Panasonic is announcing a wide-variety
accessories including: External Flash DMW-FL220(GN22); PL Filter: DMW-LPL52;
Mount Adapter: DMW-MA1; Battery Pack: DMW-BLB13; DC Cable: DMW-DCC3; Soft
Case: DMW-CG1; Soft Bag: DMW-BAG1; Shoulder Strap (Stylish) DMW-SSTG1-A/C/R;
Shoulder Strap (Woven) DMW-SSTG2-W; Shoulder Strap (Leather) DMW-SSTG3-T.
The G1 is also compatible with current accessories: External Flash: DMW-
FL360(GN36)/DMW-FL500(GN50); ND Filter: DMW-LND52; MC Protector: DMW-
LMC52; Remote Shutter: DMW-RSL1; HDMI mini Cable: RP-CDHM15(1.5m), RP-
The G1’s compact size can also be attributed to its electronic full-time
Live View Finder,
as opposed to a conventional optical viewfinder. The electronic Live View Finder,
impressive and high-resolution 1,440,000-dot equivalent, allows the user to shoot
exact image the camera sees while also displaying information about the camera’s
settings through the view finder. The G1 also features a clever built-in eye
the camera can detect when the user is nearing the view finder and automatically
switches off the LCD, thus conserving battery life. Furthermore, the Live View
has a large 1.4x (0.7x on a 35mm equivalent) magnification and when using the
manual focus mode, the frame in the view finder or LCD will enlarge by 5x or
adjust using the dial).
The Live View Finder and the bright 460,000-dot resolution, 3.0-inch LCD provide
100% field of view, letting the user adjust settings before taking a shot, which
is a great
learning tool for consumers beginning to use manual controls as they can visually
confirm the effects of changed settings. The LCD can also swivel 180 degrees
horizontally and 270 degrees vertically, giving the consumer flexibility to take
low-angle shots, and its Auto Power technology will automatically boost brightness
much as 40% depending on the shooting condition so it remains visible in all
The G1 introduces a new Contrast AF (Auto Focus) function that is not only accurate
and easy to use, but also very fast. Users can choose from a wide-range of AF
including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable
area, Face Detection, and AF Tracking. In the 1-area AF mode, the AF frame size
changed by simply turning a dial. The G1 also has a Quick AF function that begins
focusing as soon as the user aims the camera – no need to wait to press
button halfway. This provides quicker focusing that can help capture the subject
the crucial moment passes.
Users familiar with point-and-shoot digital cameras, and new to the world of
interchangeable lens cameras, will benefit from Panasonic’s Intelligent
Auto (iA) mode.
When in iA mode, the G1 will detect the shooting condition and automatically
the ultimate shooting results. Panasonic’s iA includes the following intuitive
- AF Tracking – Automatically tracks the subject as it moves, keeping
it in focus
without the need to hold the shutter halfway down.
- Intelligent Exposure – Helps prevents photos from being under- or
exposed by analyzing the framed image and adjusting the brightness in areas
that are too dark because of dim lighting, backlighting or the use of the
- MEGA O.I.S. – Gyrosensors detect hand-shake and the lens system
compensate, helping to prevent hand movement from creating a blurry image.
- Intelligent ISO – Determines if the photo subject is moving and
changes the ISO
setting and shutter speed accordingly, thus giving a blur-free photo.
- Intelligent Scene Selector – Senses the ambient conditions and
select the appropriate mode from Scenery, Portrait, Close-up, Night Portrait
- Face Detection – Detects faces in the frame (up to 15 faces),
even if they are
moving, and selects optimal focus and exposure settings so portraits come
out clear. Also features Digital Red-Eye correction.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1, a 12.1 Megapixel camera, also includes the following
- Live MOS Sensor – Provides the best of both worlds with high image
from a CCD sensor, and the lower-power consumption of a CMOS sensor. New
technology makes it possible to read four channels of data simultaneously and
deliver 60 frames-per-second full-time Live View images.
- Venus Engine HD – New imaging processor enhances noise reduction
provides independent gradation control for each of the R, G and B colors.
- Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System – Designed to prevent
from adhering to the image sensor by vibrating 50,000 times per second, the
filter repels dust and other particles.
- My Color Mode – Users can freely adjust the color, brightness
while composing shots, allowing for more expressive and creative shots.
Output – With an optional HDMI cable, the G1 can connect
to an HDMI-
capable High Definition television, such as a Panasonic VIERA Plasma or LCD.
When connected to a VIERA, using VIERA Link capability, the TV’s remote
control can direct the slideshow on the G1.
- My Menu – This new tab automatically stores the five most recently
selections for quick, convenient retrieval. The custom-setting can also be
used to program a frequently-used function, which can be activated by pressing
the down arrow on the cursor key. The color of the menu viewed on LCD can
also be changed to three different colors: black, red, blue.
Pricing for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1 and its Micro Four Thirds accessories
announced in early October.
PANASONIC INTRODUCES WORLD’S FIRST INTERCHANGEABLE LENSES FOR MICRO
FOUR THIRDS SYSTEM DIGITAL CAMERAS
Two New Lenses Compatible with LUMIX G1, the World’s Smallest & Lightest
Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera, Part of the Micro Four Thirds System
SECAUCUS, NJ (September 12, 2008) – Panasonic today announced the world’s
interchangeable lenses designed for the new Micro Four Thirds System. The LUMIX
14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S will be the standard kit lens with the LUMIX
the world’s first Micro Four Thirds System digital camera, which also
debuted today. In addition,
the LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/MEGA O.I.S. telephoto lens, also designed
Micro Four Thirds format, offers an enhanced zoom range for use with the DMC-G1
cameras based on the new standard.
Panasonic’s two new Micro Four Thirds System lenses produce professional-level
typical of digital single-reflex lens (DSLR) cameras, while greatly reducing
the size. For
instance, the LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S lens is nearly
size and weight of traditional DSLR lenses with comparable focal lengths.*
Both lenses feature
Panasonic’s Mega O.I.S. (optical image stabilizer), which helps reduce
blur caused by hand
movement when snapping photos, and are compatible with Panasonic’s Contrast
Focus) system found in the LUMIX DMC-G1. Contrast AF in the G1 allows the user
from a wide-range of AF modes, including: multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus
AF with a selectable focus area; Face Detection; and AF Tracking. The lenses
also feature a
durable metal mount and multi-coated lens to reduce ghosts and flares on images.
seven aperture blades create a rounded shape that produces smoothness when
of-focus areas, helping to deliver top optical performance.
“The introduction of the Micro Four Thirds System is a huge advancement
photographers as the reduction in size and weight of these lenses will really
change the market
and make this format more approachable,” said David Briganti, National
Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Average consumers interested
purchasing an advanced camera were previously deterred by the bulkiness and
of DSLRs, so these new lenses provide the same level of quality that consumers
demand, but in
a package much more suitable for active lifestyles.”
The LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. will be part of the kit
LUMIX DMC-G1 body and will be available in mid-November. The LUMIX G VARIO
200mm/F4.0-5.6/MEGA O.I.S. will also be available in November. Pricing for
the both lenses will
be announced in early October.