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April 6, 2010#

Panasonic GF1 impressions

Got my hands on a little Panasonic Lumix GF1 with the 20mm f1.7 prime lens and I’m loving this camera. I can carry it about everywhere and it has near the start up and auto focus response of a DSLR and the ISO performance is beyond what I expected.

Walking HomeISO 1600 | 1/80s | f1.8 | Canon 85mm w. adapter
I’d say the ISO of the GF1 out performs 20D with an equivalent lens. Although they’re getting quite old now.

Another benefit of the GF1’s size is I get stopped far less for suspicious behaviour. I feel a lot less conspicuous and makes street photography more fun.

Rusted Bike LightISO 200 | 1/80s | f1.7 | Lumix 20mm
The bokeh effect from the kit 20mm 1.7 prime is great too and still stays sharp with limited CA, the canon ef 50mm f1.8 and 85mm f1.8 can’t compete wide open, although this could be due to a cheap adapter

Ergonomically the camera is a pleasure to use, ISO, WB etc function shortcuts to on the navigation wheel which will feel very similar to the entry level Canon DSLR’s users and also has a nice jog wheel for adjusting you aperture, shutter speed etc, although I would of quite liked two jog wheels like on the Ricoh GX100 that I used to carry around, which felt very natural to use in manual mode, where as I tend to use the GF1 in aperture priority most of the time.

I’m loving the video mode too. It’s quite easy to setup and has a user friendly aperture priority mode that shows up as background defocus icons. After setting up the right depth of field and exposure you can lock down the exposure with AE lock and switch the lens over to manual focus for full control, there’s also a “flicker red. cancel” option when pressing the bin icon which seems to remove the shutterspeeds that cause flickering with certain frequency bulbs and I think you can use the GF1 with full manual shutter and iso too as I read in Philip Blooms post but I’ve yet to try it out.

I’m mostly shooting with the m-jpeg option as (I’ve not done any extensive tests mind) it seems to have a little less compression artifacting in low light and is very fast to work with in after effects and premier. I’d say the overall video quality is very impressive but when there’s lots of detail in a shot where a canon 5D mk2’s video mode would resolve everything with amazing sharpness the GF1 gets a little soft which I’m guess is due to the codec’s bitrate or maybe I should be switching to the AVCHD codec.

You can see more photo I’ve taken with the GF1 on flickr here.

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