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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 12Mp µ4/3s camera

The future of the bridge camera?

There’s a choice of three body colours: black, blue or red, although the latter looked more burgundy on our review sample. At present, there are only two MFT lenses: a Lumix G Vario 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6, equivalent to a 28-90mm on a 35mm camera, and a 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6 - 90-400mm in 35mm-speak. Our model came with the former. You can also use standard Four Thirds lenses but you lose the autofocus capability, as this is built into MFT lenses.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

Comes with a Lumix G Vario 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 lens

In order to encourage users to migrate to MFT, Panasonic has added a few touches to make the G1 seem more familiar. There’s the fake prism bump at the top of the camera body for a start, not to mention dangling metal lugs for the camera strap - and it even has a mechanical shutter. The latter means that, in action, the G1 is not much quieter than your average DSLR.

As you might well expect, then, there’s is a split personality feeling to this camera. You get Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto system, which does everything bar tell you what picture to take, but there’s also a manual mode and all points between the two. It uses a contrast AF system found on compacts rather than the phase-difference system used by DSLRs.

There’s a multi-zone AF system with 23 areas, plus a single area mode which allows the user to select the focus area. You also get Face Detection and AF Tracking systems. In short, the G1 aims to please a wide range of potential users.

A brief tour of the camera body reveals a flap covering mini USB and HDMI ports on the left, while on top, are a focus mode dial, flash release switch, large command dial, a lever for setting the drive mode, on/off lever, Quick Menu and Film buttons, shutter button and a control dial at the front which is used for selecting and setting parameters, such as the amount of exposure compensation. The dial can also be pushed in for selection purposes.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

Fold the LCD away to keep it safe

On the back is a button for selecting the Live Viewfinder - Panasonic’s name for the electronic viewfinder - or LCD. The former uses LCOS technology and offers 1.4 million dot resolution with a 60f/s refresh rate, while the 3in LCD screen offers 460,000-dot resolution. Oddly, the LVF has a 4:3 aspect ratio, while the LCD screen’s is in 3:2. Moving on, we find the playback button, AE/AF lock, a plastic thumb rest, four way-controller for ISO, white balance, AF mode and function select and a delete button. On the right is a flap for the SD/SDHC/MMC card and, underneath, the lithium-ion battery compartment.

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