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Camera Reviews – Panasonic Lumix G1

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The article originally featured in January 2009’s ‘What Digital Camera’ Magazine.

The first camera in a new system promising smaller and more usable interchangeable-lens cameras…but does the Panasonic G1 deliver?

Back in August, Panasonic and Olympus made a joint announcement to the camera world that was to go down as story of the year. Together, the companies had developed a new camera system that offered the interchangeable-lens functionality of a DSLR, but did away with the mirror reflex technology, and as a result also the optical viewfinder. Cameras from this system therefore aren’t technically DSLR’s, and as a result the new Micro Four Thirds system sees the birth of a new type of camera altogether.

After the announcement, all went quiet for a month. It was expected that standard Four Thirds proponents Olympus would be first to market the technology, but in the few days before September’s Photokina photography trade show in Germany, Panasonic announced its Lumix G1. As expected, and claimed in the Micro Four Thirds announcement, the G1 is considerably smaller than a conventional DSLR in both lens and body and, complemented by the choice of three colours, it’s clearly aimed at those who may not have considered a DSLR before.

But what compromises, if any, have been made with the Micro Four Thirds system? Is the G1 merely a prototype rushed to market, or is it the forebear of a camera system set to change the face of photography as we know it?


Panasonics’s Lumix G1 features the first full implementation of the new Micro Four Thirds system – the model’s inner workings are devoid of the mirror-reflex system that characterises traditional DSLRs, the result of which is around a 50% shallower flange back than a standard Four Thirds body (which means the distance between the lens mount and sensor is, in effect, halved).

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