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Panasonic Lumix DMC GH1 | Digital Camera Review | Control
The Micro Four Thirds system seems an ideal system that can build the perfect bridge between the standard compact camera and the digital SLR. In terms of dimensions, we have not yet seen the smallest camera possible, and the potential to grow to a perfect combination of video and photo, will undoubtedly attract a large group of photographers. The optical viewfinder as we find in standard DSLR cameras, has been removed from the Panasonic DMC-GH1. It is substituted by the high resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF).
Panasonic Lumix DMC GH1 | Digital Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC GH1 | Digital Camera
Panasonic Lumix GH1 electronic viewfinder
To a large share of photographers, the lack of an optical viewfinder could prove an obstacle but frankly, with an EVF such as that of the GH1, you will in most cases not perceive it as a loss. Another advantage is the wealth of display information in the viewfinder, such as exposure and other camera settings. The information is actually the same as that of the 3 inch monitor on the back. A disadvantage, however, is the quick appearance of image noise in scarce light conditions, as well as and slightly more delay in refreshing the images. No doubt we will see further improvements, but it seems that the EVF has finally come through.

GH1 Panasonic review

MEGA O.I.S. stabilisation system on the Panasonic GH1
Panasonic has been consistently using an effective image stabilization system for a few years now. Also the Panasonic Lumix GH1 has been equipped with Panasonic's MEGA O.I.S. system. The effect of such a system shows directly in pictures and videos, while adding to the users ease. Especially with a lens like the 14-140 mm, the stabilization adds to the joy of shooting and contributes directly to the sharpness of the picture. The Panasonic GH1 is an easy-to-use camera, for which you won't be needing the manual so quickly. Unless you of course want to learn about every opportunity the GH1 has to offer, since the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 has several useful functions you won't easily find on another camera.

Video recording with the Panasonic DMC-GH1
Panasonic has paid a lot of attention to the combination of video and photo. The broad experience of Panasonic as a camcorder manufacturer has brought a lot of knowledge as to how a consumer uses video, applies it, and how video can be started as effortlessly as possible.

Lumix GH1
The latter has resulted in the dedicated video capture button on the camera's back. This button can be found and activated blindfolded, enabling capturing spontaneous moments as videos. However, in practice, there is a downside to this. The button is placed in a spot that easily lets you capture videos unintentionally. The right hand will cling to the handgrip, placing the thumb almost on or right next to the video button. It would not surprise us to see this button in a different spot on future Micro Four Thirds cameras. We have already noticed this change on the new Lumix cameras that have recently been introduced.

Panasonic photo camera with full video functionality
In terms of operation, the Panasonic GH1 is similar to the G1, and we would like to refer to the Panasonic Lumix G1 review for further information about this item. The Panasonic DMC-GH1 stands out when it comes to video. Not that the GH1 camera is the only system camera able to record videos, (Olympus E-P1, Nikon D5000, Nikon D90, Nikon D300s, Canon EOS 500D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II), but it is however the only one with full and all-round support. The camera simply sets the standard for cameras offering video functionality.

Taking photos with the Panasonic system camera
The video mode is enhanced, in fact; even to an extent that makes us suspect not every video enthusiast will make full use of it. First to mention is of course the 24 fps speed of the GH1 while recording; a joy for the film editing lover. The auto mode provides the user with the same ease as when shooting. If you are used to working with the P / S / A / M modes, you will be able to continue working with them during filming. It is also possible to manually adjust settings like white balance or light metering. And for those who prefer the assistance of the preset scenes, the Panasonic Lumix GH1 also has these onboard. However, if you want to go completely crazy, you can turn on Panasonic's Creative Motion Picture mode. This program provides every possible feature for video capture.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 zoom lens
An important link is the new 14-140 mm zoom lens. This Lumix lens is specifically designed for silent operation while keeping the subject sharply focused. After all, there is nothing more annoying than hearing a rattling focus engine whilst playing an HD video. However, the Lumix HD 14-140 mm f/4.0-5.6 lens manages to tackle this problem! The only thing you probably have to practice is the manual zooming in. In a camcorder, this is done electronically, which provides very precise and smooth zooming. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 however, requires some more effort, to determine the crop without getting a video that is too jerky.

GH1

Panasonic DMC-GH1 offers a unique photo / video combination
The extended video functionality will mainly appeal to the videographer enthusiast. Standard HD video with auto settings will undoubtedly appeal to the user who wants to record video without having to think about it. When it comes to creativity, an impressive amount of options are available on the GH1, and for a much cheaper price than a camcorder with exchangeable lenses. On the other hand; the GH1 is significantly more expensive than other entry-level DSLR cameras that also provide video capture, although with far fewer options. This is mainly due to the specially designed lens but then; you get a unique photo / video combination in return.
Panasonic Lumix DMC GH1 Panasonic Lumix DMC GH1
   
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