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How do you like your GF1?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Amin Sabet, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
  2. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    Ooooooh yes

    I had been putting off my decision on the GF1 until they were more readily available in the UK and prices had stabilised a bit so that retailers were starting to price match.

    Just before Christmas was the right time as retailers wanted good sales and were willing to lower prices and price match, this coupled with the fact my daughter has now taken ownership of my Canon G10 which now resides with her in Dubai, I wanted a replacement backup camera to carry all the time in lieue of my main kit.

    To date (4 days of use) I have found the GF1 + 20mm lens to be everything and more than I expected, it is around the same size as my G10 so will fit in my coat pocket and always be with me - the sensor size and overall performace to include ease of use, build quality, lack of shutter lag and instant write times all exceed my expectations and add to this the free 3yr warranty I get from Panasonic, I am one happy bunny!!

    The perfect camera - No but that does not and possibly may not ever exist but it does what it says on the box and all for a sensible price so it has my vote!

    Sorry - I got a little carried away there and may have forgotten to say how much I love this camera!!!!!!:bravo-009:
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Bullfrog

    Bullfrog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    What attracted me to the GF1 was the promise of dslr image quality and interchangeable lenses on a small package. I became tired of lugging round a bag of gear (Canon 40D plus assorted lenses).

    The GF1 is undoubtedly the best camera purchase I have ever made. It does, and exceeds, everything I need it to do and is a joy to use. Sure it has its quibbles but what camera doesn't?

    It's also cool as heck :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    I love mine. I can carry around something with near DSLR quality (40D) almost anywhere now because it's so small and light. The 40D+Sigma 30 was just too bulky.

    However, given it's cost, I still worry/baby it a bit, haha. Unlike my SD1000 I had which I sort of just tossed in a bag or in my pocket. I still do miss that, as I had given it to my dad. The GF1 still isn't THAT portable =)

    I do get people asking me if it's a film camera though. I'm not sure why to be honest. One may have to be the fact they've seen me with my RF camera, but that wouldn't explain everyone.

    Overall, a good purchase. A bit expensive though, and lacking lens options (I want to maintain AF). The 45 macro is a too expensive (and I'd rather have f2 or better over macro) and the 14/2.8 isn't wide enough for me (and again, I'd rather have f2 or better, but in this case, I'll take 10~12mm even at f3.5/4). It hasn't changed my on the spur shooting as much as I had thought, but I got the camera at a time when work has overtaken my world a bit more than I wanted, heh.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. blork

    blork Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 31, 2009
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    I really like my GF1, but there are a couple of things about it that I don't like. Both are related to the dials.

    First, I find the mode dial on top is awfully stiff. I can't turn it without accidentally also moving the drive mode lever, because I have to put such a grip on the dial that the lever moves too. I find this hugely ironic, because my one big "build" complaint with the Lumix LX3 is that it's mode dial turns too easily! (Seriously, every time I take the LX3 out of my pocket the mode dial is in a different position. I swear it will move if you just blow on it!)

    More annoying is the thumb wheel. It's both slippery and really REALLY stiff. As a result, in order to turn it I have to lower the camera and change my grip and then half the time I end up CLICKING the wheel, which brings it too a different function. This is more annoying than the first problem, because that thumb wheel would be really useful if it were not so hard to use.

    Does anyone else here have these problems, or is it just me? I've been considering sending it in for a service check, but I don't want to be without it for several weeks (and I expect even then they'd return it saying they couldn't find a problem).
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    You bring up a point I forgot, the thumb wheel isn't designed too well IMO. It's not natural feeling when trying to turn it. I feel like I'm contorting my thumb a bit. I have since gotten used to it some, but would have like it thicker maybe, or positioned a little lower.

    As for the mode dial, I don't have any problems with mine. Nothing is overly stiff for either on my camera. Just about right for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Pulp

    Pulp New to Mu-43

    Jan 4, 2010
    I love it! Got one with a 14-45 just before the New Year in Singapore for U$840 with extra battery!

    I just can't open RAW files with the CS3 and still have to get used to Silkypix..
  8. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    i works but myep1 is a little better
  9. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Ringing endorsement :rofl:
  10. robperks

    robperks Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 15, 2009
    Ventura, Ca
    I have had my GF1 a couple of months now and mostly love it. It makes it easier to take good, and occasional great, photos. I have the 14-45 kit lens and am saving pennies for something faster and something wider. But the kit lens outperforms what one can generally hope for with a kit.

    The functionality of the thumb wheel is still a bit cumbersome for my fat fingers. My take on this is that the notches or spikes need to be bigger to provide better traction. I find myself push and turning when I intend to only turn. In the long run this is likely a user issue after years of Canon useage.

    The major plus is the size, half of the Canon DSLR I used to haul around. I keep it with me more often and therefor take it out more often.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Yeah, not perfect, but nothing is. Thumb wheel could be improved by having a rubberized surface so you can swipe it easier with your thumb. But the camera is so charming and utterly beguiling. Inspires lust like a gorgeous woman can. Feels great in the hands. Such a pleasure to handle and shoot. Image quality is very good for a small camera. The feel of quality. I love mine with the 14-45, which is a super sharp lens. Will soon have a 20 1.7 and, hopefully, a 7-14 before toooo long. (I love the wide lenses!)
    • Like Like x 1
  12. nTo

    nTo Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2009
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I just got my GF1 yesterday....and wow what a great camera it is!!!
    * above picture is a test shot..in the camera store

    Although i also found several ''problems"...like: how stiff the thumb dial is....
    it is surprisingly a heavy camera relative to its small size...
    and the shutter sound..well... i think its too loud...

    Another issue for me is, i guess panasonic gave too much option on the colour presets...(we have the film mode setting, and also my colour mode)....i still cant figure out which to use for what? (maybe somebody could help me on this)

    the picture quality however exeeds my expectation...
    before i bought it i had read several reviews about the GF1...but my oh my..the pancaka 20mm lense is really something! ^_^
    AF speed awesome!
    Other buttons feels really comfortable and very intuitive....

    Can't wait to see how this camera goes..!!
    Wish i can collect more lenses and accesories....next target is the 45-200mm...
    Anybody has ever uses it? How it goes?
    • Like Like x 1
  13. nTo

    nTo Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2009
    wow! the opposite thing happens here...
    The price of GF1 is raising constantly in stores...
    Luckily i found a good deal, and before its too late, i grab one GF1 for me! :smile:
  14. Ted Zimmerman

    Ted Zimmerman New to Mu-43

    It's growing on me

    I've just finished my first trial week with a GF1 and the kit 20mm f/1.7 lens, and I have to say the camera is definitely growing on me. Here's a review of my experience to date with the camera:


    I shoot pro part time, mostly weddings and portrait work, and use a Nikon D700 and pro glass as my main setup. The strengths of this system are well known and I have come to take its outstanding high ISO performance, state of the art AF, and robust flash capabilities for granted. However, the Achilles Heel of this package is its size and weight. I'll shoot family events with it but for travel, hiking, or day to day 'always on' shooting the system is often too bulky to lug around.

    The benefits of a lighter and more portable system drew me to consider a smaller package, but I didn't want to give up image quality or camera functionality in the process. So when the µ4/3 offerings from Oly and Panasonic started to emerge last year, I took notice. I do have an LX3 and while I'm impressed with its build quality, I have found its image quality to be too much of a compromise despite its wonderful little f/2 lens.

    In the end I chose to evaluate the GF1 over the EP-2 because I wanted accurate and fast AF in order to keep up with my 5 year old son. I've had poor AF performers in the past - the Nikon 5400 in particular comes to mind - and didn't want to repeat that frustrating experience. Furthermore, I'm comfortable using ACR via Lightroom in my workflow so the JPG quality edge that the EP-2 brings to the party didn't factor into my thinking.

    Now that I've had the camera for about a week I'm leaning towards keeping it. Here are my impressions so far:

    Build Quality

    Overall I'd say the GF1 is built to a 'pro' caliber: the fit and finish are superb and it balances very well. Even the battery compartment door, usually relegated to a flimsy plastic design on most cameras, is well thought out and solid. Some weather sealing would have been appreciated but I can live with its limitations given the price point of the camera.

    I don't abuse my gear but I do work it hard and it needs to be able to withstand getting bumped around. This is even more true for smaller form factor cams, as they are more likely to be hung on a neck strap for longer periods of time throughout a typical shooting day. The GF1 definitely feels like its up to the task.

    Ergonomics and Layout

    I'm still getting used to the GF1's slippery surface; coming from a D700 (which sticks like glue to your hand) I need to rethink how to hold this camera confidently. The front finger and rear thumb grips are adequate but a touch of rubberized coating ala the Nikon bodies would go a long way to improve its grippiness. Furthermore, the control wheel should also be rubberized, as its plastic construction lacks the necessary tactile feel of such an important control.

    The location of the buttons are reasonably well placed and there's nothing that gets accidentally bumped while shooting. However, I would have preferred a row of buttons to the left of the LCD to improve the overall user interface. As it is I'm obliged to hold the camera in my left hand while I adjust a control, then grip it in my right hand to shoot. Left side controls would have allowed me to maintain a shooting position while making real time changes to ISO and WB, for example.

    Much has been said about the portability of the GF1 and 20mm combo. I don't have much more to add, except that it is a nice compromise between the ultra portability of the LX3 and the bulk of the D700. I suspect I'll end up using a small shoulder bag with a couple of lenses as my day to day setup. The GF1 won't be going into any jacket pockets - that's just not my preferred way to carry any camera gear.


    As others have noted, the 20 f/1.7 is a wonderful little lens. The bokeh is outstanding, almost as good as my Nikon 85 f/1.4 and the images are tack sharp. Because of the wider DOF inherent in µ4/3 systems, I can shoot wide open in low light and still have enough depth to capture head and shoulder shots with good focus. Conversely, I do wish I had slightly more isolating ability and will look forward to a good fast portrait lens offering in the µ4/3 line. In the meantime I might buy a Nikon adapter and try using my 50 f/1.4 for portrait work.

    Controls and Functionality

    This camera is quick and responsive, button presses are immediate and menus pop up instantly. The key controls that I use - MF/AF, ISO, WB and EV compensation are all easily accessible although I would have preferred if the ISO and WB buttons were placed where the AF/MF and Q.MENU are currently located, or better yet, to the left of the LCD as described above. I've programmed the AF/AE lock button to just do AF, which mimics my D700 setup - a nice touch.

    The menus are intuitive and well laid out, though I do wish the Format control was a top level menu item or a two button press setup. Luckily most of the important controls are button based, so really the only time I'll need the menu is for initial setup, self timer setup, or for flash exposure compensation. It's too bad FEV couldn't have been assigned to the Fn button.

    The rear LCD is fantastic, it's bright and contrasty, and customizable. I'm looking forward to purchasing the EVF as the screen does get difficult to use in bright sunlight. It would be nice to set the screen to match the Adobe RGB color space - my working color environment - but I'm guessing it doesn't have the gamut to support the wider profile. Oh well, the D700 screen doesn't either and we'll probably need to wait for OLED implementation before we see full color accuracy in these little screens.

    One other nit: the real time histogram is useful but I would have much preferred a post-shot full screen luminance histogram to accurately check exposure accuracy.

    AF Performance

    So far autofocus is fast but no match for the D700 - no surprise there. I didn't purchase the GF1 to put it to work on sports or other intensive tracking situations, and the 20mm lens isn't set up for that anyway. I can't currently set AF-C as an AF option, and I assume this is because of the inherent limitations of the pancake lens. I'll be interested to see how the AF performance holds up when I purchase the 14-45 zoom as I do want to be able to capture my son in motion as he races around the house.

    The ability to set the AF area to a specific point on the screen is useful but not as quick as an SLR system with its pre-determined AF points. As with any AF system it will take time to get a sense of the intelligence in its algorithms, so I can't really comment yet on the utility of the various AF modes for general shooting.

    So far I've had a lot of fun with the Face Detect feature - its easy to access and works great! I always saw FD as a gimmick with previous models but have to admit there are times when it really comes in handy.

    Image Quality

    Coming into the GF-1 purchase decision I recognized that I would need to reset my expectations as far as high ISO image quality goes. I've had the benefit of shooting up to 3200 with the D700, often using just a touch of bounce flash as part of my indoor shooting style. Part of the decision to move to a smaller sensor format was based on whether I felt I could adjust to a reduced ISO working range.

    I have to admit that I am a little disappointed with the noise levels from ISO 320 and up. I'd say that compared to the D700 the GF1 is at least two stops worse in the noise department. However, the noise appears to be mostly luminance in nature, at least at 400, so should be correctable in post process. I'll be spending more time to see how I can optimize noise reduction routines in order to render usable images between ISO 400 to 800. One thing I have definitely noticed is that there is very little latitude to pull up shadow detail in LR. I've been spoiled with the D700 and will have to be much more disciplined with exposure accuracy with the GF1.

    I haven't evaluated the dynamic range in any meaningful way yet but so far I think I can live with its limitations. I've learned to avoid high contrast environments over the years and expect that the DR working range of the GF1 will be fine for most of my shooting situations.


    So far I am more than satisfied with the GF1's video capabilities. I don't do pro video, and am only interested in using it to capture the occasional vacation shot or around the house. 720 is good enough for my needs, and the GF1 dedicated video button is a nice touch to make it easy to capture video in a point and shoot mode.

    Final Thoughts

    Like a highly regarded movie, one's expectations can be sent into overdrive for a new product that is on the cusp of setting a new standard. Such was the case for me with the introduction of the µ4/3 niche. With so many glowing reviews on the net I started to think that the GF1 could replace my DSLR setup for non-commercial applications. In fact, while I don't think the hype was completely unwarranted, I know now that the GF1 will find a place in my equipment lineup, rather than displace it.

    The best camera is one that for all intents and purposes becomes transparent in the shooting process. SLRs and rangefinders will always have the advantage of allowing the photographer to view reality through an optical pathway. Our eyes can resolve orders of magnitude more detail in a scene than can be reproduced on an LCD screen or EVF, and that leads to better image making in my opinion. You simply make better decisions with more visual information at your disposal.

    But as the old adage goes, the best camera is also the one you have with you. The GF1 serves as an excellent bridge between the P&S genre and the SLR world, and so far in my experience it has been a great companion to have along for the ride. I'm still learning its nuances and limitations, but in the process am slowly but surely becoming endeared to its strengths as a go anywhere photographic tool.

    • Like Like x 1
  15. chylld

    chylld Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2010
    I sold my whole D90 kit (lots of f/2.8 gear) so I could buy a GF1 and have some money left to spare on the side. Unfortunately after 2 weeks I returned the GF1 and I now have an LX3.

    The things I didn't like about the GF1:
    • No IS. So many of my shots are blurry even at ISO800
    • Image orientation not recorded in images
    • Out of camera JPGs not as vibrant as E-P1/2
    • Pancake lens is quite slow to focus, nowhere near as fast as the zoom, and almost as slow as the Pen
    • Gut feeling that the price is artificially high atm!

    That said I really want to get back into m43! If the E-P2 somehow gets faster AF, Olympus gets my money. If the GF1 somehow gets IS (really unlikely, given that they're obviously going down the in-lens IS path) then Panasonic gets my money.

    And to continue my rant (while I'm at it) there's the Samsung NX10 which is bulkier and more proprietary - not a bad effort but quite a miss IMO. Just goes to show how immature the current small-camera-large-sensor market is!
    • Like Like x 2
  16. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    well i like the gf 1 , it has a more elegant manual focusing solution and the digital zoom allows framing without vignetting on adapted lenses with a less than adeqate image circle ,the kit zoom is truely excellent , whereas the ep1s kit zoom ...well ....isnt

    i like the ep1 a little better thas the gf 1 for issues of image quality and lower noise
    ans body style , but the truth is the machines are close in quality
  17. Iansky

    Iansky Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 26, 2009
    The Cotswolds, UK
    I have the GF1 with 20mm and 14-45 so let me address some of your points above based on my experience with the kit.

    1. No IS - The GF1 does not have built in IS but all the Panasonic lenses except the 20mm & 7-14mm do have IBIS that works very efficiently - the 20mm does not really need it as it is a very fast lens.

    2. Image orientation - again, this works with the lenses with IBIS and you also have the option to rotate the playback image in camera via the menu.

    3. Pancake slow to focus - I have personally not experienced this under any circumstances including very low light, in fact, I have found the GF1+20mm tends to focus almost as fast as my 5D!! - I do have my camera set to centre spot focus that works better for me personally both with the 20 & 14-45.

    4. Price - You should expect to pay a bit more for a first generation model and the GF1 is just that and price wise should not be compared with the larger G1/GH1 - it has almost as many features as most DSLR's and personally I think it is a fair price for what you get - currently in the UK you can get the GF1+20mm kit for £619 from Mathers of Lancashire (as long as they have stock in house). I do expect prices to start to rise due to the increase in tax for new stock and the potential for Panasonic to joiun Nikon & Canon in raising prices.

    5. I cannot comment on JPEG's in comparison to EP1/2, I shoot Raw to allow me to maximise the potential of the sensor. I cannot again fault the JPEG's that I shoot with Raw in the middle quality setting and running them through PS produces images of very good colour quality for me (you can see one of these JPEG only images of our cat in my album on this site).
    • Like Like x 1
  18. chylld

    chylld Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2010
    1. The 20/1.7 is indeed a fast lens, however a lot of my shots at 1/30 or slower weren't as sharp as I'd like. Of course this is 99% human error - but I just keep imagining how many more keepers I'd have if it did have IS! That said the pancake (the only lens I like in the m43 system tbh) wouldn't be as compact as it is with IS.

    3. I'm hoping I got a bit of a dud pancake then - it made a funny brushing/whirring noise during AF. It was about as fast as my LX3, but nowhere near as fast as my D90.

    5. I used to shoot raw only as well, but I got tired of the long import times and the simple fact that I don't want to / need to PP every photo. For tricky situations then raw definitely, but for casual snaps I just want something that looks nice right out of the box. Even lightroom's auto sync feature gets tedious sometimes :)  To each his own though I guess.
  19. marten

    marten New to Mu-43

    Jan 11, 2010

    My GF1, 20mm and 14-45 arrived 24 hrs before I set off to Sweden for Christmas. I really did want a small camera capable of making images sufficiently big enough for repro and so far I am really thrilled with my purchase as it is doing everything that I need it to do, my only observation so far is that the WB is a little blue under some lighting but this is no hardship. Pocketable it certainly is and after nearly 30 years of using Minox 35GT's I think I have found a replacement that is even better/more flexible. There is no way that any of the Nikons I use can be considered a camera to take on a walk. A dog, walking pole and then 1.5k's of kit around ones neck! I remember when Nikon's et al where referred to as miniature format!
    • Like Like x 1
  20. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    I just received my GF1 yesterday from panasonic direct. Bought it with the 20mm pancake, and the 45-200 is currently somewhere between here and Illinois as well.

    I have been using Pentax gear for about 4 years now (on my 3rd and 4th body at the moment). I bought a K-x shortly after release, and love love love that camera! It took alot of the higher end features that were previously reserved for Pentax' higher models (k10/20 and even K7) and trickled them down. Since buying, I haven't touched my K20d (and will be selling it to fund the GF1...kind of backwards since it is still in my camera bag!).

    I really wasn't in the market for a new camera at all, especially from a completely different system. After reading the great reviews around the web, and finally actually holding one in a local shop I was convinced...I also got a great deal through panasonic, which was probably the deciding factor. Anyway, the camera arrived yesterday and I couldn't be happier with it. Great form factor, the controls are very intuitive (though I did step into the dSLR world from a panasonic FZ30 way back) and the lens is great as well (I love my Pentax primes too!).

    I haven't really had a chance to give the camera any kind of workout yet, but am definitely looking forward to getting acquainted with it...and with the forum, which is looking great and growing!
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