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A. Digital camera - Panasonic Lumix G1

Discussion in 'User Reviews' started by Benchista, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well, I've been using one of these for a few weeks to contrast it with the Pen.

    My initial thoughts: it's light but solid, and quite a bit like a smaller version of my EOS 600D, down to a very similar hinged LCD. The thing feels quite nice. It has a reasonable spec except that it has no video - perhaps not a dealbreaker for many people, but an odd omission on a CSC.
    It only has one control wheel - my preference is for two, but again, not a dealbreaker. It's got just about every other feature you might want, really.
    However, where it starts to fall apart is in actual use. I hate the menu structure, and find I keep going back a level rather than selecting an option. The EVF - well, it reminds me why I detest EVFs. The contrast is vile, lag is awful - a nasty experience all in all. Image quality is decent enough - on a par with the E-P1, for sure.
    Problem is I don't see it as any real comparison with the E-P1; for me, the Pen has one massive advantage - it's small enough to fit into a pocket. As such, I can forgive it an awful lot; however, the G1 just won't fit into a pocket. As a result, it needs to hand around my neck or go in a bag. That being the case, what advantage does it have over my 600D? And the answer is - well virtually nothing. It's a fraction smaller - although actually a touch longer from the back of the camera to the front of the lenshood than the 600D and 18-55 IS - and a little lighter, but not enough to make any real difference. Against that, the Canon has a proper viewfinder, a decent menu structure, much better image quality - and numerous other advantages. The end result is that I just can't see why I would use the G1 in preference to one of the other cameras - I simply think this camera in particular, and the EVIL type of CSC in general is just completely pointless. But it's still a nice enough little camera on it's own.
  2. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    To be fair here you are referencing a 2011 (600D) camera against a 2008 (G1) camera.

    As you are aware the current version of this design for Lumix is the G3. Which was slimmed down further.


    EVF is either you can work with them or not. :)

    Also the AF I believe has been improved on the G3.

    Finally the G1 was the first of the this new generation from Lumix. Even the GF1 came later.
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Yeah, well I was comparing it to what I use. It even loses against the 1000D, though, in terms of quality and viewfinder.
  4. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    That I cannot argue against the 1000D which was/is proven technology. The G1 was the first though, so in some way a toe in the water product. Panasonic have worked at it over the last 3-4 years.

    We have seen the noise performance go up the resolution go up. The AF speed improve. The weight gone down further and the bulk reduce. Partly because entry-level dSLRs went on a diet as well which you pointed out.

    I think it is about 300-400g difference now between a dSLR entry-level kit two lenses a Lumix kit with two lenses covering the same focal length. Say 28-82mm then 82-400mm equal to 35mm film format.

    We now see that Olympus have joined the party so to speak with the OMD E-M5.

    But I would accept the point that if buying a G1 does not save any bulk and weight you might as well go for a 1100D or 500D etc. You will get more performance. Given that a secondhand G1 still ( :confused: ) costs £300 with lens. A Brand new 1100D only cost abit more new.
  5. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    I have one of these and I find it a joy to use.

    There is a delay between reality and the EVF display, but it's a fraction of a second and I can't see it being an issue for anything but really fast action. I use mine with a Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 and it allows hand held shots at 1/20 sec and a little slower and that offsets the relatively poor (to a 5D) higher ISO performance. However, I find that everything up to and including ISO 1600 is usable and only 3200 is poor but even then usable after processing and especially so if you're able to ETTR and then back it off later.

    I shoot with the EVF and the back screen closed to the camera and only have to use the menu system to format the card. Everything else I want to do is achieved via the external controls.

    I've done some indoor low light testing, in lower light than I'd actually shoot or even probably encounter outside where there's usually at least some light, and I found that in very low light the EVF gain allowed me to see and focus in darkness that made even manually focusing with a 5D+50mm f1.4 completely impossible as no real detail could be seen. In almost total darkness though I found that the EVF blacks out whereas the 5D OVF at least allowed me to see some outline and at least allowed the camera to be pointed in the right direction.

    I really like my G1.

    PS. I nearly forgot... The magnified view for fcusing is great as is the in EVF histogram :)
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I'm surprised you think ISO 1600 is OK - I think it's terrible, and in fact it's pretty poor at 800, although usable. That said, I am coming at it from a 5D II background, so it's up against a really tough comparison.

    As to the EVF, well I hate it. I can't cope with the delay at all, it's alien to me; and I like the noise even less in low light - but I totally understand your point about manual focusing.

    Thing is I do like the camera in many ways, I'm just struggling to find a purpose for it.
  7. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    Initially I did think that ISO 1600 was rubbish but after playing with various software packages and getting nowhere I realised that the images were actually over exposed and by quite a bit and that once they were backed off to look as the scene did.... nice :)

    I have little to no patience with noise reduction and sharpening but I read Thom Hogan's piece on Sansmirror and followed his suggested settings and things improved still further and I'm happy to use my GF1 and G1 at any setting auto ISO selects. Actually, with the 25mm f0.95 fitted the ISO is often kept well under control. I use the 20mm f1.7 on the GF1 and I also have the 14-42mm to use as and when.

    The worst thing, which I so far haven't got a fix for, is CA at wide aperture with the f0.95. Moving the sliders in CS5 seems to do nothing at all but even so I don't let it worry me in a whole image.

    100% crop at f0.95, colours turned down to hide the CA... you can see it's now a sort of grey ghosting...


    Low light ISO 1600, 20mm f1.7, Belgian street scene...


    These may not be good enough for a gallery sized print but they both look nice printed and framed at home.

    One last one from Belgium...

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  8. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    Here's a 100% crop from a test shot at ISO 3200, 1/40th sec.


    I cheated a bit :) but it is ISO 3200 and it is a 100% crop.
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Thanks, Alan, looks like it's worth having a bit more of a play.
  10. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    I have to say that I don't use my GF-1 on anything over ISO800 and only that if I really have to. Noise from high ISO depends a great deal on the quality of light in the scene, and where I tend to need it, in low artificial light situations the Panasonic sensor really struggles.

    Although I've taken some lovely images with the GF1, I find that I'm taking it out with me less and less. The AF point selection is a real pain and now my girls are older it's much harder to frame them both a) because of it and b) with just the 20mm prime.

    What I really want is a D800 and a Fuji X10. The D800 for its video capabilities and the Fuji for a small, pocketable carry anywhere camera. While I can justify the former, the latter's another matter and unless it's not worth selling, all being well I'll be giving up the GF1 to help fund a D800 in a few month's time.
  11. alanS

    alanS Well-Known Member

    I'm a bit late to add to this but I thought I would anyway...

    Yes, of course higher ISO results depend upon light quality but also upon the settings selected. To get the best results I find that I have to do exactly what I would with any other camera, get the exposure right so that I ETTR if possible and if not get it so I don't have to boost anything too much, if at all. White balance can also have an effect in worst case scenarios.

    With normal care during shooting and post capture processing I find ISO 1600 perfectly usable for a whole print or even a crop if printed or displayed at a reasonable size.

    Here's a GF1 (same image quality as G1) shot at ISO 1600, f4, 1/8 sec hand held. I could have used a wider aperture but I wanted deeper DoF. There is some noise in the image but it's not a real world issue for me. What follows is a screen shot of the sharpening and noise reduction screen in CS5, image at 100%. You may be able to see that the noise isn't a problem even though the NR applied is hardly excessive.



    This is a G1 shot, ISO 1600, 1/20 second hand held. It's a daylight shot but it was pouring with rain and the light was very poor. I used the same NR settings as with the pier shot.


    It may not be the system for everyone, especially if you pixel peep, but up to and including ISO 1600 I think that whole images are fine for A4-A3 printing after only minimal care during shooting and processing. Depending upon how severe you crop you should be able to get a good sized print after cropping too. ISO 3200 is usable with care.

    My G1 is now my reach for camera and when asked to take a shot of this little lady it was what I used. 100% crop, not high ISO this time, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, f2...


    The only thing that you really have to watch IMVHO is that you don't blow the highlights but with an on screen histogram this can often be avoided.

    Here, my defence of MFT ends :)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012

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