Fact Sheets on the Best Digital Cameras
    Bookmark and Share  
Articles (RSS Feed)
Press Releases
Site Map
Best Digital Cameras
Buyer's Guide
Ultra Compact
Ultra Zoom
User Manuals
Digital Camera Reviews
Reviews Matrix
Photoxels Awards
History of Cameras
Featured Sites
About Us
Privacy Statement
Photo Store
Digital Cameras

You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Panasonic G1

Panasonic Digital Cameras


Panasonic G1 Review

Review Date: Dec 22, 2008

Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur

Panasonic G1
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2008 


The Panasonic Lumix G1 is a Digital Interchangeable Lens camera targeted to serious and advanced amateur photographers. It has 12.1 megapixel resolution on a FourThirds (17.3 x 13.0 mm) Live MOS image sensor. It is positioned as a DSLR-level camera and accepts interchangeable lenses on a new micro FourThirds mount.

The Panasonic G1 has excellent image quality (including excellent low-light performance) up to ISO 400 with plenty of details preserved (good detail up to ISO 1600) and good colors.

Lumix 14-45mm
3.2x Optical Zoom
Wide 28mm Tele 90mm
Wide 14mm
(28mm, 35mm equivalent)
Tele 45mm
(90mm, 35mm equivalent)


Lumix 45-200mm
4.4x Optical Zoom
"Wide" 90mm Tele 400mm
"Wide" 45mm
(90mm, 35mm equivalent)
Tele 200mm
(400mm, 35mm equivalent)

One of the advantage of a DSLR is the ability to use interchangeable lenses suited for specific jobs. The Panasonic G1 comes with a new optically image stabilized Lumix 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens as standard kit lens, which provides a 28-90mm equivalent field of view. A second optically image stabilized Lumix 45-200mm f/4-5.6 Lens is also available separately. In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 28mm, 45mm and then 400mm (35mm equivalent, for a total 14x optical zoom), spanning the two lenses currently available for the G1.

The Lumix 14-45mm (28-90mm, equiv.) lens has a max. aperture of f/3.5-5.6 and min. aperture of f/22.

The Lumix 45-200mm (90-400mm, equiv.) lens has a max. aperture of f/4-5.6 and min. aperture of f/22.

The Panasonic G1 has full exposure flexibility with PASM modes, and Program Shift.

The camera also provides exposure compensation (with Auto Bracketing) and Custom (Manual) White Balance. A Histogram can be displayed in both Live and Playback modes.

Shutter speed ranges from 1/4,000-60 sec. in PASM, plus B (approx. 4 minutes) in Manual Mode.

45mm, Program, Pattern, 1/2.5 sec., F5.6, ISO 400
Manual WB

The actual macro capability is a function of the lens you use. The Lumix 14-45mm kit lens allows you to focus as close as 30cm (12 in.). I reduce the AF Area size to the smallest possible [yes, you can vary the AF Area size] and position it on the eyes. AF locks precisely and fast. This is not much "macro" so hopefully Panasonic (and Olympus) plans to introduce real macro capable lenses in the near future. You can use existing FourThirds lenses with an adapter. Other micro FourThirds lenses planned for the foreseeable future include a fast fixed 20mm (40mm equiv.) F1.7 lens, a super wide-angle 7-14mm (14-28mm equiv.) F4.0 lens, and a walk-around 14-140mm (28-280mm equiv.) F4.0-5.6 lens.

The AF Area can be manually moved to any of 66 x 49 "areas" [simply use the CURSOR buttons to select an AF area] and the area size can be reduced or increased by simply rotating the Front Dial.

There are three metering modes: Multiple (Multi-Pattern), Center Weighted and Spot.

White Balance Indoors
AWB Manual WB

As the above two pictures show, the auto white balance (AWB) indoors under tungsten artificial light tends toward the yellow. Fortunately, there is Manual WB and WB ADJUST that are easy to set and provide excellent results. As expected, AWB works well in natural light.

ISO Comparisons
ISO 100
ISO 100
ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 200 ISO 400
ISO 800 ISO 1600
ISO 800 ISO 1600
ISO 3200  
ISO 3200  

The Panasonic G1 has 5 ISO settings going from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. Intelligent ISO provides a further ISO 3200 but at reduced MP resolution. The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds. At ISO 100 to 400, noise is under control. Noise starts to be slightly visible at ISO 800 but is still very acceptable. Noise is quite apparent at ISO 1600 and up. Compared to some of the entry-level DSLRs that are quite good with low noise at high ISOs, the G1 lacks just slightly behind, but still does a very good job.

Chromatic Aberrations

CA is under control in everyday shots and is not much of a problem even in high contrast shots. The corner delimited by the red square at top right, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom left, shows minimal purple fringing.

Long Shutter Speed
14mm [28mm], Manual, Spot, 60 sec., F10, ISO 100
Manual WB, Self-timer 2 sec., Tripod Used
Noise Reduction ON

The Panasonic G1 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 60 sec. in PASM modes, therefore allowing very nice night photography. Generally, with image sensors, noise usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter speeds. You can turn Noise Reduction ON in MENU - REC - LONG SHTR NR - ON; you'll notice a longer processing time (approx. twice as long) before the next picture can be taken.

To test this noise reduction algorithm, we decided to take a low-light indoors shot. To obtain a long exposure, I turn off all the lights in the room and turn on the light in a room across the hall.

I experiment a bit to obtain the optimum exposure, eventually settling on 60 sec. at F10. Even at this long shutter speed, the Panasonic G1's noise reduction seems to be working great, producing a nice smooth blurring effect of the background.

The Panasonic G1 allows you to save an image in the RAW file format. I was able to take max. 5 RAW images in 2 sec. (@ 2.5fps) in Continuous Shooting High, and max. 5 RAW images in 3 sec. (@ 1.6fps) in Continuous Shooting Low. This is slower than the published 3fps and 2fps for Continuous Shooting High and Low, respectively. It takes about 3 sec. to write a RAW image to memory card (I used a regular 4GB SDHC SanDisk card). Note that these times do not include the extra processing times you'll experience if Noise Reduction kicks in. You can also select to save a RAW+JPEG (Fine or Standard).

I was able to take 19 JPEG Fine images in 7 sec. (@ 2.7fps) in Continuous Shooting High, and 53 JPEG images in 30 sec. (@ 1.8fps) in Continuous Shooting Low (seems like you can take an unlimited number of shots in Continuous Shooting Low; I stopped after 30 sec.). It takes about 0.2 sec. to write 1 JPEG image to memory card (using the same regular 4GB SDHC SanDisk card as above).

I set the camera to ISO 400, shutter speed 1/100 sec., Picture Size Large, and everything else pretty much turned off. Your performance times may vary depending on your camera settings.

At Picture Size = Large, a 12.1MP image is compressed down to anywhere between 2MB and 6MB. A RAW image occupies about 13.5MB.

We find the overall image quality of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 at ISO 100 to be excellent with good details in the shadows and highlights. Images up to ISO 400 are also low in noise. ISO 800 is usable. Noise is objectionable at higher ISOs.

The pictures in the Panasonic G1 Photo Gallery page provide a good sample of what the camera is capable of. I have provided unprocessed samples at 800x600 pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop Elements) as well as the 4000x3000 pixels original size (click on the image for the original version). Any of the 800x600 image that is adjusted for levels and/or sharpened in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended to the file name. Original images are never adjusted.

You can safely assume that most macro shots and slow shutter speed shots required the use of a tripod.

I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels. For those who have their monitor resolution set to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit and you should not have to scroll to see the whole image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels resolution, start the slide show and then scroll to the right to position the image within your screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode, and the image should fill your screen nicely. Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor display back to normal mode.

To return to this page from the Photo Gallery, click on the animated graphics of the camera.

Please open and download the original size version only if you need to and only once to your hard drive -- and save me some precious bandwidth. Thanks!


<< Executive Summary

Handling & Feel >>







  Home | Best Digital Cameras | Digital Camera Reviews | Tutorials | Special | About | Shop  

Product technical specifications are as represented by the manufacturer
and subject to manufacturer's change, so please do not rely on them without verification.
All trademarks, service marks, and Copyrights are the property of their respective owners.
Privacy Notice. Copyright © 2002-2015 Photoxels. All rights reserved.