For the manufacturers who've plunged into the interchangeable-lens camera business--at this point, that's Olympus and Panasonic with their Micro Four Thirds standard--the potential market comprises two groups of consumers: those who want something better and faster than their current point-and-shoot, but don't want the bulk of a dSLR, and those who don't necessarily mind the bulk of a dSLR, but wouldn't mind something a bit smaller with the same flexibility.
Panasonic's first two models, the DMC-G1 and DMC-GH1, address the latter group pretty well, but don't really appeal to the compact-minded folks. Plus, the GH1 is fairly expensive, thanks to the pricey bundled lens designed for optimal video capture performance. On the flip side, Olympus nailed the compact market with the E-P1's design; however, without a built-in flash or viewfinder, a low-resolution LCD screen, and performance that doesn't necessarily best the typical point-and-shoot, it doesn't provide mass appeal for the snapshot upgraders. But with the DMC-GF1, it looks as if Panasonic might have produced the first model that hits all the right notes.
The GF1 essentially crams most of the capabilities of the GH1 into a smaller, more affordable camera--and price was one of my main complaints with the GH1. Here's how the MFT models compare:… Read more