The latest interchangeable lens camera from Panasonic is called the GX1 . We spent some time with the camera to give you our first impressions.

The GX1 will be available for AU$899 as body only (in black), as a kit with the 14-42mm lens for AU$999 (in black) or as a kit with the X version of the 14-42mm lens for AU$1199 (in black or silver).

This is the GX1 pictured with the X version of the 14-42mm lens. It's a more compact design than the other 14-42mm kit lens, looking more like a pancake lens from the outside when retracted. It's also a lot lighter than the regular 14-42mm, at just 95g.

Pictured here, too, is the LVF2 live viewfinder, which attaches to the hotshoe and communicates with the camera via the accessory port. It has a resolution of 1.4 million dots and 100 per cent field of view.

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The GX1 was designed for photographers who never want their camera to leave their sides. They are keen photographers, who want the best image quality from an interchangeable lens camera, according to Panasonic. For anyone looking to upgrade from their GF1, this is the camera for you.

The top panel certainly looks the part, with a mode dial (suspiciously absent from the GF3), as well as an intelligent auto button for those who want to let the camera do the work.

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At the back is a 3-inch touchscreen, though there are plenty of buttons should the thought of a tactile interface scare you away. Panasonic also equipped this camera with light-speed AF, claiming focus times of 0.09 seconds. In use, it feels particularly quick (with the X version of the 14-42mm lens attached), locking onto subjects accurately.

Getting jealous of these new features? Don't be; if you own a GH2, you can get a firmware update from December via Panasonic's website that gives you new functions with the power zoom lens, improved AF in video mode and other adjustments to improve the shooting experience.

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To reinforce the semi-professional feel that the metal body gives the camera, the GX1 also has a protruding hand grip that ensures that slippery fingers aren't an issue. The lens, which is extended here, can be tweaked from within the camera menus to zoom faster or slower depending on the application. For example, if you plan to take still shots, you might want the lens to zoom quickly. When shooting video, you might want it to zoom slower. All of this can be tweaked in-camera.

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Another feature that the GX1 has to differentiate it from the other G series interchangeable lens cameras is a level gauge that helps you take shots on an even axis, as well as show you how far forward or backward the camera is tilted.

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The GX1 comes with a range of creative filters, accessible via the creative (art palette) icon on the mode dial. Filters include sepia, toy camera, expressive, high and low key and high dynamic range, pictured above.

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The new X series 14-42mm lens can focus even closer than the previous 14-42mm lens when used for macro applications like taking photos of flowers or plants. It's now able to focus as close as 20cm from the subject.

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Along with regular stills shooting, the GX1 offers full HD video capture in either AVCHD or MP4 formats. You can also take still images while shooting. The picture above was taken on a rather grey day, extracted from the video below. The resolution of the still image is 1920x1080, matching the resolution of the HD video file.

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