Make no mistake: the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 is a thing of beauty. It's no Olympus E-P1 in the looks department, but in terms of power and specs this sleek black 12-megapixel camera wins hands-down.
The GF1 is the smallest in Panasonic's line of Micro Four Thirds cameras, which includes bigger brothers the G1 and GH1. What they lack in interesting names they make up for in photographic brio, boasting interchangeable lenses in compact frames.
The smallest so far, the GF1 is a direct rival to the E-P1. The latter won plaudits for its retro styling and diminutive dimensions when the tiny pancake lens is bolted on the front, and the GF1 also comes complete with a fixed-focus pancake.
The 20mm f1.7 lens, with a 35mm camera equivalent of 40mm, makes the GF1 smaller even than the E-P1. It's a darn sight smaller than the dSLR-alike G1, and barely chunkier than Panasonic's bigger compacts, such as the LX3.
The GF1 shoots high-definition 720P video, saved in AVCHD Lite and with Dolby sound. Motion JPEG format is also available. The camera will autofocus during recording, but Panasonic notes the autofocus drive is noisy enough to be recorded when shooting.
Click through our gallery of hands-on pictures from Panasonic's stand at IFA in Berlin to see the GF1 in action.
Although it doesn't have an onboard viewfinder, an optional electronic viewfinder fits in the hotshoe. Unlike the Olympus E-P1's rubbish optical viewfinder, the GF1's EVF displays shooting information and gives 100 per cent coverage.
The GF1 packs a 76mm (3-inch) screen. On the right there's a thumb wheel, but it has an annoying press and turn system that's a pain in the satchel, and nowhere near as much fun as the E-P1's nifty control wheels.