CNET First Look
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1If you're willing to pay a premium to be on the cutting edge of digital photography and video, and as long as you don't shoot sports or in dark venues, then you'll likely love the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1.
[ Music ] >> Lori Grunin: Hi. I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET, and this is the Panasonic Lumix DMCGH1. This is the does-it-all model that lots of people have been waiting for. When I say does it all, I mean even though it looks like a shrunken DSLR, it's non-SLR. It's an interchangeable lens camera, but it lacks the mirror box that makes an SLR an SLR. Instead, it's like an overgrown point and shoot that you can swap lens on. Now, earlier, Panasonic came out with a G1, which is a lower-end model of the same camera. The main difference is this one supports video. Although it's smaller than the typical SLR, it's pretty dense, and that makes it kind of heavy especially with the 14 to 140 millimeter lens. That's a 10x zoom, which is very unusual for an interchangeable lens, and it provides an effective field of view of a 28 to 200 millimeter lens. What's special about this lens is that it allows the camera to continuously autofocus when shooting video, and that is the primary difference between what this camera can do and what the video on a typical digital SLR can do. And the video quality is very good. As is the sound quality, it has a very nice built-in microphone. Unfortunately, the placement tends to be a little more susceptible to wind noise than I'd like, but there are three levels of wind filter in the camera that you can use to try to cut that. The photo quality is good, but high SO's, it doesn't get the typical quality that you get with an SLR. It's slower, and to the EBF is just not optimized for action shooting because it's always showing you what you've already seen, not what's going to happen. In other respects, the image quality and the performance is very good. It's fast. The autofocus system seems particularly fast. Like the G1, it's a very comfortable camera to shoot with. It's very nicely designed. It has this large LCD. It's bright. It's easy to see in daylight. As for the EBF, that depends upon how you feel about EBF's. They have their advantages; they have their disadvantages, and like the G1, it has a full manual feature set. If you're thinking about getting this versus getting digital SLR, you probably won't find anything lacking in its price class. Speaking of price, that's really the major drawback for this camera is that it's very expensive, at least at the time of this video. The price may drop, and unless you really absolutely have to have it now, I would probably wait until the price does move a little bit. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Panasonic Lumix DMCGH1. [ Music ]