Looky here: it's a Micro Four Thirds camera that doesn't just look like a dSLR built for Oompa Loompas. Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GF1 has the size and style of a fat compact, but with interchangeable lenses, manual shooting controls and HD video recording.

We're huge fans of Panasonic's cameras, so this 12.1-megapixel would-be dSLR's got us quite excited. For the first time, we're looking at a Micro Four Thirds shooter that gets close to the flexibility of a single-lens reflex model, but eliminates the bulk typically associated with them. Even its flash is built into the body.

Other notable specs include ISO 100-3,200 sensitivity, a 76mm (3-inch) LCD display, continuous shooting at 3 frames per second, 720p HD AVCHD Lite video recording, HDMI output, optical image stabilisation, face detection and the option to use an optical viewfinder attachment if you're not a fan of LCD screens.

Essentially, Panasonic has crammed most of the features of its larger DMC-GH1 camera into a much smaller body, and into a smaller price bracket. It's set to be a killer alternative to the DMC-G1 and to the E-P1 from Olympus -- another Micro Four Thirds compact-esque model we favourably reviewed earlier this year.

The DMC-GF1 will go on sale in October for $899 (£555) with two lens options: a 20mm f1.7 fixed-focus 'pancake' lens (pictured above), or a 14-45mm f3.5-5.6 alternative. We'll have a review soon, but there are some more pictures over the page.

With the larger lens option.
As seen from the left-hand side, with pancake lens attached.
The top of the GF1.
With the optical viewfinder attached.


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