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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 photos

A discussion of the design and features of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1.

1 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

10x zoom kit lens

The GH1 ships with a nicely compact, optically stabilized HD f4-5.8 14-140mm (28-280mm equivalent) 10x zoom lens. On the upside, you'd probably never get a lens with that large a range as a kit inclusion with a dSLR. However, with its maximum aperture of f4, the lens is pretty slow. The "HD" means it's specifically designed for continuous autofocus during movie capture.
2 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Focus selector

It's nice to have a dedicated dial for focus selection modes, but the print seems unnecessarily tiny.
3 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET


The stereo mic delivers pretty good sound, but the position seems to make it especially susceptible to wind noise. The GH1's wind filter helps, but doesn't completely eradicate it.
4 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET


The GH1 offers a full set of manual controls, laid out--for the most part--in a logical and easy-to-use manner. In addition to the usual manual, semimanual, and preset (scene) exposure modes, the mode dial offers Panasonic's Intelligent Auto, Creative Movie mode (where you can adjust shutter speed and aperture), a custom settings slot (to choose from three user settings options), and a place to edit your color, brightness, and saturation settings.

I really like Panasonic's Q.Menu, which is a fast way to access all the most frequently needed shooting settings, but I 'm not as sold on the necessity of giving Film Mode--essentially, presets for color, saturation, and brightness combinations--such a prominent placement.

I do like the location of the drive mode switch, but don't like Panasonic's bracketing implementation. It's hardwired to presets, such as three shots at 1/3 stop increments and five shots at 2/3 stop increments, rather than allowing you to choose the frames and bracket separately. This is complicated by the fact that you can't choose full-stop increments. On the other hand, the virtual display it uses to select the center bracket exposure is very nicely done.

5 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

More controls

The GH1 uses a traditional four-way-nav plus Set button for accessing ISO sensitivity, white balance, AF mode (user-selectable area, face detection, automatic, and spot tracking) and a user-definable function button that can be set to pull up settings for aspect ratio, quality, metering mode, intelligent exposure or guidelines.

That aperture button invokes an interesting shutter-speed effect preview. Unfortunately, it only works in Program mode.

6 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Dedicated record button

The dedicated record button allows you to shoot movies without having to switch into a separate mode, though you'll have to anyway if you want to adjust aperture and shutter speed.
7 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Electronic viewfinder

As far as EVFs go, the GH1's is pretty good; 1.4 million dots with 100 percent scene coverage, bright and easy to see, with a relatively speedy refresh in good light. Like all EVFs, in dim light, the refresh drops significantly.

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