Home Buyer's Guide Cameras SLRs Under $1,000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
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1. Tilt/Swivel LCD: Photographers who prefer using the LCD for composition will appreciate that the 3.0-inch LCD tilts and swivels for easy viewing when shooting at odd angles. 2. MEGA O.I.S.: Lenses: Lumix Mega O.I.S. lenses, like the G Vario 14-45mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, have built-in Optical Image Stabilization to counter handheld camera shake. 3. Built-In Flash: The pop-up flash has a guide number of 36. Its red-eye reduction mode, combined with the camera processor’s red-eye removal system, virtually eliminates this common portrait problem.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

ESTIMATED STREET PRICE: $799 (w/14-42mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 lens)

Like the Olympus PEN E-P1, the 12.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is a Micro Four Thirds System camera, eliminating the mirror and pentaprism to reduce size. Unlike the E-P1, the G1 does provide an electronic eye-level finder—especially useful in bright outdoor conditions when using the LCD is more difficult. The EVF offers a 100-percent field of view, so you’ll see the framing of your composition exactly as it will be captured. It’s also smart enough to switch on automatically—and turn off the LCD—when you bring the camera up to your eye.

One of the advantages of full-time live view is that you can see right away the effects of exposure-setting adjustments. The G1 offers a preview mode to leverage this ability: Change your shutter speed or aperture, and preview the effects before taking the shot.

MOTION DETECTION: If your subject moves as you take the shot, the G1 reevaluates shutter speed on the fly and can automatically increase ISO as needed for a speed that will stop motion.

INTELLIGENT SCENE SELECTOR: The G1’s scene-detection capability examines ambient light and other conditions to automatically select one of five modes best suited to the scene.

DUST REMOVER: The G1 features a Supersonic Wave Filter system, which vibrates dust off the image sensor for spot-free images.

AUTO BRACKETING: Capture 3, 5 or 7 frames bracketed at 1⁄3- or 2⁄3-EV steps. You also can bracket white balance.
Though the camera offers only contrast-based AF, we found that it was surprisingly quick. One reason for this is the innovative Quick AF feature, which begins finding focus immediately rather than waiting for you to partially depress the shutter. While the camera’s contrast detection isn’t as fast as phase detection, this Quick AF feature will help you be ready for decisive-moment portraits and action shots.

Another feature to help with action photography is the subject detection and AF tracking capability of the G1 when paired with Lumix G-series lenses. Lock focus on a subject, and the camera will follow the subject in the frame—great for photographing sports.

The G1 can shoot three frames per second, for an unlimited number of JPEGs, and up to seven RAW files in a single burst. One feature missing from the G1 is video recording; if this is important to you, consider stepping up to the new Panasonic Lumix GH1.

STANDOUT FEATURE: The G1’s Intelligent Auto suite of technologies makes it easy to get terrific results with common subject and scene combinations automatically.
VERDICT: Compact and lightweight, the Lumix G1 mixes the size benefits of the Micro Four Thirds System with the form factor and eye-level viewfinder of a traditional D-SLR.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
Apart from size (the GF1 is smaller), one of the key differences between the GF1 and GH1 is that the GH1 has an electronic eye-level viewfinder, as well as a tilt/swivel LCD. The GH1 also adds a stereo microphone and a port to connect an external microphone, while the GF1 has only the built-in mono microphone. In most other respects, the two cameras are very similar. List Price: $1,499 (with lens).
Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10
This 10-megapixel, Four Thirds System model has been in the lineup for a while now, but was one of our favorite D-SLRs when it was introduced. You can pick one up for about $800 with the Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-50mm ƒ/3.8-5.6 Mega O.I.S. kit lens.


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