Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

Estimated Street Price: $549 (body only)

INTRODUCED 8/2011

Panasonic’s premium “flat”-style mirrorless model, the GX1 features a handsome, comfortable body and ergonomic controls. It’s “a cut above” the GF-series flat models. Inside the fine body are a number of good features, including a 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor and Panasonic’s Light Speed contrast-based AF. The GX1 can shoot up to 4.2 fps at full resolution (3 fps with live view and AF) and 20 fps at 4 megapixels. Images are saved on SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, and it’s UHS-I-compatible. Intelligent Auto Plus mode handles everything for beginners (but makes it easy to experiment), while the camera also provides full control for experienced shooters.

The GX1 can do two flavors of 1080 full HD video: AVCHD and MP4. Full-time AF is available, and you can “rack focus” by touching the spot on the LCD monitor on which you wish to focus. Built-in microphones provide stereo sound.

Like all Micro Four Thirds System cameras, the GX1 can use all Micro Four Thirds lenses, plus pretty much any lens for which an adapter is available. Current lenses range from a 7-14mm zoom to a 100-300mm zoom (including a fisheye and a 3D lens) for 35mm-equivalent focal lengths from a 14mm ultrawide-angle to a 600mm supertelephoto.

STANDOUT FEATURE: Premium design and construction.

1. The hot-shoe accepts an accessory external flash unit or the optional DMW-LVF2 tilting, eye-level Live View Finder.

2. Finely machined, the mode dial provides direct setting of several items.

3. The built-in pop-up flash provides handy fill light for nearby subjects, day or night.

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