The GF1 is an interesting camera with the potential to attract a wide cross-section of users. On the one hand it can appeal to novice shooters with its host of automatic and scene shooting modes, face recognition technology and compact size. More experienced hands will find a broad expanse of manual controls and adjustments to suit the fussiest of users, along with that compact size. It’s small, light and slots into the gap between high end compacts and the DSLR.
The camera focuses quickly, has good shutter response and a decent continuous shooting rate. Image and video quality are very good, ISO performance leaves true compact digitals far behind, and there’s a bunch of lenses that will mount on the camera with proper adaptors, and, depending on their age, provide partial to full compatibility.
On the downside, there’s an adaptor for legacy Four Thirds lenses: MSRP about $170. Another for Leica M lenses at about $250, and yet a third for Leica R lenses at another $250. An electronic view finder will set you back about $200. Get one of each to go with the $900 GF1 and you’re approaching $1800. A Nikon D90 and stabilized 18-200 lens will set you back under $1600, give better high ISO performance and a higher continuous shooting rate (at least for a time).
But the Nikon is much larger and heavier, and there lies the attraction of the GF1 – it puts out quality images from a relatively compact and light camera. I don’t mind lugging my DSLRs around, but if I ever needed near-DSLR performance without the weight, the GF1 would be an easy choice to make.
- Light and relatively compact
- Very good image and video quality
- Good AF and shutter response
- Shoots RAW
- One button video recording
- Monitor only standard, view finder optional