Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 added to Micro Four Thirds lineup

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Panasonic announces the Lumix GF1 today, their smallest interchangeable-lens system yet. The style echoes Panasonic’s ultracompact lineup, but the GF1 is Micro Four Thirds all the way. It sports a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 720p HD video recording, and a 3.0 inch 60 fps LCD. Two lenses are also announced with the GF1.

Specs of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 are detailed below. Ready for some preliminary sample shots? Jump on over to our hands-on preview. That’s sort of like having dessert before dinner, but we won’t tell your mom.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

Putting the micro in Micro Four Thirds
As part of Olympus/Panasonic’s jointly developed Micro Four Thirds system, the GF1 – like the GH1 and G1 before it – saves space by doing away with the mirror box of a traditional DSLR. The result? A compact interchangeable-lens camera that operates in full-time live view mode, just like a point-and-shoot. And the GF1 brings the Micro Four Thirds concept down to size. The Micro Four Thirds concept has always promised compact interchangeable-lens systems, and with the introduction of the Olympus E-P1 and now Panasonic’s Lumix GF1, we’re finally seeing the small cameras we’ve been promised.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

The GF1 mirrors the look of Panasonic’s Lumix series ultracompacts and when equipped with the new 20mm pancake lens, it looks an awful lot like an oversized point-and-shoot. The differences start with the 12.1 megapixel Live MOS sensor. At just over 10 ounces, it weighs considerably less than a traditional SLR (and 26% less than the G1, to be exact) but carries more weight than a compact. The GF1 is equipped with iA intelligent auto mode and a pop-up flash. Other exposure options include Aperture and Shutter priority as well as an array of “My Color” modes, offering a selection of creative filters much like the art filters we saw on the E-P1.

It will record HD video at 720p resolution and use AVCHD Lite compression. Like all Micro Four Thirds cameras, it thrives on its 3.0 inch, 460k LCD for composition and photo review. Those still looking for an optical viewfinder will be able to purchase an EVF accessory for the hot shoe that tilts up to 90 degrees.Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

The GF1 utilizes a 23-area AF system and the Venus Engine HD for image processing. O.I.S. Optical Image Stabilization aims to reduce blur from camera shake in both still photos and video. As expected, the GF1 will accept SD and SDHC memory cards.

Panasonic hopes to capture a share of the market looking to move up for the first time from a fully automatic point-and-shoot. To that effect, they’ve included a selection of individual scene modes including a peripheral defocus mode, allowing the user to move a cursor on the LCD into position to put a subject in either the foreground or background into focus and de-focus the rest of the image.

North Americans, get used to the black Lumix GF1. That’s the only color being offered on this side of the pond. But black doesn’t go out of style, right?

New Micro Four Thirds lenses
Alongside the Lumix GF1, Panasonic announces two new Micro Four Thirds lenses – the Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 ASPH pancake lens and a Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 ASPH Mega O.I.S. lens. The 20mm combines 7 elements in 5 groups, and the Leica 45mm Macro features 14 lenses in 10 groups.

Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens

Pricing and Availability
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 will arrive on store shelves in early October in a kit with the 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens or a Lumix G 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Both kits will retail for $899.95. The optional tilting Live View Finder accessory, DMW-LVF1, will cost $199.95.

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