Category Archives: Panasonic

Review of The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 and It’s 60x Optical Zoom

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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 its so far the Brigde Camera or Super Zoom Compact Camera with the highest zoom surpassing the Canon SX50. As its rival it has Full HD Video, Viewfinder, Live View Mode and an excellent macro mode. However, The FZ70 has more megapixels (for those of you who like to do large enlargement), an a built-in windshield microphone protection, a microphone that claims to zoom with the lens and panoramic mode.
This new camera has everything one expect from a Point and Shoot Camera:
  • 16 Megapixels
  • 1080p Full HD Video
  • 60 fps during 1080p Video
  • 9 fps for Burts Shooting
  • 60X Optical Zoom
  • 120X Digital Zoom
  • 20mm Wide Angle
  • Great Automatic Macro
  • Optical Stabilizer
  • A Built -In Windshield Zoom Microphone
  • Venues Engine Image Processor
  • Panoramic Mode and Built in Creative Filters
Additionally, the FZ70′s has a lens with an aperture of 2.8-5.9 which allows you to do some creative pictures, specially in low light conditions using the manual mode. It terms of the zoom the quality of the images are pretty good using the 60x optical and the 120x digital zoom. This can be surprising since some of the cameras with that much digital zoom tend to pix-elate at  its maximum. In the case of the FZ70 you can still have some good details.
Here are some pictures where we compare color, sensor response, the picture quality using 60x optical zoom and 120x digital zoom.

Panasonic Lumix
DMC-FZ70 Review Images

This camera has fast response
Here using the 20mm wide angle. NO Zoom.
 Keep looking the picture above… See the Coca-Cola sign at the end. Now, look the picture below.
This picture was taken using the 60x Optical Zoom
This is the same sign but using the maximum 120x Digital Zoom
Additionally,  here are some color samples. The colors are very accurate including those red and bright pinks that in some cameras can get more to the purple side. Just to keep testing the zoom, if you watch far at the back the Hershey’s store…
using the 20mm wide angle
Here using 30x Zoom
60x Optical Zoom
60X Optical Zoom
75x digital zoom
120X Optical Zoom
The wide angle and zoom of this camera allow you to take great architecture picture.
Look the W at the top
Here using 60x Optical Zoom
Using 120x Zoom
As you can see the FZ70 allows you to take great zoom pictures. On the other hand, when at use at the full 120x Digital Zoom, even though you have good detail due to the nature of that much zoom its very difficult to focus. The Optical Stabilizer works perfectly fine but at this high zoom its understandable that kind of difficulty.
To finish we did some test using their creative filters.
Panoramic Mode

To get better result from the panoramic mode is better to shoot still objects. As we can see in this picture the objects and the light create some lines on the images.

Sephia
miniature
soft light
vibrant colors
xray
xray
b&w
Art Effect
Art effect
Pinhole effect
miniature
soft focus
one point colorH AND B Digital
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Pentax MX-1: Hands-On Review and Sample Images


Pentax MX-1: Hands-On Review and Sample Images
Pentax MX-1 Black
The MX-1 in All Black.

Pentax has entered the “serious” high end compact digital camera market with the new MX-1, a retro-styled camera with a fast f/1.8-2.5 zoom and a competitive 12 Megapixel 1/1.7” sensor.  Available in silver and black or all black for $499.95, the MX-1 comes in next to the standout retro designs from Olympus (with its OM-D EM-5 and XZ-series) and FujiFilm (with its X-series).

Specs
The fast SMC f/1.8-2.5 lens includes 4 aspherical elements and covers a strong 28-112mm 35mm-equivalent zoom range.  Rounding out the MX-1’s spec sheet is ISO sensitivity to 12800, a (very bright and crystal clear) 3” 920k tilting LCD, macro shooting to 1cm, “shake reduction,” and, naturally, full HD movie shooting.
Brass Plates
Pentax MX-1 Silver and Black
The MX-1 in Silver & Black; the Silver portions are brass.
The buzz surrounding the camera is its use of brass top and bottom plates, which harken back to Pentax’s tough and reliable (film) SLR’s—and which complement its tough, highly water-resistant DSLR’s.  Indeed, that most reviews must state that Pentax is using “real” or “actual” brass serves to punctuate this unique feature; the spin is that the brass will get “brassy”—show wear—over time, a somewhat odd pitch given the inherent turnover of digital cameras.

The MX-1’s brass plates certainly feel more durable than plastic, aluminum or even some magnesium offerings, and the faux-leather rubber surface is nice and grippy—and it had better be, since there is neither a front nor a rear thumb grip, making the camera feel a bit loose especially considering its size and weight.

In the Field
It seems that the MX-1’s retro-styling comes at a cost, however:  there’s no hot-shoe on the top plate (and the pop-up flash is manually controlled) or options for an electronic viewfinder (EVF), no wheel surrounding the lens for aperture control or manual focusing, and there is only a single dial on the back of the camera for spinning through various settings (so that true manual shooters must use the same dial for speed and aperture controls, although most typically shoot in Aperture Priority (Av)). 

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
The MX-1 is a capable street shooter with its fast f/1.8-2.5 28-112mm 35mm-equivalent zoom.

Yes, the small buttons on the back of the camera are quite well-spaced and well-designed and an Exposure Compensation dial sits atop the camera, but there is still a feeling of lack of control.  

On the positive side, the LCD is very, very clear and bright, making for easy and accurate review of images.

Image Quality
Ultimately the question should be whether the camera delivers good photos.  And the MX-1 does deliver very good pics—not spectacular, but very good.  Images tend to be very sharp, particularly in close-focusing situations, such as with these oranges.

Pentax MX-1 in Aperture Priority Mode.
Pentax MX-1 in Av Mode, f/4.5 at 1/250 sec, ISO 800.

I would have liked to shoot some portraits with the MX-1, but wasn’t able to get much in the short time I had it.  I did take four pictures of a local fruit seller and was not happy with any of the results.

Here are several other samples taken on a cloudy February day in New York City.  Again, colors tend to be relatively accurate with decent contrast.

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
Pentax MX-1 in Av Mode, f/4.5 at 1/50 sec, ISO 200, slight cropping.

I would have liked to see slightly faster focusing and much, much faster image processing (the camera often states that images are being processed) and shot-to-shot times.  

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a retro-style camera, I would certainly consider options from Olympus and Fuji along with the MX-1.  The MX-1 stands out in only a few respects, most notably its retro styling and brass plates.  While the macro mode on the MX-1 is excellent, the LCD is clear, focusing is good and the lens is fast, none of these are particularly compelling reasons to pick the MX-1 over, say, the XZ-2 or even the Canon G15.

Additionally, if you’re looking for a great all-around camera, I would consider sticking with the stalwarts from Canon with the PowerShot G15 and Panasonic with the Lumix LX-7.  Indeed, the MX-1 is not a standout by any means, and will likely have a difficult time making its way in this very competitive sector.

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
Note the purple fringing on the high contrast areas in the coins above.
Pentax MX-1 Sample Images
The MX-1 had some difficulty with reds; these plums were not quite as red/pink as this image portrays.

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images

 

Pentax MX-1 Sample Images

Enthusiast compact camera comparison
Model
Size
Weight
Canon PowerShot G15
4.2 x 3.0 x 1.6 in.
(107 x 76 x 40 mm)
12.4 oz
(352 g)
Nikon Coolpix P7700
4.7 x 2.9 x 2.0 in.
(119 x 73 x 50 mm)
14.0 oz
(397 g)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
4.4 x 2.6 x 1.8 in.
(111 x 67 x 46 mm)
10.5 oz
(297 g)
Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS
4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in.
(113 x 65 x 48 mm)
12.2 oz
(346 g)
Pentax MX-1
4.8 x 2.4 x 2.0 in.
(122 x 61 x 51 mm)
13.8 oz
(391 g)

NYC Christmas Shopping & Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Sample Images

NYC Christmas Shopping & Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Sample Images

We’ve had a number of people call in or email saying that they wish they could see NYC at Christmas, that decorations at home–and window dressings in particular–must pale in comparison to smaller towns.  While no doubt the case, the competition to see smaller town decorations cannot be anywhere near as fierce as making your way around Rockefeller Center and Saks Fifth Avenue at rush hour.

Although taking pictures in the evening does not necessarily show off the best results a camera can produce, I figured that wandering out with Panasonic’s flagship super-zoom, the Lumix DMC-FZ200, along 5th Avenue would at least test its capabilites in low light.  The sample images below confirm to a large degree that the FZ200 delivers very good image quality, better than its peers in the super-zoom category.  It is not surprising, therefore, that DPReview.com gave the Lumix FZ200 its Gold Award rating.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
Panasonic FZ200 Bridge Camera

Rockefeller Center & the Tree:  

This perspective doesn’t do the Rockefeller Christmas tree justice, but does show how capable the FZ200 is at capturing wide angle shots.  With a 35mm equivalent zoom of 25mm to 600mm, the Lumix FZ200 covers a lot of ground.

Panasonic FZ200 Bridge Camera

Saks Fifth Avenue:

This shot, cropped by approximately 50%, shows one of the benefits of having a fast f/2.8 lens that is constant throughout the zoom range, something that one won’t find in competing mega-zooms–and indeed the reason for the price premium on the FZ200.  Although a fair amount of noise is noticeable in the cropped image here, shot at ISO 1600, the Leica lens allows for shooting several stops faster than would be possible with other mega-zooms.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera

Super-Zoom

This shot was taken across 5th Avenue, with a 35mm equivalent zoom of 500mm, highlighting the capability of the FZ200‘s zoom. 1/60 sec. at f/4.5, ISO 800.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 12.1 MP Digital Camera

Reflections

As noted above, the fast, constant aperture f/2.8 lens on the FZ200 allows for shooting at lower ISO’s than would otherwise be possible with the slower lenses typically found on bridge cameras.  This was taken at 1/20 sec. at f/2.8 at ISO 800.

Panasonic Lumix DMW-GWC1 Wide Angle Conversion Lens Review, Photos, Sample Images and Video Samples

The fourth and final lens I tested out of the four new conversion lenses for Micro Four Thirds released by Panasonic is the Panasonic Lumix DMW-GWC1 Wide Angle Conversion Lens using the new Panasonic GX 1 with the new Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
These conversions lenses are compact and lightweight and are built to be portable. They were designed to make it easy for Panasonic Lumix G series digital camera users to alternate between different lenses to enjoy the benefits and flexibility of varying their shooting options and angles. The DMW-GWC1 was specifically designed to work with both the 14mm F2.5 prime lens and its Lumix G X 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom lens. The DMW-GWC1 Wide-Angle converter captures dynamic scenery with a wider viewing angle and extends the focal length of wide-end from 14mm to 11mm when attached to the front of the lens. This lens is also ideal if your shooting indoor group photos where space is often limited.


The lens I chose to use the DMW-GWC1 with was Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. lens. This is an ultra-compact retractable pancake 3x zoom lens (28-84mm equivalent in 35mm and full-frame formats) for Lumix Micro 4/3 cameras that’s only about the size and weight of the Panasonic 20mm pancake lens. It’s 2.4 x 1.87″/61 x 47.7mm (the short dimension shrinks to 1.05″/26.8mm when the power is off). It weighs just 3.35 oz/95 g. Not only is it extremely small and light, but the “X” in this lens means high performance specifications. Including electric-powered zoom operation, autofocus during movie recording, nano surface coating that drastically reduces ghosting and flare, and Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) for vastly improving image sharpness and blur reduction. Two ED lens elements compensate for chromatic aberration, and the silent design makes this an ideal lens for shooting video.  
Below are sample images taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GWC1 Wide-Angle Conversion Lens:

Below are video(s) taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GFC1 Fisheye Conversion Lens:


All four of the new conversion lenses come with an included adapter ring for use with the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 (H-PS14042) lens and the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 (H-H014) lens, with the exception of the DMC-GTC1, which is compatible with the H-PS14042 lens only.

Panasonic DMW-GTC1 Tele Conversion Lens Review, Photos, Video and Sample Images in NYC

The third lens I tested out of the  four new conversion lenses for Micro Four Thirds released by Panasoni is the Panasonic Lumix DMW-GTC1 Tele Conversion (2.0x) Lens using the new Panasonic GX 1 with the new Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

These conversions lenses are compact and lightweight and are built to be portable. They were designed to make it easy for Panasonic Lumix G series digital camera users to alternate between different lenses to enjoy the benefits and flexibility of varying their shooting options and angles. The DMW-GTC1 was specifically designed for working with the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm lens’ power zoom and extends the zoom’s maximum reach to 84mm (168mm equivalent). This conversion lens is ideal for capturing  a subject that is in a faraway distance by extending the focal length of the tele-end from 42mm to 84mm when attached to the front of the lens. The DMW-GTC1 is particularly useful when shooting long-distance street-view shots as you travel. This conversion lens is compatible with Panasonic’s new Lumix X 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 power zoom lens, it is not compatible with the new 14mm lens.

The lens I chose to use the DMW-GTC1 with was Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. lens. This is an ultra-compact retractable pancake 3x zoom lens (28-84mm equivalent in 35mm and full-frame formats) for Lumix Micro 4/3 cameras that’s only about the size and weight of the Panasonic 20mm pancake lens. It’s 2.4 x 1.87″/61 x 47.7mm (the short dimension shrinks to 1.05″/26.8mm when the power is off). It weighs just 3.35 oz/95 g. Not only is it extremely small and light, but the “X” in this lens means high performance specifications. Including electric-powered zoom operation, autofocus during movie recording, nano surface coating that drastically reduces ghosting and flare, and Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) for vastly improving image sharpness and blur reduction. Two ED lens elements compensate for chromatic aberration, and the silent design makes this an ideal lens for shooting video.

Below are more sample images taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GTC1 Tele Conversion Lens:

Below are sample videos taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GTC1 Tele Conversion Lens:

All four of the new conversion lenses come with an included adapter ring for use with the  Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 (H-PS14042) lens and the Panasonic  Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 (H-H014) lens, with the exception of the DMC-GTC1, which is compatible with the H-PS14042 lens only.

Yes, this product is in stock on our website or at our storefront location.


 For pricing and availability:

- Panasonic DMW-GTC1 Tele Conversion Lens
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 (Body Only)
- Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 with the Panasonic PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens Kit

Panasonic Lumix DMW-GFC1 Fisheye Conversion Lens Review, Sample Images, Photos and Video in NYC

The second lens I’ve tested out of the four new conversion lenses for Micro Four Thirds released by Panasonic is the Panasonic Lumix DMW-GFC1 Fisheye Conversion Lens using the new Panasonic GX 1 with the new Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

These conversions lenses are compact and lightweight and are built to be portable. They were designed to make it easy for Panasonic Lumix G series digital camera users to alternate between different lenses to enjoy the benefits and flexibility of varying their shooting options and angles. The DMW-GFC1 was specifically designed to work with both the 14mm F2.5 prime lens and its Lumix G X 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom lens. The DMW-GFC1 fisheye converter gives a 120° angle-of-view while the DMW-GFC1 extends the zoom’s maximum reach to 84mm (168mm equivalent).  This conversion lens is ideal for helping users shoot creative and unique photographs with a rounded, 120-degree angle, “fisheye” effect.  

The lens I chose to use the DMW-GFC1 with was Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. lens. This is an ultra-compact retractable pancake 3x zoom lens (28-84mm equivalent in 35mm and full-frame formats) for Lumix Micro 4/3 cameras that’s only about the size and weight of the Panasonic 20mm pancake lens. It’s 2.4 x 1.87″/61 x 47.7mm (the short dimension shrinks to 1.05″/26.8mm when the power is off). It weighs just 3.35 oz/95 g. Not only is it extremely small and light, but the “X” in this lens means high performance specifications. Including electric-powered zoom operation, autofocus during movie recording, nano surface coating that drastically reduces ghosting and flare, and Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) for vastly improving image sharpness and blur reduction. Two ED lens elements compensate for chromatic aberration, and the silent design makes this an ideal lens for shooting video.  
Below are sample images taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GFC1 Fisheye Conversion Lens:
Intelligent Auto Mode

Creative Control – Expressive Mode

Creative Control – Toy Camera Mode

Creative Control – Miniature Effect Mode IMG01

Creative Control – Miniature Effect Mode IMG02

Below are video(s) taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GFC1 Fisheye Conversion Lens:

All four of the new conversion lenses come with an included adapter ring for use with the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 (H-PS14042) lens and the Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 (H-H014) lens, with the exception of the DMC-GTC1, which is compatible with the H-PS14042 lens only.

Panasonic Lumix DMW-GMC1 Macro Conversion Lens Review, Sample Images, Photos and Video in NYC

I tested one of the four new conversion lenses for Micro Four Thirds released by Panasonic: the Panasonic Lumix DMW-GMC1 Macro Conversion Lens using the new Panasonic GX 1 with the new Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
These conversions lenses are compact and lightweight and are built to be portable. They were designed to make it easy for Panasonic Lumix G series digital camera users to alternate between different lenses to enjoy the benefits and flexibility of varying their shooting options and angles. The DMW-GMC1 Macro Conversion lens was specifically designed to enable extremely close-up macro shoots at a focus distance of just 0.14m when attached to the front of the lens. This conversion lens is ideal for capturing clear and pristine detail in small subjects such as flowers and insects. This conversion lens is compatible with both of Panasonic’s new 14mm F2.5 prime lens and its new Lumix X 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 power zoom lens.
The lens I chose to use the DMW-GMC1 with was Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. lens. This is an ultra-compact retractable pancake 3x zoom lens (28-84mm equivalent in 35mm and full-frame formats) for Lumix Micro 4/3 cameras that’s only about the size and weight of the Panasonic 20mm pancake lens. It’s 2.4 x 1.87″/61 x 47.7mm (the short dimension shrinks to 1.05″/26.8mm when the power is off). It weighs just 3.35 oz/95 g. Not only is it extremely small and light, but the “X” in this lens means high performance specifications. Including electric-powered zoom operation, autofocus during movie recording, nano surface coating that drastically reduces ghosting and flare, and Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) for vastly improving image sharpness and blur reduction. Two ED lens elements compensate for chromatic aberration, and the silent design makes this an ideal lens for shooting video.
Below are sample images taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GMC1 Macro Conversion Lens

Below is a video taken with the new Panasonic DMW-GMC1 Macro Conversion Lens:

All four of the new conversion lenses come with an included adapter ring for use with the  Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 (H-PS14042) lens and the Panasonic  Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 (H-H014) lens, with the exception of the DMC-GTC1, which is compatible with the H-PS14042 lens only.
Yes, this product is in stock on our website or at our storefront location.

 For pricing and availability:

- Panasonic Lumix DMW-GMC1 Macro Conversion Lens
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 (Body Only)
- Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 with the Panasonic PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens Kit

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 with Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 Lens Review and Photos in NYC

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 is a new premium compact system digital camera. The Panasonic GX1 features a Four Thirds sized 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor, a built-in pop-up flash and a 3.0″ inch touchscreen LCD display with a resolution of 460,000 dots. The DMC-GX1 also offers full HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 at 60i (NTSC) / 50i (PAL) in AVCHD format with stereo sound and full-time auto-focus, 4.2fps continuous shooting, a speedy contrast-detect auto-focus system that can lock onto your subject in approximately 0.09 second, a Venus Engine processor, RAW support and an ISO range of 160-12800. The Panasonic GX1 is available in two classic colors – gray and black.
I tested the Panasonic GX 1 with the new Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Power O.I.S. lens is an ultra-compact retractable pancake 3x zoom lens (28-84mm equivalent in 35mm and full-frame formats) for Lumix Micro 4/3 cameras that’s only about the size and weight of the Panasonic 20mm pancake lens. It’s 2.4 x 1.87″/61 x 47.7mm (the short dimension shrinks to 1.05″/26.8mm when the power is off). It weighs just 3.35 oz/95 g. Not only is it extremely small and light, but the “X” in this lens means high performance specifications. Including electric-powered zoom operation, autofocus during movie recording, nano surface coating that drastically reduces ghosting and flare, and Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) for vastly improving image sharpness and blur reduction. Two ED lens elements compensate for chromatic aberration, and the silent design makes this an ideal lens for shooting video.

The Panasonic GX1 picks up where the popular GF1 camera left off.  Similar to the  GF1, the GX1 is a small, compact interchangeable-lens system camera with all the functionality, controls and degree of customization that enthusiasts could want. The GF1 grew in popularity among DSLR owners looking for a second ‘go-anywhere’ camera because of the camera’s high image quality, comprehensive external controls and its relatively compact Micro Four Thirds lens offerings. Therefore, the GX1 is quite a departure from the GF2 and GF3 models, which were designed to be the smallest and lightest compact system cameras on the market and were also aimed predominantly at people upgrading from compact point-and-shoot cameras. The GX1 does inherit some key features from the other two models, however,  its most notable similarity is its touch-screen interface. But if you’re not a fan of touch sensitive LCD screens (like me) the plethora of dedicated external buttons gives you the option to choose whether or not you would like to utilize this feature.

The aluminum-bodied Panasonic GX1 is quite durable and despite its added complexity, it is a highly portable camera. While the new  Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm power-zoom lens is attached, the GX1 is still not much bigger than some high-end compacts. In terms of body-only, the GX1 is very similar in size to the Sony NEX-7. 
Panasonic Lumix GX1 vs. Sony Alpha Nex-7

Comparing the GF1 and GX1 side-by-side, there are actually few differences between the two in terms of their external design, perhaps a real testament to just how much the GF1 got  it right when it was released over 2 years ago. Starting with the front view of the GX1, there is a new and chunky hand-grip on the right hand side that aids in ease of use when handling. However, I would prefer to of had the hand-grip extended to the full height of the camera to accommodate more than two or three fingers. This feature coincides with the useful rubberized thumb-rest on the rear of the camera. The GX1 sports a more traditional design than the GF3, characterized by more angular lines and a matte exterior. In terms of design, it occupies a position mid-way between the overtly retro Olympus PEN series design and the futuristic style of the Sony NEX-7.

Panasonic Lumix GX1 vs. Panasonic Lumix GF1


The lenses are still where Panasonic have really shrunk tin size of the overall system, and the 14-42mm power-zoom lens is no exception. Providing an equivalent wide-angle focal length of 28-82mm, this lens is a good partner for the GX1, keeping the size of the overall system to a bare minimum and really looking the part. You can just about squeeze this combination into a coat pocket or handbag which is highly impressive for a camera with DSLR characteristics.
To achieve such a small lens with such a wide focal range, Panasonic has completely removed the traditional zoom and manual focus rings. Panasonic replaced them with forefinger-operated switches, hence the power zoom moniker. When using this GX1 this  immediately makes it operate more like a compact camera with a zoom lever, however it is inevitably slower and less precise than a conventional zoom lens. 

Just like the GF1, GF2 and GF3 before it, the GX1 doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, with just the LCD screen on the rear providing an out-of-the-box solution for composing your images. It does have an external hotshoe which allows the use of the optical viewfinder accessory, although you have to additionally purchase this optional accessory and it does prevent the use of an external flashgun at the same time.

The Micro Four Thirds system is now well-established, with a lot of lenses on offer from Panasonic and Olympus that cover most of the popular focal lengths. You can also use regular Four Thirds lenses or even Leica D lenses via optional adapters from either Panasonic or third-parties, but lenses that are not compatible with the GX1′s Contrast AF function can only be used with manual focusing and cannot use the Tracking AF, AFc (Auto Focus Continuous) or Continuous AF functions. Optical image stabilization is supplied via the lens, rather than being built-in to the camera body, a key difference between the Panasonic and Olympus systems. Note that the14-42mm power-zoom lens does offer image stabilization, although there’s no switch on the lens barrel to turn it manually on and off, just three different modes accessible through the DMC-GX1′s menu system.

When enabled, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 automatically compensates for camera shake, which is a slight blurring of the image that typically occurs at slow shutter speeds when the camera is hand held. There are three different modes, Mode 1 is on all the time including image composition, Mode 2 is only on when you press the shutter button, and Mode 3 compensates for up and down movements only (which in turn allows you to pan the camera). You don’t notice that the camera is actually doing anything different when anti-shake is turned on, just that you can use slower shutter speeds than normal and still take sharp photos.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1On the front of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 is a small focus-assist and self-timer indicator lamp, lens release button, metal lens mount and the already mentioned hand-grip. On the bottom is a metal tripod socket, importantly in-line with the middle of the lens barrel, and the shared battery compartment and SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot. The GX1 manages just over 300 shots using the supplied rechargeable Li-ion battery. On the right-hand side are ports for the remote socket, HDMI and AV Out/Digital connections, with small metal eyelets on either side of the body for the supplied camera strap. 
Unfortunately, Panasonic does not include a HDMI cable as standard in the box, which means that you’ll have to purchase one separately to take advantage of this camera’s HD connectivity. On the left-hand side is s small microphone. The top of the GX1 houses a cleverly designed built-in pop-up flash, stereo speakers, flash hotshoe, shooting mode dial with integrated on/off switch, dedicated button for the Intelligent Auto mode which lights blue when turned on, tactile shutter button, and a one-touch movie button. The Panasonic GX1 has a dedicated button on the rear for opening the pop-up flash. Given the small size of the GX1, fitting a built-in flash was no mean feat, as proven by the double-hinged design which is quite a technical achievement. Although not particularly powerful with a guide number of just 7.6, the GX1′s flash is perfectly adequate for fill-in effects at close-quarters.
The shooting mode dial offers the usual selection of Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual for the more experienced photographer. An optional exposure meter can be displayed in the P/A/S/M shooting modes which graphically shows the relationship between shutter speed and aperture, with a color-coded warning that alerts users when the settings are not in the proper range. The more beginner-friendly Scene modes are also available. 
Additionally there are 4 custom modes which allow you to configure your favorite camera settings and quickly access them, with the first accessible via C1 and the other 3 via C2.
Scene Mode – Flower IMG 01

Scene Mode – Flower IMG 02
Scene Mode – Architecture IMG 01

Scene Mode – Architecture IMG 02

Scene Mode – Architecture IMG 03

Scene Mode – Architecture IMG 04
Scene Mode – Object IMG 01

Scene Mode – Object IMG 02

Scene Mode – Object IMG 03

Completing the various shooting modes is the new range of Creative Controls, denoted by an artist’s palette, with 8 different options – Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, High Dynamic, Toy and Miniature – on offer. Some are more useful than others, and I’m not quite sure why these modes deserve their own special place on the shooting mode menu, rather than being grouped together with the Photo Styles in the Main Menu. It’s presumably because you lose control of the exposure and other key settings when using the Creative Controls, whereas the 6 available Photo Styles still allow full control of the camera’s settings. Below are sample images I shot of a tree outside of the New York Public Library using each of the 8 different Creative Controls to give you an idea of what they can do.

Expressive Mode

Retro Mode

High Key Mode

Low Key Mode

Sepia Mode

High Dynamic Mode

Toy Camera Mode

Miniature Mode


Accessed via the dedicated red colored “iA” button on top of the camera, Intelligent Auto mode  makes things as easy as possible for the complete beginner. It allows you to point and shoot the camera without having to worry about choosing the right scene mode or settings. Intelligent Auto Mode automatically determines a number of key criteria when taking a picture, including selecting the most appropriate scene mode (from 5 commonly used presets) and ISO speed, and turning face detection (up to 15 faces), image stabilization and quick auto-focus on. The Intelligent Auto Plus Mode also includes Intelligent Exposure, which increases exposure only in the under-exposed areas of the image, Digital Red-eye, which automatically detects and removes red-eye, and AF Tracking, which continually tracks a moving subject and keeps it in focus, without you having to hold the shutter button halfway down as on most other cameras.
Intelligent Auto Mode IMG 01

Intelligent Auto Mode IMG 02

Intelligent Auto Mode IMG 03

Intelligent Auto Mode IMG 04

Intelligent Auto Mode IMG 05
The rear of the Panasonic DMC-GX1 is dominated by the large 3 inch LCD screen. The 460K pixel, high-resolution screen coped admirably with the majority of lighting conditions, aided by an anti-reflective coating. This screen is a great improvement on cameras with the usual 230K dot resolution, even being nice to use in low-light. The LCD operates at 60fps, twice the usual speed, which helps make it relatively flicker-free. The Auto Power LCD function automatically detects the current lighting conditions and boosts the LCD backlighting by up to 40% when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, helping to keep the screen visible, although the lack of a built-in optical viewfinder is a hindrance on the rare occasions that the rear LCD is difficult to see.

One of the GX1′s main innovations is its touchscreen interface, with a revamped GUI that’s easy on the eye. Panasonic have wisely restricted the amount of things that you can do by interacting with the screen, and indeed you can still operate everything on the camera without having to push and prod the LCD at all. You would be missing out on a lot of genuinely useful functionality that really improves the shooting experience, though, so we suggest that you experiment before dismissing it out-of-hand. There’s also a brand new Level Gauge which automatically detects the horizontal and vertical angle of view, useful for keeping your horizons straight or creatively wonky.

The most immediately noticeable function is the ability to use the 1-area AF mode to focus on your main subject simply by touching it on the LCD. If the subject then moves, the GX1 cleverly follows it around the screen using the the AF tracking function. If the subject exits the frame entirely, simply recompose and tap it again to start focusing. Impressive stuff that makes focusing on off-center subjects fast and intuitive. It is a little too easy to accidentally press the screen and set the focus point to the wrong area for the current subject, but a simple tap of the new Reset button will center the AF point (or you can turn this feature off altogether).
The size of the AF point itself can also be changed via an interactive onscreen slider or the rear scroll wheel. If Face Detection is enabled, the 1-area AF point can be manually set to a person’s eye to help ensure that the most important part of a portrait is in focus. If Multi-area AF rather than 1-area AF is enabled, then you can select a group of 4, 5 or 6 AF points from 9 different areas, again providing some manual control over what is traditionally a rather hit and miss affair. The Pinpoint AF auto-focus area mode allows you to touch the area of the frame where your subject is, whereupon said area gets magnified in order to allow you to set the focus point with pinpoint accuracy using a second touch. While this method is obviously slower than the others, it can be very useful when shooting, say, a portrait with shallow depth of field where you will want to make sure focus is on the subject’s eyes rather than her nose, ears or eyebrows.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1

When Intelligent Auto is switched on, the GX1 changes the scene mode used when you touch the subject, for example selecting portrait mode if you touch a face and macro mode if you touch a close-up flower. If you prefer to manually focus rather than use the snappy AF, you can magnify any part of the subject by 1x, 5x or 10x by simply dragging the image around the screen. The final touchscreen ability from an image composition point of view is the ability to release the shutter, with a small icon on the right hand screen enabling this functionality, and then a single on-screen tap all that’s required to take the picture.

Most of the menu options can be changed via the touchscreen interface, notably the Quick Menu and the Info Display menu – the main exception to this rule is the Main Menu, which is still mostly controlled via the navigation buttons. You can also control image playback by touching the screen, with the ability to tap a thumbnail to see the full-size version, scroll through your images by dragging them from side to side, and magnifying them up to 16x. The GX1 also offers a clever Touch Tab on the right-hand-side of the LCD which provides access to five icons – by default touch-zoom, touch-shutter, Function 3 and Function 4 – with the latter two allowing even more customisation of the camera.

Above the LCD screen is the aforementioned Flash button for popping-up the built-in flash, the port for the optional DMW-LVF2 electronic viewfinder, and two buttons for Playback and AF/AE Lock. The latter also doubles up as the second customisable Function button, although we’d suggest leaving it as the AF/AE control given its handy position. To the right of the LCD screen is a thumb-operated control dial for setting the aperture and/or shutter speed and also selecting menu options. Cleverly this dial can be pushed in to toggle between the aperture/shutter speed and exposure compensation. Below this is the Function 1 button, again customisable to suit you way of working, alongside a Display button which toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed.
Underneath is a traditional 4-way navigation D-Pad system with Menu/Set button in the centre. Pressing left, up, right and down on the D-Pad buttons selects AF Mode, ISO Speed, White Balance and Burst / Self-timer options respectively. The main menu system on the DMC-GX1 is straight-forward to use and is accessed by pressing the Menu/Set button in the middle of the navigation D-Pad. There are five main menus represented by large icons, Record, Motion Picture, Custom, Setup and Playback. As an indication of how configurable the GX1 is, the Custom menu has 32 different options, allowing you to fine-tune this camera to suit your way of working. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you’re upgrading from a more basic model, reading the easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Unfortunately Panasonic have only chosen to supply a basic guide in printed format, with the full manual only available as a PDF on the product CD.
Underneath again is a combined Q. Menu/Delete/Reset button. The Q.Menu button provides quick access to most of the principal controls via an onscreen menu, which displays by default the aspect ratio, size, quality, metering and focus mode, and you can also configure it to include up to 10 out of 19 available settings simply by dragging and dropping the onscreen icons. You can still access all of these options from the main menu system too if you wish. The AF/MF button completes the rear of the GX1, allowing you to quickly choose from AF Single, AF Flexible, AF Continuous and Manual Focus modes. AF Flexible is a new mode which conventionally locks the focus when the shutter button is half-pressed, but then automatically resets it if the subject moves.
The GX1′s Intelligent Resolution mode makes a standard image look like a higher resolution one by processing the contour areas, texture areas and smooth areas individually. There are three available strengths – low, standard and high – and an Extended option which increase the zoom range. Despite all the clever behind-the-scenes processing, it’s fairly easy to tell which image was taken with Intelligent Resolution turned on and which one with it turned off due to unwanted artifacts appearing, particularly if viewing onscreen at 100% magnification. While the difference isn’t quite so apparent on a print up to A3 in size, we’re not convinced enough to recommend regularly using it.
Intelligent Dynamic adjusts the exposure setting to record more detail in the highlights and shadows, with three strengths available – low, standard and high. It’s actually very effective for high-contrast scenes when the camera tends to blow-out the highlights and block-up the shadows. You can see some examples for both Intelligent Resolution and Intelligent Dynamic on the Image Quality page.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1The GX1 offers Full 1080i HD 1920 x 1080 movies and 720p HD 1280 x 720 movies at 60fps, both in the AVCHD (MPEG-4/H.264) format. In addition it can also record MP4 movies at 1920×1080, 1280×720 and 640×480 pixels, all at 30fps, useful as this format can currently be shared more easily. AVCHD offers almost double the recording time in HD quality, but software support is still a little thin on the ground. Panasonic describe it as the best mode for playing back on a HD TV direct from the camera, with the newly-supported MP4 format is best for email and playing on a computer.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1There’s also a useful wind cut function which blocks out most of the noise from background wind and you can also display and adjust the built-in microphone level. The thumb-operated dedicated movie button on the top makes it simple to start record video footage at whatever quality level is currently selected. The HDMI port allows you to connect the GX1 to a high-def TV set, but only if you purchase the optional HDMI mini-cable. You can extract a frame from a movie during playback and save it as a small still image.

The Panasonic GX1′s Intelligent Auto mode works for movies as well as for still photos. Simply press the iA button on top of the camera, then the Movie Record button. The Intelligent Scene Selector automatically determines the most suitable Scene mode from five options – Portrait, Scenery, Low Light and Close-up or Normal modes. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts the focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. The Optical Image Stabilizer helps prevent blurring from hand-shake when using a compatible lens. Note that the GX1 doesn’t offer any control over aperture or shutter speed during video recording, a rather glaring omission for a 2012 interchangeable-lens camera.
You can use any zoom lens during recording with focusing set as for still images. On the negative side, you’ll find that if you choose continuous auto-focus, areas of the video will be blurred before becoming sharp again as the camera tries to refocus. On a more positive note, the the GX1 is quite fast at re-focusing (although not as fast as for still images), and having this system is much better than not being able to auto-focus at all, as with most current DSLR cameras that offer video recording. Hand-holding the GX1 during movie recording inevitably leads to obvious shake, despite the optical image stabilizer on compatible lenses, so for best results you’ll need a dedicated video tripod. One great benefit of the touch-screen control system is that Touch Auto Focusing is available in movie recording, enabling pro-level rack-like focusing simply by pointing at the subject on the LCD screen. You can also use features like Photo Styles, metering modes, Intelligent Resolution and Intelligent Dynamic Range for video as well as stills.
Unlike a conventional DSLR camera which uses a phase detection auto-focus system, the DMC-GX1 employs the same Contrast AF that is commonly used by compact cameras. Panasonic have published marketing data which suggests that the GX1′s AF is as fast, if not faster, than a typical DSLR camera’s, with a claimed speed of just 0.09 second when used with certain lenses, including the 14-42mm power-zoom that we tested the GX1 with. In practice we noticed very little difference in speed between the GX1 and a DSLR, and there were also very few occasions when the GX1 failed to lock onto the subject, especially when using the centre AF point. There are a wide range of AF modes on offer, including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection, AF Tracking and Pinpoint. The GX1 also has a useful Quick AF function that begins focusing as soon as you point the camera.
The start-up time from turning the Lumix DMC-GX1 on to being ready to take a photo is very impressive at less than 0.5 seconds. It takes about 1 second to store a JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card – there is a barely perceptible LCD blackout between each image. Storing a single RAW image takes around 4 seconds, but thankfully it doesn’t lock up the camera in any way – you can use the menu system or shoot another image while the first file is being written to memory. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 has a pretty good Burst mode which enables you to take 4.2 frames per second for an unlimited number of JPEG images at the highest image quality, or 7 RAW images. There’s also a faster 20fps mode, but the images are only recorded at 4 megapixels.
Once you have captured a photo, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 has an average range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 30 onscreen at the same time and in a Calendar view), zoom in and out up to 16x magnification, view slideshows, delete, protect, trim, resize, copy and rotate an image. You can also select favourite images, change an image’s aspect ratio, divide a video and set the print order. The Display icon toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed, and there is a small brightness histogram available during shooting and RGBY histogram during playback if enabled in the menu. You can also turn on guide-lines to help with composition and flashing highlights which indicate any over-exposed areas of the image.
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 combines the more traditional handling of the original GF1 model with more up-to-date features from the GF3 and G3 cameras and some brand new options like MP4 video support, Touch Tab, AF Flexible mode and the level gauge. 

Yes, this product is in stock on our website or at our storefront location.

 For pricing and availability:  
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 (Body Only)
- Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 with the Panasonic PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens Kit

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 Photos, Sample Images, Review in NYC

Whether you consider “traveling” to be simply crossing state lines or flying half way around the world, the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 is an excellent travel companion for any kind of trip. Currently, the ZS20 is the slimmest 20x zoom digital camera on the market. Aside from its extreme portability, it also provides travelers with an enhanced built-in GPS functionality, users can easily pinpoint locations where photos were taken and then share them with family and friends on internet maps. More sought after Lumix ZS20 features include a 24mm Leica DC Vario-Elmar Lens, a 14.1 megapixel high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, a 3.0″ touchscreen LCD, 10 frames per second high speed burst shooting, light speed AF, 1920 x1080 full HD video capture, manual control, high dynamic range and power O.I.S – just to name a few!

The Panasonic ZS20 has a powerful zoom and a 24mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens with the ability to shoot full-high defintion (HD) making it an extremely versatile point-and-shoot. The newly-redesigned lens system features a new mechanical structure and optical system to further improve image quality. Additionally, the LUMIX ZS20 lens comes with Nano Surface Coating technology offering vibrant  image clarity keeping ghosting and flare at a minimum. Below is a compilation of sample images I shot   outside of the NY Public Library at various zoom lengths to demonstrate the Lumix ZS20′s superior zoom capability.

With the built-in GPS functionality you can install map data onto the LUMIX ZS20 using the bundled software which gives the camera detailed worldwide maps of major regions on a scale of 1/25,000 or more precise. You can copy the map data of a designated city to an SDXC/SDHC/SD Memory Card (not included with camera!) and access quick geographic information to know your location and if any landmarks are located nearby. There are over one million landmarks and 82 countries/regions covered in the software DVD map. Additionally, Geo-tagged images are automatically sorted and can be played back along a map. This feature allows you to literally trace your photographic journey! And while many GPS enabled cameras show only the latitude and longitude of where a photo is taken, the LUMIX ZS20 steps it up a notch by showing the name of the Country/Region, State/Prov./County, County/Township, City/Town/Village and Landmark – all of which is saved in the EXIF data.

Featuring a newly improved 14.1 megapixel High Sensitivity CMOS sensor, the LUMIX ZS20 is able to provide even higher image quality compared to its predecessors.  Along with the advanced image processor Venus Engine, the LUMIX ZS20 provides you with high speed and high sensitivity image recording.  Also, High speed burst shooting at 10 fps in full resolution and Light Speed AF allows you to capture even the most fleeting photo opportunities. Below is a photo taken on Intelligent Auto mode at 10x optical zoom – we all know how quickly birds can move, yet I was able to capture the bird (on the right) in mid-flight with the Lumix ZS20.
High Speed Shooting Capability

If you’re looking for a more intuitive photo experience, the LUMIX ZS20 features iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, which automatically enhances photos without adjusting settings every time conditions change.  The new HDR (High Dynamic Range) combined with POWER O.I.S. and Active Mode suppresses blur from hand-shake. AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Face Recognition, Intelligent Scene Selector, Intelligent Handheld Nightshot, Motion Deblur mode, Intelligent Burst mode and Intelligent Exposure allows users to simply “point and shoot,” leaving the camera to figure out the logistics while you can focus your attention  on your subject matter and still manage to capture stunning imagery.

Intelligent Auto (iA) Mode

If you like to have more control over the cameras mechanisms, the ZS20 also offers manual control options, which allow you to adjust shutter speed and aperture. The LUMIX ZS20 also features a variety of special effects that add fun to a photography shooting experience like 3D Photo Mode, Panorama Mode, Auto Retouch and Creative Control Mode.

Panorama mode makes it possible for users to shoot 360-degree horizontal or vertical panoramic images by taking consecutive shots and then overlay it for the effect of a panoramic photo. The Auto Retouch function automatically adjusts contrast and brightness for a clearer and more natural image which can be applied with the simple press of a button. Additionally, Creative Control mode offers a selection of artistic effects including Expressive Retro, High Dynamic, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, High Key, Low Key, Miniature Effect, Toy Effect and Soft Focus.

Below are sample images I shot in NYC using the various special effects. These images should give you a better idea of how these filters can enhance and alter the look and feel of your image when applied.

Expressive Effect
Retro Effect
Miniature Effect
Sepia Effect

Black and White Effect
Toy Camera Effect
Soft Focus Effect
Macro Mode

With the ability to record high-resolution, full-HD 1,920×1,080 60p videos in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) format (or 30p in MP4), the LUMIX ZS20 upgrades its full-HD recording capability and is able to produce extremely clear video details, even when subjects are moving quickly.  The impressive 20x optical zoom with 2-step Zoom function is available in video recording and the popular iA mode can assist you in making video recording stress-free and easy. A stereo zoom microphone provides videos with the high-quality stereo sound of Dolby Digital Stereo Creator which offers highly realistic sound  The Auto Wind Cut function helps to block out wind background noise making voices clearer,and mechanical noise caused by zooming is suppressed to improve overall video sound quality performance.
Additional key features of the LUMIX ZS20 include:
  • A bright 3.0 inch, 460,000 dot, Smart Touch, LCD Touchscreen
  • Touch AF, Touch Zoom or Touch Shutter during recording and various playback functions like scrolling the map with high visibility.
  • Flexibility of USB charging or conventional AC adapter charging methods.
  • LUMIX Image Uploader for seamless and instant sharing via Facebook or YouTube. Users can individually select the photo or video files they want to share, connect it to a PC with the included USB cable or by inserting the cameras SD Memory Card directly into the PC’s SD Card slot, and then the uploading automatically launches with an easy-to-follow menu option. 
This is an excellent point-and-shoot camera with advanced features that would be perfect for any adventure. For pricing and availability, you can go to our Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 product page or visit the H and B Digital storefront location in Manhattan, NYC.

Panasonic Lumix G1 with 14-45mm Lens Review and Photo Sample Images

Panasonic Lumix G1 Digital Camera Photo Shoot in NYC From H and B Digital.com

Camera: Panasonic Lumix G1
Lens: Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm
Mode: Auto

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH OIS is the standard kit zoom lens of the first micro-4/3 system camera – the Panasonic Lumix G1. The design of the lens differs from conventional SLR lenses because it doesn’t need to take a SLR mirror into account anymore. On paper such lenses can achieve a higher degree of optimization, specifically with respect to wide-angle performance. Another positive side-effect are the smaller physical dimensions even when compared to the already very small 4/3 lenses. Interestingly both kit lenses are not Leica-labeled which is unusual for a “high end” Panasonic camera. Due to the smaller 4/3 sensor (18×13.5mm) you’ve to use a 2x factor when thinking in full format (36x24mm) terms so we are talking about a field-of-view equivalent to a conventional “28-90mm” lens here.

As already hinted above the Lumix lens is dwarfish and as such it leaves a very subjective impression of lacking “substance.”  However, objectively the build quality is actually very fine thanks to very tight tolerances, good quality plastics and a metal mount. The rubberized zoom and focus control ring operate very smooth. The fluted rubber rings have a downside though – they tend to collect dust (similar to Sony lenses). The lens extends when zooming towards the long end of the zoom range but there’s no wobbling of the inner lens tube. The front-element does not rotate thanks to an internal focusing design. 

Typical for all 4/3 lenses the Panasonic lens uses a dedicated AF motor that operates very fast and virtually silent. Thanks to the contrast AF system of the G1 the AF accuracy is extremely high (from a lens perspective). Manual focusing is possible “by wire” which works much better than it may sound – it was certainly a non-issue in field conditions. Olympus lenses rely on the in-camera image stabilization system whereas Leica/Panasonic follow a lens-based solution called “Mega OIS” (Optical Image Stabilization). In field conditions OIS is able to give you a 2-3 f-stop extra potential for hand-held photography.

Distortions

Micro-4/3 files – both RAW as well as JPEGs – are automatically corrected either in the camera (JPEG) or in RAW converters (like Silkypix or Adobe Camera RAW). Therefore we decided not provide any figures here because they would show next to no distortions. The worst amount of corrected distortions is less than 1.3% at 14mm.

That said it is possible to use e.g. DCRaw in order to have a look at the uncorrected data. Technically Lumix lenses shows a very poor performance regarding distortions specifically at the wide-end of the zoom range here. At 14mm we’ve a whopping ~5.5% of barrel distortion and it’s not really much better at 18mm (~4.1%). The situation eases significantly at 25mm (2.2%) and at 45mm there’s only a negligible degree of distortions. As mentioned this will usually not be noticed by users though.

It is difficult to provide a final verdict about micro-4/3 lenses because neither the camera JPEGs nor the standard RAW converters will give you an access to uncorrected image data. This is both good and bad. One the one hand the system provides “clean” images straight out-of-the-box. On the other hand the correction mechanism is not really lossless because you loose some field-of-view if the lens produces heavy distortions, a bit of edge resolution and the sensor noise gets amplified somewhat in the corners due to the vignetting compensation. 

In terms of sheer optical performance the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS is not a great lens. However, when looking at the auto-corrected results, and this is where it counts from a user perspective, it’s capable of producing very good results. The center resolution is generally on a excellent level straight from the max. aperture setting. The border quality is still very decent between 14mm and 25mm. At 45mm we’ve an evenly high quality across the frame. The vignetting is still comparatively pronounced at 14mm @ f/3.5 despite the auto-correction. However, it’s not really an issue anymore at other settings.

The build quality of the lens is very decent especially for a kit lens. The AF works basically silent, it’s surprisingly fast and highly accurate (also thanks to the G1′s contrast AF). The “Mega OIS” (image stabilizer) can give you an extra potential equivalent to 2-3 f-stops in field conditions.

Photo Shoot Images: 

 
 Click to view or order the Panasonic Lumix G1 w/14-45mm Lens

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