The camera world is all aflutter over Panasonic’s Lumix GF1 digital camera. Along with questions about how the device measures up to the rival Olympus E-P1, the question on everyone’s lips is the GF1 a DSLR wannabe?
It seems the question has some substance. The “R” in DSLR requires a mirror. However, the GF1, the latest in Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds standard, is “mirror-free,” according to the company.
The $900 GF1 is aimed at “point-and-shoot consumers looking to step-up to DSLR-quality or for current DSLR users who want greater convenience without compromising performance quality or creative flexibility,” Panasonic said in a press release.
Ditching the mirror allowed Panasonic to avoid the pentaprism found in most DSLRs, allowing for what Gadget Lab calls an “artistically flat” body.
Along with the missing mirror is the absence of a real viewfinder (the GF1’s 3-inch LCD has 230,000-pixel resolution – half of the 460,000 pixels on the Olympus E-P1.) Although there is an optional clip-on viewfinder, Gadget Lab’s Charlie Sorrel bemoans:
“Why engineer a complicated electronic add on when a simple chunk of glass will do the job better?”
Possibly compensating for these issues is the GF1’s built-in flash, which Gizmodo notes is a $200 extra for the E-P1.
Although many other GF1 features (12.1 megapixel sensor, 720p video and $900 pricetag) match Olympus, Sorrel notes the Panasonic camera natively supports most Leica lenses.