Panasonic Introduces LUMIX DMC-GF1

Panasonic introduced the “world's smallest and lightest system digital camera with a built-in flash,” the new LUMIX GF1. In addition to being small and lightweight, the LUMIX GF1 has DSLR and HD video capabilities. The LUMIX GF1 has an exterior design that is reminiscent of classic film cameras, yet offers many of today’s popular digital features, including Panasonic’s LUMIX G Series of digital interchangeable lens system built on the Micro Four Thirds standard.

Like its predecessors in the LUMIX G Series line, the LUMIX GF1 eliminates the pentaprism found in traditional interchangeable lens cameras, thereby allowing Panasonic to reduce the size and weight of the camera without sacrificing advanced features such as HD video recording capabilities. The LUMIX GF1 can record 1280 x 720 High Definition video in AVCHD Lite. The camera can also record HD Motion JPEGs in 1280 x 720 and other video recording formats include: QVGA, VGA, and WVGA. A unique Movie Program Mode enables users to adjust the depth of field while capturing HD video, a feature that is more commonly seen in expensive professional camcorders.

For the photographer who enjoys creative effects, the LUMIX GF1 features a new My Color mode which has seven presets (Expressive, Retro, Pure, Elegant, Monochrome, Dynamic Art, Silhouette, and Custom) that let you set the color, brightness, and saturation levels for a picture. The camera also has nine Film modes.

In addition to manual and creative controls, the LUMIX GF1 provides automatic shooting modes as well as Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode and a new Scene mode called Peripheral Defocus which basically chooses a shallow depth of field, thereby blurring the background. Face Recognition (up to six faces); Auto Focus (AF) Tracking; Mega Optical Image Stabilization; Intelligent ISO; Intelligent Exposure; and Intelligent Scene Selector round out the list of easy to use features on the LUMIX GF1.

The LUMIX GF1 has a 3-inch Intelligent LCD with a wide viewing angle and a 460,000-dot resolution. This LCD has automatic backlight controls to improve the visibility in various lighting environments. The LUMIX GF1 is also compatible with an optional Live View Finder (DMW-LVF1), which provides the full-time live view function and boasts of 100% field of view regardless of the attached lens.

Like other Micro Four Thirds digital cameras, the LUMIX GF1 can be used with Four Thirds System interchangeable lenses via an optional mount adaptor DMW-MA1 and with the Leica M/R lenses using Panasonic's DMW-MA2M DMW-MA3R.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF1 will be available in early October in two kit options. Both will have a price of $899.95. The first kit option includes the newly-announced LUMIX G 20mm/F1.7 ASPH, a compact and lightweight "pancake" lens, while the other kit features the LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S. The optional Live View Finder DMW-LVF1 will cost $199.95. Both the DMW-MA2M and DMW-MA3R have a suggested price of $249.95. All of the new accessories will be available in early October.