Cameras Of The Past – Panasonic Lumix G1

One could ask why I write a blog entry about the Panasonic Lumix G1 in 2017? This is an old camera from 2008 and technologically outdated. But is it really? Do we need the newest and best to have fun and take nice photographs?

The G1 was the camera that brought me into the Micro Four Thirds system in 2012. So for me it is worth to revisit this camera again. I mainly use Olympus OM-Ds like the E-M1. The OM-Ds are fantastic cameras and the Lumix G1 looses against an E-M1 on almost all frontiers. But does it make the G1 irrelevant nowadays? Or is it good enough already for most purposes?

– Introduced in September 12th 2008
– First camera that uses the Micro Four Thirds System lens mount and imaging system
– 12 megapixel CMOS Four Third Sensor, sensor size 13.0 x 17.3mm, max. resolution 4000×3000 pixel
– “Supersonic Wave Filter” dust reduction system cleans the sensor at each camera start-up (dust is shaken off the sensor)
– USB 2.0 connectivity
– Continuous shooting 3 frames per second
– Flash type: built in, 1/160s flash sync speed
– Dimensions: 124 x 84 x 45 mm (4.88 x 3.31 x 1.77)
– Weight: 360 g (0.79 lb / 12.70 oz)
– Display: 3 inches fully articulated (non touch type), 460.000 pixel
– View finder: fully electronic, 0.7 magnification
– Max. shutter speed: 1/4000s
– Video: no
– ISO: 100-1600 (3200 boost)

In my opinion it has most of the things, I like. In 2017 you get it unbelievable cheap for 50 Euros, sometimes even cheaper. In 2012 it just took me 100 Euros to get a second hand body in very nice condition. I like cheap toys. You have a DSLR shape camera with good ergonomics. The big electronic viewfinder is still very usable and I like it actually a lot, even if the EVFs get better and better this one is not far off. You have a nice and fully articulated screen that is wonderful to use for taking picture from any angle. I sometimes prefer it even over a swivel display like on my Olympus E-M1. The camera feels a bit plasticky but still is nice in the hand and has a good feel plus it is very lightweight.

The G1 has many function buttons and a “Quick Menu” to change the most used parameters very quickly. That makes it ergonomically very attractive. All in all using this camera is fun. I really like it to take with me even if I could opt for my better Olympus E-M1.

But what do I miss compared to my Olympus E-M1? It is not picture quality or better EVF or faster burst speed. But the 5-axis image stabilizer of the OM-D comes in very handy. The same goes for small things like the level gauge to get the horizon straight or focus peaking for better manual focusing. Of course I cannot take video with the G1. Shutter shock is sometimes more evident than in my E-M1 where I can use electronic silent shutter with no shutter shock at all. And of course the addition of a battery grip would be nice as well for even better ergonomics. The E-M1 in all honesty is of course a much more pro built body with higher durability and nicer touch and feel.

But you know what? The missing things do not always matter and the G1 is mostly enough for what I am doing. I often don’t need speed but want to change parameters very quickly, look through an electronic viewfinder and need a nice handling. So this camera delivers.

Picture quality? Is even for today’s standards very good. 12 megapixel or 16 (or even 20) megapixel are not much different resolution wise. Sharpness of the raw files is impressive and colors are very nice. I can lift up the shadows by 1 or 2 stops without regretting it and to be honest, our raw converters are getting better and better to fight high ISO noise. IMHO in good light you still get very nice results up to ISO 1600. In dark light it is a different story but still possible to get good images if you turn noise reduction on. I have prints as large as 80x60cm. They are impressively sharp.

The best is if you already own Micro Four Third lenses you can use them with the G1. If not and you want to stay on the cheap side, get an adapter for legacy lenses like the very popular M42 mount and vintage glass for very low prices. It is fun.

So if you are sometimes bored by your super duper high end camera or look for a cheap and good mirrorless system camera to take everywhere with you, I can highly recommend the Lumix G1 even in 2017. It is very enjoyable and satisfying to take photos with it and it produces nice looking images. Isn’t it what matters most?

Here are some of my images taken with my Lumix G1.