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Panasonic DMC-GH1 Digital Camera

 
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See the difference. A new world of imaging. Creative photos and movies in full HD.

The advanced technology of the LUMIX GH1 has enabled a level of image expression that never before existed. It brings a gentle, soft focus to both photos and movies and enhances every single shot with the beauty of HD. Its new kit lens also provides continuous auto focusing for both photos and movies, creating a next-generation interchangeable lens system camera. The GH1 realizes creative images that exceed even your loftiest expectations. All in the new GH1.

Product Features

  • Interchangeable Lens System Camera with Full-HD Movies - The Creative Way
  • Full-HD Movie Recording in AVCHD
    With the GH1, shooting incredible photos is only part of the fun. You can also shoot beautiful, richly detailed movies in full-HD (high-definition) (1920 x 1080) at 24 frames per second, or smooth HD (1280 x 720) movies at 60 frames per second in AVCHD (MPEG-4/H.264) with a continuous auto focus function. Just press the Motion Picture button on the back of the camera, and shooting begins.
  • New High-Performance Kit Lens for Outstanding HD Movies
    The GH1 kit is proudly equipped with the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. lens. This compact lens boasts a focal length of 28-280mm [35mm camera equivalent] and supports a continuous auto focus function that works for both photos and movies. The aperture adaptively adjusts to each scene, letting you capture the kind of delicate, softly focused movies that only a digital interchangeable lens camera can produce. Thanks to a silence design that helps surpress lens drive noise, the GH1 with its new kit lens records sounds with amazing clarity. The GH1’s advanced kit lens also incorporates MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) that helps eliminate blurring from hand-shake.
  • Enjoy the Freedom of Manual Settings in Creative Movie Mode
    The GH1 gives you more creative freedom. It lets you adjust the shutter speed and aperture any way you like when shooting movies. This gives you a wider range of expressive possibilities to explore in your movie making.
  • An Audio Performance that Adds to Your HD Movies
    Just set the GH1 to iA mode, aim and shoot. The iA does all the rest. It automatically determines the most suitable Scene mode and helps correct blurring, focus, and brightness problems for bright, sharply focused HD movies.
  • Enjoy the Beauty of Digital SLR - Quality Photos the Easy Way
  • The Advanced iA Mode Uses Face Recognition to Remember Individual Faces
    The GH1 features an enhanced version of LUMIX’s clever iA mode that includes Face Recognition, a function that ”remembers” registered faces. When there’s a familiar face in the frame, it optimizes the focus and exposure so that the face is in sharp focus and bright. This newly evolved technology makes it easy to get beautiful photos of a loved one in a group of people.
  • Full-time Live View and Live View Finder: See How the Image Will Turn Out Before You Shoot
    On the GH1, both the LCD and the Live View Finder boast true Full-time Live View capability. Live View lets you see - before you shoot - how changing the shutter speed or aperture will affect the shot. This makes it easier to capture a special shot or particular kind of image without shooting and reshooting again and again.
  • Technology that Supports Beautiful HD Images
  • Newly Developed 12.1-Megapixel Live MOS Sensor
    The GH1’s 4/3-type Live MOS sensor with 12.1 megapixels gives you the best of both worlds: the superior image quality and the lower power consumption. It also adds a high-speed readout for recording HD movies. You can record images with a 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratio. In each, you get the same angle of view and same outstanding image quality.
  • The High-Speed, High-Performance Venus Engine HD
    The Venus Engine HD incorporates two CPUs. This not only boosts image processing speed, it also helps achieve an exceptional noise-reduction performance. Also, the two CPUs of the Venus Engine HD allow long-time movie recording in AVCHD while maintaining low power consumption. And the Venus Engine HD features HDMI output too.
  • Easily View Photos and Movies on an HDTV
    Just connect the GH1 to an HDTV and you’re ready to view your photos and movies in beautiful high-definition. If your TV is HDMI compatible, a single HDMI mini cable (optional) is all you need. If you have a Panasonic VIERA HDTV, you can use the VIERA remote control to operate the GH1, giving you even greater convenience.

Product Specs

Megapixels

12.1 megapixels

LCD Monitor Type: Low temperature Polycrystalline TFT LCD
Monitor Size: Free-angle 3.0inch / 3:2 Aspect / Wide viewing angle
Pixels: 460K dots
Field of view: Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustment: Auto, Power LCD, Manual (7 levels)
Power Source/Battery

ID-Security Li-ion Battery Pack (7.2V, 1250mAh) (Included) Battery Charger/AC Adapter (Input: 110-240V AC, DC Cable is required)

Zoom

Digital Zoom: 2x, 4x
Extra Optical Zoom: Max.2x (Not effective with L size recording. Magnification ratio depends on the recording pixels and aspect ratio.)
Other Functions: Guide Lines (3 patterns), Real-time Histogram

Dimensions 3.82” (W) x 2.28” (H) x 0.86” (D)
Weight 13.6 oz

Sensor

14.0 Total MegaPixels
Live MOS Sensor
Primary Color Filter

Storage Media

SD memory card, SDHC memory card, MultiMediaCard

Focus System

Type: Contrast AF system
Mode: AFs/AFc/MF
AF Detective Range: EV 0-18 (ISO100)
AF mode: Face detection
AF Tracking/23-area-focusing/1-area-focusing
Others: Pre AF (Quick AF/Continuous AF), AF+MF, MF Assist (5x, 10x)

Lens

Lens Construction 17 Elements in 13 Groups (4 Aspherical Lenses, 2 ED lenses)
Mount Micro Four Thirds mount
Closest Focusing Distance 0.50m / 1.64ft at all focal lengths
Maximum Magnification Approx. 0.2x / 0.4x (35mm camera equivalent)
Diagonal Angle of View 75° (W) ~ 8.8° (T)
Filter Size φ62mm / 2.44 in
Max. Diameter φ70mm / 2.76 in
Overall Length (Lens only) Approx. 84mm / 3.31 in (from the tip of the lens to the base side of the lens mount)
Weight (Lens only) Approx. 470g / 16.58oz

Panasonic DMC-GH1’s Review

pcmag.com

05/27/09

The 12.1-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 ($1,499.95 direct with Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 lens) isn’t just a solid D-SLR—it’s also a darn good HD camcorder. In a well-lit environment, the camera can produce high-quality still images, but it can also easily and silently refocus while capturing HD video—a feat other D-SLRs have failed to master. No other camera we’ve seen makes shooting video this simple. I do have some gripes, however: Namely, the GH1’s high price, its underwhelming low-light video and still-image capture. Even so, in many ways it’s an impressive hybrid device.

This is the second camera on the market to adhere to the Micro Four Thirds standard (the first being its predecessor, the Lumix DMC-G1), which was designed to reduce the size and thickness of D-SLRs. To save space, the camera forgoes the mirror box you’d find in a traditional D-SLR. (The mirror box is used to reflect what’s captured through the lens and show it on the viewfinder.) Panasonic also opted for a “contrast detect” autofocusing system, which has smaller parts than a “phase-detect” autofocusing system. And there’s a Micro Four Thirds lens mount with a smaller diameter than on other D-SLRs. The thing is, though, the DMC-GH1 isn’t that small: Its body weighs 0.93 pound, but the included 14-to-140mm lens weighs 1.03 pounds, making both together no lighter or less cumbersome than a traditional SLR.

The viewfinder may be a deal breaker for some. It’s an electronic viewfinder (EVF), which is really just a small LCD screen. All the details (such as face detection, menus, and picture playback) that appear on the larger LCD screen can be viewed on the smaller screen, and because of the EVF’s resolution (1.44 million pixels—higher than the LCD’s), they look sharp. But it has the same motion-blur problem as the larger LCD screen, and is less clear than a true optical viewfinder.

The GH1’s Micro Four Thirds “contrast detect” focusing system allows for smaller parts, but it slows the camera down. I used the Shooting-Digital.com shutter release test to measure the amount of shutter lag on the DMC-GH1, and the result was 0.43 seconds—more like a point-and-shoot camera. Traditional D-SLRs, like our Editors’ Choice Canon EOS Rebel T1i, can hit 0.1 second, meaning there’s virtually no shutter lag. What’s more, because of this limitation, the GH1 can crank out only about 2 images per second at its maximum resolution. The T1i ($899.99 list), the Nikon D5000 ($729.95 list), the Nikon D90 ($999.95 list), and Canon EOS 50D ($1,299 list) can shoot 3.4 frames per second (fps), 4 fps, 4.5 fps, and 6.3 fps, respectively, and all cost less than the GH1.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1In PCMag.com’s photo lab, I use a hardware and software suite called Imatest to objectively gauge image quality. Imatest results indicated that pictures taken in well-lit conditions (specifically, at ISOs 100 to 800) are a bit soft but offer low noise; at ISOs 1600 and 3200, images are sharp but very noisy.

At ISOs 100 to 400, the GH1 captures 1,500 to 1,600 lines per picture height. The larger sensors in the less-expensive Canon T1i and Nikon D5000 offer, respectively, 2,000 to 2,100 and 1,700 to 1,800 lines per picture height. They also deliver less noise in low light. At ISOs 1600 and 3200, noise becomes an issue for the GH1. The Canon T1i and Nikon D5000 can keep noise levels below 1.5 percent, which is the level at which noise becomes visible; the GH1 can’t do the same. At ISO 1600, noise is at 1.62 percent; at 3200, it’s at 2.19 percent. These numbers represent an improvement over the G1 (which produced 1.9 percent noise at ISO 1600 and a whopping 3.39 percent at 3200), but the GH1 is still outperformed by cameras like the T1i and D5000, which cost much less.

Most every D-SLR that can record HD video has some kind of limitation when it comes to focusing. The Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Nikon models D90 and D5000 can focus only manually while shooting video; the Canon T1i can autofocus on a single area, but it takes a few seconds, and the lens mechanism makes a loud noise that gets picked up in recordings. The GH1 is the exception: Just like a standalone camcorder, it offers manual focus, fast and silent single-area focus, and a continuous focus that can automatically refocus on a moving subject.

In well-lit conditions, the GH1’s HD video is breathtaking. Because of the wide range of depth-of-field settings a D-SLR lens offers, you can put your subjects in focus while leaving your foreground or background in soft focus, which gives you professional-looking results you can’t get with most camcorders costing less than $1,000. In low light, video has the same noise problems the GH1’s still images do, but that’s a common limitation with sub-$1,000 camcorders.

The GH1 records in 720p30 (30 progressive frames per second), creating MPEG files that can be dragged, dropped, and played natively on your Mac or Windows PC. You can also shoot in AVCHD in either the super-sharp 720p60 (60 progressive frames per second) resolution or the film-like 1080p24 (24 progressive frames per second). Unfortunately, neither Windows XP or Vista PCs nor Macs natively support these files (although Windows 7 will). Mac owners will need to first import videos into iMovie to convert them, and Windows users will need to pay for video-editing software that supports AVCHD—the free Windows Movie Maker doesn’t.

Complementing the video’s image quality is great-sounding audio; there’s even an input for a microphone (2.5mm stereo mini jack)—only the Canon 5D Mark II offers this feature. Any microphone that terminates in a 2.5mm jack will work. (Panasonic will be releasing a boom mic designed for the DMC-GH1 that mounts to the hot-shoe port.)

The HDMI-out port is the best way to connect the camera to an HDTV for viewing HD video or photos. The DMC-GH1’s HDMI port is also smarter than most, as it supports “HDMI Consumer Electronic Control” (HDMI-CEC). If the HDTV you connect to the GH1 also supports HDMI-CEC, you will be able to control the camera and navigate its menus by using the HDTV’s remote—with no programming required.

The lens included with the DMC-GH1 is an image-stabilized 14-to-140mm lens (35mm equivalent: 28-to-280mm, 10X optical zoom). It was designed for the DMC-GH1, so it’s silent when focusing, which means you hear no mechanical noise when refocusing during video recording (unlike with the Canon T1i). This is the only silent lens compatible with the DMC-GH1. The DMC-GH1 is compatible with other Micro Four Thirds lenses (there aren’t many), and with Four Thirds lenses via an adapter.

Because of its terrific camcorder capabilities, there’s no other D-SLR like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1. The HD video innovation is offset by some limitations. The Canon T1i and Nikon D5000 take better still images and cost about $500 less than the GH1—but they don’t do video nearly as well. If you can cough up $1,500 and want a dead-simple and full-featured D-SLR and HD camcorder hybrid, the DMC-GH1 fills the bill.

 

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