Panasonic GF1 Image Quality

I’ve just written an article on the Quillcards blog comparing the Nikon D5100 with the Nikon D7000, principally comparing the ease (or not) of seeing the active focus point in the viewfinder.

The image quality of both cameras is very good – and I have put a shot and a crop from it in the article to show what I mean.

I took the D5100 on a trip to the United States recently, but for a trip to London a few days ago I decided to take the Panasonic GF1 with 20mm lens, which makes a very small package.

Panasonic GF1 With 20mm Lens

It’s not small enough to slip into a pocket (unless it is a very big pocket), but it is very light.

It weighs 470g (just over a pound) with the 20mm lens – which makes it about 90g (three ounces) lighter than just the body of the D5100.

It is about five inches (12cm) long and about two and a half inches tall (6cm). It is about the same dimension from front to back including the lens – about two and a half inches (6cm).

In other words, it is much smaller than a DSLR – even a small DSLR like the Nikon D5100. The saving in weight comes partly from the size of the sensor (somewhat smaller than on the Nikon), and partly from the fact that it does not have a mirror housing like a DSLR.

Image Quality

But what of its image quality?

Well it has a larger sensor than on a typical point-and-shoot, so the image quality can be very good – as I think this shot and the crop from it show this well.

Question

What do you think of the image quality?

On Viewfinders

There is no built-in viewfinder on the GF1, but Panasonic make an auxiliary electronic viewfinder that you can slip onto the hot-shoe. I don’t have one, but I periodically think about getting one. Watch this space for reports on it – as and when I pay the not inconsiderable sum that Panasonic charge for them.

The thing is that I took this shot – of the man in conversation – as I was walking through Covent Garden outdoor market. I had the camera in my hand and I shot from the waist – just judging the focus point by ‘guessimation’.

Here is another shot – of a street that runs between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum in London. The light was very contrasty, so this is a good test of how well the camera can hold highlights and shadows.

Aspect Ratios

One final point about the GF1 is that it is easy to change the aspect ratio. You can see that the full frame of the shot of the man and of this street scene is a long ‘letterbox’ shape. The aspect ratio is 16:9, and the Panasonic has settings for this as well as for 1:1, 4:3, and 3:2.

For the low-down on aspect ratios, check out this article: The Lowdown On Photographs And Aspect Ratios.

It is very pleasant to switch from one to the other to get the ‘look’ that one wants for a particular shot.

5 thoughts on “Panasonic GF1 Image Quality

  1. The quality seems to be excellent, judging from that crop!

    I’ve never come across a camera without a viewfinder. Is that a common thing?

    1. It is like a lot of point-and-shoot cameras where you have to look in the LCD on the back of the camera. The GF1 is like that, and I added a photo of the back of the camera to the end of the article so you can see what I mean :-)

      Cameras without a reflex housing but with a larger sensor are becoming more popular – Sony, Olympus, Fuji, Canon, and Nikon all make large-sensor, mirrorless cameras – some with viewfinders built in and some without.

      1. ROFL… I somehow missed the last image! Our Canon is like that!!! I found it intriguing that it didn’t have any viewfinder [thinking there was none whatsoever] … am I getting flaky or what?! :o

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