Panasonic GF1 vs Canon G11

by Enche Tjin on October 19, 2009

People who consider Panasonic GF1 might consider Canon G11 as well. Even both cameras shares a very different features and price point, but there are alternative to bigger and heavier digital SLR camera.

Panasonic GF1 is a micro four thirds system. It has DSLR quality sensor (slightly smaller than regular DSLR). So image quality from GF1 will be better especially in details, dynamic range and performance in high ISO setting. Because the bigger sensor, it is a lot easier to get shallow depth of field, especially if you opt to get GF1 with Panasonic 20mm f/1.9 (equivalent to 40mm in full format) lens.

GF1 also has interchangeable lens option, so you can change the lens for various purpose for example for macro photography.


As you can see in the picture, GF1 is very small compared to typical DSLR camera. the dimension is: 119 mm x 71 mm x 36.3 mm (4.69 x 2.8 x 1.43 inches) without lens.


On the other hand, Canon G11 is an advanced compact camera. It is has fixed zoom lens that you can’t change in the future except attaching Canon compatible tele-converter to get more reach. The lens is quite versatile covering from wide angle 28mm to medium telephoto 140mm. It also has image stabilization.

Canon G11 also has swivel LCD screen which GF1 lacks, and has almost similar dimension of: 112 x 76 x 48 mm (4.4 x 3.0 x 1.9 in). This dimension already include the built-in lens. So in practice GF1 kit will be bigger.

Because G11 has a small sensor, it is harder to achieve shallow depth of field effect, like DSLR camera. On the contrary, if you like big depth of field coverage in the image, using G11 will easier to achieve that. The small sensor camera also limit the image quality in high ISO and limited dynamic range (the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of an image).

The main advantage Canon G11 has is more compact in size (because you don’t have to carry lenses), swivel LCD screen and $300 cheaper.

While GF1 is superior in regard of image quality and flexibility of interchangeable lens. G11 provides portability and affordability.

Comparison Table: Panasonic GF1 vs Canon G11

Note: the lens focal length is the adjusted to the full format

Name MP Lens LCD Price Sensor
Canon G11 10 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 IS 2.8″, 460k Swivel $499 1/1.7″ sensor
Panasonic GF1 12 kit options:

40mm f/1.7 or

28-90mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

interchangeable lenses

3″ 460k fixed $899 4/3 sensor

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven November 2, 2009 at 3:39 am

Your English isn’t really that good for professional-style writing.
Perhaps you could get somebody to help you with that a bit.
But the information is generally helpful….so good luck.

Mike November 4, 2009 at 7:12 am

Steven, **** This is the internet, and a “blog,” to be precise. Whoever said this website was supposed to feature “professional-style writing?”

Simon November 15, 2009 at 12:44 am

We need the information, not English.

Erika Avellaneda Celis December 6, 2009 at 2:09 am

Thank you for the information. Your writing style is honest and you’ve done great with it. All the best.

WKSOH January 29, 2010 at 12:55 am

The English is good enough.
I understood the information very well.
Pls keep up the good work….. thank you!

John February 26, 2010 at 12:38 am

Writing was perfect and the camera speaks for itself…not much to argue about here.

Laura June 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I am an art director who appreciates really great photos, but I am not well versed in the technical aspects of shooting. These days I am mostly shooting my kids. I am tired of lugging around my Nikon D80, Nikon D40, and a separate HD video camera. These big cameras are giving me trouble in the odd lighting situations I wind up in for various events while in the auto mode (I know, I’ve got to get out of that). I see my friends with no design backgrounds at all getting nice photos with their point and shoot cameras, and with HD built in. Can you advise me as to what compact camera to buy? I have been looking seriously at the G11, LX3, and EP1. I think I would love the Gll except for the video is not in HD. I like that the lens cap is built in and the zoom is longer. I did not want to spend the more $$ for the LX1, but would I be sorry? What about selling the Nikons–are they worth anything used? I just want an easier way to carry around my camera without compromising too much. Cameras that are slow really frustrate me, which is why I have stuck with lugging around my DSLR.

Enche Tjin June 24, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I did not want to spend the more $$ for the LX1, but would I be sorry? <– can't understand this.

What about selling the Nikons–are they worth anything used? <– yeah I think D80 and D40 price is still good in used market.

I still think that DSLR is better for shooting kids, because it is fast and responsive, however, if you insist of portability, I suggest Panasonic GF1, its auto focus is faster than compacts/

Michael Barkowski July 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

Nice post. Check your specs in the chart at the bottom for the G11: should be f/2.8-4.5 IS and a 2.8″ LCD I believe.

Getting big depth of field coverage with a DSLR, handheld, is indeed hard. Sure, a DSLR can catch fast action, but with a shallow depth-of-field, which doesn’t always cut it: okay for one kid running around inside the house, but not always covering the whole group of kids, unless you use the flash or stick to really wide-angle focal lengths.

And hey, not every landscape photographer can stand to be caught interchanging lenses while the light is changing.

Older compacts had very limited flexibility when you added up the ISO and aperture limitations, but the G11 seems to be showing that compact cameras can be used for serious photography and in certain contexts can be just as flexible as entry-level DSLRs.

I am in the process of selling my DSLR equipment so that I can buy a G11. Part of the reason is that as a parent I have lots of things to carry besides photo equipment.

I will appreciate the ISO and exposure dials on the top. And who needs a top LCD when the settings are already displayed by the positions of the dials? :)

I tried the manual focus on the G11 in store, and it seems quite usable, which is amazing for a compact. Having a really magnificent macro mode, with twist-and-flip LCD, once again trumps DSLRs in multiple ways for nature photography which is what I most want to do with it.

Enche Tjin July 13, 2010 at 11:41 am

Thanks for sharing and the correction :)

Zamri August 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I own both Canon G11 & Panasonic GF-1. My suggestion is still the G11 ( better price=good picture) But if you are looking for more depth of field go for the GF-1. Both camera picture quality is almost the same unless you are Detail Freak

Zamri August 23, 2010 at 3:42 am

Now i m using the GF1 with the 14mm lense….. the “compact” is gone… If you still prefer the “Compact” use the GF1 with the 20mm lense

Enche Tjin August 23, 2010 at 3:54 am

hmm? I though you like the G11 more?

Zamri August 27, 2010 at 12:50 am

Yeah, i still like the G11 for it compact size, what i meant is we lose the “compact factor” if we use the GF1 with the 14-45mm lense

Zamri September 1, 2010 at 7:04 am

Recently a friend of mine bought Canon S90… after days of taking several picture from various mode of days & places, i was so suprised the small Canon S90 were able to produce such an amazing picture quality ( nearly as good as Panasonic GF1 or Canon G11…!!!!!!)… I ask him how did he found out the capability of the Canon S90… he told me that Digital Photography Interface ( ) is the only website that tell the TRUTH about digital cameras that are vailable on the market period…. Strange but true…

Rosnani Awang September 4, 2010 at 12:12 am

it true unless we are “detail freak”… picture quality print out from S90 are more/less to that of Panasonic DMC GF1…. so why pay more when you can get more for less…. And always kept in mind that in a few month time , new digital camera will be born…
Digital Race …. ;-)

farhang October 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm

مقایسه دوربین هایی که 400 دلار اختلاف قیمت دارند به درد کسی که میخواد دوربین بخره نمیخوره .

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