Buying Guide: which m43 Panasonic Camera?

by Enche Tjin on November 28, 2009

Panasonic micro four third system cameras are usually mistakenly considered as DSLR camera.  This system is quite popular this year of 2009. Generally the cameras have a smaller camera body relative to DSLR camera, but have many similar feats such as large image sensor and interchangeable lenses.

So far, Panasonic has released three cameras in the market: Here are the highlights:

panasonic-g1Panasonic G1 $700

This is the first m43 camera. It is simple, the most affordable in the market. Although a bit dated, this camera performs as well as GH1 or the new GF1. The main difference between G1 and other Panasonic camera is the video feature. G1 does not record video. Unlike GF1, you have hi-res electronic viewfinder on the top which is great in bright light situation or if you are used to shoot with viewfinder like in DSLR camera. It also has swivel LCD screen which can help you to shoot in extreme angle. I recommend this camera if you are only shooting still photography.


  • Hi res electronic viewfinder with 1.44 dots
  • Swivel LCD screen

Panasonic GH1 $1425

The GH1 shares the same body design as G1 but GH1 adds video feature. It is one of the best camera for shooting video right now. It can record Full HD 1080p video 30 fps in motion jpg and AVCHD format. Unlike other DSLR camera, AF tracking when shooting video is possible and quite smooth. It also has stereo sound and external microphone connector. The kit lens that comes with this camera is very versatile for walk around and has silent focusing motor. For video enthusiasts, this might be a great starting point.


  • Full HD Video recording
  • AF Tracking is possible
  • Nice versatile kit lens
  • Swivel LCD screen
  • Good audio with External microphone option
  • Good value for money

Panasonic GF1 $899

panasonic-gf1-hands-onGF1 is optimized for its compactness, but at the expense on other features such as built-in viewfinder, pistol hand grip and swivel LCD screen. Along with Olympus E-P1, it is the smallest interchangeable lens camera up to date. The design looks like supersized version of compact camera, Panasonic LX3. It realizes its full potential when mounted with small Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens. GF1 can also record video, but only 720p and mono audio.

So, GF1 is a compromise version of G1 and GH1. if you regularly shoot with zoom lens and only shoot still photography, Panasonic G1 is probably a more effective and efficient way to go. On the other hand, if you like shooting video, GH1 is better option. The only time when you want to buy GF1 is when you want a very compact package (with 20mm f/1.7) for street photography.


  • Small package especially with 20mm f/1.7 lens
  • 720p Video recording

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