Panasonic DMC-GH1 Review – 12.1MP Digital Camera with 1080p HD Video
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I have recently been using a Panasonic Lumix G1 which is an excellent camera however I was looking to upgrade to a camera that had the great features of the G1 with more capabilities which would allow me to do more with my photography venture.  I thought I would have to switch brands to find what I was looking for until I was browsing through Panasonic cameras and immediately spotted the Panasonic GH1.

The GH1 first caught my eye due to its unusual shape with other features that are obvious in relationship to the size of the camera.  Well the unique shape and size of the camera worked in garnering my attention because I decided to investigate a little further.  Here is my Panasonic GH1 review which reveals what I found in this exceptional and capable camera.

Panasonic GH1 Appearance

Panasonic GH1

The GH1 has an appearance that is obvious when it sits among other similar model cameras.  The GH1 has a peculiar shape which makes some of the features look displaced in proportion to the rest of the camera.  Nevertheless, the features in this little camera are quite comprehensive and the feel is much heavier and more substantial than the G1.  The GH1 also allows for a firm grip on the rubber-like exterior which is purposely situated close to the lens so you can take clear pictures with one hand without the camera slipping away from you.

Panasonic GH1 Exterior Features

Although the exterior features are obvious due to the GH1 design the features are what make this model camera exceptional when it comes to performance.

The repertoire of features on the top deck of the Panasonic GH1 are well placed for easy access and functionality.  The mode dial is unusually large with easy to read functions and is surrounded by one switch that powers up the camera and another that allows you to adjust the Drive mode with room left over to add in three more modes including the Movie mode.

Also on the top deck is a nifty popup flash casing with two microphones cleverly mounted on the top. The entire assembly pops up when you use the flash feature on the GH1.  The shutter release function is set on a metal stand which allows you to easily locate it with the front dial located just below it provides an easy way to change the speed settings and activate the EV adjustment mode.

The only exterior feature you should be aware of is the loops which are located on both sides and attach to a carrying strap.  If you allow these to move while you are in recording mode it is picked up the microphones so it is best to secure them before switching on the recording function.

Swivel LCD

Panasonic GH1 Back

The Panasonic GH1 has a neat LCD swivel that swings out on a solid hinge but pivots in different direction to allow more flexibility including taking a picture of yourself.  When you fold the swivel back in toward the camera unit, it will automatically deactivate and turn off.

1080p HD Video

The Panasonic GH1’s video function is completely awesome thanks to the 12.1 megapixel high-speed Live MOS sensor which delivers imaging with minimal noise and Venus Engine HD image processor with dual CPUs.  The GH1 also has a 10x zoom interchangeable lens with D-SLR photo quality and Face Recognition which will remember the faces once they are entered into the unit.

The GH1 also offers extreme high definition video capability which includes auto focus while you are recording videos.  Videos can be recorded at either 1080i or 720p modes with the second mode operating at 60 frames per second.  The video features do not stop here with the offering of an Optical Image Stabilizer which prevents burring that sometimes occurs when your hands shake and when using the high powered zoom feature.

The Intelligent Exposure feature will automatically check the ambient light level and make the necessary adjustments as the light levels change throughout the recording of the video.  This feature also includes an Intelligent Scene Selector which will automatically adjust from normal, close-up, scenery, and portrait settings in low light mode.

If you want to see the video quality for yourself there are Panasonic GH1 sample videos available online for you to view for free. This will provide you with an idea of the awesome result you will get with the HD video capability on the Panasonic GH1.

Shooting Photos

The Panasonic GH1 has two special lenses to make shooting photos a superb experience with a 7-14mm f/4 Aspherical which offers unique angles and the 14-140 offering a 10x range which makes subjects easy to recognize.  The GH1 also contains features that allow you to take a wide variety of different photos with the interchangeable lenses which allow for different shooting settings and subjects.  The zoom on both lenses works somewhat on the stiff side however this is an advantage because it does not accidentally move when the camera is at rest.

The Verdict

The Panasonic GH1 provides a wonderful upgrade while maintaining all of the great features of the G1.  It also meets the goals of camera connoisseurs who desire to have a smaller camera and optics while achieving higher quality photos and videos.  The end result of photos is great once they are printed and the video quality is very professional and impressive.  The retail price can be quite high coming in around $1500 however I found a great deal on this beauty for several hundred dollars less here.

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