Panasonic Digital SLR Cameras

Page updated: October 2009

Panasonic Digital SLRs

Panasonic unveiled their first digital SLR at the Photo Marketing Association International Tradeshow in February of 2006.

The DMC-L1 was the result of a partnership between 3 companies: Panasonic, Olympus and Leica.

However, after the release of a couple of "traditional" digital SLRs, Panasonic branched off has been working on an entirely new type of camera.

panasonic dmc-g1
panasonic dmc-gf1 digital slr

The Panasonic Team

Panasonic was late to the digital SLR market, but they entered it with a bang.

The company partnered with Olympus - already well known for their digital slr cameras - and Leica - a company renowned for its exceptional optics.

The Panasonic cameras benefit from two Olympus technologies:

  1. Live view LCDs
  2. Dust control systems

The Leica lenses for the Panasonic digital SLR cameras leverage Panasonic's own Mega-OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) that they already use in their compact cameras to minimize the effects of camera shake.

A New Breed of Camera

In December of 2008, Panasonic launched a milestone camera: the DMC-G1.

What was so remarkable about this camera is that it created an entirely new category for itself:

  • Pansonic removed the optical viewfinder that is present in all digital SLRs and replaced it with an electronic one
  • The removal of the optical viewfinder dramatically reduced the size of the camera - but still allowed for interchangeable lenses

This camera is not a true SLR - since the name SLR implies that the camera includes an optical viewfinder made up of mirrors.

It's also not like any other compact, because you can change the lenses on it whenever you want.

This new camera type is called Micro 4/3rds, or interchangeable lens digital camera (ILDC).

It takes two of the advantages of a digital SLR - better image quality and swappable lenses - and puts them all in a camera body that's exceptionally small and light.

Panasonic DMC-G1
Release Date
December 2008
panasonic dmc-g1
Key Features12 megapixels, live view LCD
UniquenessFirst Micro 4/3rds camera
Great ForTravel
LevelBeginner to Intermediate
Avg. Kit Price$630 convert currency
CompetitorsOlympus E-420
If you're seeking a camera that's the first of it's kind, then the DMC-G1 is the one to get. The live view LCD flips out from the camera body and swivels for high and low-angle photography. The optical viewfinder has been replaced with an electronic viewfinder (EVF) that is designed to mimic the clarity and accuracy of its analog counterpart. The camera is compatible with all standard 4/3rds lenses via a special adapter.
Compare prices for the DMC-G1 at Amazon, Adorama or B&H Photo Video
Panasonic DMC-GH1
Release Date
May 2009
panasonic dmc-gh1
Key Features12 megapixels, live view LCD, HD video recording
UniquenessFirst Micro 4/3rds camera with video
Great ForFamily, Travel
LevelBeginner to Intermediate
Avg. Kit Price$1,500
CompetitorsCanon T1i (500D), Nikon D5000
Aspiring videographers will want to bypass the DMC-G1 entirely and go for the DMC-GH1, which includes high-definition video capture in addition to stills. A big plus is that autofocus will work in video mode, unlike the Nikon D90. A built-in stereo microphone can be enhanced with an external mic, and the dedicated video record button allows you to switch seamlessly between stills and video.
Compare prices for the DMC-GH1 at Amazon, Adorama or B&H Photo Video
Panasonic DMC-GF1 - NEW!
Release Date
October 2009
panasonic dmc-gf1
Key Features12 megapixels, live view LCD, HD video recording
UniquenessNo viewfinder
Great ForFamily, Travel
LevelBeginner to Intermediate
Avg. Kit Price$880
CompetitorsOlympus E-P1
The GF1 changes the shape of Panasonic's micro 4/3rds line, taking advantage of the small size and weight that is possible with this camera type by removing the viewfinder. Despite the lack of a viewfinder, the camera still includes a host of features: dust control, image stabilization, High Definition 720p video capture, face detect autofocus and more.
Compare prices for the DMC-GF1 at Amazon, Adorama or B&H Photo Video

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