Lumix GF1 GET!

I supposed I have to thank (blame?) Danny for influencing me on this giant purchase ^^;. For some odd reason, I can’t seem to find any store (Best Buy, Sears, etc) that carries this camera so I never got to play around with it to make up my mind on whether to buy it or not. During the DC meetup at AX, I asked Danny if I could check out his GF1 for a bit and after shooting a few shots, I immediately fell in love with it… and my XSi felt lacking ever since. After coming back to Portland, I started my hunt for the best deal on this…

Intro: Think of this camera as a “hybrid” between a compact and SLR camera. While having the same (and in some instances, better) performance as entry-level SLR cameras and lens-swapping (Micro 4/3) capabilities, I also have the portability and light weight of a compact camera. WIN-WIN! The best deal I found was on Amazon which included a free viewfinder ($129 value). I am planning on selling it to recuperate some of the loss from the camera purchase though ^^;. I like how the box has no pictures of the actual camera whatsoever.

Since I know little to nothing about real photography and all their jargons, I’m just gonna briefly go over its actual usage and practicality for me compared to my Canon XSi. I won’t be going stuff like megapixels, dpi, metering, and all that stuff. The first question I always get about my camera is “how many megapixels does it have?”… I usually tell them I have no idea and that holds some truth to it (I don’t even know how many MP my XSi has). Frankly speaking, I really don’t care about MP in today’s cameras and there are way more important specs to worry about… like the lens. Back to the camera…  It is certainly has a gorgeous looking body due to its all-black understated “serious business” look. Very solid and feels very rigid… think Thinkpad.

The overall design of the body seems to take a lot of consideration for its user;On the top- it has a hot shoe cover (which the XSi lacks), a dedicated video record button, and a dedicated switch for single shot, burst shot, timer shot options (as opposed to changing it on screen).

I like how the SD card and battery goes in the same compartment (the XSi has them separate). I like how the door for the ports is solid plastic and spring loaded as opposed to the XSi’s “rubber seal” that would eventually be pulled out of shape.

It’s like… the most sophistical spring arm design for a built-in flash ever.

While slightly different dimensions, the battery is almost as big as the XSi’s battery! The battery charger has an unnecessary cord… Canon got it right by just building the plug into the charger but the cord has its merits too; the lumix charger doesn’t obstruct up any adjacent outlets.

If you care about how it looks like while charging…

Oh yea… gotta make sure to pick up the right memory card too!

Relative to the camera body, the 14-45 mm (I don’t even know what this means) kit lens are a bit big but still smaller than the XSi’s.

The camera felt a bit awkward to shoot with at first due to a lack of an actual viewfinder and giant lens, it soon became a breeze to shoot once getting the hang of it.

I also picked up the “Pancake” lens too since I heard oh so many praises about it even though it doesn’t have Image Stabilization… and after taking it for a spin inside and out, I don’t think it needs it.

Almost half the length of the kit lens!

Now the camera looks more appropriate for on-the-run duties ^^

Makes my older SX100 looks like a joke… haha

GF1 compared to the XSi. Lugging the XSi around for two hours is probably the longest I would like to hold onto it. During AX, I had the XSi around my neck/shoulder for 8+ hours everyday and it was really tiresome dealing with the weight and bulkiness of it. My neck felt like it was going to snap off! This is when the idea of having the GF1 became extremely appealing.

Something I can’t do on my XSi – choosing aspect ratios! I use 3:2 for figures and 16:9 for outside/landscape stuff. 1:1 maybe for package shots. One strange thing though is that you can’t set ISO on auto unless you’re in fully automatic (ew…).

The greatest thing about setting the shutter speed and aperture is that this camera tells you the most effective range  in relation to each other and according to the current lighting condition. So handy! No more spending time playing around figuring out which speed to use!

TEST SHOTS

The colors are certainly nice and easy to my eyes, yea?

With the pancake lens

With the Kit lens… I really don’t see difference between the two in terms of “stuff to see”. Maybe I need to do more… >_>

A better shot with the pancake lens. I love how clear and clean the shots come out even without IS!

From the SHF Kamen Rider Kabuto review. All the shots of the last post were taken with this camera.

Random shot of the lens cap on a computer seat.

This night shot (taken with the pancake lens) is better than any of the night shots I’ve tried with my XSi…

Do you like Milkis?

How about some Curry flavor Ramune?

No sign is going to stop me…

BBQ

Here’s where the real testing comes to play. I am standing the whole time with only one hand free while the other hand is holding a plate of food. Let’s see how well the GF1 does…

(Note: All the photos from here on are taken with the pancake lens on full manual)

The white balance (on auto) is surprisingly accurate to the real world… including the bluish overcast. I probably should’ve changed it to another setting to remove it though. Grilled chicken wings and masami sausages.

I love the pancake lens! It is so snappy! I usually take photos with the aperture set between 1.7 and 4.0 and shutter speed between 1/20 – 1/500, at ISO 100-200. I get maybe just 1 blurry photo in probably like every 30 shots. When using my Canon macro lens (which also doesn’t have IS) on my XSi, I get maybe just 1 CLEAR shot for every 30 shots (I blame myself for that though).

BBQ was at my sensei‘s house. Just about everyone at the BBQ speaks some level of Japanese since it was mostly Japanese people, Japanese students, Japanese Major students, and the likes ^^.

Grilled beef skewers (yakiniku) <3. My sensei is such an awesome cook… I could never replicate the taste and tenderness of his grilled steaks TToTT

Traditional Japanese summer activity during such gatherings, Suikawari. Pretty cute watching the kids trying to hit the watermelon with the bat ^^.

They did it!

The flower vase on the table. This is where the camera shines! though I wish I had changed the white balance first…

Nice soft bokeh yea?

Zoom in enough and I can actually see the center of the flower very clearly ^^;

I don’t think I’ve taken this clean of a shot at flowers before with my XSi… so I was pretty impressed ^^;.

That’s it for now. Definitely more to come later as I become more accustomed to my new toy. I’m having a lot of fun carrying it around with me and just taking pictures ^^. It’s so quick and easy to use outside! The smaller size and weight make using my XSi feels like a handful now but I won’t be abandoning it though. I’ll probably continue using my XSi for “studio” work (reviews) and the GF1 for everything else. Ugh… I forgot what else I wanted to say… oh guess I forgot to cover the ever-so-speedy auto-focus on this camera. Maybe next time ^^;

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34 thoughts on “Lumix GF1 GET!

  1. If you are unsure, I can say that your Canon EOS XSi has more potential and can take higher quality photos than the Panasonic. But of course, you paid for convenience and not absolute quality.

    Those mm on the lens refer to its zoom. The higher the number, the more zoom it gets. Unfortunately, the number cant really be directly compared between your Lumix and your Canon, because the sensor, which is the object that converts the shot into digital information, is of a different size for each.

    1. oh for sure the XSi would have more potential than the GF1 but I don’t have the money to afford the “arsenal” to bring out its shooting potentials. For now, the GF1 wins in terms of speedy shooting and quality outside.

      1. FYI the size of digital censor from Micro 4/3 camera like your GF1 is half-size of pro DSLR’s censor such as Canon 1D/5D or Nikon D3/D700, which mean the zoom range of your new kit lens is just like your old DSLR kit lens (if it a canon 18-55mm I assume)

        If you think you don’t need that pancake lens think it again, it’s useful for shooting in low light condition.

      2. FYI the size of digital censor from Micro 4/3 camera like your GF1 is half-size of pro DSLR’s censor such as Canon 1D/5D or Nikon D3/D700, which mean the zoom range of your new kit lens is just like your old DSLR kit lens (if it a canon 18-55mm I assume)

        If you think you don’t need that pancake lens think it again, it’s useful for shooting in low light condition.

  2. looks like the Lumix is growing in popularity these days, and I can see why… even with just the manual settings, you can do some professional work. a very nice toy you have there :3

  3. I’m still with my Rebel XS, but well compact SLR is fun to have.

    but I like Sony NEX-5 better, with his Auto HDR and 3D panoramic photography features (just got brainwashed last Sunday)

    1. sorry but i am terribly biased against sony products (mainly their cameras and computers) so their cameras never crossed my mind ^^;. I’ll admit it looks sweet though and does have a lot more gimmick than most brands out there…

  4. I’ve been rocking the Lumix series since I started blogging, using the FX-01 at first and upgrading to a FZ7 a few months ago. They’ve always been great to use and I can definitely tell that one of these will be a nice purchase somewhere down the line.

    1. The FZ7 is one sexy looking megazoom PnS! But really this is my first time ever handling a Lumix so I have no idea what to expect… and since it’s a GF1, I guess it skewed my opinion on them hehe.

      1. Nothing wrong with that! I did a little searching today and holy crow, the GF1 is expensiiiiiiive…which didn’t stop me from considering one somewhere down the line instead of a PG or something like that.

  5. And all this time I thought you had a professional camera or somethin’…but that Canon looks like one of them old cameras from 5 years ago. I’d wager that my ordinary digital camera could produce better pics if I adjusted the settings correctly.

    Did you have to buy the pancake lens seprately? If so, how much did it cost?

    And did the kit lens come with the camera? O__o

    1. I supposed you can call the XSi “professional”… even though it’s entry level stuff.

      yes, the pancake lens was separate for a cool $350-ish or so.

      and do you think kit lens would come with the camera? ;P

  6. The reason why the pancake lens has the best night shots is quite simply because it has the largest aperture. Your pancake lens has an aperture of ƒ1.7. The lower the number, the larger the aperture. The larger the aperture, the more light it can collect at once, so they have great performance under low light.

  7. That’s a nice purchase…. Wish you had that when we went on the late night food run!! Thinking of getting one myself. . . hopefully soon. .. I’ll keep on checking in to see the work of that camera.

  8. Hey, Z. You have a Sony Walkman MP3 player, correct? I have one to, despite being a different model than yours.

    Anyways, since they’re both Sony Walkmans, I’ve been having a few issues with mine recently (only had it for a little over a month) and I’d like to know if you’ve ever encountered these problems with yours or if you know any way to fix it.

    For some reason, if I don’t use my Walkman for over 2 days, it won’t turn back on when I try to turn it on. None of the buttons work, and I have to connect it to my computer for it to start up again. (even when I connect it to my computer, it takes a good 10 minutes to start up)

    The common cause of this problem is usually low battery, but I always have it turned off and on hold…and besides, when it’s fresh outta battery, won’t there be a brief message saying that it’s outta battery?

    I’m planning on repairing it via Sony (cuz Wal-mart wouldn’t accept any exchange…those bastards…) but I was wondering if you have any knowledge about this…have you ever ran into any problems with your Walkman?

    I actually had another walkman (different model) before the one I have now…but that one never had problems and unfortunatly got run through the washer, thus leading me to getting a new one. (and this one apparently has issues!)

    1. Sorry can’t help you on this one… I don’t have any problems with mine this whole time. Just the headphone dying quickly… but that’s Sony for you.

  9. Bro, for the price you can buy a nice lens for your XSi already..

    “No more spending time playing around figuring out which speed to use!”

    You don’t need to put full manual to take pics. Semi auto will do.

    1. Yea i know I could… but I want something portable and easy to shoot with while I’m on the run outside. This is great for that.

  10. Camera upgrades feel great, don’t they? :D
    I just picked up a Sigma 17-70mm HSM OS lens for my Nikon D60 to replace the kit lens. The upgrade is amazing.

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