Pros The automatic performance right out of the box is impressive; good for pictures; good for movies.
Cons The manual is half a nightmare and takes ages to understand. No subject is covered without references to other pages; Integration with Mac I could not find and it would be so much easier if the manual were written with the user in mind.
Summary The intelligent automatic mode for pictures is a charm and invites to find the limits of capabilities. Once familiar it seems to make always perfect shots. Settings are available in abundance giving enough options to do it sometimes better and mostly worse than automatic !
The movie is so good that one forgets it is a photo camera. iMovie on a Mac reads/imports without problem and the results are professional.
A better user manual in stead of the rather technical listing of capabilities would be desirable to quickly get the best out of this fantastic camera.
Pros Excellent video capability (picture quality, stereo mic built in, auto and manual controls, autofocus while recording are all outstanding), very good digital pictures, and a lot of flexibility. 10x zoom kit lens also beats what comes with most DSLRs.
Cons It's expensive, and a couple of the buttons are located where they are easy to press by mistake.
Summary If you're looking for one camera that can double as both a digital camera and camcorder, there really is no other camera that comes close to the DMC-GH1.
Pros - Picture Quality is excellent
- Video quality is amazing, toss the video cam!
- Very fast autofocus
- Shot to shot time is very fast, night and day from point and shoot camera
- Smaller than the other traditional DSLR's, body and lenses
Cons Expensive! Price has come down since the initial CNet review but it's still pricey. If you don't require top notch video you have cheaper alternatives. I prefer to have my camera and video camera in 1 device rather than carry 2 separate devices.
Summary We bought this camera as a step up from all the point and shoot cameras we have had over the years. We simply wanted to capture the moment with our family and children and not wait forever for the point and shoot camera and then realize the picture quality was sub par after the fact either because lighting was not ideal or the point and shoot took 2-3 seconds to take the next shot. After a lot of internet research and in store handling of the cameras we narrowed it down to the Panasonic Lumix GH1, Nikon D5000 and Canon T1i. All of them seemed like great cameras but we bought the Panasonic Lumix GH1 over those for several reasons that I outlined below. During the process it was also apparent that depending on which store you walked into each of them had their own reasons and incentives why they want to sell you a particular brand. Do your homework and research and base your decision on that, not a sales associate or store that receives added incentives to sell 1 brand vs the other. We found that most camera folks were not necessarily educated on Micro 4/3's cameras yet. I knew more than the associate helping typically because of the hours of research I did on the internet. 90% of the major retailers did not even carry the Lumix G line which seems to be a big mistake by Panasonic. With such a fine product Panasonic is missing the boat by selecting a few retailers to carry this product. This product should be on all the major retail shelves with the Nikons and Canons of the world.
Here are our reasons why we selected the GH1.
#1 - GH1 is smaller than other DSLR's making it more portable, especially with 20mm pancake lens.
#2 - The video capabilities of the GH1 are superior, no comparison with Nikon and Canon. Silent lens, zoom abilities,etc.
#3 - Picture quality was equal amongst D5000 and T1i at typical settings that an average joe would use. Extreme ISO settings the Nikon was better but for practical use that had no significance for us.
#4 - All of the Panasonic lenses are smaller, not sure if that is a Micro 4/3's thing or simply a Panasonic thing.
#5 - Camera build feels solid.
I recommend buying the 20mm pancake lens as well so you can make this completely portable. That lens is phenomenal. Low light, fast, very sharp. Just realize your feet are your zoom now with the 20mm lens.
Finally, CNet was a great resource to read about all these cameras. They should update their review now that the price has dropped significantly.
Pros The GH1 takes well exposed, clear natural looking pictures. Handles well. Fast performance. Much lighter than the competing (SLRs) with similar performance and equivalent lens. Reaonable, given the range of the lens. Great screen and viewfinder.
Cons Kit lens mount is loose; the lens rotates about 1/32" & makes a clicking sound when it is zoomed to either the wide or the telephoto end of its range. This happened on both the original one I bought and the replacement. Design or quality problem?
Summary The GH1 takes extremely good pictures and is very fast in operation. As I said in the pros, it is fast, handles well and is relatively light given the range of the lens and the features it offers. Similalry, the price -- now that it has come closer to $1,250 to $1,300 -- is not unreasonable for what the camera offers. The video quality is excellent.
I have owned two of them -- one that I returned to the retailer (Crutchfield, which was very good about the exchange) and the replacement. Both of them have had flawed lens mounts on the body and/or on the lens itself. That is, the lenes rotate about 1/32". This lens play results in a clicking sound when you zoom either all the way out to the 14 mm end of the range or all the way in to the 140mm end of the range.
I have seen at least 5 other complaints about the loose lens mount on line.
I am waiting to hear from Panasonic about the problem.
Can someone at CNET give me some more insight into the problem and whether it could result in a light leak, harm the focus or some other aspect of picture taking?
Pros Light weight, DOF (Depth of Field) in videos, interchangeable lenses. Incredible 1080i HD video. 12.1 Megapixel camera not bad either and it records to HDHC cards.
Cons No headphone output, and you can't control the audio levels. Something to shoot for on the next model.
Summary You can spend $3000 to $4000 on a HD camcorder then another $1500 to $3000 for the DOF adapter or you can buy this camera and a portable audio recorder and get great quality. I own the canon XH-A1 and I am selling it.