Beyond point-and-shoot

January 21, 2010

Panasonic GF1

As the gadget guy around the office – particularly when it comes to cameras – I get asked a lot about the latest and the greatest. A number of our staff this year wanted to upgrade from their point and shoot to something a little more robust. At the same time, there was a reluctance to go all the way with a big DSLR. Fortunately for them, I’ve been playing with one of the new micro four-thirds cameras, which may be the perfect step between the tiny point and shoot and the big gun DSLR.

I’ve been working with the Panasonic GF1 for the past few weeks and have found it to be a good camera, capable of taking very good photos. By removing the mirror that allows for through-the-lens focusing, Panasonic has built a camera not much larger than a point and shoot. The GF1 operates automatically or manually, and takes video. The big advantage, though, is the ability to swap out lenses.

Panasonic has two other slightly larger M4/3 cameras, the G1 and GH1. Olympus also markets a M4/3, the EP-1 and now EP-2. Both the Olympus and Panasonic cameras are getting good reviews. Both are in the $800-$1,000 range, depending on lens and accessories. For anyone who wants more flexibility than a point and shoot, and is willing to accept a slightly larger camera, micro four thirds is worth a look.

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