If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you’ll know I’m a big fan of the recently announced Panasonic GF1 micro four thirds system camera. Basically, you get the picture quality and user controls found on entry-level DSLRs, plus a plethora of useful features found on advanced point & shoots, but in a very small package. It’s like an oversized point & shoot camera with interchangeable lenses. The only competition at the moment is the Olympus E-P1, which was released earlier this summer. The E-P1 has been a huge hit, with its retro look and small size. Unfortunately, it lacks built-in flash, is very slow at auto focusing, and the display is relatively low-resolution. The new GF1 comes with a pop-up flash, is very speedy at auto focusing, and has a display with twice the resolution of the E-P1, but lacks in-body image stabilization (IS), meaning that if IS is important to you then you have to buy lenses with IS built in. At the moment there really aren’t that many micro 4/3rds lenses available, but that should change over the next year or so. So far the reviews on the GF1 have been great, but the one review I’ve been waiting for is from dpreview.com, which was just posted on their website today. If you’re interested in the GF1 and would like the 411 on this new toy, then you’ll want to read the full review. There’s more big news on the micro 4/3rds front coming at the end of this month, with rumour of Olympus releasing their second offering in this category — possibly an improved E-P1 (E-P2?). I’ll be posting the news once it’s released on the 31st.
You can pick up the Panasonic GF1 kit at Vistek in Toronto for $1,099 with the 20mm f/1.7 prime lens, and $1,199 with the 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. The Olympus PEN E-P1 kit sells for $999 with 17mm f/2.8 prime lens and optical viewfinder, and $899 with the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. If Olympus does announce a new and improved PEN camera on the 31st, it’s reasonable to expect a price drop on the E-P1.