"Game-changing," "historic" and "breakthrough" are some of the adjectives critics use when talking about the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, which is the first non-SLR digital camera to offer the option of interchangeable lenses. Picture quality is excellent -- competitive with those from high-quality digital SLR cameras in side-by-side tests. Virtually every digital camera feature -- save a movie mode -- is here, as are some DSLR features, such as a dust-reduction system. This Micro Four-Thirds (Micro 4/3) system digital camera is larger than typical compact digital cameras, yet smaller than most DSLRs. On the downside, only one accessory zoom lens is currently available, though an optional adapter allows the use of standard 4/3 lenses. The biggest negative is price, as the DMC-G1 costs more than some entry-level digital SLR cameras. While there is no direct competition for this camera yet, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (*est. $405) is a substantially smaller and substantially less expensive advanced compact digital camera with tons of features and great image quality. While the 24mm Leica-branded zoom lens is not changeable, reports indicate it's a cut above the norm. One negative is that the lens has a very short, 2.5x zoom range.
Reviews are starting to appear for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. The most comprehensive ones can be read at camera enthusiast websites such as The Imaging Resource, DCResource.com, and DigitalCameraReview.com, while PopPhoto.com and CNet.com offer good (though less detailed) reports. We found too few user reports for any source to be of much value for those.
The reviewers at The Imaging Resource are clearly impressed with most aspects of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. Photos are compared side-by-side with those from a high-quality DSLR camera, and the results are "too close to call." The Imaging Resource produces reviews that are comprehensive and highly detailed, with tons of sample photos.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Review, Shawn Barnett, Dave Etchells and Zig Weidelich, Nov. 13, 2008
Jeff Keller's reviews at DCResource.com are exhaustive without being exhausting, offering lots for both the beginner and expert. Keller tends to recommend fewer digicams than some other reviewers, but the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 makes the cut. While some areas for improvement are noted, including price, Keller also says "Panasonic has done a superb job with the G1 in nearly all respects."
Review: DCRP Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, Jeff Keller, Nov. 22, 2008
DigitalCameraInfo.com is known for highly detailed and highly critical reporting on digital cameras, and this review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is no exception. Steve Morgenstern is impressed with the camera, but outlines three concerns: the newness of the format, the size of the camera relative to other digital cameras and that the DMC-G1 might be too intimidating for less experienced shooters.
Review: Panasonic Lumix G1 Digital Camera Review, Steve Morgenstern, Nov. 11, 2008
4. Popular Photography
Though the camera is called "imperfect," the editors of Popular Photography still name the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 as the Camera of the Year for 2008. That award is based on performance, but mostly on the fact that the camera represents "a re-defining moment" for digital photography.
Review: Camera of the Year 2008: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, Editors of PopPhoto.com, Dec. 2008
Lori Grunin at CNet.com says the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 is a camera that gets and deserves high marks; however, she adds, it is also one "I don't necessarily like as much as the rating would suggest." Speed, photo quality and interchangeable-lens flexibility are positives, while "large-ish" size, the viewfinder and an "occasionally frustrating design" are turn-offs.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 (Black), Lori Grunin, Nov. 14, 2008
Amazon.com hasn't accumulated too many reviews yet for the Panasonic Lumix camera, but since this was a new model at the time of our visit, we anticipate more reviews will be added quickly.
Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 12.1MP Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com