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Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Digital Camera Review

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Category: Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product: Panasonic Pen E-P2
Price: £95.00
Rating: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 - The Panasonic GF1 is the current champion of retro-looking Micro FourThirds cameras. Olympus want to challenge that title with the brand new E-P2 digital Pen. Sporting new Art filters, i-Enhance system and AF tracking, we find out if the extra 200 is well spent.

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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 in line
ePHOTOzine tester Matt Grayson pits the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 against the brand new Olympus E-P2.

Both cameras have a 12Mp sensor and artistic features as well as the same size sensor with the same resolution and enthusiast features such as Raw recording, hot-shoe for external flash and manual creative controls.

Now one of three members of the digital Pen series from Olympus, the E-P2 runs alongside the previously popular E-P1. Building on some of the successful parts of the E-P1 such as the Art modes being expanded to include a Diorama and Cross-processing mode, picture modes including a new portrait and i-Enhance mode. The previous optical viewfinder has been changed to an electronic viewfinder accessory.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus Cross Processing
A normally uninteresting picture takes on a different slant with the cross processing mode.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic silhouette mode
The silhouette mode is designed to blacken items with a light background but gives an edgy feel in normal light siuations. This photograph was taken on a very sunny day.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 is also one of three MFT (Micro FourThirds) models. Like the E-P2, the GF1 sports a cool retro design, picture mode filters such as pinhole and silhouette. It also has an intelligent exposure system similar to the new one on the Olympus.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Features
When the E-P1 landed in June 2009, anyone with a love for retro styled cameras drew a breath of excitement. The E-P2 continues the vintage styling but have opted for a stylish black finish on the exterior. Minor adjustments have been made to refine the model but this isn't an upgrade from the E-P1, it's expanding the range and with the announcement of the new E-PL1, there are now three models available to choose from.

Olympus E-P2 vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus held The Olympus E-P2 is in black and is the same size and weight as the E-P1. Olympus E-P2 vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus card inserted
SD and SDHC memory cards are accepted in the bottom of the camera.
Olympus E-P2 vs. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus top view
The same mode dial as the E-P1 isn't as easy to use as a normal one.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus main menu
The custom menu, indicated by two cogs, has to be enabled in the menu.

With the release of the new model at a starting price of £899 with the 14-42mm lens, it looks as though Olympus have been watching and learning from other manufacturers. No changes have been made to the sensor in terms of resolution, confirming what I said about the E system DSLRs that 12Mp seems to be the optimal resolution for the FourThirds/Micro FourThirds system. Only cosmetic changes have been made such as the expanded Art modes. Pentax first introduced a Cross-process mode on the Pentax K-x and it's a great feature, so it's good to see Olympus have included one on the E-P2.

Originally priced at £729, the GF1 has cascaded in price to an easier to swallow £589 with the 14-45mm lens. The GF1 does pretty much what the popular LX3 can do but has a larger sensor and interchangeable lenses so it's already better in my book. It's a welcoming option for users of prosumer compacts who desire the same small bodies but with the freedom of a DSLR. The technical features are up there with some of the more proficient DSLRs such as a 12Mp sensor, 3fps continuous shooting and Raw recording.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic held out
A great attempt to recreate the vintage look of bygone cameras by Panasonic.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic inserting the card
It's impossible to change cards when a quick release plate is attached.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Panasonic top view
A large command dial has been fitted to the GF1 and is easy to use.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic main menu
Five pages are tedious to red through and that's just the shooting menu.

The GF1 has received acclaim from numerous websites but most importantly, has received an Editor's Choice and Highly Recommended award right here on ePHOTOzine as well as winning the head to head test against the Olympus E-P1 which you can read here:

Olympus E-P1 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Handling
The first thing I noticed about the new E-P2 is that if you switch it on with the 14-42mm lens attached and forget to extend the lens, they've changed the message from the previous “check the status of a lens” mumbo jumbo, to a more coherent “The lens is locked. Please extend the lens”. Much nicer, and easier to understand because to the new user, they may not know that a relatively wide-angle lens such as this should be extended out like a superzoom lens and still get a wide field of view.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus top plate
Exposure compensation can be changed using the button next to the release.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus hot-shoe port
The electronic port accepts smart accesories such as the new viewfinder.

The Olympus feels better to hold which is simply down to the same fact as with the E-P1 in that I prefer bigger cameras and the Olympus is slightly bigger. It's open to personal interpretation and neither camera will be judged on it. All other buttons and dials are in the same place including the command dial which is set in to the body. It's not as easy to use as the Panasonic because it's easy to get your fingers caught on the screen that juts out slightly. The hot-shoe is slightly more raised to house the input for the electronic viewfinder (EVF) which comes included with the 14-42mm kit and is an upgrade from the optical type that the E-P1 uses.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Panasonic controls
Although only small, the buttons are laid out spaciously and clearly.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Panasonic top plate
The Panasonic has a dedicated video button for fast recording.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 also has an EVF available called the LVF-1E. It costs around £175 from Warehouse Express and has a relatively low resolution. I didn't find it easy enough to use and to echo my thoughts in the test against the E-P1, when using the EVF, all information is displayed there. I'd like to see shoot information split onto the back screen so the EVF can solely be used for shooting.

The rest of the camera is typically Panasonic in its layout and ease of use. The usual Q-menu is present for quick access to most used features while the menu is breezy and bright without too much jargon. The Panasonic is still comfortable to hold despite my penchant for something a bit larger.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Performance
Both cameras were put through their paces in a variety of conditions and tests. All pictures were taken in Raw and at the same time to ensure fairness. Adobe Camera Raw was used to convert the images to JPEG format.

Click on any of the thumbnails to open the full size images.

Exposure
In general circumstances, the Olympus E-P2 exposed images very well. It didn't have a problem until I tried to photograph subjects surrounded by light with the sun directly behind it. The multi (Digital ESP) metering had severe problems gaining any exposure in the silhouetted areas. Switching to centre-weighted metering can help because the metering is prioritised towards the middle of the image where the subject usually is, but it still struggled.

Spot metering will ignore the sky and expose for the subject but I got a lot of burn out when I did that as well as bleeding light over the subject. There are spot-hi and spot-shadow modes if you require further assistance to your images. Spot-hi will boost the exposure to ensure whites come out white while spot-shadow will ensure that shadows come out black.

Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus ESP metering
Olympus' new digital ESP metering has done well in a tricky situation.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Panasonic multi metering
Multi metering has been stifled by the amount of light pouring in.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus centre-weighted metering
Centre-weighted has helped a lot as it gives less priority to the edges.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Panasonic centre-weighted metering
Using centre-weighted metering has pushed a little more exposure in.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus spot metering
Spot metering has completely ignored the sky and exposed for the statue.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Panasonic spot metering
Spot metering has helped a lot to bring out the detail of the statue.

The Olympus copes well with diverse lighting such as long shadows over the ground or an item in shade that may have a streak of sunlight on it. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 also has trouble with the sun behind subjects and tends to silhouette the subject. Switching to centre-weighted doesn't make as much of a difference than the Olympus does with only a fraction of extra exposure in the shadow areas. Placing the camera in spot metering is a lot better than the E-P2. I got much more balanced exposures with less light bleeding.

Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus contrast
The Olympus gives a nice amount of contrast that's close to the day.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Panasonic contrast
The GF1 works contrast well, the sun wasn't as bright at this stage.

In diverse conditions, the Panasonic works well handling relatively hard shadows with ease and giving a good exposure. In normal conditions, the Panasonic performed as beautifully as the Olympus and it's a very close call between the two.

Focusing
One problem that plagued the E-P1 was the slow focusing but that was improved with the firmware update released in July 2009. The E-P2 has the same speed focusing system as the updated E-P1 although I found it tends to hunt a bit too much. AF tracking has been added to the E-P2 meaning that the camera will track its subjects and continuously expose and focus until the shot is taken or if the subject leaves the frame.

The Panasonic has 23 focus areas when you want to use spot AF mode and also has a tracking AF system. The focusing system on the Panasonic is very good and hardly needs to hunt.

Despite the Olympus hunting at times, when it does hit focus, the pictures are lovely and sharp. With less hunting through the range and also producing nice, sharp images, the Panasonic still has the edge.

Noise
I love the ISO100 performance from the Olympus in controlled light. It's utterly noiseless and the camera produces punchy colours. This is from Raw with all noise reduction systems turned off. Unfortunately, that's where the journey ends. Normally, I wouldn't be unhappy with how ISO200 works, but after seeing the lower setting, it has a high standard to meet. On its own, the performance is acceptable and in a normal situation, I would neither grumble nor really be able to see it.

Black & white noise starts to creep in slowly but surely and coloured spots are seen from ISO1600. The Olympus E-P2 has sensitivity settings to ISO6400 and this top end setting is pretty bad with the colour being sapped from the image and any straight lines getting broken up.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus noise test
Olympus noise test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Panasonic noise test
Panasonic noise test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olympus ISO100 test
Olympus ISO100 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO100 test
Panasonic ISO100 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olmypus ISO200 test
Olmypus ISO200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO200 test
Panasonic ISO200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olmypus ISO400 test
Olmypus ISO400 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO400 test
Panasonic ISO400 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olmypus ISO800 test
Olmypus ISO800 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO800 test
Panasonic ISO800 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olmypus ISO1600 test
Olmypus ISO1600 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO1600 test
Panasonic ISO1600 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olmypus ISO3200 test
Olmypus ISO3200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO3200 test
Panasonic ISO3200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Olmypus ISO6400 test
Olmypus ISO6400 test.








The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 has no ISO6400 setting.

Outside noise is very good on the Olympus with noise not showing through on my test shots until around ISO1600 and the noise that's being added is the same black & white as what I found on the high ISO images in controlled light.

The Panasonic works better at low level ISO and gives a reasonable result with no or little noise all the way to ISO800 and from ISO1600 is where the colour noise starts to come into the image with pink, blue and purple spots dotted all over the image except white areas.

The GF1 suffers more than the Olympus in normal light conditions. It still works well up to ISO800 and noise certainly enters the image at the same level as it does in controlled lighting, but the effect seems much worse and the level of noise on the ISO3200 image from the Panasonic seems to be the same as the Olympus at ISO6400.

Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus noise test
Olympus noise test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic noise test
Panasonic noise test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus ISO100 test
Olympus ISO100 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO100 test
Panasonic ISO100 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus ISO200 test
Olympus ISO200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO200 test
Panasonic ISO200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus ISO400 test
Olympus ISO400 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO400 test
Panasonic ISO400 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus ISO800 test
Olympus ISO800 test
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO800 test
Panasonic ISO800 test
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus ISO1600 test
Olympus ISO1600 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO1600 test
Panasonic ISO1600 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus ISO3200 test
Olympus ISO3200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic ISO3200 test
Panasonic ISO3200 test.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus ISO6400 test
Olympus ISO6400 test.









The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 has no ISO6400 setting.

I think the Olympus beats the Panasonic in the noise test because it has a tendency to add black & white noise which I find more appealing. There's still a distinct amount of colour noise, it's not completely gone but there seems to be a lot less than the Panasonic. Panasonic have fitted a noise reduction system to the Lumix-GF1 but it only works with long exposures, there's no hi-speed noise reduction system on the Panasonic. Comparably, the Olympus has an artillery of noise reduction systems. You can choose to turn noise reduction on or off or set to auto and on top of that you can also use a noise filter which has three settings of low, standard and high. These can be used in any combination in conjunction with each other but processing time does slow down when noise reduction is applied, especially on the higher ISO settings. The noise reduction applies more programming to reduce the problem, losing detail in the process while the noise filter doesn't work as well but keeps the images sharper with more detail.

Colour reproduction
I love the colours from the Olympus E-P2 and I'm amazed at how much colour comes through the images even from Raw files. Primary colours such as red, blue and yellow are bold and rich while warmer colours such as orange are deep. Sky blue colours seem to come out a bit paler than they are in real life, but it's not unpleasant. More natural colours such as forest green or earth brown are reproduced wonderfully and foliage or grass is reproduced faithfully. With such a priority going to primary colours, you'd think that pastels or delicate hues get overlooked but in the tests, they still got a place at the proverbial table. The grey scale looks good and contrasting colours don't interfere with each other at all.

Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus colour test
Olympus colour test
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic colour test
Panasonic colour test

The Panasonic gives a lot of priority to cooler primary colours such as green and especially blue. The Raw images with a decent blue sky were richer than any other camera I've seen. One of the images is a little under-exposed which isn't from messing around with the exposure compensation and will add to the saturation of the sky.

Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus blue sky test
Blue sky is recorded nicely with the Olympus but clouds can be burnt out.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic blue sky test
The Panasonic has over saturated the sky despite being a converted Raw file.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus foliage test
Foliage looks good from the E-P2 and is true to life.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic foliage test
The GF1 prioritises cooler colours more than warmer ones.

Reds and other warmer colours get a good boost too, but they don't have as much priority as the Olympus gives them. In controlled light, browns aren't as rich as they are in ambient light and neither are greens. Foliage is recorded nicely in sunlight and shade.

White-balance
The Olympus can cope well with softer casts, adding the correct tone to the image to balance it out and the results look good. Harder casts are more difficult for the camera to deal with and the only one it does reasonably well is the tungsten setting. Auto white-balance for tungsten still retains a warm tone to it while the most balanced fluorescent setting of the three available gave a pinkish colour to it.

Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Fluorescent  
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus white-balance fluorescent
Olympus Auto white-balance fluo.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic Auto white-balance fluorescent
Panasonic Auto white-balance fluo.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus Auto white-balance fluorescent
Olympus white-balance fluo.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic white-balance fluorescent
Panasonic white-balance fluo.
Tungsten  
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus Auto white-balance tungsten
Olympus Auto white-balance tungsten.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic Auto white-balance tungsten
Panasonic Auto white-balance tungsten.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Olympus white-balance tungsten
Olympus white-balance tungsten.
Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic GF1: Panasonic white-balance tungsten
Panasonic white-balance tungsten.

Luckily, the Olympus has a manual white-balance setting and a custom setting for use if you have a basic knowledge of Kelvin temperatures which saved my skin when I was testing the camera in controlled light.

The Panasonic has lots of white-balance settings available and they're accessed by pressing the WB button on the rear of the camera or by going into the main menu. Oddly, there's no fluorescent option so if you're in that type of lighting, and there's got to be at least one in every home somewhere, the camera may give a cast although it does cope quite well. The only thing to do to combat this is set one of the custom WB settings and leave it at that. It's simple enough to set up, just select the custom option, point the camera at a white piece of card or paper and press the up button. It copes well with strong casts but, like the Olympus, benefits from a manual white-balance setting.

Read/write speed
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 can manage a burst of four frames in Raw before it slows down in an attempt to empty the buffer and keep shooting. The speed is around 2fps. In JPEG, the performance is better in the amount that the buffer can store, but the camera still runs at 2fps. It manages 14 image sequentially until it has to slow down.

The E-P2 manages to rattle off nine Raw images in just under three seconds before it has to slow to empty the buffer to the card. This gives it a speed of 3fps. It then runs at a more mediocre one frame every three seconds. The initial burst is good, but is one frame less than the E-P1. I thought this may just be user error, so I tried it out again and got the same result. I retested the E-P1 to be sure and I can confirm that the E-P1 has a better continuous setting than the E-P2. It's only by one frame, but it still counts. The initial burst of speed in JPEG mode still runs at around 3fps and the camera managed only 10 images before it had to slow, indicating a smaller buffer memory on the E-P2 than the E-P1.

Battery
Any current owners of the E-P1 who are looking to maybe get the E-P2 as a back-up will be pleased to know that they both take the same battery. The cameras are so similar in build and design, either Olympus kept it that way to help the consumer, forgot to change it or decided it would cost too much in redesigning the body.

Batteries from the Panasonic and Olympus both kept going all through the test and had enough charge in them for a few hundred extra shots afterwards. I spent a lot of time out in the blistering cold and even when I couldn't feel my hands anymore, the batteries weren't being affected visibly.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Verdict
Both the Olympus E-P2 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 offer many different features and I think the Olympus has the edge due to the improved Art filters and the newer additions. This is due, in part, to the fact it's newer and the GF1 benefited from the very same position when it was pitted against the E-P1. The Panasonic is easier to handle than the Olympus in terms of where buttons and dials are positioned. I like the command dial being easy to get to and the drive mode being on a switch is great.

I think the Olympus did better in the performance tests because it has more metering options, handles noise better and gives a better balance of colour, although if you prefer deep colour, then it's the Panasonic. The Olympus also has more options for white-balance, although the manual setting on the Panasonic is very easy-to-use.

With that in mind, I'd be able to get used to the command dial if it mean that I got a faster drive mode and better colour rendition. The Olympus is a lot more expensive at £899 with the 14-42mm kit. That does come with the EVF included, whereas the Panasonic costs an extra £175 leaving only about £200 between them.

So this has me in somewhat of a quandary. The Olympus is the better of the two cameras and the best image quality should be paid for, but the Panasonic gives perfectly decent images for £200 less. I'd get the Olympus but take a look at the images in the performance test and if you can live with the image quality of the Panasonic, then save yourself some money.

Olympus E-P2 group test winner

Thanks to Park Cameras for the loan of the Olympus E-P2 for the purposes of this test.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Pros
Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Nice new features Easy-to-use
Good colour rendition Good price point
Good ISO performance Good build quality
Good build quality Nice design

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Cons
Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Focus hunts a bit too much Bad noise at mid to high ISO
Sunken command dial Missing Fluorescent white-balance
  Missing high-speed noise reduction

  Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE
OVERALL

Each of the areas scored are based on how each camera performed against the other in the test. The scores here do not reflect any previous results in any other reviews.

Olympus E-P2 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1: Specifications
  Olympus E-P2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
Price: £899 (c/w 14-42mm lens) £589 (c/w 14-45mm lens)
Contact: www.olympus.co.uk www.panasonic.co.uk
Resolution: 12.3Mp 12.1Mp
Sensor size: FourThirds 17.3x13mm FourThirds 17.3x13mm
Sensor type: LiveMOS LiveMOS
Max. Image size: 4032x3042 4000x3000
Aspect ratio: 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 6:6 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Focusing system: Contrast detection system Contrast detect AF
Focus points: 11 23
Focus types: Face detection, manual, single, continuous, single & MF, AF tracking Face detection, AF tracking, single, continuous, manual
Crop factor: 2x 2x
Lens mount: Micro FourThirds Micro FourThirds
File types: JPEG, Raw JPEG, Raw
ISO sensitivity: ISO100-6400 ISO100-3200
Metering system: TTL open aperture light metering 144 zone multi pattern sensing system
Metering types: Digital ESP, centre-weighted, spot, spot highlight, spot shadow Multi, centre-weighted, spot
Exposure compensation: +/- 3EV in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 step increments +/- 3EV in 1/3 step increments
Shutter speed: 60sec-1/4000sec 60sec-1/4000sec, Bulb
Frames-per-second: 3fps 3fps
Flash sync speed: 1/180sec or less 1/160sec or less
Image stabilisation: Yes, sensor shift No
Live view: Yes Yes
Viewfinder: Separate electronic type Optional electronic type
Monitor: 3in Hypercrystal LCD, 23,000dot 3in Polycrystalline LCD, 460,000dot
Media type: SD, SDHC SD, SDHC
Interface: USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Power: Li-Ion battery BLS-1 Li-Ion battery BLB13E
Size: 120.5x70x35mm 119x71x36.3mm
Weight: 335g 285g

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 & 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 costs £589 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 & 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6

The Olympus E-P2 & 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 costs £899 and is available from Park Cameras here:

Olympus E-P2 & 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6


Lexar memory was used in this review.

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Comments

mcgovernjon
11 Feb 2010 - 2:11 PM

I'd buy the Olympus just for the silhouette mode... what a cool effect

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11 Feb 2010 - 5:18 PM

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MattGrayson
11 Feb 2010 - 5:18 PM

Um... it's the Panny that has that mode. Wink

EDIT: Looks brill though, doesn't it?

Last Modified By MattGrayson at 11 Feb 2010 - 5:19 PM
Camairish
Camairish  81276 forum posts Scotland
11 Feb 2010 - 11:06 PM

Good review - other net reviewers have also had trouble picking one clearly over the other! I think they are both excellent cameras which will encourage new approaches to photography for lots of us DSLR owners. Sounds like they both do the job very well and hopefully this healthy competiton will bring prices down.

Ian.

gber
gber  4
12 Feb 2010 - 2:41 PM

Anyone else notice the strong magenta cast in the Pany GF1 pictures? Consistent through all photos. Maybe it is more noticeable in direct comparison to the e-p2.

gber
gber  4
13 Feb 2010 - 4:38 PM

Oly has the better body (IMO), but Pany has the better lenses. If Oly was smart, they'd sell the body only, otherwise, the math starts to look real ugly: To get that sweet 20mm prime: an Oly would cost you $600 more than the GF1. No point in trying to sell the kit lens - no Pany owner would touch it, and everyone who has an Oly has the lens anyway.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1214381 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
13 Feb 2010 - 5:37 PM

The Olympus might cost 200 more, but the price does include the additional viewfinder, very handy.

Could the smallish raw/jpeg buffer of the Olympus cause any real issues ? its not designed for sports action is it.

Last Modified By Paul Morgan at 13 Feb 2010 - 5:40 PM
gber
gber  4
15 Feb 2010 - 3:40 AM

Hi Matt, I think the GF1 ISO 400 picture is actually from the E-P2.

MattGrayson
15 Feb 2010 - 9:50 AM


Quote: Hi Matt, I think the GF1 ISO 400 picture is actually from the E-P2.

Quite right, well spotted. I was testing you, obviously.

Luckily, it was just the thumbnail that was the wrong sample, the large size to download was the correct image. Smile

MattGrayson
17 Feb 2010 - 12:57 PM


Quote: The Olympus might cost 200 more, but the price does include the additional viewfinder, very handy.

Could the smallish raw/jpeg buffer of the Olympus cause any real issues ? its not designed for sports action is it.

The 200 more is taking purchasing an additional EVF for the Panny into consideration. With the GF1, same lens and EVF, the cost is 200 less than the equivalent E-P2 kit. Smile

BBH
BBH  4 United Kingdom
14 Jun 2010 - 12:34 PM

Early this year I wanted to take a more compact, yet high-quality, camera on a tour of NZ, rather than take my existing Olympus E-500 SLR.) Therefore, as a long-time user of Olympus film and digital cameras, I found it a tough decision to choose between the Panasonic DMC-GF1 and Olympus's E-P1.

After digesting the thorough reviews, here and elsewhere, I finally bought the GF1 with a 14-45mm lens (adding a 16Gb SanDisk SDHC card). At the time the E-P2 had yet to be commercially launched so I cannot comment more fully on this. The viewfinder addition may have tilted the balance towards the E-P2, although the price difference, plus the acclaimed Lumix lenses, would still keep the GF1 in contention.

Was it a good decision to take the Panasonic route? All I know is that after several months and thousands of images later I still regard the GF1 as being a great camera, including for taking RAW-based competition-level photos.

I do not have the optional electronic viewfinder, but the real-view LCD monitor with its display options is excellent in most lighting conditions. In fact the camera is a delight to handle and is certainly better built than my 'made in China' Olympus E-500 SLR (but then I cut my photographic teeth on the manual/automatic OM-1 and OM-2, which still work fine after 20-30 years of use).

All in all, it's still a tough call between these hybrid Micro FourThirds cameras. Both are feature-rich in the Japanese manner. Perhaps too much in fact. I agree with the comment that the GF1's five-page shooting menu is just too long. I personally revisit the operating manual from time to time. There is always some esoteric feature that needs revising. That said, it's fairly easy to move around the main menu items. Hope these ramblings help someone, who has first read the reviews on this site.

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