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Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GH1 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. Panasonic: Micro Four Thirds cam with high-def video
(Tuesday, March 3, 2009 - 12:00 EST)

In early September 2008, Panasonic announced the Lumix DMC-G1 - the world's first first Micro Four Thirds-system digital camera.

Lauded for its small size, light weight and high-resolution, high-speed electronic viewfinder, the Panasonic G1 had one curious omission - the lack of any form of video capture. Two weeks later, Panasonic showed a prototype camera at the Photokina tradeshow that promised to correct the oversight. Mounted on the mockup was an "HD"-badged 14-140mm lens.

Today, both those unnamed prototypes have become official, in the form of the newly unveiled Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 and its bundled kit lens, the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S (also to be available as a separate purchase). The body design looks to be nearly unchanged from that which we saw at Photokina. Not only does the Panasonic DMC-GH1 offer high-definition video capability, but it does so with an extraordinarily robust feature set that includes continuous autofocusing capability while videos are being recorded.

The 12.1 megapixel image sensor in the Panasonic GH1 has the same resolution and readout as that of the G1, but is said to be a new design. Movies can be recorded at either 1080i or 720p modes. Incredibly, the DMC-GH1 can use features such as Face Detection, Intelligent Exposure, Optical Image Stabilization, and even an Intelligent Scene Selector function - all while recording videos! The new 14-140mm lens is compatible with continuous autofocusing and features a low-noise AF motor.

In other areas, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 largely mirrors the feature set of the existing G1 model. Alongside the GH1 camera body and 14-140mm lens, Panasonic has also unveiled one further lens model, the LUMIX G VARIO 7-14mm / F4.0 ASPH.

Further details on both lenses including specifications can be found in a separate news item. Pricing and availability for the Panasonic Lumix GH1 camera kit, and for the separately available 7 - 14mm and 14-140mm lenses, have not been disclosed at the time of this writing. For more details, read our Panasonic GH1 preview.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GH1 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. Click for a bigger picture!
Camera TypeSLR
Model NumberGH1
Dimensions4.9 x 3.5 x 1.8"
124.0 x 89.6 x 45.2mm
Weight385.0 g
13.5 oz
Image Capture
Sensor TypeFour Thirds Panasonic N-MOS
14.00 megapixels (total)
12.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter TypeRGBG
Focal Length Multiplier2.00
Aspect Ratio4:3, 3:2
Image Dimensions4000 x 3000 (12.0 megapixels)
4128 x 2752 (11.4 megapixels)
4352 x 2448 (10.7 megapixels)
2816 x 2112 (5.9 megapixels)
2928 x 1952 (5.7 megapixels)
3072 x 1728 (5.3 megapixels)
2992 x 2992 (9.0 megapixels)
2112 x 2112 (4.5 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
2064 x 1376 (2.8 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
1504 x 1504 (2.3 megapixels, interpolated)
Capture SpeedContinuous: 3.0 frames per second
Image Preview / Review
ViewfinderYes, EVF type; 1.44M dots, 100%, 1.4x mag., 17.5mm eyepoint, -4 to +4 diopter
LCD3.0", 460,000 pixels
Playback Zoom16.0x max
Lens TypeInterchangeable Lens
10x optical zoom
62mm lens thread
Lens MountMicro Four Thirds mount
Image StabilizationYes
Focal Length14.0 - 140.0mm (actual)
28 - 280mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Rangef/4.0 - 22 (wide) / f.5.8 - 22 (tele)
Focusing SystemContrast detection with Face detect, AF tracking, 23-area, 1 area with AF assist lamp
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing RangeNormal: 20" - infinity (50 cm - infinity)
ISO SensitivityAuto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, Intelligent ISO
Shutter Speed60 - 1/4000 second
Exposure ModesAperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes144-zone Intelligent Multiple, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation+/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White BalanceImage Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, Flash, White Set 1, White Set 2, Color Temperature Setting, Manual
Internal FlashModes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Range: Guide Number 11 (ISO100,m)
Flash Exposure Compensation+/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Scene ModesPortrait, Scenery, Sports, Close-up, Night Portrait, Sunset, Party, Baby 1,2, Pet
Digital Zoom2x or 4x
Self TimerYes, 2 or 10 seconds
Movie FormatAVCHD (MPEG-4/H.264), MJPEG with audio
Recording MediumSD/MMC
File SystemFAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File FormatCCD-RAW, RAW, JPEG (EXIF v2.21)
VideoYes, NTSC / PAL switchable
ComputerUSB 2.0 High Speed
Other2.5mm stereo mic jack, remote socket, DC input, mini HDMI
Battery TypeLithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Form FactorProprietary 7.2v 1250mAh
Product Bundle
SoftwarePhotofunStudio 3.1 HD, SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 SE, USB Driver
Battery / Charger1 x Proprietary Lithium-ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory0.0MB
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliantYes
PictBridge CompliantYes
Internal MicrophoneYes
Internal SpeakerYes
Tripod MountYes
Remote ControlYes, Optional DMW-RSL1 cable remote
More Photos
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GH1 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GH1 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. Click for a bigger picture!
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-GH1 digital camera. Photo provided by Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co. Click for a bigger picture!

Original Source Press Release:


The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH1, a Creative HD Hybrid, Offers Professional-Level Still Photos and HD Video Performance Yet is Easy Enough for Entry-Level DSLR Consumers

Las Vegas, NV (March 3, 2009) – Panasonic today introduced the DMC-GH1, the newest member of the company’s revolutionary LUMIX G Micro System – a new digital interchangeable lens camera system that delivers professional-level features and performance in a compact and easy-to-use camera body. 

Compatible with the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the new LUMIX GH1 features advanced video photography functions, such as the ability to record High Definition (HD) AVCHD 1080p/24p video.*  In addition, the new LUMIX GH1 comes with a newly developed long-zoom interchangeable lens – the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S.  This lens was specifically designed to support HD movie recording and features a silent motor and continuous auto focusing (AF) capability; two features which distinguish the LUMIX GH1 from DSLRs that offer HD video recording capabilities.

“Photographers of all levels – professionals, amateurs and beginners – will be stunned by the range of creative possibilities that the LUMIX GH1 creates in the world of high-quality photography and HD video.  Users will be equally amazed by the camera’s easy-to-use design and small size,” said David Briganti, National Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company.  “Beyond its creative potential, the LUMIX GH1, a sister product to the award-winning LUMIX G1, is also innovative and differentiates itself from the pack by recording High Definition video with continuous AF, an indispensable feature for practical video recording.”

In late 2008, Panasonic redefined the traditional DSLR category with its launch of the Panasonic LUMIX G1 – a digital, interchangeable lens camera system that takes the radical step of eliminating the large, internal mirror structure that is currently contained in all traditional DSLR cameras.  This innovation allows for dramatically smaller camera body and lens sizes and permits many new, advanced consumer features such as LUMIX G1 “Live View Finder”.  With its 2008 launch, the LUMIX G1 achieved several honors, including:

  • World’s first entry into the Micro Four Thirds Standard system camera segment

  • World’s first interchangeable lens camera to offer colored body options to consumers

  • Winner, 2008 Camera of the Year (Popular Photography & Imaging magazine)

The new LUMIX GH1 provides cutting-edge video recording features, including the ability to record high-resolution full HD (1920 x 1080) video at 24 fps or smooth HD video (1280 x 720) movie at 60 fps using an AVCHD format (MPEG-4/H.264). The AVCHD format provides the important benefit of doubling the HD quality recording time compared with Motion JPEG. The LUMIX GH1 hosts a dedicated video record button on the back of the camera which lets users instantly start recording videos, even while shooting still photos – removing the fear of potentially missing a must-see video moment.   The LUMIX GH1 also records video in high-quality stereo sound via Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, the global standard of audio recording.  An optional stereo microphone (DMW-MS1) is also available to achieve a more intensive sound recording experience.  Finally, a convenient Wind Cut function is provided to help to block out distracting video background noise.

Like the LUMIX G1, the LUMIX GH1 features the Live View Finder system which enables something that simply is not possible with conventional DSLR cameras – the ability to preview the effects of camera settings (e.g., exposure, aperture, shutter speed) before taking the photo.  This helps take the guesswork out of the camera setting process and helps users ensure that every photo they capture comes out exactly as they envisioned.

The brilliant 1,440,000-dot equivalent Live View Finder system can also display information settings that a user can see without removing their eyes from the subject.  Furthermore, a built-in eye sensor automatically switches on the viewfinder when the user looks into it, then switches it off and turns on the swivel 3.0-inch large 460,000-dot high-resolution LCD when the user looks away from the viewfinder. The 60-frames-per-second Live View is made possible by the Live MOS sensor, which takes real-time signals directly from the image sensor and sends them continuously to the LCD.  Both the Live View Finder and LCD provide a 100% field of view – allowing the user to accurately frame and compose a shot from most any position.

The LUMIX GH1 kit lens – the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. –provides a broad focal length range of 28-280mm (35mm camera equivalent) and supports continuous AF using the contrast AF system for both photo and movie capture. The low-noise lens design also seamlessly supports video recording by minimizing the mechanical sound generated by AF/AE actions.

At the core of the LUMIX GH1 lies a newly developed 12.1-megapixel high speed Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine HD, which features twin CPUs for outstanding processing capabilities.  The Live MOS sensor is capable of high-speed readout over four channels to be compatible with full-HD movie recording. This sensor is also advantageous for photo recording with a high signal-to-noise ratio thanks to the new circuit structure that is unaffected by the noise generated in each of the circuits. This results in crisp photos – even those taken at high ISO levels. The multi-aspect type sensor allows users to take photos in 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratios with the same angle of view.  The Venus Engine HD is also energy efficient, supporting long periods of AVCHD video recording on a single battery charge.

In addition to the digital camera’s HD video recording capability, the DMC-GH1 features the LUMIX Creative Movie mode which lets the user manually set the shutter speed and aperture, making their videos more creative and representative of their own personal video style preference.  Changing the shutter speed gives the videos a special look, particularly suitable for shooting fast-moving subjects. Controlling the aperture is convenient when there are several subjects at varying distances, so the user can focus on the foreground and blur the background – or vice versa.

While the LUMIX DMC-GH1 has cutting-edge still image and video capture features, the LUMIX GH1 is also incredibly easy-to-use, thanks to Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode** – a user-friendly setting made popular in the LUMIX line of digital point-and-shoot camera products.   Panasonic’s iA mode is a suite of technologies which engage automatically (no settings needed).  The latest addition to the iA suite of features is Face Recognition, a feature that directs the camera to prioritize focus and exposure on a specific face that that the user had previously registered in the camera.***   This invaluable function makes it especially easy to take sharp and beautifully exposed images of things the user values most in their photos – the user’s friends and family.

Panasonic’s iA mode offers other innovative features which help deliver consistently outstanding photos:  O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) to help reduce blurring from hand-shake; Intelligent ISO Control to help limit motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken; AF Tracking that lets the camera lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves; Intelligent Exposure which optimizes the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights, and helps ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully; and Intelligent Scene Selector which automatically detects the five most common shooting situations - Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery and Close-up - and switches to the appropriate Scene mode.

Best of all, the benefits of Panasonic’s iA mode extend to motion image recording on the DMC-GH1. For example, the LUMIX GH1 motion iA includes O.I.S. and Face Detection, which automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows.  Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Close-up, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the environment. 

The Contrast AF system adopted by the LUMIX GH1 is accurate, easy-to-use and fast. Users can choose from a wide range of AF modes, including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection, and AF Tracking.   To help keep the images free of spots from dust and particles, the Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction system helps prevent foreign contaminants from adhering to the image sensor.

After users capture their images using the LUMIX GH1, it’s easy for them to enjoy their photos or HD videos immediately on a large-screen Panasonic VIERA® high-definition television.  All that is required is to remove the SD Memory Card from the LUMIX GH1 and insert it into the VIERA Image Viewer (SDHC/SD Memory Card slot) located in the VIERA HDTV or in the Panasonic Blu-ray disc player.  Alternatively, an optional mini HDMI™ cable is available to output the images from the LUMIX GH1 directly to the Panasonic HDTV via VIERA Link™.  Then, using the VIERA HDTV’s remote control, users can take advantage of the LUMIX GH1’s advanced playback and slideshow features.

In addition to the new LUMIX G lenses, the DMC-GH1 and LUMIX G Micro System is compatible with any interchangeable lens that complies with the Four Thirds standard.**** This gives users access to the entire range of Four Thirds lenses. Additional Micro Four Thirds lenses will be announced in the future, giving users a large, diverse line of high-performance lenses to add to their photographic toolboxes. With the LUMIX G Micro System and the growing assortment of lenses becoming available, the creative possibilities are endless.

The LUMIX DMC-GH1 is a system camera with a wide variety of options to choose from to match a wide range of shooting situations and styles. Accessories compatible with the LUMIX G Micro System include: External Flash: DMW-FL220(GN22) / DMW-FL360(GN36) / DMW-FL500(GN50); PL Filter: DMW-LPL62; ND Filter: DMW-LND62 (New); MC Protector: DMW-LMCH62; Mount Adapter: DMW-MA1; Stereo Microphone: DMW-MS1 (New); Battery Pack: DMW-BLB13; DC Cable: DMW-DCC3; Soft Cases: DMW-CG1, DMW-CG2 (New); Soft Bag: DMW-BAG1; Shoulder Strap (Stylish) DMW-SSTG1-A/C/R/K(New); Shoulder Strap (Woven) DMW-SSTG2-W; Shoulder Strap (Leather) DMW-SSTG3-T; Remote Shutter: DMW-RSL1.

For more information about the DMC-GH1 and all of Panasonic’s LUMIX G Micro System accessories, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

*Full-HD (1920 × 1080) movies are output by the image sensor at 24p (NTSC)/25p (PAL), and recorded at 60i (NTSC)/50i (PAL). HD (1280 × 720) video is output and recorded by the image sensor at 60p (NTSC)/50p (PAL).

** Some functions in iA mode will not be available depending on the lens to attach.

***Turn Face Recognition item ON and register the person with full-face portrait on the shooting menu in advance.  Recognition performance varies greatly depending on shooting conditions, i.e., according to factors such as angles, facial expression and lighting, so operation under all conditions cannot be guaranteed. Because the camera searches for faces that are similar to registered faces, there are cases where the faces are not correctly recognized when the registered image and the shooting image varies greatly. When facial characteristics are similar, particularly between parents and their children or brothers and sisters, the camera may not distinguish the faces.

****Some functions on DMC-GH1 are not available depending on the lens that is attached

About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic's U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. In its commitment to provide consumers with extensive imaging resources, Panasonic LUMIX established the Digital Photo Academy, a series of nationwide workshops designed to instruct consumers how to optimize the features on their digital cameras and produce high-quality photos. Panasonic is honored to support OUR PLACE – The World’s Heritage, a project that will create the world’s largest photographic collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites, with acclaimed photographers exclusively using LUMIX digital cameras to capture all images.

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