Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Review

 
Camera Reviews > Panasonic Lumix Cameras > Lumix Compact System Camera i Full Review

Not sure which SLR lens to buy?

SLR lens
Visit SLRgear.com for
camera lens reviews, tests, specs & prices
on all major brands of lenses!

Panasonic GF1 Performance


Timing and Performance

The Panasonic GF1's performance is a bit slower than most SLRs, but as fast or faster than most mid-sized compacts.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

1.4 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

2.0 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
2 seconds
after 20 large/fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
12 seconds
after 8 RAW files*
15 seconds
after 4 RAW+JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/sec 8GB SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup and shut-down times are slower than those for most SLRs. Dust reduction is automatically performed at startup and can't be disabled. It can also be run manually.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.9 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.4 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.4 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching is reasonably fast, except for Record to Play, which is slower than average.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
20mm f/1.7 lens
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.409 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
20mm f/1.7 lens
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode,
Flash enabled
0.887 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, auto flash enabled.
14-45mm lens @14mm
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.473 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
14-45mm lens @45mm
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.402 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
14-45mm lens @45mm
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
0.453 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. Multi-point autofocus selected.

Prefocused

0.072 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
n/a
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects. (Not supported with 20mm f/1.7 lens.)
Manual Focus
0.104 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

The Panasonic GF1 showed full-autofocus shutter lag in single-area AF mode (with the subject at a fixed distance) of 0.41 second with the 20mm f/1.7 kit lens. Shutter lag increased to 0.89 second with the flash enabled. Continuous AF mode (AFC) isn't supported with the 20mm f/1.7 kit lens. (Sorry, we neglected to test continuous AF with the 14-45mm lens.) The 14-45mm kit lens was slightly slower at the wide angle end, at 0.47 second, but slightly faster at the tele end, at 0.40 second. Multipoint AF slowed response slightly, resulting in a full-AF lag of 0.45 second at the telephoto setting. When manually focused, the GF1's lag time drops to only 0.104 second, competitive with consumer SLRs. Likewise, its prefocused lag time of 0.072s is very competitive, besting many SLRs in its general price range. Overall, AF timing is similar to its sibling, the Panasonic GH1, and much faster than its most direct competitor, the Olympus E-P1, though it's difficult to tell by just how much without using the same lenses on both bodies for testing.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

0.70 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.69 second

Time per shot, averaged over 8 shots, 12 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LF JPEG
0.69 second

Time per shot, averaged over 4 shots, 15 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous High
Large Fine JPEG

0.34 second (2.93 frames per second);
13 frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 13 shots, then slows to an average of about 1.80s or 0.56 fps.

Continuous High
RAW

0.36 second (2.82 frames per second);
6 frames total;
13 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 6 frames, then slows to an average of about 1.53s or 0.65 fps.

Continuous High
RAW + LF JPEG

0.37 second (2.70 frames per second);
4 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 4 frames, then slows to 2.74s or 0.36 fps.

Continuous Low
Large Fine JPEG

0.50 second (2.00 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over more than 20 shots, with no signs of slowing down.

Continuous Low
RAW

0.50 second (2.01 frames per second);
6 frames total;
13 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 6 frames, then slows to an average of about 1.56s or 0.64 fps.

Continuous Low
RAW + LF JPEG

0.50 second (1.92 frames per second);
4 frames total;
12 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 7 frames, then slows to an average of about 2.79s or 0.36 fps.

Flash Recycling

5.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 30 MB/sec 8GB SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times are similar to the Panasonic GH1, at about 0.70 second, no matter the quality. SLRs average a little faster. Continuous mode was similar to the GH1 as well, at 2.93 fps for large/fine JPEGs, 2.82 fps for RAW and 2.7 fps for RAW+JPEG. Buffer sizes were good, at 13, 6 and 4 frames respectively. A continuous low mode is also available at about 2 fps. Flash recycling time after full discharge was a bit slow considering how small and weak the flash is, at 5.8 seconds.

Compared to its main rival the Olympus E-P1, the Panasonic GF1 is much faster in single-shot cycle time (the E-P1's single-shot cycle time was closer to 2 seconds), but a bit slower in burst mode (the E-P1 managed over 3.1 fps). The E-P1 has no built-in flash to compare cycle times with flash enabled.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

5,993 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were fast, quick enough that you probably won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme III 30 MB/sec SD card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Panasonic GF1 is a fairly responsive camera, well-suited to handling typical family shots, though not a good choice for really fast action. It exhibits about the same performance as the Panasonic GH1, but is faster than the Olympus E-P1 in most respects.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Good battery life, but below average compared to an SLR using an optical viewfinder.

Operating Mode
Battery Life
Lens 20mm f/1.7 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard - LCD)
380 shots
350 shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard - EVF)
430 shots
400 shots
Movie Recording
(AVCHD SH or M-JPEG HD)
Using LCD
210 minutes
170 minutes
Playback Time
Using LCD
360 minutes
290 minutes

The Panasonic GF1 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The rated 380 shots per charge is below the capacity of typical SLRs, likely a consequence of the power drain for the electronic viewfinder. (When using the optical viewfinder on an SLR, there's very little power consumption except when the shutter fires or when you're in playback mode. The CIPA numbers for the Panasonic GF1 are in line with SLRs operating in Live View mode.) We do recommend getting a second battery for your GF1 if you plan any extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Panasonic GF1 accepts SD/SDHC memory cards, and does not ship with a card.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal RAW RAW
+
L/F JPG
4,000 x 3,000
Images
(Avg Size)
148
6.9 MB
293
3.5 MB
69
14.8 MB
47
21.7 MB
Approx.
Comp.
5:1
10:1
1.2:1
-
2,816 x 2,112
Images
(Avg Size)
265
3.9 MB
518
2.0 MB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
5:1
9:1
-
-
2,048 x 1,536
Images
(Avg Size)
622
1.6 MB
1197
855 KB
-
-
Approx.
Comp.
6:1
11:1
-
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC memory card at least a 2GB card, preferably a 4 or 8GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings, or when shooting RAW or video files. -- If you're going to shoot much video, you'll definitely want a large, fast card; look for a card with "class 6" speed or better. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

Print the perform page for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 digital camera reviewPrint this Page

Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

Follow Imaging Resource

Purchase memory card for Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 digital camera
Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate