Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

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Panasonic DMC G1 and Leica M lenses

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G1 size next to Leica M8

G1 size next to Leica M8

One of the most interesting cameras to be released in the last few months is the Panasonic DMC G1 DSLR.  In developing this camera, Panasonic and Olympus created a new format, the Micro Four/Thirds.  The M4/3 design allows the manufacturers to create a smaller body (the G1 is currently the smallest DSLR available) as they aren’t restricted by the standard DSLR mirror box requirement.   There is no mirror box.  (The mirror box is a leftover from the days before digital and is still favored by the major manufacturers mainly because of legacy lens.)  Without the mirror box, cameras and lens can be made smaller.

Currently there are only two lenses available for the G1, the kit lens 14-45 f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens and the optional 45-200 zoom lens.  Panasonic is developing additional lenses in this format.  Available with the use of the 4/3 adaptor are the Olympus/Panasonic 4/3 lens.  These lenses are a little large when compared against the M4/3 lenses.

I’ve used this camera for a week and I have found this camera very handy due to size.  Because it’s very compact,  it is convenient to carry.    Granted, it’s not a point and shoot camera.

The best feature is its very accurate reproduction of colors as the photograph below shows.  The picture has not been adjusted in any way.  It was shoot in standard color as a 12.1 mg JPEG (and downsized for this posting).

Accurate reproduction of colors

Accurate reproduction of colors

The main reason for my excitement is the fact that there are several manufacturers of adaptors that enable one to use the superlative Leica M lenses with the G1 body.  In addition, any lenses that can be mounted on a Leica M camera body will also work.  That includes Canon EF, Konica Hexanon, Carl Zeiss, Voightlander and other lenses.  Think about it, a reasonably inexpensive camera capable of great images with some of the best lenses every made.

There are several Leica LTM to M4/3 adaptors on the market, including those by John Milich, CameraQuest , Rayqual (Japanese language website), and Novoflex.  With luck I will pick one one soon and try it out.

In meantime, I will be content with the G1 kit lens.  As you can see from the images  above and below, the Panasonic lenses are not that bad.

Converted to black and white with Silver Efex

Converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro

I have two complaints.   Because the G1 uses RAW format “RW2”, one can not convert the RAW files with PS, Capture One or  Aperture 2.  For now.  I am stuck using the Panasonic-supplied Silky Pics to convert to TIFF.  I expect RW2 codec to be available soon so I can use Capture One,  Aperture 2 or PS CS4.  The second complaint is that you can not shoot video.  I don’t normally shoot video with a DSLR but its good to have that option if needed.

Closeup with kit lens

Closeup with kit lens

Image little soft

Image converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro

G1 size is similar to Leica M8

G1 size is similar to Leica M8


Written by leolaksi

January 19, 2009 at 6:41 am

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