Chasseur d’images review the GF1 (on paper)

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Image of a GF1 Leatherette Skin from http://aki-asahi.com/

Found a summary of the review on dpreview :

The last issue of Chasseur d’images (October 2009, number 317) contains a review of the new GF1 they only had a beta firmware on it and definitive measures are still waited; but here is a sum up of what they already wrote about it :

Resolution at low iso : very slightly less than the (but the E-P1 was slightly surpassing the GH1 and the D90, two winners of the category), GF1 is slightly superior to the G1. So, indeed, very good.

Noise at higher iso (measured with standard Noise reduction on). It seems to be somewhat better than the E-P1, but at the cost of loosing more details, especially after 1600 iso. Chasseur d’images seems to put the GF1 above the E-P1, at least for 400 and 800 iso.

AF : they weren’t yet able to test, because they only had a beta version of the firmware. But from handling it is good, somewhat like the G1-GH1.

Viewfinder : the real surprise is what they write about the EVF. They aren’t in awe. Here is what they say in the conclusion :

The viewfinder is the real problem of the GF1. The DSLRs users are accustomed to aim with a viewfinder stuck against their eye and will be concerned by an lcd display. A “true viewfinder” is much more effective in bright sun.

Comment : that first paragraph is exactly the same they wrote for the E-P1 but then, they add :

The EVF could be a solution, but it is cumbersome and of a very “middle of the road” quality : the viewfinder on the G1 & GH1 is much better.

Here is the problem : the GF1 is designed for aiming with the lcd. Either you accept this constraint (which is that of every compact camera) and everything is fine, or you don’t accept it and the body looses 90% of its interest.

Final verdict : Compacts with large sensors are developping, but still rare : this specialized body comes with important limitations of handling. In its category, the GF1 is very satisfying and would earn five stars (it was the same for the Olympus E-P1). But one should also consider it like any other body and compare it with the rest of the market’s offering, then four stars are deserved.

And here is what they say concerning the external viewfinder earlier in the review :

An external EVF is available (the DMW-LVF1). You slide it in the flash hotshoe and an integrated connector allows the exchange of all informations. The display module is a very ordinary model (202.000 pixels). The use of the G1/GH1 HD module was causing technical problems it seems (and also probably costing a lot). Under these conditions, the EVF doesn’t appear very interesting. IF you are interested in an EVF, you should rather look for a Lumix G1 : a much less expansive body offering a much better viewfinder.

(translated by myself, trying to stay as near of the original text published in Chasseur d’images as I could, but provided without warranty, given my English knowledges)