Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
Plastic-bodied black camera with attached black lens sitting on a wooden surface in front of two additional lenses
Panasonic DMC-GH1K
TypeMicro Four Thirds
ProductionJuly 2009 (2009-07) – September 2010 (2010-09)
Intro price$1,500 USD w/ 14-140mm lens (as of July 2009)
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Compatible lensesMicro Four Thirds /
Four Thirds via opt. DMW-MA1PP adapter
Image sensor
SensorFour Thirds
Sensor typeLive MOS
Sensor size18.89mm × 14.48mm
Maximum resolutionMulti-aspect sensor:
• 4000×3000 (12.0MP) @ 4:3
• 4128 x 2752 (11.4MP) @3:2
• 4352 x 2448 (10.7MP) @ 16:9
SensitivityISO 100–3200
File format(s)JPEG, RAW
Color space(s)sRGB, AdobeRGB
Image processing
Image processorVenus Engine HD
White balanceAuto / Daylight / Cloudy / Shade / Halogen / Flash / Custom 1, 2 / Color temperature setting
WB bracketing3 images; amber-to-blue or green-to-magenta axis
Orientation sensorOnly w/ O.I.S. lens
FocusCDAF or Manual
Focus modesFace detection / AF tracking
Focus areas23
Focus peakingNone
Exposure bracketing3–7 frames (⅓ or ⅔ EV steps)
Exposure modesiA (Intelligent Auto) / Program / Aperture priority / Shutter priority / Manual
Exposure metering0–18 EV
Metering modesIntelligent multiple, center-weighted, or spot
FlashBuilt-in pop-up, TTL, GN 10.5 equivalent (ISO100 · m)
Flash exposure compensationUp to +/- 2EV in ⅓EV steps
Flash synchronization1160 sec.
Flash bracketing±3.0 EV in ⅓ EV steps
ShutterVertical travel focal-plane
Shutter speed range60–14000 sec.
up to 8 min. bulb
Burst rate3 fps
Intervalometer2-sec. or 10-sec. self-timer only
Electronic viewfinderColor LCD
Resolution800 × 600 pixel (1.4M dots equivalent)
Viewfinder magnification1.4x magnification
0.7x 35mm equiv.
Frame coverage100% field of view
Diopter adjustment-4.0 ~ +4.0 [m-1]
Rear screen
TypeColor TFT LCD
Size3 in (76 mm) / 3:2 aspect
Resolution460,000 pixel
Screen movementFully articulating (180° swing, 180° swivel)
Initial version1.0
Latest version1.3[1] (as of May 10, 2010)
User flashableYes
Video capabilities
• 1920x1080, 24fps (encapsulated in 60i)
• 1280x720 (60 fps)
Motion JPEG:
• 1280x720, 30fps
• 848x480, 30fps
• 640x480, 30fps
• 320x240, 30fps
AV Port(s)Mini HDMI (type C)/ RCA
Data Port(s)USB 2.0
Body featuresABS plastic / Black, Gold, or Red
Weather sealedNo
DimensionsWidth: 124 mm (4.9 in)
Height: 90 mm (3.5 in)
Depth: 45 mm (1.8 in)
Weight385 g (13.6 oz) (body only)
BatteryDMW-BLB13 (Li-ion 7.2V, 1250mAh) / incl. A/C adapter
Optional accessoriesWired remote control DMW-RSL1
Recording mediaSD, SDHC
Made inFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg China

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 is a digital mirrorless interchangeable lens camera adhering to the Micro Four Thirds (M43) system standard. It was Panasonic's second M43 camera and the first photo/ video hybrid model. It slotted above the earlier G1 as the company's flagship model in their M43 line. It is commonly referred to as simply the GH1.

Rollout[edit | edit source]

The GH1 was announced on March 3, 2009, at the annual convention of the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was available to consumers by July 2009 in a kit with a new 14–140mm superzoom lens at a suggested retail price of US$1,500. It was offered in a choice of three body colors: black (designated with a part number suffixed with "-K"), red ("-R") and gold ("-N").[4] Starting in early 2010, a body-only package was offered at a price of US$700.[5]

The primary difference between the GH1 and the earlier G1 is that the GH1 supports video recording. In fact, the GH1 is designed to capture HD video and is positioned as a hybrid camera that is equally capable of recording video or capturing still images.[4]

Features[edit | edit source]

The GH1 is more than simply a G1 that can capture video. Among its other distinguishing features are a multi-aspect image sensor, full AVCHD HD video capability including manual controls over many video functions and stereo sound recording, a highly capable electronic viewfinder and a sophisticated contrast-detect autofocus system including new Face Recognition capability.

Multi-aspect image sensor[edit | edit source]

Diagram of a multi-aspect sensor.

Panasonic pioneered the concept of an image sensor that was optimized for more than just a single aspect ratio in its high-end compact camera from 2008, the DMC-LX3 which used a much smaller 1/1.63" CCD sensor.[6] The GH1 builds on the multi-aspect sensor concept but with a much larger Four Thirds sensor.

The GH1's 14.0 megapixel (MP) sensor covers a slightly larger image circle than the Micro Four Thirds design specifies. With a typical sensor the 4:3 image is simply cropped on the top and bottom to achieve 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratios, but the multi-aspect sensor supports all three sizes at the maximum resolution possible (1:1 aspect ratio is also supported, but that is cropped from 4:3). This also means that the field of view is the same for each image shape. The downside of this approach is that the full potential capability of the sensor in terms of resolution is never realized, so the 14MP sensor only delivers 12MP images.

True HD video recording[edit | edit source]

The GH1 was designed from the ground up to be capable of recording high-definition video in 1080p at 24 frames per second (fps) or 720p at 60fps with Dolby Digital stereo sound in the AVCHD format. A dedicated button on the back panel allows quick access to video start/stop functionality.[7]

When using the Panasonic 14–140mm superzoom lens which was introduced along with the GH1 and included as a kit lens, the GH1 supports continuous autofocus (CAF) and automatic exposure (AE) as well as optical image stabilization during video capture. The user is also able to specify shutter speed and aperture as well as use manual focus during video capture for more creative control.[4]. A pair of on-board microphones allow the GH1 to capture stereo sound, with a built-in wind blocking feature; an external microphone can also be attached to allow more control over mic placement and fidelity. Video can be captured in either AVCHD or Motion JPEG formats. The GH1 was the first consumer-priced interchangeable lens camera to offer such capabilities.[4] These specs garnered the attention of amateur and even professional filmmakers.

In the United States, maximum video recording length is limited only by the capacity of the SD or SDHC memory card used or by battery life, unless using the included AC power adapter. Individual file sizes are limited to 4GB due to restrictions in the SD format, but video will be captured seamlessly between files. However, to avoid a higher tariff rate on devices classified by the European Union as "video camera recorders" GH1s sold in that market are limited to a maximum length of 29 minutes and 59 seconds for a single recording.[8][9]

Dual-CPU processor[edit | edit source]

The GH1 uses the same Venus Engine HD as the G1, but the requirements of video capture and processing push the limits of the dual-CPU image processor much further. The power of this advanced electronic brain greatly speeds up HD video processing and offers improved image noise reduction performance. In addition it supports output of a live view directly from the sensor to either the fully articulating 3 in (76 mm) LCD or the high resolution electronic viewfinder. Beyond photo and video capture, the processor allows the camera to playback both images and sound either in camera or directly to an external television or monitor via HDMI.[4]

Contrast-detect autofocus with face recognition[edit | edit source]

The GH1's mirrorless design eliminates the dedicated phase-detect autofocus (PDAF) sensor employed by traditional DSLRs relying instead on a sensor-based contrast-detect autofocus system. This system is much more advanced than the typical live view implementations employed by DSLRs of the era to support video capture; while those systems are all but unusable for focusing on moving subjects, with sufficient light the GH1's CDAF implementation rivals the performance of the DSLR's PDAF systems while also supporting video.[3](p8) However, the CDAF system suffers in low light, delivering worse performance than a typical contemporary PDAF setup on an entry-level DSLR.[10]

Like the G1, the GH1 has a face-detection setting which identifies face-shaped objects in the frame for the purposes of setting the exposure and autofocus point. This system also offers "face tracking" ability which follows a targeted face as it moves around the frame. The GH1 adds an advanced "Face Recognition" system that can recall up to six frequently photographed faces and prioritize these faces for focus whenever multiple faces are detected in the frame. Other focusing options include AF-tracking (which can track objects moving through the frame), 23-point AF (which automatically selects the appropriate focus point from among 23 areas of the image) and single-point AF (which allows the user to select among the 23 available focus points).[3](p8)

Manual focusing can be aided through the use of a 10x magnification function. This magnified portion may be moved around to any portion of the scene, while the high-resolution EVF is sharp enough for nailing focus. In manual focus mode, touching the lens focus ring will immediately turn on the magnification for manual focusing. The GH1 does not offer any sort of focus peaking.

LCOS electronic viewfinder[edit | edit source]

The GH1 shares the same liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) electronic viewfinder (EVF) from the G1. This advanced EVF uses field sequential display technology to wring a 1.4 MP-equivalent performance out of an 800x600 pixel display. It does, however, exhibit some color "tearing" if one moves one's eye too quickly.[3](p4)

The scene in the EVF reflects the aspect ratio selected by the user and can be overlaid with various information about the image exposure and settings. The user can select the amount of information included in this overlay, or it can be removed completely to allow complete focus on framing the image. Among the information available are flash settings, optical image stabilization mode (there are three), drive mode (single, burst, bracket, timer), image aspect ratio, file format (RAW, JPEG or both), exposure indicator, sensitivity (ISO), shutter speed, aperture, recording mode, white balance, composition-assistance grid lines and an exposure histogram.[3](pp4, 8)

The EVF live view mode also allows a preview of the actual exposure in manual mode. The user can adjust shutter speed and aperture in manual mode and see the actual effect on the recorded exposure in the EVF. In addition to the usual depth of field preview, the GH1 allows a unique shutter speed effect preview, giving the user a fairly accurate preview of the finished image blurring when using a slow shutter speed.[3](p8)

The EVF does have some disadvantages. In extremely low light at the sensor limits, image quality degrades into a grainy, and often lagging image. The quality of the live view image can also suffer when using burst mode, since the image sensor and processor must pull double duty in recording the image and also feeding a live view to the EVF; this hampers the GH1s ability to capture fast-moving action such as sports photography. In addition the EVF draws significant energy which will cause the battery to drain more quickly than that of a similar DSLR.

Virtually all the functionality of the EVF is available also on the articulating 3-inch (76 mm) LCD display panel. An eye sensor switches the EVF on and LCD display off when the eye is brought up the EVF.

Successor[edit | edit source]

The GH1 was replaced by the 16MP Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 which was announced in September 2010.

Reviews[edit | edit source]

Links to selected reviews of the GH1:

Awards and recognition[edit | edit source]

  • The GH1 won the "European Multimedia Camera 2009-2010 Award" from the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA).[17]

Manuals & catalogs[edit | edit source]

Suggestions for settings and use[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Media related to Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 at Wikimedia Commons

Camera images[edit | edit source]

Firmware Updates[edit | edit source]

Panasonic releases[edit | edit source]

Panasonic has released the following firmware updates:[1]

PTool[edit | edit source]

Vitaly Kiselev developed a utility to replace or "hack" the stock GH1 firmware. These hacks, called "patches", allow users to remove certain firmware restrictions and change video encoding parameters. Some patches enable faster bit rates and improved video quality on the GH1.

Warning: Using PTool is not for the faint of heart; a careless installation can "brick" the camera, rendering it totally unusable.

More information on PTool for the GH1 including links to the necessary tools and patches can be found in this FAQ on Kisalev's Personal View site.[31]

Recording formats[edit | edit source]

Still photography formats[edit | edit source]

AVCHD format (.MTS files)[edit | edit source]

M-JPEG format (.MOV files)[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Update Contents for DMC-GH1". Panasonic Japan. May 10, 2010. Archived from the original on 2021-04-11. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  2. "DMC-GH1 (Specifications)". Panasonic Global. Archived from the original on 2009-03-10.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Rehm, Lars; Westlake, Andrew (July 10, 2009). "Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Review". Digital Photography Review. Archived from the original on 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 "The CREATIVE HD HYBRID from the LUMIX G Micro System The DMC-GH1 – With D-SLR Photo Quality and Full-HD Movies". Panasonic Global (Press release). March 3, 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-02-12.
  5. "Panasonic DMC-GH1 body only". ePhotozine. December 27, 2009. Archived from the original on 2014-05-20. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  6. Keller, Jeff (March 23, 2017). "Throwback Thursday: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, Multi-Aspect Master". Digital Photography Review. Archived from the original on 2017-03-24. Retrieved 2021-10-20.
  7. "Full HD movie recording in AVCHD". Panasonic Global. Archived from the original on 2009-03-10.
  8. Bloom, Philip (June 3, 2009). "The Panasonic Lumix GH1 30 minutes EU recording issue and firmware petition". (blog). Archived from the original on 2016-10-09. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  9. "The EU to decide New Tariff Classification of "Digital Cameras"" (PDF). CIPA. October 1, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-12.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ryan, Phillip (September 14, 2009). "Camera Test: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1". Popular Photography (magazine). Archived from the original on 2009-09-22.
  11. Pogue, David (April 9, 2009). "An S.L.R. Tailored for Video". Archived from the original on 2015-11-05.
  12. Grayson, Matt (May 22, 2009). "Panasonic DMC-GH1 Digital Camera Review". ePhotozine. Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  13. Keller, Jeff (June 2, 2009). "DCRP Review: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1". Digital Camera resource page. Archived from the original on 2010-03-15.
  14. "Panasonic Lumix GH1: The Current ComboCam King". Luminous Landscape. July 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-03-06.
  15. Creech, Howard (September 21, 2009). "Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 Review". Digital Camera Review. Archived from the original on 2010-02-04. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  16. Gallagher, Mat (June 9, 2009). "Panasonic Lumix GH1 Review". What Digital Camera. Archived from the original on 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  17. "Panasonic Awarded European Multimedia Camera 2009-2010 Award by EISA Panel for LUMIX DMC-GH1". Panasonic Global (Press release). Archived from the original on 2009-08-19.
  18. "Panasonic DMC-GH1 Operating Instructions" (PDF). Panasonic. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-04-13. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  19. "Panasonic DMC-GH1" (PDF). Panasonic Global. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-07. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  20. "G-Series System Chart" (PDF). Panasonic Global. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-03-31.
  21. "Panasonic 2010 Digital Cameras" (PDF). Panasonic. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-03-31.
  22. "Panasonic DMC-GH1" (PDF). Panasonic Japan (in 日本語). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-03-31.
  23. "The Best Settings for GH1 MJPEG and AVCHD Hack". Aster Design. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02.
  24. "LBGuides GH1 videos" (Video). Youtube. LBGuides. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  25. "Optimizing In-Camera JPEG Settings on Panasonic Bodies". Mu-43 Forum. March 30, 2011. Archived from the original on 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  26. "JPG Engine Settings". (enthusiast forum). Archived from the original on 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  27. "Compatibilities of DMC-G1 and DMC-GH1". Panasonic. August 26, 2021. Archived from the original on 2021-11-04. Retrieved 2021-11-04.
  28. Joinson, Simon; Askey, Phil (March 19, 2009). "PMA Interview: Panasonic". Digital Photography Review. Archived from the original on 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  29. Baskin, Dale (January 12, 2017). "Throwback Thursday: the Panasonic GH1 - mirrorless video arrives". Digital Photography Review. Archived from the original on 2017-01-13. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  30. "About the upgrade of the DMC-GH1 Firmware" (PDF). Panasonic. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-10-22. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  31. Kisalev, Vitaly. "Panasonic GH1, GF1, and G2 Hack FAQ". Personal View. Archived from the original on 2021-01-16. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
Preceded by
None: new line
Lumix GH line
April 2009–October 2010
Succeeded by

Comments[edit | edit source]

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