The Panasonic GF-1. An old friend Re-visited – by Colin Steel

The Panasonic GF-1. An old friend Re-visited –  by Colin Steel

 

fellow photo travelers and camera junkies, like most of you I love reading Steve’s site to hear his thoughts on the latest kit, I can hardly wait for the Olympus OM-D to hit, it just looks sooo cool. In the meantime I got to looking out all of my M43 gear, in addition to the original Kit zoom (Kirk Tuck seems to like) I have the 45 mm f2.8 Leica designed macro, a recently acquired Samyang fisheye and my old favorite, the extraordinary little 20mm f1.7. This of course becomes what appears initially to be a bit of a weird 40mm equivalent focal length which puts it in no mans land between the favored 35 and 50 mm standards. I don’t know why but somehow this focal length really works for me and I find I can shoot all day on it.

 

Rather than be some strange sort of outcast from the traditional primes family, the 40 mm length somehow combines the best features of both the 35 and 50. It’s reasonably wide but can still be used for closer people or street work if you need to. You could argue that this makes it a compromise, but its a good one.

Similarly with the 45mm which gives a very nice 90 MM focal length. There is a big weakness in this otherwise lovely lens though and its the slowish aperture when used with the GF1. I have never been entirely happy in using the GF1 at anything above 400 ISO and despite the inbuilt lens stabilization, the need for shutter speeds in the 1/100th second range for good sharpness means that the lens needs decent light to work at its best. Having said that, it does focus close and delivers good results. I tried to capture the beauty and dignity of dying flowers in this shot which required getting really tight to the Frangipani flowers.

 

Back to the GF1 and I have to say that I have probably used 3 cameras in my time that I have gotten really close to and this is one (I will talk about the other two in a future post) Let me tell you why.

About a year ago in an attempt to further develop my skills I signed up for a camera course. Because of this exercise I forced myself to learn every intricacy of the GF1 and I could manipulate it instantly to do what I wanted without much conscious thought. I would anticipate a scene, have the camera already set up for the environment and often spot meter from something that looked right to get the exposure – guess what ??? I firmly believe that my photography took a leap forward.

I almost exclusively shot with the 20mm, nearly always wide open and my framing and exposures improved dramatically. I wandered around Singapore and had an absolute ball just shooting in rhythm. I know that this is why so many people like Leica M9’s, the process becomes different and the camera craft is much more aligned to thoughtful shooting and I believe that the GF1 and its simple, mainly manual interface allowed me to find my own approach in similar way.

 

Like the NikonV1 that I have been using extensively recently, the GF1 is a very discreet and quiet camera in use. It lacks the blistering speed of use of the V1 but I still believe that the RAW images at ISO below 400 are better and need less work. It’s add-on viewfinder is stone age by comparison to the V1 but it still allows basic composition although there is no subtlety at all about it.

 

Again, like other small cameras I own, I found that I carried it more as well, and through my familiarity with it this led to me getting more instantaneous, unplanned shots than normal for me.

 

I also traveled extensively with the GF1 and had a particularly good time with it in Bali where I got a nice series of shots of the ferry at Kusamba Beach.

 

 

I firmly believe that the simplicity of use and familiarity I had with the camera helped me enormously to move around shooting high and low to get the subjects above or below the horizon depending on what the shot needed.

 

If you ever get a chance to go to Kusamba Beach it can be a little tricky to find this particular location so its best to take a taxi and ask him to take you to where the salt farmers are. You need to be there very early, well before sunrise in fact if you are to get the best shooting light and activities. There is something I like very much about the quality of the light there and I think it’s partly to do with the black volcanic sand, white surf and early morning light. I de-saturated these photos for a particular look that I was trying to achieve so it doesn’t accurately reflect the actual lighting – in retrospect I should have left them alone 🙂

 

It’s astonishing to watch people board these ferry’s and very often the porters have to carry passengers through the surf.

 

Anyway, enough of this reminiscing, I have worked up sufficient enthusiasm to charge the battery and get shooting with this lovely camera again (there’s also a sneaking urge to try a GX1….)

 

Well that’s it for this short post guys, I am very interested to hear from anyone else that has a love affair with the GF1, please leave a comment or pop me a note.

Cheers,

Colin

Be sure to visit Colin’s site here for his latest reports and images!

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79 Comments

  1. I have been using GF1s for 6 years, one converted for infrared use. Having previously relied on SRL-DX cameras the GF1 makes so much better sense of carrying to remote venues. Very little compromise in quality as long as you keep ISO below 800. Mostly I use panasonic glass. The nikons stay in the cupboard nowadays. My ony adverse thought about the GF1 is it is a bit slow to use but with mostly landscape / architecture this is seldom a problem. Preferred glass is the 14 or 20mm.

  2. I bought a GF 1 about a month ago I transferred from a DSLR to mirrorless camera and I just totally love the little camera it has worked great for me

  3. I have a soft spot for Panasonic cameras ever since I bought a Panasonic L1 about 5 or 6 years back.

    Later I bought a Panasonic LX3 and then just a few months ago picked up a GF1 body (no lens) for a really good price.

    The L1 taught me that Panasonic really know how to make good cameras and produce lovely rendering. Both of my other Lumix cameras are as good.

    In particular there is something about the GF1 I really like. Its, how do I put it………..business like.

    None of the twee populist prettiness that characterizes some of its competition. (Not naming names here, I am sure you know which m43 camera I speak of). The GF1 is all black metal and plastic non nonsense hardness. Love it.

    Needless to say as I did not buy an m43 lens to go with this camera I exclusively use an adapter and Leica / Voigtlander glass or some 43 glass from my L1. I cannot speak too highly of this business-like little camera. Sure its relatively “old” in digital camera years but good cameras like this last because they are quality kit.

    An interesting thing about this camera is that when I manually focus my Leica glass I actually find it easier to focus accurately than my NEX 5. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

  4. Hi Colin,

    Brilliant article! Even though it’s been a few years since the release of the GF1, it is still one of my favourite cameras and the one I usually bring around with me. I love it for its portability and control layout and of course for the gorgeous 20mm f/1.7 lens! That combo still takes amazing shots.Beautiful shots of Bali. Are there any other lenses that you would recommend for using with the GF1?

    Kevin

    http://facebook.com/kjphotography

  5. I have a Gf-1 and thoroughly enjoy it. I do a lot of architectural photography and like the 7-14 Lena the most. I find the Gf1 seems to struggle focusing with my 20mm and am wondering if anyone else has this problem?

    Jason

  6. Colin,

    The photography in your article is beautiful and you should be proud.

    The GF1 with the 20/1.7 lens is the best combo I *never* used (was always tempted to get them, but never did, for one reason or other). I love the 40mm focal length for its versatility and the GF1 + 20 is capable of amazing results. Certainly in your capable hands.

    Thanks,

    Peter.
    http://www.prosophos.com

  7. Hi Colin. Really great article. I have had my GF1 for about two years and its an awesome camera. thinking of buying the external viewfinder. Just wondering if you thought it was really a worthwhile add-on?

    George

    • Hi George, thanks for this, I am really glad you liked the article. To be perfectly honest, I think the EVF is essential. It’s not the greatest from a resolution point of view and is soundly hammered by the OMD which I have been messing around with today. Having said that it is articulated and I really like that feature, it also gives a steadier shooting hold against your face and there are times when the screen is not usable in bright light. If I were you I would try to get a used one though and I frequently see them on sale in Asia.

      Best of luck anyway and happy shooting with the GF1.

      Colin

      • Hi George, I would agree with Colin about the EVF. Doubtless you will have seen plenty of negative criticism of the LVF1 on the web – I bought one for my GF2 and really enjoy using it. I suppose I didn’t have very high expectations of it because of its criticisms, but if you like using a viewfinder, and you’re prepared to accept that it doesn’t have the same resolution or image size of many other EVFs then you’ll probably find it pretty good.
        If you can, it’s probably worth testing one first – I wasn’t able to, and bought one new anyway.

        Colin, I really enjoy reading your articles here, and on your phototravelasia.blogspot.com site. Some really stunning photos, and as a Panasonic user, it’s good to see some great shots from the GF1. Also enjoyed your postings on the Nikon V1 too. Good to find great examples of images from these CSC cameras. I was a little too late to buy a GF1 – it had been discontinued, so I opted for the GF2. I find it a great little camera, despite the criticisms, and enjoy it for its own strengths, rather than for what it lacks over the GF1. I use the 20mm f1.7 and the 14mm f2.5 pancakes, which are both brilliant lenses. As well as the 14-42mm kit lens, I also bought the Olympus 9-18mm wide angle zoom recently, which I’m also enjoying. I still find the pancake lenses best though!

  8. Hi Colin

    you make the argument less is more superbly, I have long advocated the use of 4/3rds and smaller (ricoh GRD series) I think they represent the modern equivalent of the original Leica rangefinders and dare I say would be the system picked by those of yesteryear for their eminent portability and cost.

    I also think they would win out against the Hallowed M9 et al when one considers their stratospheric costs . I find that most of the images I see posted with the aforementioned could have been shot on anything as the content is mediocre and more often than not lacking any originality or narrative. Your selection highlights the fact you do not need have such kit to produce some stunning images.

    • Hi Shooter, yep, there is something about the smaller cameras that make them more intimate and usable. I have never had a problem with the 43 sensors, even in the earlier generations where the higher ISO’s were not there. The lenses that came out were fast enough and the lack of mirror slap countered this for the most part. Have a look at the stuff this guy churns out with the small Olympus cams. http://www.damianmcgillicuddy.com/journal/

      Cheers,

      Colin

  9. Collin thank;s for your answer ! the worst problem here is everybody talks about cropping but nobody really print on Inkjet, in fact i’m missing a good blogger or forum regarding Epson 3880. i will love to know all the secrets about inkjet so i can control al the process.

    Greg

  10. I use a GF1 and 20mm as my carry with me camera, I love the fact that you can use a square crop and see it on the rear lcd. I was considering changing it for a X100 but I’m not sure, the viewfinder on the X100 is stunning, but so are the easy to access controls on the GF1.
    If they could just add the X100 viewfinder to the GF1 and leave everything else as is it would be perfect for me, for the moment I’ll have to compromise ?
    http://harvindersunila.tumblr.com/post/14690526002/orion-mango-j-shore-raining-in-osaka

    • Hi Harv,

      I happen to have an X100 and mentioned that the GF1 was one of 3 cameras that I have ever used that I felt I understood and could use without thinking to get the creative results I was looking for. I was going to do a blog on this and the X100 and D3 are the other two 🙂

      I still think the GF1 beats both of these from a usability perspective for my purposes (by a considerable margin) and you are right about the viewfinder which is really just a compositional aid. The X100 by comparison though delivers delicious looking images, the combination of sensor and lens is simply wonderfull.

      I hope to write this up soon so you might like to read it.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  11. For me one if not the best read on this site over the last months.
    Why? Because you proove that is not important to allways jump on the latest and greatest, and you explain that knowing the camera and being familiar with it is quite important, and last not least because you show images which I find great (which of course has nothing to do with the camera).
    I understand your love for 40mm FOV, I now use a lot 50mm and 35mm on my M9.
    I think focal length in the 35-50mm range forces us to get close to the subject which is good.
    Thanks for a great article,
    Regards, Tom

    • Hi Tom, thanks for this and picking up on the knowing your camera bit. I dont think I stressed this enough, there is no question in my mind that a photographer who knows his camera intimately will always get better results than one with ‘better’ or fancier kit. It took me a long time to understand this message and its so important to the shooting process.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  12. Hi, great images, thanks for sharing.

    I also own a GF1, with a 20mm and an olympus 45mm.
    It’s a great camera, and I find myself using it more often than the canon DSRL: it’s easier to carry it around, people is less intimidated, and lenses are less expensive than canon equivalents 🙂

    I printed a couple of pictures in large format (50+ cm wide) with great results (in my eyes :))

    Now i’m very tempted by the olympus 12mm to, because I love wide angles….

    • Hi Philipp, I like that shot too as the light was very nice and gave a good catchlight in his eyes. He was a bit impatient with me so maybe the expresion is not the best but I did like the feel of it.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  13. Wonderful images.
    Aren’t these new generation of “little” cameras great 🙂

    I’ve been playing around with the X10 (as mentioned in a reply before) and love it. It’s opening up possibilities you simply don’t get with a “pro” looking body.

    Again, love the shots.

    Greetings
    Frank

    • Hi Frank, I am really pleased that you liked the shots as I am a huge admirer of your studio work and was absolutely fascinated that you chose to get an X10 as I am so used to seeing you sporting a tethered Medium Format giant !!!! I know that will probably stay the same for your studio work but I did see the shots that you took with the X10 and they looked wonderfull, at web resolutions you would never be able to guess which camera you shot with 🙂

      Thanks again for loking and taking the time to comment,

      Cheers,

      Colin

  14. personally.. I went from PS to mirrorless starting from GF1..

    I trade to GF2 .. ok ok… its a flop in the market
    but I feel more responsiveness with the touchscreen for shooting my active newborn daughter…

    so now I am so happy with GF2 + 20 mm1.7 + 25mm 1.4 + 45 mm1.8
    for wide shots.. I keep my old faithful LX3..
    never let me down til now.. the faithful GF…

    its my story…

  15. This is a very good camera for small prints and the computer but when you need a big print is impossible, after i got some great pictures with this camera but it was impossible to print big i went to the X100. today i don’t know if the way to go is the xpro 1 or keep the lenses i have and wait for the Gx1 or de Omd

    Greg

    • Hey Greg,

      That may well be the case, I have never tried to make a print above A3 although that size seemed ok but maybe that’s the limit. I can’t imagine that the OMD would take you much further forward if large scale printing is important but I am far from expert in that area. I feel really mixed about the Xpro 1 and Steve’s review made me more ambivalent, there is so much that I know I would like but it is very expensive and has some pretty quirky limitations by the looks of things.

      For me personally, the OMD looks like it will be fantastic and I think the in-body stabilisation is a major factor and one of the few improvements I would have liked in the GF1.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  16. Superb photographs Colin.
    I too enjoyed the Panasonic GF-1 (Which I sold to a friend at Xmas)
    I took mine on a weeks holiday to Paris last September with my girlfriend, and it helped me capture some superb memories of the place.
    I will have to upload to this site so all can see. I shot many photos using the 1:1 format the GF-1 had built in, which gave a wonderful Square image.
    I miss the compact size of the GF-1 and although I prefer the dynamic range of dSLR, the GF-1 was easy to handle quickly and really came alive walking the streets.
    Thanks for sharing
    Take care
    Gav.J

    • Thanks Gavin, I am really interested in the 1:1 format as I have never tried that before and I can see how it would fit Paris well. Look forward to seeing these,

      Thanks,

      Colin

  17. Great article. I love those 2 focal lengths, too, especially manually focused. I’m starting to find cameras are like that great old song, “Love the One You’re With”. The best camera is the one you’re willing to carry around.

    • Wow, that’s a big change Ben. Personaly I have a D3 but I just find that it’s so much easier to use the GF1 and its lovely little lenses.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  18. As always, great set of photos Colin! Love that bluish tint on the last four photos. It worked really well. Anxiously looking forward to more “travel”photos to the next exotic destination!

    • Hi Armanius, thanks for this. I wasn’t sure about the de-saturation in the Bali shots (I think it was a Bleach Bypass Lightroom preset) but it seemed to work ok with that gorgeous light that you get on the beach there. I am off to Fujian, Southern China next weekend so will try to get something up early May. It’s my first trip to China and I will be with a Chinese Pro who is specialist in landscapes. This is not really my area of interest but I still think it will be a great learning experience and the Chinese have some distinct compositional preferences that will be interesting to understand.

      Thanks again,

      Colin

      • I’ll try the bleach bypass on LR. I really thought it looked good on those photos.

        Have a safe trip to and back from China. I’m sure you’ll come back with some wonderful photos, even if landscape isn’t your thing. I’m curious as to what your “weapon” of choice will be on this trip! Want to divulge prior to the trip?

        Take care!

        -Armando

        • Ha, I have been thinking over the very same thing !!!!!! I am going on the trip with some old friends, one of whom has been many times and is getting us a meet up with a Chinese pro who specialises in this area so it should be fun but I fancy that tripods may be essential having seen some of his shots.

          To be honest, I would take an OMD if I could find one in Singapore 🙂

          I will put up a post on this on the blog at the weekend though.

          Thanks again,

          Colin

  19. Really enjoyed your images Colin. I love my GF1. I preferred using it to the M9. Hoping the EM-5 has the usability of the GF1 with the added bonus of the viewfinder. Here’s a little photostory I shot with the Panny…. https://vimeo.com/36148248 Regards. Bob

  20. Simply stunning work. Shows how much the gear really doesn’t matter. You have captured some fantastic moments, Colin. You are the small camera expert!!!

    • Hey Ashwin,

      Many thanks, as somone who extensively used a D3 with 24 f 1.4 for ages I have to agree with you, I am just so much happier using the small cameras and I think the results tend to be more satisfying from my personal perspective.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  21. A fine set of photos. And I really like the ‘portraits’ of a well used GF1 body, with a patina of nicks and scratches adding character.
    The GF1 is the camera Panasonic got right from the go, so much so they lost their way trying to follow it up. I think it’s design owes much to Leica, I’m sure there must have been some talk between the companies at some early stage. Or did Panasonic decide to strike out on their own with a competitor if/when Leica didn’t use the design as a new digital Leica CL?
    I haven’t shot with my GF1 for a while, charmed away by the delights of an LX5 and lately an X10 (wonderful little thing). I think I’ll remedy this the coming few days…!

    • Couldn’t agree more Andrew and I am struck with how many GF1 users seem to have gravitated towards the X10 !!! Clearly the experience must be similar.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  22. I found that while I had both the 25 and the 20, I actually much preferred shooting with the 20, even though the 25 is for all accounts, better. Better AF, faster, smoother bokeh, more pleasing color. Heavier and more expensive though, and that alone may be a deal breaker for some.

    Thing is though, that 50mm, especially on a 4:3 ratio sensor, always just feels a little cramped to me for some reason. I usually favor 35mm of course, so thats no small part, but as good as the 25 Panny is, it just never felt natural to me.

    • Right onJeff, I think that’s it for me as well. I like to shoot subject and context when I am travelling and 40 seems to work best, less cramped as you say,

      Cheers,

      Colin

  23. I love my GF1, too. Which settings do you use on contrast, color and sharpness?
    The second lens I prefer is the 14 mm and the 45 mm. That´s my travel-set

    • Hi Peter, I use only the RAW files and do contrast and sharpening in lightroom. I have recently been bracketing exposure on it by 2/3 stops (where appropriate) though and despite the fact that I find the metering reliable this is giving an extra edge when it comes to editing.

      Thanks for looking though and I am really glad you like the GF1 and 14 too.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  24. Great post and great pictures. I enjoyed reading it and watching at the same time, back and fort all the time, thanks Colin.

  25. yes, Gorgeous shots!!! I often take my GF2 with me, instead of the cunky D700. I like the handling…

  26. This is very timely because I dug out my GF1 over the last weekend. I’d never really used it much, preferring the G1 and G3. The EVF is awful compared to those two cameras, but I prefer the output from the GF1 over the others with the same lens. There’s something about the clarity of the files missing from other m4/3 cameras. It’s also a decent size: for me a camera needs a certain heft to give decent handling, including a VF for stability. Why haven’t I used it more? The form factor, the add on low quality EVF….but the files are great. Coincidentally, there’s a letter in this week’s Amateur Photographer magazine (UK) suggesting people search out a used GF1, pop on a 20mm f/1.7 and go shooting. Good advice!

  27. The Lumix GF1 with 20mm lens is my ONLY digital camera and I love it in the same way I once loved my Konica Hexar AF. It is simple and sturdy and it invites you to take pictures in a gentle and silent way. It is a great tool for any social photography. I use it mainly beside a Bronica RF645 which I load with B&W-film (Kodak Tmax 400).

    No need to replace this rig. I shoot mainly 100 or 200 ISO and it serves my needs wonderfully well!!

    Great shots Colin!

  28. Terrific shots. I especially love the beach shots. I also enjoy my GF-1, using the 20mm and Olympus 45mm. It seems that that at low ISOs, which is all you normally want to use, the quality is fantastic. I also have a GH-2, and while that takes great pictures with these lenses, I somehow like the rendering of the GF-1. The camera is easy to use, easy to carry and only encounters some problems with very strong highlights or high contrast situations.

  29. I really miss my GF-1, particularly the drive mode that let me get 2 types of color along with a “dramatic B&W” shot with one shutter press. I ended up with some great B&W shots this way without having to shoot exclusively in monochrome. I wish more cameras came with film bracketing, its a great feature. Your shots also made me want to go back to Bali. I must have shot 50 rolls of film there in days gone by.

  30. Great Post and astounding pictures. I agree that one has a different style shooting with the GF1 compared to a DSLR, and even though it is fully automated, it does not feel like that, in a positive way. I find it much more fun to shoot with than my DSLR and use it much more than the other one, mostly with the 20mm, but also with the 14-45mm.

    Personally I find ISO 800 perfectly usable, but also think about upgrading to the GX1 for one or two more stops (this would probably the nail in the coffin for the DSLR). The only slight disadvantage of the GF1 in my view is the color rendering, which tends to be a bit on the green-ish side, but that can be controlled with a custom WB setting. Overall I just love the GF1, it’s the best purchase of photo-gear I ever did.

    Cheers,
    Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      Firstly, thanks for your encouragement, I really do appreciate it.

      Also agree with you about the shooting experience and unfortunately the colour rendering. I am badly colour blind so I tend to convert the GF1 shots to B&W or use a Lightroom preset if I am not sure. You can see this in my recent blog post with the GF1.

      I also agree with you on the GF1 being the best camera purchase I have ever made and the fun and use I have had from it far exceed that of any other addiction purchases 🙂

      Cheers,

      Colin

  31. Leitz, and then Minolta, offered a 40mm lens (and 40mm frameline, instead of 50mm) with the Leica CL – which is the proper size for a camera, like the GF1! – and then with the Minolta CLE. The 40mm is what I keep on my M9 almost all the time! The 40mm f2 Leica/Minolta lens is just so tiny and light that it’s a perfect match for that oh-so-heavy M9.

    As you say, “..the 40 mm length somehow combines the best features of both the 35 and 50. It’s reasonably wide but can still be used for closer people..”

    And the GF1 is a great little gem! (The later GX1 shoots higher resolution video, and has a higher maximum less-noisy ISO, but the GF1 is still a beauty! The GX1 also takes a higher-spec add-on finder, too, but the GF1 is still a terrific camera!)

    Your pictures here show just what sensational results this camera and its lenses can provide ..when allied, of course, with an excellent photographer’s eye!

    • Hi David, I wasn’t aware of that on the CL, that’s interesting as I would have thought 35 would have been the prefered length. As you rightly say though, 40 is an extremely versatile focal length.

      Incidently, I was looking at this article http://prosophos.com/2011/07/25/the-voigtlander-nokton-40mm-f1-4/ by Peter at Prosophos and he appears to like that focal length as well.

      I have to say that I think I need to go try a GX1 as the higher ISO performance would be great if the usability is still there.

      Cheers,

      Colin

      • See the original Leica CL and its 40mm lens here: http://tinyurl.com/clz5wv3

        See the later (1980) Minolta CLE and the same (but ‘Rokkor’-branded) 40mm lens here: http://tinyurl.com/ct9g6f3

        See my GX1 comments here on Steve’s site: http://tinyurl.com/74kc6hm – with the (almost) final thoughts that “..the winner of that rough test is.. well, it’s a very close call between the new GX1 and the original GF1! The GF1 RAW file with the Tamron lens is fractionally clearer and more legible than the GX1 pics and even the Canon with the APS-sensor.

        “Will I now use the GX1 instead of the GF1, or stick with the original? The GX1 is slightly easier to handle (a little smaller, but with a bigger grip), has a higher max ISO, has a slightly higher pixel count (but that didn’t mean a lot in this test) and has a FAR better clip-on EVF, far faster automatic focusing, four configurable buttons, and the handy artificial horizon.”

        Despite the faster focus and less-noisy higher max ISO of the GX1, the G F 1 is still a great camera. The GX1 is a tad smaller than the original GF1, so you should try it yourself in your own hands to see if it is an improvement, for you Colin, or if it’s more awkward in use than your GF1.

        Cheers again, David.

  32. Excellent photos and a good write up. Ever since I moved to the GH1 my GF1 is gathering dust in its box. Your article makes me want to fire it up again. Looks like I’ll do that one of these days.

    • Thanks Mo Han, that’s what happened to me, I had not used it for a while but as soon as I picked it up I wanted to shoot again. I shot some Singapore scenes and even a simple indoor lighting set up that you can see on the blog if you like. Thanks again for looking.

      Colin

  33. Lovely tones in your ferry boarding photos! And impressive sharpness in them all. I definitely understand how you enjoy the Panasonic 20mm on a body like this with a 2x crop factor. Everything between 30mm and 50mm is interesting to me, speaking about full-format focal lengths.

  34. Still use the GF1 as well as the M9. The GF1 gets used in times when I would not want to get the M9 wet or have to carry it around on hikes…

    Looking forward to see what the OM-D is like, dont need video just good shot.

    It is a shame in a way that now “Camera backs” get digital rot and last only a handful of years, yet the lenses can last a lifetime….

  35. after years of waiting I finally got my hands on a GF1 the other day and I’m absolutely loving it depsite it’s age

  36. Lovely series of pics!
    I agree, the GF1 remains a fantastic camera, especially with the 20mm pancake. I own about 7 or 8 different cameras and I can honestly say that to me, the GF1+20mm is one of the best overall camera/lens combos in a looong time. I love it so much that I actually have two GF1’s lol… just in case, you never know 😉

    I also just bought the Canon 5D Mark III, which is an absolute BEAST but still, the trusty little GF1 has a firm place in my lineup. It works in places/situations where the 5D3 is just too much.

    Thanks for posting your thoughts and pics, enjoyed them a lot.

    • Hi Jay, that’s interesting, I have been keeping my eyes open for a white one as I thought it looked really cool. Lumix definately hit on something with the GF1 that unfortunately they failed to develop quickly enough and Fuji and Olympus appear to have stepped up to the plate.

      I am really glad you liked the pics as well, thanks for taking the time to comment,

      Colin

  37. Thanks for this post! Some very nice shots there indeed. Especially the second shot of the ferry, as it’s filling with people. The crashing waves, white sky and black beach give it a very strong dynamic.

    I’ve had my GF1 pretty much since it came out in Holland (actually sold my Nikon D200 to buy it and never regretted the swap… Felt I was missing too many shots every time I decided the D200 was just too much bulk to take with me.) and still shoot it all the time. I only have the 20mm and the Panny 14-45 zoom. But I think 80% of my shots are taken with the 20mm too.
    However much I love it though, I think the time for an upgrade has come. And despite all the quirks I keep reading about the X-Pro 1 looks like the perfect candidate. Somehow the OM-D just doesn’t feel like enough of an “upgrade” to me compared to the GF1. And looking at my shots I’m pretty sure I can live with the “slow” AF of the XP1 just fine.

    Keep shooting!

  38. Colin, lovely photos! Excellent article. I did like the GF-1 but for me the package was just a little too big to fit in a pocket, so I moved to the smaller Olympus XZ-1 and got similar quality in a smaller package. Now my “small” camera is the Fuji X10 and I love it. Nothing beats that manual twist zoom! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Brad, X10 looks super cool as well and I noticed that Frank Doorhof http://www.frankdoorhof.com/site/ has been using one as well. I find that interesting because he is at heart a medium format studio shooter and he used the X10 in the studio with what look to me like stunning results.

      Have fun with it, it looks like a camera that desrves to go everywhere and can stand the abuse.

      Cheers,

      Colin

  39. Great shots – I think I have been to the same temple in Singapore myself, once! 🙂

    Sold my GF1 w/ 20mm last year but missed it so much that I got the GX1 (after a short stay with the GF3 that didn’t quite settle). Was my much prefered camera for over a year.

    -iau

    • Hey iau,

      I think this was Sri Mariamman in Chinatown, did you notice much difference in the use of the GX1 v’s the GF1. I am assuming that the ISO performance is a bit better as well?

      Thanks for looking,

      Colin

      • I’ve used both the GF1 and the GX1 (my current camera). And I can say the GX1 is a true successor to the GF1 and a worthy update.

        I used the GF1 very briefly. Loved it very much but had 2 niggles:
        1. lack of decent EVF
        2. The automatic programme sets the minimum shutter speed at 1/30 (e.g. in A mode it will give 1/30 at ISO 200 rather than 1/50 at ISO 320 or 1/60 at ISO 400 or something like that). And I cannot always handhold 1/30 shots.
        So I moved back to my Olympus PENs – had much experience with those as well. Dabbled in almost all models and end up settling in the E-P2 with the lovely VF-2 evf.

        Recently I bought myself a GX1 because the I’ve had enough of the E-P2’s slow startup time (around 2.2 seconds) and the fact that it focuses really slow OUR favourite lens, Panasonic 20mm f/1.7.
        The GX1’s program has improved as its minimum shutter speed now is 1/60 (sometimes 1/50), but it’s annoying when you put the 45mm lens or even the tele, the minimum is still the same, so you have to always be aware of changing the ISO manually even in A mode.
        ISO performance has really improved. Unless you print really large, I can dare say it produces usable results up to ISO3200. I only post my photos on Facebook so ISO6400 is also very much usable. ISO1600 is still very clean. For me, the GF1 is acceptable up to ISO800, so maybe on the GX1 you’ll find it acceptable up to ISO800.

  40. great pics Steve! 🙂 Seems like you enjoy this camera a lot. Do you use it more than the Olympus EP3? I purchased the EP1 a few years ago and read that it did better in certain aspects than the GF1 especially with noise and other stuff. What do u think?

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