UnicornCam: Lumix GF1 (Gee a Flat One)

September 3, 2009

Panasonic has announced their new Lumix GF1 camera and I believe this one is close to the mythical UnicornCam that I’ve discussed over and over and over again.Panasonic Lumix GF1

Panasonic already comes close to the UnicornCam with their baby SLR the Lumix G1 and later with the HD video enabled Lumix GH1. The GF1 is a close sibling that is housed in a flat range-finder like body rather than the baby SLR look and feel of the G1/GH1.

As mentioned in one of the comments, the Olympus EP-1 has a similar form factor. All of the almost-there-unicorncams are based on the new Micro Four-Thirds standard so this seems to be the sweetspot for the tradeoff between sensor size and image quality.

So why am I posting about the GF1 rather than the EP-1? Simple, Panasonic seems to have nailed fast autofocus with a live preview camera. It also has a built-in flash which the EP-1 lacks.

Two new lenses were also announced, a Leica f/2.8 45mm (90mm equiv.) macro and a lovely little f/1.7 20mm (40mm equiv.). If you add the f/4 7-14mm ultra wide angle lens you have a pretty decent system.

Together with the macro and the wide angle lenses, I think the GF1 may be the starting point for another mythical beast that I’m truly interested in…. the Underwater UnicornCam. Hopefully one of the underwater housing manufacturers will target this little beastie. The remaining question is how the flash system works (pre-flash metering or TTL) and whether it will work well with the existing TTL underwater strobes on the market.

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