Is Micro 4/3 Coming of Age

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Is Micro 4/3 Coming of Age

There's no denying that Olympus's EP-1 is a thing of (retro) beauty. But as a digital camera, it leaves something to be desired.

That's why you'll be glad to know that Panasonic has announced the new Lumix GF-1, available in October. The GF-1 is the Micro 4/3 camera we all expected from Panasonic - but got the G1 instead. No more lumps where the mirror would have been (in an SLR). The GF-1 shows that Panasonic has fully embraced the Micro 4/3 digital format.

And the GF-1 does the EP-1 a little better in several categories. There's a pop-up flash... a much nicer LCD screen... an optional viewfinder... and (drum roll please) an available f/1.7 lens. (The EP-1 does work with more lenses, but I'll take the little speed demon, thanks.) And speaking of speed, side-by-side tests show the GF-1's autofocus is much faster than the EP-1's.

While it won't challenge a good digital SLR, the GF-1 is pocketable and offers enough features to make it a solid second camera. It appears that Panasonic is beginning to realize the promise of the Micro 4/3 format.



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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.