New Panasonic compact camera coming next month

Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GF1 camera has become the fourth for the Micro Four Thirds system, joining earlier cameras like the Olympus E-P1. The GF1 offers the ability to swap lenses, giving the camera the versatility of a digital SLR camera in a much smaller form factor.

The company claims it’s the world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera with a built-in flash. The 12.1 megapixel DMC-GF1 could prove a tempting alternative for DSLR buyers, offering flexibility, high resolution and pocket size, but at the cost of not having an optical viewfinder. Unlike DSLRs, it can also shoot video in 1280 x 720 HD format and comes with a 3 inch LCD display.

At 119mm x 71mm x 36.3mm, the DMC-GF1 features a pop-up flash and also offers a hot shoe for an external video microphone or an external flash.  

The DMC-GF1 is due to hit stores next month at $900 and will be offered in two kits: one with the optically-stabilized 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 lens included with earlier Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras and one with a brand-new 20mm/F1.7 aspherical pancake lens that will carry a price tag of $400.