Panasonic GH1: the kit lens
The Panasonic GH1 got a bit of a bad rap as far as the introductory price. At $1500, available only in kit form initially with the 14-140mm lens, it was considered expensive for what it was.
A lot of people didn’t realize what a gem the lens is, especially for that 10x zoom range. But the lens is beginning to get a fine reputation as more and more comparisons are done. Now we find out more or less what the body and lens are worth, with the introduction of the lens alone to retailers.
$850. A little math tells you the body itself is worth $650, which is what the G1 goes for, more or less. I’ve noted elsewhere that the lens is made in Japan and the body made in China, another sign that the company takes the lens very seriously, since these days only the best Japanese products are still made in Japan.
The lens has also taken a bit of a hit for the fact that some rather significant distortion corrections are done in software. Personally, I find that to be a perfectly acceptable practice and in line with the idea of a digital camera product, especially for such a long zoom range. This has always been problematic for lens designers, and the software angle gives a new, fresh approach to producing such a lens.
With an 35mm equivalent range of 28-280mm, this is an absolutely great carry around lens for daytime photography, or nighttime if mounted on a tripod. I’ve found it to be an excellent performer. The other real value lies in the video aspect of the lens, it is designed to zoom very quietly and to open the aperture smoothly so that there are no jarring effects to the video. The blade design produces a pleasing bokeh on shallow DOF images.