See photos of the grandmother on the photography travelogue page.

The Grandmother

The grandmother from the farm, the niece and the baby.

A great example of what the GF1 does best in video — stationary subjects under excellent lighting with interesting backdrops to knock out with shallow depth of field.

See more photos of Nepal on the photography travelogue page.

Tibetan Prayer Wheel

Handheld inside of dimly sunlit room.

A massive Tibetan prayer wheel in a tight space, continuing to spin largely by the force of its own momentum.

See more photos of Nepal on the photography travelogue page.

How to: Dal Bhat

Step one: throw away your utensils.

Step two: index, middle and ring finger for scooping. Thumb for pushing the delicious mush into your gaping maw.

Mid-meal I realized this was a good chance to capture the unique elegance of dal bhat technique. Filmed with the GF1 balanced on the back of a chair.

See more photos of Nepal on the photography travelogue page.

Annapurna Panorama

Handheld. Taken from the middle of the Annapurna base camp sanctuary.

You'll notice the metering jump (the image dimming slightly) at a couple points in the video. I found this to be very rare — I suspect it has to do with the intensity of the sunlight. This can be avoided by shooting video like this in manual-metering mode and setting the proper exposure by hand.

See more photos of Nepal on the photography travelogue page.


A pair of shy school girls in Gandruk Village. They had recently lost some baby teeth and were a bit embarrassed by their toothless smiles.

See more photos of Nepal on the photography travelogue page.

School Kids

The action-shot compliment to Toothless.

Just outside the gates to a middle-school in Gandruk Village. Handheld amidst a gaggle of school children.

See more photos of Nepal on the photography travelogue page.

Teashop Owner

At a small tea shop on the way down to Gandruk village. Captured with the GF1 balanced atop my cup of black tea.

This is a prime example of what video in the GF1 best represents — spontaneously captured, unflinchingly raw portraits of life along the road.

Video Conclusions

The Bottom Line

It's safest to think of the GF1 as a great photography tool that also happens to record 720p HD video. The camera excels at capturing off the cuff snippets of moving-life along your travels.

The two biggest video related shortcomings of the GF1 are sound (mono only), and autofocus distraction (both in algorithm and motor sound on the 20mm lens). Depending on how obsessive you are about video, these shortcomings of the GF1 may not even register. And if you are obsessive, the later has an easy remedy — focus your video manually.

Heavy video users who don't mind losing some of the size benefits of the GF1 may want to consider Panasonic's GH1, the slightly larger, older brother to the GF1 — capable of recording 1080p HD at 24 frames per second.

Otherwise, photographers looking for a light, compact kit offering a gateway into experimenting with video will find the GF1 more than capable, and a whole lot of fun.

The Good
  • HD 720p
  • extremely compact
  • able to use almost any other lens (Nikon, Canon, Leica, etc) via adaptors, making it easy to leverage older equipment and play with different focal lengths in video
  • dial in shallow depth of field for 'film'-like focus-isolating shots
  • very good battery life
  • also happens to take brilliant photos

The Compromises
  • autofocus draws attention to itself
  • mono, 'tinny' sound quality
  • 20mm f/1.7 lens motor noise very noticeable when autofocusing in quiet environments
  • 'only' 720p (1080p being 'full' HD)
  • 30fps (as opposed to 'film' like 24fps)

Highly Recommended

About the images

All images © Craig Mod 2009.

Image reproduction is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. If you wish to use these photos in a commercial context, please contact me directly.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

All images taken with the Panasonic GF1 + Lumix 20mm f1.7 pancake lens. All post-processing done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.


None of this has been subsidized or sponsored. All opinions are my own. Influenced only by altitude sickness and too much dal bhat.

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