The latest Micro Four Thirds camera has the fastest AF of any predecessor.
Lab And Field Testing
In our tests in the Pop Photo Lab, the GF1 outresolved the E-P1 and essentially tied it in color accuracy, but yielded more noise at higher ISOs. The GF1 just barely stayed out of Unacceptable range at ISO 800, while the E-P1 scored better than that at ISO 1600. And the GF1 tops out at ISO 3200, while the E-P1 extends up to ISO 6400. Both are quite noisy at their respective top sensitivities, but the GF1, more so.
Due to the way Micro Four Thirds cameras achieve autofocus, we cannot test their AF speed in our lab, only in the field. But, the GF1 focuses noticeably faster than the E-P1 and was able to focus in dimmer conditions in our field testing than the E-P1 could.
Noise issues aside, the GF1 was a pleasure to use and small enough to fit in a small messenger bag or backpack instead of a large camera bag. With the 20mm lens attached, it might flt in a midsized purse.
So if a DSLR is too big, and you want better image quality and higher-end controls than you can get in a compact, the Panasonic GF1 may be for you.
But up against the Olympus E-P1, it's tough to declare a winner. If you don't mind the E-P1's sluggish focus, you'll get less noise, plus sensor-shift image stabilization (Panasonic puts it in the lens). If you don't mind cranking up noise reduction and sacriflcing some of its higher resolving power, the GF1 will provide a more seamless shooting experience.