Lenses and Accessories
Panasonic offers a nice set of lenses for its Micro Four Thirds systems and the two I've been using (the 20mm 1.7 and the 14-140) are both excellent optics. There are also some Leica made lenses available for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 that score very high in lens tests and user reviews while also running up high price tags. I'm itching to try Panasonic's 7-14mm extreme wide angle zoom, but my budget is making me hold off for now (the lens runs around $1,000).
I love the 14-140 and usually keep this lens on the GF1. The lens performs beautifully with the camera and balances well even though it's a fairly heavy lens. It's price tag runs in the range of $800, so it's obviously not cheap, but if I were going to buy a single lens for this camera, this is one I'd get.
When it comes to flash units, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 isn't quite as exciting. The camera does have a pop-up flash which does a decent job of providing fill flash when needed. There are several Panasonic flash units that work with the camera, including the FL-360 I purchased (I picked up a refurbed unit off eBay for about $140, new they go for about $100 more). The FL-360 runs off two AA batteries, provides a decent amount of light, but as you might expect, takes a while to recycle even with fresh batteries. The flash is an identical twin to its Olympus counterpart, the FL-36R. (I have both, if you remove the names, you can't tell them apart). Ironically, while the Olympus flash does work on the GF1, removing it is hard enough to make me worry about damaging the camera. The Panasonic flash on the other hand slides on and off quite easily. Panasonic does not offer any wireless flash control system for the GF1, which is a real disappointment. At this point your choices are to either use a flash in the hot shoe (losing the ability to use the electronic viewfinder) or use the pop-up flash to trigger a slaved remote flash (using a slave designed to work with digital cameras of course).
Third party accessories are available, and considering the price tag for batteries for this camera (about $50 each) looking for a low cost alternative (there are third party options for less than $20) is tempting. Supposedly though, Panasonic cameras check to make sure a battery is Panasonic made and won't function with any other. I have several third party batteries which work fine with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, but I haven't gotten around to installing the latest firmware update. Several websites are claiming this upgrade will change that. If I ever get around to installing the firmware upgrade I'll post the results to this article.