(Pocket-lint) - The Panasonic Lumix GX1 is a new Micro Four Thirds compact system camera that offers photographers advanced features in a compact body design.

The Lumix GX1's closest predecessor is the GF2, but the new camera draws in features from across the Lumix line. The 16-megapixel sensor comes from the popular G3 and reintroduces the accessory port and hotshoe missing from the previous GF3 model. 

The result is a camera that retains smaller dimensions, but offers more flexibility for creative photographers, bridging the gap between the GF3 and the G3 and GH2 models.

Comparisons aside, Panasonic is pushing quality to the fore with the GX1, as they did with the recent X lenses. The body is metal as are the buttons, moving away from the plastics used on previous models. 

If you are worried about the lack of grip on some of the more compact mirrorless cameras, then the GX1 answers that call too, with a sculpted grip for the fingers of the right hands.

The new Lumix GX1 puts plenty of controls at your fingertips as well as offering touch control via the 3-inch display on the back. There are two hard and two soft (on-screen) Fn buttons that can be programmed from a set of 25 functions for instant access, in addition to the direct control buttons.

New headline features include level gauge for vertical and horizontal alignment, one push AE to bring you back to exposure settings that will capture your shot given the conditions, and some new creative modes which add toy camera and low key effects.

There is also added functionality for Panasonic's new Lumix X lenses, with the option to have the power zoom controlled on the screen, with settings to let you control the speed of zooming etc.

The accessory port and hotshoe will accommodate the new LVF2 viewfinder and there is a built-in flash.  

The Lumix GX1 will cost you £499.99 (body only), or £599.99 with the standard 14-42 lens and will be available in December. In mid January, you'll be able to get the GX1 with the 14-42 powered X lens for £729.99.

The Panasonic Lumix GX1 will come in two colours, silver and black.

You can read our first impressions, see lots of pictures of the new camera and view our test shots and video over in our First Look review.

Writing by Chris Hall.