Panasonic Announces the Lumix DC-G9 With 20fps Burst and Enormous EVF

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DC-G9, a 20MP Micro Four Thirds Camera targeted at professional stills photographers. It’s capable of shooting at a continuous burst of 20fps, and has the same 20MP sensor as the well-regarded GH5. It is also able to produce a 80MP raw file by shifting its sensor eight times.

The image stabilisation of the G9 is capable of reducing shake at up to 6.5 stops, one of the best so far on interchangeable lens cameras. The stabilisation also works at wider focal lengths with non-stabilised lenses, and with longer focal length lenses with built-in IS, the G9 can utilise Dual IS 2.

The AF system on the G9 has 225 selectable AF points with improvements in both speed and tracking, allowing the camera to shoot at 20fps with continuous AF engaged, using its electronic shutter. When using the mechanical shutter, this drops to 9 fps. Using single AF, the camera can deliver up to 60fps of continuous shooting when using the electronic shutter, and 12 fps with the mechanical shutter. The buffer has enough space for up to 50 RAW images to be stored in a single burst.

The G9 is freeze-proof at temperatures down to -10ºC, and is sealed from the elements. The OLED EVF has a resolution of 3.68M dots with a magnification of 0.83x, making it one of the largest around. There is also the more traditional 3″ articulating LCD touch screen. There are SD card slots on the camera, and both supports UHS-II media for fast data transfers.

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Flip LCD

Video-wise, the G9 can shoot 4K Ultra HD at up to 60fps at a bit rate of 150Mbps. There is no crop when shooting video at any resolution, which is a good thing as you will be using the full sensor. Slow motion video can be recorded at up to 60fps at 4K, and 180fps at 1080p Full HD.

Using the same DMW-BLF19 battery as the GH5, the G9 delivers up to 400 shots per charge. A Power Save LVF improves battery life by 2.3x but putting the camera to sleep when the EVF is not in use, turning it on instantly when the shutter button is half-pressed.

While most cameras’ WiFi is still on the older 802.11/b/g/n standards, the G9 uses the modern 802.11ac standard for faster wireless file transfers to compatible devices. You can also remotely control the camera using the Panasonic Image App.

The Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 will ship in Jan 2018 at a price of US$1699 for the body alone. There is a optional vertical grip which will be sold for $349 at the same time.


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Panasonic Announces the Lumix GX80/GX85 Micro Four Thirds Camera

Panasonic DMC-LX85
Panasonic DMC-LX85

Panasonic has announced the Lumix DMC-GX85, also known as the GX80 outside of North America. (What’s with naming things differently in different regions anyway?) This is cost-down version of the GX8, featuring a 16MP Live MOS sensor and no AA filter. It also has a redesigned shutter mechanism and 5-axis Dual IS consisting of both In-Body and Optical Image Stabilisation. Panasonic claims that the removal of the anti-aliasing filter supposedly improves fine detail resolution by 10%. The magnetically-driven shutter mechanism reduces the shutter sound as well as the vibration caused by shutter shock.

The GX85/GX80 features a Live View Finder (LVF) with 2764K-dots and 100% colour re-production, covering field of view of 100%. The rear LCD is a large 3.0″ one with approximately 1040K-dots with touch capability. It tilts up by up to 80º and down by 45º.

As with the trend these days, the GX85/GX80 features 4K at 30p or 20p video recording in addition to good old full HD at up to 60fps. There are also 3 different burst modes which allow you to: capture up to 30 still images at 8MP, record 30 frames before and after you capture a shot, and finally, a 4K cropping mode which lets you extract HD video from a 4K recording, adding zoom and pan effects within the camera.

A novel feature on the GX85/80 is Focus Bracketing. This is a Lytro-like “Post Focus” feature which lets you select the focus area after the image is taken. Other features include an ISO range of 100-25,600, WiFi and RAW recording.

The GX85/80 will be available with a 24-64mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens for US$800 in late May.

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Panasonic Releases a GM1 with a Selfie LCD, the DMC-GF7

Panasonic GF7

This one is a bit surprising, in the sense that most camera manufacturers are slowly giving up the low-end (Olympus has more or less abandoned the Pen, consolidating what was a three-camera line into a single-camera afterthought). The DMC-GF7 is basically a GM1 with a screen that flips up for selfies, and has a few tweaks to the button layout to cater to beginners. Everything else, including the 16 megapixel sensor and the kit lens seems to be the same.

The USA pricing for it is a bit of a shock for me, since at US$600 it is what the GM1 is here in Singapore. Lately pricing can vary quite a bit between Singapore and USA; while new cameras typically have little differences, the recent cameras have Singapore street prices 25% lower than the USA street prices. Still, for a company trying to push their margins up, I don’t think Panasonic will depress the entry level camera pricing by that much. So perhaps the GF series is no longer a budget camera, but a premium compact camera that is aimed at casual users.

The GF7 will be available in February, in both silver-trimmed black and pink.

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Panasonic Lumix Launch Event

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

Panasonic organised a launch event at the Funan Digitalife Mall over the last weekend to launch their Lumix LX100, GM-5 and GH4 in Singapore. YS and I dropped by to get a hands-on on them, including the highly-anticipated Lumix LX100 (pictured above.)

I have been a long-time user of the old Panasonic LX3. It’s a great little compact camera with good image quality, manual controls and a fast zoom which starts at 24mm (equivalent) at f/2.0. It made for a great travel camera or for social settings when I don’t want to lug a heavy DSLR around.

YS: I myself had the LX2, which was before the LX3 really defined the LX class. It still was a pretty decent camera, at a time when Panasonic cameras had relatively noisy sensors. Remember them?

CK: I skipped the LX5 and LX7 when they came out as I didn’t think the changes are significant enough (more megapixels, slightly longer reach, etc.) But when Panasonic announced the LX100 with a Micro Four Thirds sensor, a fast 24-75mm lens which starts at f/1.7, 4K video recording and even an EVF, I was excited to get my hands on one to test it out. This launch event gave me that opportunity.

Following the previous LX models, the LX100 features knobs and dials for the controls, something of a trend right now with the likes of Fuji adopting it in their cameras. In fact, the top of the camera looks somewhat like a Fuji XE2. The body is bigger than my LX3 to cater for the bigger sensor and lens, but the overall size is still pretty compact. Due to the magnesium alloy body, the LX100 feels very solid in the hands.

YS: I would say it is more of a slow evolution: The LX7 after all added an aperture ring, so the extra dials seemed like the next logical step. Not one I am too fond of, however.

The camera is definitely larger than the LX7 that came before it, and I would even say it is no longer jacket pocketable, unless you like having a large bulge in your jacket. However it is still plenty small, and I would compare it to something like a Canon Powershot G camera.

CK: Like most modern Micro Four Thirds cameras, the LX100 focusses pretty quickly, though I still think the Nikon 1 series is slightly faster on this aspect. Having used to the big and glorious EVF of the Fujifilm X-T1, the LX100’s EVF looks small but refresh rate is pretty decent. It is definitely very usable, more so than the one on the Sony RX100 III, I’d say.

From the LCD, image quality is excellent, and high-ISO performance is pretty decent too. We weren’t able to use our own memory cards on the camera as there is a long queue of people clamouring over it and we didn’t want to hog it for too long. Hope to get a review unit from Panasonic soon, so that we can do a more in-depth review.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 will sell for S$1199 here, and there’s a current promotion with an additional 16GB SD card, original case, battery and $50 shopping vouchers.

YS: That’s a pretty decent price. I think for many enthusiasts this could be the one camera for all their photography needs. The wants, however, is a different thing altogether.

CK: The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 was on display at the event, filming a water-drop setup to demonstrate still-image extraction from 4K video. Basically, a video of a drop of ink landing onto a bowl of water is captured as a 4K video, and the desired frame is extracted in-camera to obtain a still image. This might change the way photojournalism is done in future, where the photojournalist simply shoots video and select a frame later.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

The Panasonic/Leica CM1 phone was also on display at the event, but unfortunately it’s housed behind a display case and we can’t get our hands on it. It’s less bulky than I thought, though it housed a 1″ sensor for its camera.

YS: I am pretty sure it’s a mockup. As far as I know, it’s still only going on sale in France and Germany, sort of an experiment.

Panasonic/Leica CM1 Phone
Panasonic/Leica CM1 Phone

Finally, I also spent some time with the GM5, the followup to the GM1. The camera is actually smaller than the LX100, though once you add proper lenses to it it will no longer be quite as small.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5

The changes to the GM5 are minor, but they improve the camera handling a lot. Having a proper rear command dial makes settings easier to change, and the slightly larger frame makes it better to hold. The EVF is a real tiny affair, but it is serviceable. I really liked the GM1, so we shall see if I end up getting something silly one day. Christmas is not too far away after all!

That wraps out our coverage of the cameras on show. We will be trying to get a LX100 for review, so stay tuned!

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Panasonic Announces Lumix CM1 Android Smartphone Camera With 1″ Sensor

Panasonic Lumix CM1
Panasonic Lumix CM1

Photokina: Smartphone cameras always had small sensors to keep their overall size down. Even the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom and the Lumia 1020 with 41 megapixels have puny sensors. Panasonic has just announced what’s possibly the smart phone camera to end all smart phone cameras – the Lumix CM1.

This Android smartphone is equipped a 4.7″ screen and a 20 megapixel camera featuring a 1″ sensor. The lens is a Leica DC Elmarit lens offering an equivalent of 28mm f/2.8 in 35mm terms. Settings such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO are controlled via the manual lens ring and there’s a dedicated shutter button at the top of the device.

The phone side of the device has pretty standard features – a 4.7″ Full HD screen, 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor, 2GB of internal RAM, 16GB of internal memory and a microSD card which supports up to 128GB, as well as a 2,600mAh battery. It runs Android Kitkat out of the box.

All these does not come cheap though. The phone (or camera if you like) will be available in France and Germany only for now, at a cool €900 (US$1165). Don’t think the Leica aficionados are going to spring for this though. Leica has something more “exciting” for them.

YS: Probably US$900 then, Euro pricing and all. Not particularly enticed for some reason. Maybe it’s the price, or the fact that the battery is kinda tiny. After use the Note series I don’t want to go back to a phone with a battery with less than 3,000 mAh.

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Panasonic Announces the Lumix DMC-LX100, Lumix DMC-GM5 and a Pair of New Lenses

Panasonic DMC-LX100
Panasonic DMC-LX100

Panasonic has announced a new member to the LX family – the DMC-LX100. Unlike the previous LX-series compact cameras like the highly successful LX3, 5 and 7, the LX100 incorporates a 16 megapixel Four Thirds sensor. This effectively moves the latest LX camera into the Micro Four Thirds category along side the other Panasonic models such as the GM1.

The LX100 features a 24-75mm equivalent lens with an aperture of f/1.7-2.8 and supports 4K video recording at 30p. It also features WiFi and NFC for easy pairing to smart devices. This little compact also has a built-in EVF with XGA resolution and a fixed touch-capable 3″ LCD. No pop-up flash but a clip-on external flash is provided in the box.

The camera will be available in October, but no pricing information is available at this point of time.

Panasonic DMC-GM5
Panasonic DMC-GM5

Next up, we have the Panasonic DMC-GM5. Last year, Panasonic released the very compact DMC-GM1. It is well-loved for being almost similar to a compact camera in size, yet delivering images that much better as it has a Four Thirds sensor. One of my main gripes about it is that it lacks a viewfinder.

Today, Panasonic has addressed that by announcing the DMC-GM5, a compact Micro Four Thirds camera with a built-in EVF having 1.2m dots. That’s not all, it also has a hotshoe! Panasonic calls it the World’s Smallest Interchangeable Lens Camera with Live View Finder as of today. It also does 1080/60p HD video recording and features WiFi and NFC. There’s also a 24p mode with a max bit rate of 24Mbps for that cinematic look in your videos.

The DMC-GM5 will be available at US$899.

Lumix G Vario 35-100mm
Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4-5.6 ASPH MEGA O.I.S
Lumix G Vario 14mm
Lumix G Vario 14mm f/2.5 II

To go with the new GM5, Panasonic announced a pair of lenses – the Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4-5.6 ASPH MEGA O.I.S and Lumix G 14mm f/2.5 II ASPH. Both the lenses are designed to match the GM-series cameras with their compact. retractable design. The 35-100mm is a compact telephoto zoom covering the equivalent of 70-200mm and as its name implies, it features Optical Image Stabilisation. The 14mm II is a revised version of the previous 14mm.

Each of the lenses will be available for US$399.

YS: Some really quick thoughts here: I’m looking at both the GM5 (what is with the arbitrary jump in model numbers) and the LX100 and I have to say, I’m torn between both of them. Panasonic are starting to really raise their game here after a series of ho-hum Micro Four Thirds cameras like the GF5 and G6 and I’m liking it.

There’s also a firmware update for the GH4, which adds tethered shooting, which is really useful for some work, as well as features to make using 4K video to obtain stills less unwieldy. I’ve always been of the opinion that 4K video as a method for stills capture is currently hobbled by the software side of things: No one wants to sift through thousands of photos to get a few tens of keepers. Panasonic’s additions are somewhat vague now, in that the camera will set “optimum parameters for photo shooting” for recording format, photo quality and, um, brightness levels. If they are smart something like Nikon’s old Best Shot Selector and its variants found in the Nikon 1 would be a good start.

Mmm, makes me want to upgrade to the GH4.

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4K in a Superzoom: The Panasonic FZ1000

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000

Panasonic has just announced the FZ1000, a superzoom camera with a 1″ sensor that can also record 4K video. It looks pretty amazing, I have to say. Starting with the sensor, it outputs 20 megapixels, which makes it similar to the other 1″ superzoom, the Sony RX10. The Panasonic does appear to have a few tricks that lets it do 4K video at 100 Mbps bit rate, similar to that of the GH4. Unfortunately the frame rate seems to be locked to 30 FPS. The camera can also do 1080p at 60p and 24p, and there is a 3.5mm microphone input for an external mic. Continue reading 4K in a Superzoom: The Panasonic FZ1000

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The Switch

Nikon D300 and New CameraPhotography, as I have always said, is an endeavour that blends the technical with the artistic. There are very few other arts that have as much science in it as the art. Not surprisingly, it is one that attracts a wide range of people, from those who spend more time gazing on MTF charts and shooting brick walls than actually doing photography, to those who pursue the next big thing, even if it is nothing more than the Emperor’s New Clothes. Cold clinical rationalism to pretentious subjective irrationality. Photography has it all. Continue reading The Switch

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Panasonic Announces the Lumix DMC-LF1, DMC-G6 and G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Zoom Lens

Panasonic just announced two new cameras – the Lumix DMC-LF1 enthusiast compact with WiFi capabilities, the DMC-G6 16-megapixel mid-range Micro Four Thirds camera and a new lens – the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH.

Panasonic DMC-LF1
Panasonic DMC-LF1

Let’s start with the Lumix DMC-LF1. This is an enthusiast camera in the likes of their LX7, but with a longer/slower range (28-200mm f/2.0-5.9 equivalent, compared to the LX7’s 24-90mm f/1.4-2.3.) and an electronic viewfinder. The camera also features WiFi for remote control and wireless communications which can be setup using Near-Field Communications (NFC) technology. Sitting among the ranks of the LX7, the LF-1 offers fewer direct controls but is still more adjustable than most conventional compacts. The EVF is a rather low-res 202k-dot one but the 3″ rear LCD is a more respectable 920k-dot panel.

Nothing exciting here, so let’s move on. Continue reading Panasonic Announces the Lumix DMC-LF1, DMC-G6 and G Vario 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Zoom Lens

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Something is Coming – We Want Your Input!

Panasonic GH3 with Vario G X 12-35mm f/2.8 lens

Oh yes. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 with that very nice and cute 12-35mm f/2.8 lens is going to be with us for a short stay. If there is anything you want to find out about the GH3 while we still have it, give a shout out in the comments or post on our Facebook Page! Otherwise, keep an eye on this space while we get working on the review!

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