2008 Photokina Tradeshow
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Panasonic's Lumix DMC-G1 digital camera. Courtesy of Panasonic, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Panasonic G1: First Micro Four Thirds digicam (previewed)
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Friday, September 12, 2008 - 02:01 EDT)

At the start of August, 2008, Panasonic and Olympus jointly announced a new standard for interchangeable lens cameras, and today the Panasonic G1 has been unveiled as the first "Micro Four Thirds" product.

We've discussed the Micro Four Thirds system in some detail previously, so readers unfamiliar with the standard may want to take a look at our earlier coverage to familiarize themselves. In brief though, it offers the promise of smaller, lighter cameras and lenses by removing the mirror box in favor of an electronic viewfinder. The interchangeable lens Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 definitely fulfils the size promise of Micro Four Thirds, besting the current world's smallest digital SLR, and almost matching it for weight as well. In this compact body, the Panasonic G1 fits in a 12.1 megapixel image sensor, 60 frames-per-second electronic viewfinder with 800x600 gapless pixel resolution, 3.0" tilt/swivel LCD display, and three frames-per-second shooting. There's also Supersonic Wave Filter dust reduction, a built-in flash plus hot shoe, a newly developed 23-point high-speed contrast detection AF system with face detection and tracking modes, ISO sensitivity from 100 to 3,200 equivalent, and a whole lot more besides.

As well as accepting Micro Four Thirds lenses, the Panasonic G1 can also use existing Four Thirds lenses courtesy of a special converter. Not all Four Thirds lenses will be compatible with the Panasonic G1's contrast detection AF, though. Two Micro Four Thirds lenses have been announced alongside the Panasonic G1: a LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S lens which will be bundled in kit form, and a LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/MEGA O.I.S. lens which will be sold separately in the USA. Both lenses include mechanical image stabilization - important given that there's no provision for stabilization in the camera body itself.

The Panasonic DMC-G1 stores images on Secure Digital, SDHC or MultiMedia cards, and draws its power from a Lithium Ion battery. Connectivity options include USB 2.0 High Speed, plus both standard and high definition video. Panasonic will be selling the Lumix G1 digital camera in kit form with 14-45mm lens in the USA with three body colors - black, red, or blue - from mid-November 2008. Pricing for the Panasonic Lumix G1 camera kit, and for the separately available 45-200mm lens, has not yet been disclosed but is expected to be announced in early October.

For more details, read our Panasonic G1 preview, compiled after a hands-on session with the camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-G1 digital camera. Courtesy of Panasonic, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type SLR-style
Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Number DMC-G1
Dimensions 4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8"
124.0 x 83.6 x 45.2mm
Weight 385.0 g
13.5 oz
Planned Availability Nov 2008
Image Capture
Sensor Type Four Thirds Panasonic N-MOS
13.10 megapixels (total)
12.10 megapixels (effective)
Filter Type RGBG
Focal Length Multiplier 2.00
Aspect Ratio 4:3, 3:2
Image Dimensions 4000 x 3000 (12.0 megapixels)
4000 x 2672 (10.7 megapixels)
4000 x 2248 (9.0 megapixels)
2816 x 2112 (5.9 megapixels)
2816 x 1880 (5.3 megapixels)
2816 x 1584 (4.5 megapixels)
2048 x 1536 (3.1 megapixels)
2048 x 1360 (2.8 megapixels)
1920 x 1080 (2.1 megapixels)
Capture Speed Continuous: 3.0 frames per second for 9999 frames
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, EVF type; 100% coverage, 1.4x mag., 17.5mm eyepoint, -4 to +4 diopter
LCD 3.0", 460,000 pixels
Playback Zoom 16.0x max
Lens
Lens Type Panasonic 14-45mm f/3.8-5.6 ASPH Lumix G VARIO MEGA O.I.S
3.2x optical zoom
52mm lens thread
Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds mount
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 14.0 - 45.0mm (actual)
28 - 90mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/3.5 - 22 (wide) / f.5.6 - f/22
Focusing System Contrast detection with Face detect, AF tracking, 23-area, 1 area with AF assist lamp
Manual Focus possible (0) steps
Focusing Range Normal: 12" - infinity (30 cm - infinity)
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, Intelligent ISO
Shutter Speed 60 - 1/4000 second
Exposure Modes Aperture, Shutter, Manual
Metering Modes 256-zone Intelligent Multiple, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Compensation +/- 3.0EV in 1/3EV increments
White Balance Image Sensor - Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, Flash, White Set 1, White Set 2, Color Temperature Setting, Manual
Internal Flash Modes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync., Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Range: Guide Number 11 (ISO100,m)
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV increments
Creative
Scene Modes Portrait, Scenery, Sports, Close-up, Night Portrait
Digital Zoom 2x or 4x
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 seconds
Storage
Recording Medium SD/MMC
File System FAT16, FAT32, complies with Design Rule for Camera File System (DCF)
File Format CCD-RAW, RAW, JPEG (EXIF v2.21)
Connectivity
Video Yes, NTSC / PAL switchable
Computer USB 2.0 High Speed
Other Remote socket, DC input
Power
Battery Type Lithium Ion rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary
Product Bundle
Software PhotofunStudio -viewer-2.1E, SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.0 SE, USB Driver
Battery / Charger 1 x Proprietary Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and charger
Flash Memory 0.0MB
Other
Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) compliant Yes
PictBridge Compliant Yes
Internal Microphone No
Tripod Mount Yes
Remote Control Yes, Optional DMW-RSL1 cable remote
 

Original Source Press Release:

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-G1: WORLD’S SMALLEST AND LIGHTEST DIGITAL INTERCHANGEABLE LENS CAMERA*

World’s First Micro Four Thirds System Camera Features Portability, Ease-of-Use and Colorful Blue and Red Models For Personalized Style and Active Lifestyles

Secaucus, NJ (September 12, 2008) – Panasonic today announced the world’s first Micro Four Thirds system camera, the LUMIX DMC-G1, the world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens camera, weighing in at approximately 385 grams (0.85 lbs).* Based on the new Micro Four Thirds System standard, the LUMIX G1 eliminates the internal mirror structure that defines digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras, thus reducing the size and weight by nearly half.** With the mirror-less system, the G1’s flange back, which is the distance between the mount and the image sensor, has been reduced from 40 mm – as specified in the Four Thirds System – to approximately 20 mm.

The new Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1 will enhance the advanced photo quality and flexibility made possible by the Four Thirds™ System, and with its innovative design, consumers will appreciate the portability of a smaller camera body and lenses. The G1 will be available in mid-November as a kit with the new LUMIX G VARIO 14-45mm/F3.5-5.6 ASPH/MEGA O.I.S lens. Also available in November, and announced today, is the LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm/F4.0-5.6/MEGA O.I.S.lens.

“With the LUMIX G1, we are filling a void that has existed for a long time in the digital camera market because consumers wanted the power of an SLR, but previous models were bulky and inconvenient,” said David Briganti, National Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “The LUMIX G answers this challenge as consumers can benefit from the flexibility of changing lenses; a quick Auto Focus; and a sensor that produces high-quality photos. By packing all those powerful assets into an extremely compact body with easy-to-use features familiar to point-and-shoot users, we are excited about G, as it brings new possibilities to the consumer.”

The LUMIX G1 is also the world’s first interchangeable lens camera that will come with color variety – with availability in black, blue and red models – allowing consumers to personalize their style through color, something very popular with point-and-shoot camera models.

For current Four Thirds users with a collection of lenses, an optional mount adapter will allow Four Thirds lenses to be compatible with the LUMIX G1.*** Also, today, with the introduction of the Micro Four Thirds System, Panasonic is announcing a wide-variety of accessories including: External Flash DMW-FL220(GN22); PL Filter: DMW-LPL52; Mount Adapter: DMW-MA1; Battery Pack: DMW-BLB13; DC Cable: DMW-DCC3; Soft Case: DMW-CG1; Soft Bag: DMW-BAG1; Shoulder Strap (Stylish) DMW-SSTG1-A/C/R; Shoulder Strap (Woven) DMW-SSTG2-W; Shoulder Strap (Leather) DMW-SSTG3-T.

The G1 is also compatible with current accessories: External Flash: DMW-FL360(GN36)/DMW-FL500(GN50); ND Filter: DMW-LND52; MC Protector: DMW-LMC52; Remote Shutter: DMW-RSL1; HDMI mini Cable: RP-CDHM15(1.5m), RP-CDHM30(3.0m).

The G1’s compact size can also be attributed to its electronic full-time Live View Finder, as opposed to a conventional optical viewfinder. The electronic Live View Finder, with an impressive and high-resolution 1,440,000-dot equivalent, allows the user to shoot the exact image the camera sees while also displaying information about the camera’s settings through the view finder. The G1 also features a clever built-in eye sensor, so the camera can detect when the user is nearing the view finder and automatically switches off the LCD, thus conserving battery life. Furthermore, the Live View Finder has a large 1.4x (0.7x on a 35mm equivalent) magnification and when using the G1 in manual focus mode, the frame in the view finder or LCD will enlarge by 5x or 10x (can adjust using the dial).

The Live View Finder and the bright 460,000-dot resolution, 3.0-inch LCD provide a 100% field of view, letting the user adjust settings before taking a shot, which is a great learning tool for consumers beginning to use manual controls as they can visually confirm the effects of changed settings. The LCD can also swivel 180 degrees horizontally and 270 degrees vertically, giving the consumer flexibility to take high and low-angle shots, and its Auto Power technology will automatically boost brightness by as much as 40% depending on the shooting condition so it remains visible in all lighting environments.

The G1 introduces a new Contrast AF (Auto Focus) function that is not only accurate and easy to use, but also very fast. Users can choose from a wide-range of AF modes, including multiple-area AF with up to 23 focus areas, 1-area AF with a selectable focus area, Face Detection, and AF Tracking. In the 1-area AF mode, the AF frame size can be changed by simply turning a dial. The G1 also has a Quick AF function that begins focusing as soon as the user aims the camera – no need to wait to press the shutter button halfway. This provides quicker focusing that can help capture the subject before the crucial moment passes.

Users familiar with point-and-shoot digital cameras, and new to the world of advanced interchangeable lens cameras, will benefit from Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto (iA) mode. When in iA mode, the G1 will detect the shooting condition and automatically adjust for the ultimate shooting results. Panasonic’s iA includes the following intuitive technologies.

  • AF Tracking – Automatically tracks the subject as it moves, keeping it in focus without the need to hold the shutter halfway down.

  • Intelligent Exposure – Helps prevents photos from being under- or over-exposed by analyzing the framed image and adjusting the brightness in areas that are too dark because of dim lighting, backlighting or the use of the flash.

  • MEGA O.I.S. – Gyrosensors detect hand-shake and the lens system shifts to compensate, helping to prevent hand movement from creating a blurry image.

  • Intelligent ISO – Determines if the photo subject is moving and changes the ISO setting and shutter speed accordingly, thus giving a blur-free photo.

  • Intelligent Scene Selector – Senses the ambient conditions and will automatically select the appropriate mode from Scenery, Portrait, Close-up, Night Portrait or Night Scenery.

  • Face Detection – Detects faces in the frame (up to 15 faces), even if they are moving, and selects optimal focus and exposure settings so portraits come out clear. Also features Digital Red-Eye correction.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1, a 12.1 Megapixel camera, also includes the following advanced features.

  • Live MOS Sensor – Provides the best of both worlds with high image quality from a CCD sensor, and the lower-power consumption of a CMOS sensor. New technology makes it possible to read four channels of data simultaneously and deliver 60 frames-per-second full-time Live View images.

  • Venus Engine HD – New imaging processor enhances noise reduction and provides independent gradation control for each of the R, G and B colors.

  • Supersonic Wave Filter Dust Reduction System – Designed to prevent dust from adhering to the image sensor by vibrating 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles.

  • My Color Mode – Users can freely adjust the color, brightness and saturation while composing shots, allowing for more expressive and creative shots.

  • HDMI Output – With an optional HDMI cable, the G1 can connect to an HDMI-capable High Definition television, such as a Panasonic VIERA Plasma or LCD. When connected to a VIERA, using VIERA Link capability, the TV’s remote control can direct the slideshow on the G1.

  • My Menu – This new tab automatically stores the five most recently used menu selections for quick, convenient retrieval. The custom-setting can also be used to program a frequently-used function, which can be activated by pressing the down arrow on the cursor key. The color of the menu viewed on LCD can also be changed to three different colors: black, red, blue.

Pricing for the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1 and its Micro Four Thirds accessories will be announced in early October.

* As of September 12, 2008.

**Compared to the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-L10.

*** Needs an adapter (available as an optional accessory) to use Four Thirds lenses. Lenses that are not compatible with the Contrast AF function can be used with manual focusing. There are also some limitations to other functions. For details, see the following customer support site: http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/index.html

About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (NYSE: MC) and the hub of Panasonic's U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. In its commitment to provide consumers with extensive imaging resources, Panasonic LUMIX established the Digital Photo Academy, a series of nationwide workshops designed to instruct consumers how to optimize the features on their digital cameras and produce high-quality photos. Panasonic is honored to support OUR PLACE – The World’s Heritage, a project that will create the world’s largest photographic collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites, with acclaimed photographers exclusively using LUMIX digital cameras to capture all images. Information about Panasonic LUMIX digital still cameras and its affiliated programs is available at www.panasonic.com/dsc.

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Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

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