2008 Photokina Tradeshow
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Panasonic's DMC-G HD prototype. Copyright ©2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved. Panasonic shows DMC-G prototype
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 14:29 EDT)

Two weeks ago Panasonic announced its first product for the new "Micro Four Thirds" system standard, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1.

Based around a 12.1 megapixel image sensor, the interchangeable lens Panasonic G1 offers a more compact package than even the smallest digital SLRs. The reduction in size comes thanks to the removal of the bulky mirror box, as specified by the Micro Four Thirds standard. Since this negates the possibility of including an optical viewfinder or phase detection autofocusing sensor in the optical path, the Panasonic G1 includes a beautiful 60 frames-per-second electronic viewfinder with 800x600 gapless pixel resolution, and a newly developed 23-point high-speed contrast detection AF system with face detection and tracking modes.

The Panasonic G1 also includes three frames-per-second shooting, ISO sensitivity from 100 to 3,200 equivalent, a 3.0" tilt/swivel LCD display , and a whole lot more besides. One feature was notably absent from the Panasonic G1 though, and it was an omission that left some observers scratching their heads. While the design might have seemed ideally suited to video recording - especially given the camera's obvious speed in other areas - the DMC-G1 offered only still image capture.

A prototype camera that Panasonic is displaying at the Photokina tradeshow looks set to correct this oversight. Currently labelled only as the "Panasonic DMC-G", the upcoming variant of the original DMC-G1 design adds a high definition movie mode, as well as slight changes to the body design - effectively turning it into a DMC-G1 HD. The hardware changes are twofold. Panasonic has added a stereo microphone to the camera, housed on the top of the popup flash. The company has also placed a new movie record button on the rear panel, located on the trim piece that serves as a grip for the photographer's right thumb. From the front, the camera looks unchanged except for the addition of a red "HD" emblem directly under the AF assist lamp.

Following below are several images of the Panasonic DMC-G HD prototype, captured on the Photokina show floor. We've also included pictures of several Micro Four Thirds lens prototypes being shown by Panasonic. Our apologies for the less than optimal image quality; unfortunately conditions weren't ideal for product photography. No information is currently available as to when Panasonic might make an announcement based on this prototype camera. For an idea of how the upcoming HD G-series camera should handle, we'd suggest taking a look at our Panasonic G1 preview, given that the two cameras are very closely related.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G HD prototype
Copyright (c) 2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
.

Micro Four Thirds lenses
Copyright (c) 2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
Copyright (c) 2008, Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.
.

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