So, what happens when you put the 'X' on a consumer grade kit lens?
"Optically, the 14-42X is a bit of a surprise: it’s excellent, even used at maximum aperture. You don’t lose any sharpness close up, either. This is important seeing as anything much beyond f8 is severely diffraction limited on M4/3 cameras anyway due to the very small pixel pitch. Use this one wide open without issue, though stop down one stop to 5.6-8 to gain a very small improvement in the corners. There were two aspects of performance I found especially
"Falling into the mini-DSLR category of mirrorless models, the Panasonic G6 in many ways matches and even betters similarly priced DSLRs. Indeed we can't think of any DSLR or CSC model that offers all of the G6's features, which happily are matched by great performance, proven handling and seemingly endless customisablity.
Image quality is really the only obvious achilles heel of the G6 when comparing it . . . read more
April 24, 2013: Panasonic is proud to announce a new addition of Digital Single Lens Mirrorless DMC-G6 that realizes real-to-life photo and video recording even in higher quality. The Digital Live MOS Sensor achieves high-resolution, high sensitivity image recording. The new Venus Engine is attains high-performance signal processing with the advanced noise reduction system. Combined with the high sensor performance, DMC-G6 minimizes noise and even achieves shooting at max. ISO 25600(Extended) high sensitivity image recording.
The DMC-G6 boasts quick response featuring high speed burst shooting at 7 fps in full resolution. Getting ready to shoot in only 0.5 sec*1 after start-up, the DMC-G6 never misses fleeting shooting opportunities together with its high speed, high precision Light Speed AF. Newly integrated Low Light AF enables accurate focusing on the target subject even in low-lit situations. . . . read more
"Though I had expected a larger leap in image quality over the GH2, the GH3 is by far the better all-round camera. The image is much cleaner when shooting high contrast scenes with a lot of shade and it's better in low light. While it no longer offers the slightly wider 1.86x crop sensor of the GH2 or such bullet-proof performance in terms of moiré & aliasing, it extends the already attractive feature set to new levels. 1080/60p gives you the creative freedom of smooth slow-motion at the highest resolution. 72Mbit ALL-I and 1080/60p in the same camera are missing from the $15,000 Canon EOS C300, let alone the GH3's full-frame DSLR rivals.
So, how was Panasonic's latest micro 4/3 camera entry received by the media? Pretty positively actually. We've selected some quotes:
Shawn Low from Cnet.Asia writes: "Although the GF6 is thicker and has a boxier build, we found the camera's front grip and substantial thumbrest provides a more secure grip and better ergonomics than its predecessor."
Richard Butler at DPReview: "But, while it gains features that will appeal both to the point-and-shoot and the take-control crowd, the GF6's trump card is Wi-Fi. Or, more specifically, the best implementation of Wi-Fi to hit the market so far." . . . read more
The Panasonic GF6 is a new 16-megapixelcompact system camera with a 180° tilting touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC) that allows setup of Wi-Fi connections with compatible smartphones and tablets, simply by tapping the devices together. The included WiFi app can also remotely control the camera and the updated 1040k-dot rear screen that can tilt and flip 180 degrees for self-portraits. Other highlights include the new mode dial from it's GF5, movie recording at 1080p30 in either MP4 or AVCHD format, ISO sensitivity up to 25600 and built in flash.
New Sleek, Stylish Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with Wi-Fi® / NFC LUMIX GF6
Featuring Superb Picture Quality and High Speed Response
April 9, 2013: Panasonic is proud to introduce a new Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera DMC-GF6 from the stylish, most compact GF series of LUMIX G. The new 16.00–megapixel Live MOS Sensor achieves high-resolution, high sensitivity image recording. The Venus Engine is also newly developed for DMC-GF6 to attain high-performance signal processing and the advanced noise reduction system minimizes noise and even achieves shooting at max. ISO25600 (Extended) high sensitivity taking best advantage of the new sensor. . . . read more
This preview was not supposed to go official yet, but some admin at the Tech Radar was apparently too trigger happy. The pages have now been withdrawn, but not before they ended up in the Google cache.
The New and Exciting:
Here's the early conclusion from the Tech Radar review: . . . read more
A new firmware update for the Panasonic GH3 is now available for download from the Panasonic.jp. The new firmware (Ver.1.1) enhances the camera performance in the following areas:
The DXO reviewers are not going easy on Panasonic's 12-35mm f2.8 zoomer. The lens seems quite good compared to the (very few) other high-end m4/3 zoom lenses, but Panasonic is riding high on its f2.8 zoom monopoly when it comes to the price:
"Micro 4:3 is a popular format, there is a wide range of cameras and lenses on the market, letting you choose the most appropriate equipment for the type of photography that you want to do. There are definitely combinations that will compete well with APS-C. However, in these examples there does seem to be a strong emphasis on the quality being weighted towards the wider apertures which may not always be what you want. The Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 ASPH Power O.I.S is the best lens of it’s type by quite a long way, but at a price that would buy better . . . read more
"In typical fashion I kicked on the power before reading the manual, selected Program as my exposure mode, then spent some time scratching my head as to how to alter the lens aperture. Voila! Twirl the lens ring! With the LX7 you get direct access to the f numbers. Simply ‘mazing. While this camera could easily serve as day-to-day snapshot camera, it would be wasted. It would be ideal as a companion shooter to a DSLR. IMHO it would not be ideal as a travel companion due to its limited zoom range." . . . read more
The review fails to mention that the LX-7 is currently priced at $299 at various U.S outlets, and as such, it is the best prosumer camera currently available at that price:
"From the time of its introduction in 2005, the high-end Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX series has provided an attractive alternative to the mainstream (and longer running) G-series from Canon as well as the popular and more recent Nikon CoolPix P7000 series. Apart from the diminutive dimensions and low weight, the LX series offered very high image quality from the combination of a high-grade image-stabilized Leica-branded zoom and what was originally a wide-aspect ratio (16:9) 1/1.65-inch sensor.
"The Panasonic Lumix DMC GH3 is a very good camera, among the best tested by DxO Mark in this format. It is small and light and will make an excellent camera to travel with and fulfils all of the requirements that a serious enthusiast is likely to have. However, it is pricey for a hybrid and it has competition from several directions. The Olympus is even smaller and lighter and scores slightly higher but it does lack a viewfinder. For a similar price you could be buying either the Pentax K 01 or the K-5 IIs, both of which have scores consistently higher than the Lumix but obviously with the overhead of a bulkier and heavier piece of . . . read more
Gordon Laing tests this camera with a Panasonic GX1 camera:
"The Panasonic Lumix 7-14mm f4 may be one of the earliest native lenses for the Micro Four Thirds system, but remains one of the most compelling, delivering superb quality across its focal range from standard wide to extreme wide angle.
With coverage that's equivalent to 14-28mm in the full-frame format, the Lumix 7-14mm is ideal for capturing expansive landscape views and enormous buildings inside and out. It conveniently starts where most general purpose lenses stop, providing the photographer with wider and wider coverage until . . . read more
Panasonic is 'doing a Canon' here, and manages to spew out a flagship that ranks a bit lower than its predecessor, the FZ150. How on earth did they accomplish that? The sensor size is unchanged, and according to their marketing blurb the new one is better than the old, in every possible way:
"With an Overall DxOMark Sensor Score of 37 for the Lumix DMC-FZ200, compared to 40 for its predecessor the FZ150, this latest Panasonic Bridge camera maintains the good image quality of the DMC-FZ line. Despite the slightly lower score than its predecessor a difference of only 3 points equates to less than -1/3 of a Stop overall and in real world terms there’s no difference. The FZ200 also boasts some impressive specifications, the most notable of which is the fixed f/2.8 maximum aperture. If you’re after a compact style camera for sports and wildlife photography this is significant as it enables you to use lower ISO settings for better quality images when fully zoomed in. . . . read more
Cheap kit lenses need some review lovin' too, and Lindsay provides plenty of that. The pan(a)cake with the double vision was tested with a Olympus E-M5 camera:
"So why do I need another “kit lens” when I already have one? Good question. And the answer is convenience. Whilst the 12-50 can make a genuine addition to my casual (non-professional) kitbag thanks to its high degree of weather sealing and it’s genuinely useful macro capability, it is nevertheless a few inches long and when connected to a camera it isn’t pocketable. If I have the Panasonic Vario PZ 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH lens on my OMD instead, I immediately have what could reasonably be classified as a compact system, which will fit in a large coat pocket or in a make-up bag which can be placed inside my handbag. And this is the key thing about the 14-42 pancake zoom. I don’t know if it’s optically any better than any other variable aperture kit zoom (I . . . read more
Well, that was distracting, but the darn OM-D keeps turning up in places it shouldn't. This time its in Tech Radar's Fujifilm 2 flagship cameras comparison, and their place among the top competitors, the NEX7, the GH3, and the E-M5. Things look pretty normal until the Raw performance comparison charts. Also noteworthy, the rather unimpressive results given by the GH3:
"The signal to noise ratios of the TIFF images (after conversion from raw) from the Fuji X-E1 don't compare quite as well for signal to noise ratio as the JPEGs did, coming behind the Olympus OM-D at all sensitivities and below the Panasonic GH3 at ISO 200 and 400. The Fuji X-E1 beats the Panasonic at higher sensitivities though, and beats the Sony NEX-7 andFuji X-Pro1." . . . read more
Panasonic is set to unveil yet another slow and cheap kit lens, their forth micro 4/3 lens in this zoom range. The previous 14-42mm lens was updated to 'HD' status via firmware back in September, the new one comes HD ready out of the box, complete with the sticker. In Panasonic terms HD is:
|" Specifically these HD lenses excel in tracking focus in video recording while offering silent auto focus and exposure control. In addition, there is enhanced stability of O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) in video recording"|
Furthermore, the new lens is downsized compared to its predecessor, in every dimension: Its lighter, smaller, and takes smaller filters too (46mm vs 52mm). Price will remain unchanged, availability date is set to March 2013.
From my own findings, there's the issue of Sigma's much lower CA and purple fringing when used on Olympus bodies. In any case, the Sigma is an automatic buy anyway, due to its current very low price.
"We see that the Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 has an impressive level of sharpness, even wide open. The Sigma 19mm, on the other hand, needs a bit of stopping down before reaching the same level of sharpness. At f/2.8, the 19mm lens is a tad bit dull, even in the centre of the image frame. This finding is consistent with other tests I have seen. Generally, it is observed that the Sigma 19mm lens is not the sharpest at f/2.8, and improves when stopped down to f/4 and f/5.6. Stopping down beyond f/5.6 does generally not add anything to the overall sharpness, but does give you more depth of focus (DoF). If you need a deep DoF, it may still be wise to stop down to f/8 or even further, but this will give you slightly worse sharpness at pixel level.
The Lens was tested with Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic GH3 body.
"The Panasonic 35-100 mm delivers sharp images across all focal lengths from full aperture to aperture 8. Above that, the resolution decreases as a result of diffraction. This is the best micro-43 zoom lens we have reviewed to date, with the Panasonic 12-35 mm yielding more or less equivalent results (but at a different focal length range). In the graph with Imatest values at the right below, you can see how beautifully high and constant the resolution is. The images are measurably sharper in the center, with the maximum being located at aperture 4 to 5.6. Nevertheless, with the naked eye, the difference in resolution between the corners and the center is not visible." . . . read more
Yes, the the very same nuts from Crisis Labs reviews with the bats, and semi-nude models and all that. They take on a slightly more serious and hi-tech tone in this review, with RC Helicopters, IR suits, and... bats.
"The Sony actually did quite well, and if size (for travel) is a concern, I'd suggest this one. It's just a hair behind I think in the image metrics, but not in a huge way. The focus issue did drive me crazy. Maybe there's a menu option I didn't see that prevents it from going to sleep. I actually had to reshoot the sharpness (helicopter) comparison because it did that same focus thing to me. That's why when it did it again for the dancing, I decided to leave it in the video that way. It has focus peaking (that shows you a highlighted version of in-focus areas on the display) which really helps with video, and I doubt this issue would ever come up when shooting stills. It's a solid camera, very similar to Canon in image quality, great if you're a space-conscious traveller. . . . read more
The PanaLeica lens was tested on a Olympus E-M5 body.
"The Panasonic Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm F/2.8 ASPH turned in a nice performance; there really isn't much to complain about. Pluses include: low light fall off-even wide open: lens doesn't extend when focusing: lateral color fringing is well controlled: very sharp throughout most of the image area at F/4-5.6: a focus limiter switch; and image stabilization, although that's not very important if you have a newer Olympus camera with 5 axis stabilization control. . . . read more
"Panasonic Lumix G5 final verdict: The Panasonic Lumix G5 is a solid upgrade to the earlier Lumix G3 and maintains its position as one of the best value Micro Four Thirds models in the Panasonic line up as well as more generally. The combination of a new 16 Megapixel sensor and updated Venus Engine processor improves on the low noise characteristics and excellent image quality established with the G3 and adds 1080p50/60 HD video and 6fps continuous shooting. And as my quality and noise results prove, the G5 can keep up with the larger APS-C sensors of rival models in most situations. . . . read more
"Mirrorless Cameras are not only capable of shooting really amazing images, but they have the ability to do so with nearly any lens. Sure, many systems have their own lens lineups with autofocus and other bells and whistles, but maybe you've got a collection of lenses already. Even if you don't, browse around Flickr and you'll see that people hunt after lenses in order to adapt them to their cameras. If you see yourself becoming one of those lens collectors, then you'll want to keep in mind a couple of pointers before and when you put that lens onto your camera. . . . read more
The lens was tested by David on a GH3 body:
I find distortion in unnoticeable right through the range, and Chromatic Aberration is minimal-its pretty much not there.
To Sum up, this is a valuable addition to the micro 4/3 photographer's armory, and for many of those, this lens paired to the 12-35mm will be all the glass that they would ever need. You'll have the equivalent of a 24mm wide angle to 200mm tele, all at a constant f/2.8 in just two small optics. Add a weather sealed body like the Olympus OM-D, or the Panasonic GH3, and the result is a very capable and versatile outfit using just 3 items of gear. In so far as it matters, its a really good looker. Focusing speed is lightning quick, especially with the firmware upgraded to the current 1.1 version. It has . . . read more
A weird bunch this is: We've got the Australian maker of a manual Video Camera with severe supply issues, a joker, a German who makes machine vision systems, a Japanese company that specializes in (very, VERY) high speed professional video cameras, and someone-also from Japan-who markets Fleas, Grasshoppers, Fireflies and Ladybugs. . . . read more
Whoever knows all of the above 5 companies, wins a cupcake, in the meantime we'll prepare a presentation about the newcomers. It's good to see BackMagic becoming an official member of the m4/3 group, finally! It is also weird to see makers of non-consumer optical stuff entering the guild.
Olympus Press Release:
Olympus Imaging Corp. and Panasonic Corporation jointly announced the Micro Four Thirds System standard in 2008 and have since been working together to promote the standard. Now we are pleased to announce that five more companies have recently declared their support for the standard and will be introducing products compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard. . . . read more
That's a whole train of wide angle mirrorless system lenses, and it seems the caboose* has derailed somehow, pretty soft and fringy compared to the other 3, BUT it was used with a GH3, not the best of combinations. Kudos to Sony to make such a sharp wideangle (used with a NEX-5R) zoom lens, they had a slow start but seem to have begun catching up by now. As for the Fujinon xf 14mm (mounted on the X-E1), it performs as expected, very sharp with no visible Chromatic Aberrations. The PanaLeica 7-14mm falls a bit behind, but it is the oldest lens of the bunch, by a wide (heh) margin. Click on the image for the full thing. For those daring enough to delve through the Google translated text, here's a snip: . . . read more
"The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 is an excellent camera. It is capable of capturing excellent photos, focuses fast—even in dim light—and can rattle off shots at an impressive 5.3 frames per second. Its video quality is also impressive, and while the lack of a microphone input may turn serious videographers away from it, it's probably an overkill for recording home movies to share on YouTube or watch on your HDTV. You'll get an excellent shooting experience whether you use the eye-level viewfinder or the rear LCD to frame shots, and there is a vast library of native Micro Four Thirds lenses available from Panasonic, Olympus, Sigma, and Voigtlander. And if you are not afraid of focusing manually, you can mount almost . . . read more
As a reminder, we'll repeat that both Canon, Panasonic and Fujifilm have applied for several similar patents each., and as usual, where there's smoke, there's fire. There are two major problems with the current, Foveon implementation of such a sensor. First, the high iso noise is atrocious comparable to that of CMOS sensors almost a decade old, and second, the readout speed is not high enough to obtain HD video at a satisfactory bitrate. For all you techies, here is the pdf documents of Sony's latest 3 layer sensor patent application. . . . read more
"Our fourth award is for Lens of the Year 2012, which goes to the Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH.
“The LUMIX G VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH standard zoom offers a versatile focal range and a fast maximum aperture in a relatively small package, backed-up by excellent image quality throughout the focal range, the best build quality of any Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lens yet released, a tactile manual focusing system and impressively fast and quiet autofocusing.”" . . . read more