July 16th, 2015

Panasonic GX8, FZ300 Deliver 4K Recording, Faster Processing While Company Eyes Focus-Free Future

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Panasonic continues to expand the number of 4K cameras in its arsenal with the introduction of the new GX8 and FZ300. Beyond the new models, Panasonic said it was prepping a Lytro-like “post focus” capability for its new cameras that would leverage 4K recording and touch screens to allow users to adjust the focus point after capture. New lenses, too, are also in the works.

Let’s start with the cameras.

GX8

In addition to 4K video, the Micro Four Thirds-based GX8 is the first in Panasonic’s lineup to offer a dual image stabilizer–one for the camera body, the other for the lens–that work in tandem to combat camera shake at all focal lengths. According to Panasonic, most of its image-stabilized lenses will be able to work with the new dual stabilizer system in the GX8. When filming videos, the GX8 will employ a 5-axis hybrid stabilization that combines sensor shifting and digital corrections and is similar to the system used in the company’s video cameras.

The GX8 features a new 20.3-megapixel image sensor and quad-core Venus Engine CPU to drive continuous shooting at 8 frames per second in AFS mode and 6 fps in AFC mode. Dynamic range has been improved by a 1/3 stop over its predecessor, the GX7.

Like most recent Panasonic cameras, the GX8 will record 4K video (3840x2160p30) as well as 1920x1080p60 video in either AVCHD Progressive or MP4. Similar to the G7, the GX8 features a 4K Photo Mode that lets users shoot 4K video in any aspect ratio and isolate an 8-megapixel clip from a 4K video file during playback. According to Panasonic, the virtue of using 4K Photo Mode versus simply grabbing stills from 4K video is the ability to change aspect ratios and the faster shutter speed of 1/500 sec. that keeps 4K Photo Mode stills in sharper focus than 4K video frame grabs. The color range is also wider in 4K Photo Mode than it is during 4K video capture.

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There will be three new 4K photo modes in the GX8.

A 4K Burst Shooting mode captures frames at 30fps for the duration of your shutter press (up to 4GB worth of data). A 4K Burst S/S (Start/Stop) mode starts consecutive shooting with a single press of a shutter button and stops it with the second press. Finally, a 4K Pre-burst mode automatically records 30 frames before and 30 frames after your shutter press for a total of 60 4K video frames to choose from.

Other features of the GX8 include:

* a tilting OLED Live Viewfinder with a magnification ratio of 1.54X and a 100 percent field of view

* a free-angle 3-inch OLED touch screen display

* 240 fps Contrast AF system with DFD (depth from defocus) technology that calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating 2 images with different sharpness level while consulting the data of optical characteristics of the current lens to deliver a .07 sec. AF speed

* 49 AF points

* 1/8000 mechanical shutter speed and a 1/16,000 sec. electronic shutter

* improved low-light focusing down to -4EV with a Starlight AF mode to help users shoot stars in the night sky using autofocus by narrowing the AF zone

* Wi-Fi and NFC

* weather proof magnesium alloy die cast frame

* in-camera RAW processing

* focus peaking

The GX8 is due to ship in mid-August in two versions: all black and a model with a silver top with a black bottom for $1,200 (body only).

The FZ300

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Panasonic also rolled out the successor to the FZ200. The new FZ300 delivers a similar optical package with a 25-600mm f/2.8 built-in lens with optical image stabilization and adds 4K recording and a new Venus Engine image processor to improve ISO sensitivity to a max of ISO 6400.

The FZ300 features a 12-megapixel image sensor, 4K video recording and the same 4K Photo modes as the GX8 above.

You can frame your compositions through a 1,440K-dot OLED LVF with a 100 percent field of view when shooting in 4:3.

Additional features of the FZ300 include:

* 3-inch, free angle LCD

* 12 fps continuous shooting in AFS mode or 6 fps in AFC

* .09 sec. AF speed with DFD technology

* low light focusing down to -3EV

* Wi-Fi

* 5-axis hybrid stabilizer for HD video recording

* focus peaking

* in-camera RAW processing

The FZ300 will ship in mid-October for $600.

Coming Soon: Post Focus Mode

According to Panasonic, a new Post Focus mode will leverage a 4K burst mode to compile multiple exposures which a user would then use to freely determine a focus point in the frame using a touch screen. Post Focus mode will come to both the GX8 and FZ300 later this year via a firmware update as well as future models not yet announced by the company.

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Beyond the focusing capabilities, Panasonic also said it was working with Leica to develop a Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 telephoto lens for its Micro Four Thirds lineup. The lens would offer a 35mm equivalent focal length of 200-800mm and a dust and splash-proof build. Panasonic said its light weight and image stabilization would allow for handheld shooting out to the very end of the focal length.

The company is also prepping a Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 prime lens. Release date and additional specs for both lenses are not yet available. Product photography is preliminary.

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April 24th, 2014

Leica Launches Leica T (Typ 701) Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera System (Hands-On Review)

Venerable German camera manufacturer Leica entered the modern world of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras this morning by introducing the new 16-megapixel Leica T (Typ 701) system. We got to test out an early production unit of the Leica T, which is being touted as much for its unique design as for its picture-taking skills.

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The Leica T was developed in collaboration with German car manufacturer Audi — the two companies worked together on the Leica M9 Titanium model four years ago — and features a striking, aluminum, unibody design, not unlike a Macbook Pro laptop from Apple. (Leica is not shy of this comparison, either.) Like many Apple products, the Leica T has a Spartan control set, with just two dials, a shutter and a video button, and a large 3.7-inch touchscreen on back.

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January 6th, 2014

Sony Unveils Lightweight A5000 Mirrorless Compact System Camera with Wi-Fi

Sony jusSony-a5000_wSELP1650_front_whitet announced the new A5000, which the company is calling the world’s lightest interchangeable lens camera with Wi-Fi. The camera weighs less than 8 ounces and is powered by a 20.1-megapixel, APS-C sized image sensor and uses Sony’s Bionz X processor, which is the same chip in the company’s Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The Sony A5000 goes on sale in March 2014 in silver, black and white for about $600 in a kit with a compact, versatile 16-50mm motorized zoom lens (model SELP1650). A new, black-finish E 55-210mm (SEL55210) zoom lens will be available in March for about $350.

More details in the press release after the jump.

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January 2nd, 2014

CES 2014: Samsung Announces 20.3MP NX30 Mirrorless Camera, Lenses and Galaxy Camera 2

Samsung-NX30-18-55mm_003_Right-Angle1_blackSamsung was first out of the gate this morning with new photo announcements ahead of next week’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company just unveiled four new photo products: the 20.3-megapixel NX30 mirrorless compact system camera; two new lenses for the NX camera system; and a new wirelessly connected Galaxy Camera 2.

The NX30, which uses an APS-C-size CMOS sensor similar to what you’d find in entry-level digital SLRs, is the follow-up to the NX20 we reviewed in 2012. Like its predecessor, the NX30 offers a variety of WiFi-connectivity features including new Dropbox and Flickr integration.

The NX30 also has a fully swiveling 3.0-inch AMOLED display on back to help you compose images from a variety of angles. Samsung says the new rear screen is 30% brighter than the previous model.

The NX30 also, for the first time, features a pull-out electronic viewfinder, which you can lift away from the camera body and tilt at up to an 80-degree angle. The pull-out EVF and a new 3.5-inch microphone port are designed to help you shoot richer movie clips with the camera’s full HD video function. There’s also an in-camera Audio Level Meter and Input Level Adjustments for better sound. The NX30 lets you live stream your video via the HDMI port to share your footage on an external monitor.

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November 1st, 2013

Hands-On Test with Sony’s Alpha 7 and 7R, the World’s First Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

John-with-Sony-Alpha-7-close-mIf you’ve been anxious to find out if the new Sony Alpha 7 and 7R full-frame mirrorless cameras live up to the hype, Rangefinder magazine (our sister publication) has just posted an excellent hands-on review of the cameras.

According to photographer and Rangefinder columnist John Rettie, who tried out these much discussed mirrorless models, they certainly show a lot of promise.

“Overall I came away impressed with these two cameras,” Rettie writes. “It’s difficult to argue against the benefits of doing away with the flipping mirror in a DSLR camera. I feel that the benefits outweigh the disadvantage, which is more psychological, as the OLED EVF is just about as crisp as an optical finder and refreshes fast enough for just about every use other than perhaps fast action sports like football.

“Should Canon and Nikon be worried? Perhaps not right away but maybe in the future.”

Read his full hands-on test with the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R and see sample shots at Rangefinder’s PhotoForward blog.

October 16th, 2013

Sony Unveils Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras, New Lenses, and High-End Superzoom Model

Sony-7R_frontSony went where no camera manufacturer has gone before this morning, unveiling the world’s first full-frame mirrorless cameras: the 36.4-megapixel Alpha 7R and 24.3-megapixel Sony Alpha 7. Both compact system cameras use 35mm-sized Exmor-branded, CMOS image sensors but the Sony Alpha 7R has no optical low pass filter over its chip to help it capture more detail in photos. The Alpha 7, meanwhile, boasts a new Hybrid AF system, designed to quickly lock in focus on subjects.

Both cameras will go on sale this December, with the Sony Alpha 7R retailing for $2,300, body only, and the Sony Alpha 7, selling for $1,700, body only; or as a kit with a new 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 lens for $2,000.

You could also pair these full-frame mirrorless cameras with five new full-frame E-Mount lenses that Sony just unveiled. The new Sony E-Mount lenses include three Carl Zeiss-branded models: the Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 ZA ($1,000) and Sonnar T* 35mm F2.8 ZA ($800) prime lenses, and the Vario Tessar T* 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS mid-range zoom ($1,200).

We’re curious what PDN readers think of the new Sony Alpha 7R and Alpha 7 mirrorless cameras. Does the addition of full-frame sensors make you want to give these these high-end compact system cameras a second look or do you plan to stick to your DSLR?

Read more of this story here with details on all of Sony’s announcements this morning and then leave your thoughts in the comments below.

June 13th, 2013

New Colorful DSLRs And Q Mirrorless Body From Pentax

Pentax Q7 Color CombosHave you been looking for a camera that offers 120 color combinations? Then Pentax has got some news for you with both DSLR and Mirrorless bodies that can be configured in all sorts of beautiful or garish color combos.

Pentax has announced two new 16MP DSLR bodies, the K50 and the K-500, that are both essentially updates to its existing K-30 DSLR. The K-50 replaces the K-30 “edgy” styling with a more traditional DSLR look along with adding improved image processing and upping maximum ISO to 51200. “The K-50 introduces features that raise the bar in the mid-level DSLR class,” said Jim Malcolm, executive vice president, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING AMERICA. “Not only do the hardware and software specs outclass competitors, the Color to Order system is an industry first making it a truly unique offering among a sea of similarity.” The K-500 is similar to the K-50, with lack of weather sealing being the main difference.

Pentax also announced a new body in its Q mirrorless lineup, the Q7. The Q7 sees a number of new features, an advanced shake reduction system, a new electronic level, an improved Quick dial, and so on. But the most promising feature of the Q7 is that its sensor has been increased from 1/2.3-inch to 1/1.7-inch chip. This isn’t a small thing, it’s a 52% increase in surface area, and is the same size sensor used in Canon’s widely loved s110. “Don’t be fooled by the Q7’s small size and 120 color combinations,” said Jim Malcolm, executive vice president, PENTAX RICOH IMAGING. “As the smallest and lightest compact system camera in the world, this tiny gem is packed with serious specs and capabilities including a number of digital filters and smart effects.”

The Pentax K-50 and Q7 are available now via pentaximaging.com (and nationwide retailers in July/Aug) in 120 color combos for list prices of $499 and $699 respectively. The K-500 will be available next month and has a list price of $599.

pentaximaging.com

June 11th, 2013

Samsung Announces 10mm Fisheye Lens For NX System

samsung-10mm-fisheyeSamsung has announced a new 10/3.5 fisheye lens for its NX mirrorless system. They claim that it is “the smallest AF fisheye lens on the market” that it is “half the size and weight of its competitors”. At 2.5 ounces and barely over an inch deep (including its mount), the 10/3.5 looks to be tiny indeed. With a 180 degree diagnosed angle of view, it is a true fisheye lens that should give the same look as the 15/16mm DSLR fisheyes from Nikon and Canon. The 10/3.5 fisheye will be available in July in white or black. Pricing was not announced.

http://www.samsung.com/global/nx/

May 14th, 2013

Nikon Announces New 32mm f/1.2 Nikon 1 Lens

nikon32-1.2Nikon has announced a new addition to the Nikon 1 system, a 32mm f/1.2.  Not only is it the fastest lens in the 1 Nikkor lineup, but it is one of the fastest lenses available for any mirrorless system. The lens is compatible with the entire Nikon 1 system (J1, J2, J3, S1, V1, V2),

For a run down of its features, plus pricing and availability,  see our full story on the Gear news page of PDNOnline.com.

There you’ll also find a link to information on Nikon’s website.

May 10th, 2013

Olympus Announces PEN E-P5 Micro Four-Thirds Body

P5_best_si+14-42Olympus today announced a very retro looking addition to its PEN lineup, the E-P5. While many of us thought the original Olympus PEN E-P1 styling harkened to the company’s half-frame PEN cameras, the E-P5 does it one better. An all metal casing contains a number of upgraded features:

  • 16MP MOS Four Thirds sensor
  • Dual top plate control dials with a “2×2″ function changing option
  • 1/8000 sec top shutter speed (first in a mirrorless body) and 1/320 sec flash sync
  • ‘5-axis’ image stabilization with automatic panning detection
  • ISO 100-25600
  • Up to 9fps shooting (5.0 fps with continuous AF)
  • Focus ‘peaking’ display for manual focus lenses
  • Intervalometer and Time Lapse movie creation
  • 1.04m dot 3″ LCD touchscreen display
  • Built-in Wi-Fi for remote shooting and image transfer to smartphone or tablet

After a short hands-on experience with the camera, the dual control dials, focus peaking, 9fps, and remote shooting/wifi features jump out as being the most interesting. But there is no denying that Olympus has done a good job overall with the E-P5. Just on style alone, it should find its way into many a camera bag. But the added features and improved specs should give even the popular OM-D E-M5 a run for its money.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 will be available in May 2013 in the following configurations:
Body only, available in Black, Silver or White, $999.99
Black or Silver body with black M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8 lens and VF-4 Electronic Viewfinder lens, $1449.99

More information and images can be found at:

http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/digitalcameras/pen-omd/e-p5.html