Panasonic unveils new Micro Four Thirds cameras and first 3D lens

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Panasonic last night launched what it calls the world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera: the Lumix DMC-GF2.

Central to this claim by Panasonic is the GF2’s built-in flash, an accessory that has not encumbered the camera body too much, with Lumix group marketing manager Alistair Robins proclaiming that this model is 19 per cent slimmer and 7 per cent lighter than its predecessor, the GF1.

This new camera was launched last night at Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour, along with a new Micro Four Thirds system camera (DMC-GH2), three new lenses (including a 3D lens) and the latest edition in the Lumix Life coffeetable book series.

To launch these new products, Panasonic called on its official Lumix ambassador, Ken Duncan, and its unofficial Lumix ambassador, Ray Martin. Duncan and Martin were joined by a number of winners from Panasonic’s 2010 Lumix Life competition, who were rewarded for their photographic creative with a placement in the book.

Key features of the GF2 include 12.1-megapixel image capture, Full HD and AVCHD movie recording, 3-inch touchscreen LCD, Optical Image Stabiliser, Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selection. This camera will be available in early 2011 in either black or white. There will be three lens kits available at launch. No RRPs have yet been released.

The GH2 is also compliant with the Micro Four Thirds standard, meaning users can choose to purchase lenses from Panasonic or any other Micro Four Thirds supplier. This unit has a 16.05-megapixel MOS sensor; Full HD movie recording; and the world’s fastest level Light Speed autofocus (approximately 0.1 second), according to Panasonic.

One of the key features of this camera is its touchscreen display, which can be used to control many of the features. This includes AF tracking, face detection, touch operation and playback. This model will be available in December for RRP $2,299 (with the G Vario 14-140mm lens) or RRP $1,699 (with the G Vario 14-42mm lens).

Once consumers have chosen one of these two camera bodies, there is the inevitable upsell opportunity that lenses provide. Panasonic has three new lenses: the G 14mm (RRP $699), the G Vario 100-300mm (RRP $1,149) and the G 12.5mm (RRP $449).

This last lens is Panasonic’s first consumer 3D lens. Panasonic claims this lens produces 3D images without distortion or time lag, no matter if the subject is moving or stationary. Interested parties should note that images captured with this 3D lens can only be viewed on 3D monitors, such as a 3D TV screen.

Finally, the new Lumix Life book is out. Much like Kramer in the hit TV show Seinfeld, Panasonic has moved swiftly into the coffeetable book game, with this new instalment focused solely on Australian images. The Lumix Life competition is designed to encourage photographers to both take great photos and take great photos on Panasonic cameras. Current.com.au's favourite picture from this collection is featured below.

Photo by Michael Woltschenko.

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