Panasonic today announced a new addition to the LUMIX G Series of Compact Systems Cameras (CSC), the LUMIX DMC-G3, as well as the new 16.1-megapixel LUMIX DMC-FH7 digital camera.
The new LUMIX DMC-G3 is the company's smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens camera with a viewfinder to date. The camera features a new 16.0-megapixel sensor, plus 1920 x 1080 full-High Definition (HD) video recording capability with stereo sound in AVCHD.
For the camera traditionalist, the LUMIX G3 provides a traditional DSLR-like experience with an external Mode dial for quick access to common modes like Program, Shutter and Aperture Priority, Manual. Additional dial settings include two Custom Modes, Scene Modes and a Creative Control Mode. The LUMIX G3 provides a dedicated video button that can be used to switch to video capture quickly without changing modes. Like most traditional DSLRs, the LUMIX G3 provides a built-in flash and hotshoe for connecting optional LUMIX flashes. For many, a traditional eyelevel viewfinder is still a must have, so the LUMIX G3 meets this demand with an eye-level electronic viewfinder that projects a high resolution 1.44m-dot image with 100% field of view (800x600, 0.7x magnification). In addition, color breakup has been improved when compared to the LUMIX G2.
The LUMIX G3 also features touch-control shooting, which lets photographers focus on the subject by simply touching it on the 3-inch high-resolution LCD touch screen. Once locked on the subject by a touch, the LUMIX G3 tracks the subject, even if it moves, with Auto Focus (AF) tracking. In addition to its 23 Area Auto Focusing Points, the LUMIX G3 features new Pinpoint AF. Pinpoint AF allows precise near?pixel-level focus point setting at the touch of a finger. With a new Precision Contrast LightSpeed AF system, the LUMIX G3 is extremely fast, measuring approximately 0.1 second (14-140mm ~0.1 sec. 14-42mm ~0.18 sec., 45-200mm ~0.15 sec.). The LightSpeed AF feature is achieved by reducing the detection time for focusing by doubling the Live MOS Sensor drives speed from 60 fps to 120 fps. Manual control over focus is available in the LUMIX G3 and has been improved when compared to its predecessor, the LUMIX DMC-G2. When magnification is first enabled at 4x by simply touching the subject on the LCD, that subject is enlarged in a small window allowing you to keep the rest of the image in view as a framing reference. Beyond 4x, that small window fills the monitor so even more control over focus fine-tuning can be achieved. This handy feature is available from both the MF Assist (Manual Focus) and AF + MF focus modes.
The Intelligent LCD has a 1,440,000-dot equivalent resolution and rotates 180° to the side and tilts 270° up and down offering approximately 100% of field of view.
The LUMIX G3's newly developed 16.0-megapixel Live MOS sensor, combined with the Venus Engine FHD image processor, contribute to the high-quality photo and video images. The processor also provides selective noise reduction. In the LUMIX G3, noise is significantly suppressed by more than 66%. Notably in shooting at high ISO settings, S/N value is improved by approximately 200% compared with the 12.1-megapixel sensor. The sensor performance improves by 6db at ISO 3200 and max. 9db at ISO 6400.
For added ease of use, the LUMIX G3 features Panasonic's iA2 and new iA Plus modes, which are enabled automatically once the iA button is pressed. Panasonic?s iA features, such as Intelligent Resolution, MEGA O.I.S. (included in several lenses), Intelligent ISO Control, and Intelligent Scene Selector are available when shooting still images. However, Panasonic?s new iA Plus mode adds greater flexibility with real-time visual feedback between automatic and manual shooting features:
- Touch-screen-slider-enabled background defocusing.
- Touch-enabled exposure control compensation.
- Touch-screen-slider-enabled white balance. A desired color balance result under difficult lighting can now be achieved visually from the LCD with a touch-enabled slider icon.
The LUMIX G3 offers burst shooting control at various rates and resolutions. Image capture at full-resolution (16-megapixel) is possible at up to 4 frames per second with its mechanical shutter enabled, or an even faster 20 frames per second using the electronic shutter feature at a reduced resolution of 4 megapixels.
The LUMIX G3 also uses a Dust Reduction System that uses a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles effectively.
The LUMIX G3 utilizes the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System mount, a selection of 11 fixed focal length and variable aperture G Vario zooms, including a 3D lens capable of capturing both 2D and 3D images at the same time. There are lens adaptors available for mounting older Leica M and Leica R lenses, including prior LUMIX full Four Thirds lenses. An 14-140mm HD G Vario lens provides the best of video and still-image shooting with a long 10x range and near silent high-speed focusing. When connected to the LUMIX G3, fast focusing and auto subject track AF can be achieved. Many LUMIX MFT lenses come with MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) built-in.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G3, made of aluminum, will be available in a variety of attractive colors, including black, red, white and brown, starting in June 2011. Suggested retail price of the LUMIX G3 with the 14-42mm Zoom Lens Kit will be $699.99.
The Compact LUMIX FH7
Panasonic also today announced the new 16.1-megapixel LUMIX DMC-FH7, which features aslim and stylish design. The camera features a retractable 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens with a 4x optical zoom and High Definition video capabilities that record in 1280 x 720p at 24 fps.
The LUMIX FH7 features a 3-inch Smart Touch Screen allowing users to enable Touch Auto Focus (AF), Touch Zoom, Touch Shutter and Intelligent Scene Selector simply by touching the screen. All menu setting options are now available with touch control. In playback mode users can drag the image across the screen with their finger to browse the collection of photos, as if it were a page in a book. Additionally, the LUMIX FH7 features three modes that let users get creative by manually (with the touch of a finger) editing their photos on the digital camera. These modes include:
- Beauty Retouch - allows users to retouch faces
- Esthetic - creates effects on faces such as clearing skin texture and whitening teeth
- Makeup - gives color options such as foundation, eye-shadow or coloring for the lips and cheeks
The Panasonic LUMIX FH7 features the LUMIX Image Uploader, which instantly share images via Facebook and video via YouTube when the digital camera is connected to a computer or the SD Memory Card is inserted - and the on-screen instructions are followed.
Panasonic's popular iA mode, a suite of technologies that engage automatically - with no setting changes needed by the user - makes it easy for anyone to take photos. With a dedicated iA button for easy access, the following features can be quickly engaged:
- MEGA OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) - Reduces blurry photos due to hand-shake
- Intelligent ISO Control - Reduces blur when the subject is moving
- Face Detection - Ensures registered faces are captured in focus with appropriate exposure and digitally corrects unwanted red eyes
- Intelligent Scene Selector - Selects the best option from: Macro, Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery and Sunset
- Intelligent Exposure - Optimizes the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helps ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully
The Panasonic LUMIX FH7 encompasses Panasonic's Venus Engine VI image processor. With Intelligent Resolution technology, three areas - outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation - are automatically detected and the LUMIX FH7 performs optimum processing to each, resulting in naturally clear images. Furthermore, thanks to Intelligent Resolution technology, Panasonic?s Intelligent Zoom extends the LUMIX FH7?s zoom to a 5x equivalent. The multitasking Venus Engine VI also supports a super-fast response time. The shutter release time lag is incredibly quick, at approximately 0.006 second and its quick response makes it easier to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities.
Other features of the Panasonic LUMIX FH7 include:
- Intelligent LCD detects the lighting conditions and controls the brightness level in 11 finely graduated steps, to display the most appropriate setting
- 84MB of built-in memory
- Newly-added Image Stamp mode enables users to decorate photos with 32 different stamps, for those wanting to personalize their images
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FH7 will be available in black.