Panasonic Lumix Makes Top End Features Available In Entry Level

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Panasonic has today launched two interchangeable lens cameras, 12 new lenses and a range of handheld camcorders at the PMA Imaging Expo in Sydney.These include the flagship GH2 model, the recently-announced G3 and GF3, and the GF2. There are also four new camcorders launched, including the latest in vertical handhelds.

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Panasonic expects the market for mirrorless cameras to double in the Australian market in the year ahead, hoping to drive sales into that space with simplified take on the Micro Four Thirds camera system it created alongside Olympus some years ago.

This comes in the form of four new mirrorless Lumix models aimed at audiences ranging from the “advanced amateur” to the “enthusiast,” according to Lumix Marketing Manager, Alistair Robins.

GfK data quoted by the company has indicated that 13 percent of camera buyers set out to buy a DSLR but end up with a compact. At the same time, around three quarters are solely looking for compact cameras, especially because of the “perceived weight of DSLRs.”

Panasonic has meshed these two groups with the new range of G series Micro Four Thirds cameras, which in general “are now the fastest growing [cameras], growing from 12 percent to 24 percent” of the interchangeable lens market. Panasonic has made the “top end features of the G series available in enty-level,” says Alistair.

 

The 16 megapixel “enthusiast” DMC-G3, which Alistair says is “for existing DSLR users who want it in a lighter package,” is set to hit stores in July in three packages. For the body only, it’ll run at $899. Add a lens and it jumps to $1,099, and a twin lens will set you back $1,399.

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The G3 is touted as the world’s lightest and smallest interchangeable lens system camera featuring a viewfinder and it’s not very surprising when you see the bulkier lenses dwarfing the camera itself.

The G3 is meant to be able to take shots at up to 6400 ISO without flooding shots with image-wrecking noise.

The GF3 is similarly-priced to the G3 at $899, though this comes with a lens. This is the first time in Australia a mirrorless camera has made it under the $1,000 mark, according to Panasonic. There are two lenses to choose from, while a twin lens package will sell at $1,049. This is set to be released later in August though.

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The GF3 has pulled in some notable advancements on the last model, now sporting the world’s fastest autofocus at .18 seconds.

While a lot of the stripping of physical features from some of these new models may dismay fans of earlier models, Panasonic has given the ‘intelligent auto’ function a tweak for professional focusing. The ‘iA Plus’ addition lets users manually control the defocus via slide control on the touch screen, giving users the ability to soften the background of shots while retaining the sharp focus subject.

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It’ll also come with a Leica DG Summilux 25mm/F1.4 ASPH lens that makes its debut today.

 

Panasonic has also revamped its handheld camcorders as it sees 86 percent growth over the last year in that market, quoting GfK data.

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There’s the TA20 and the TA2, replacing last year’s models like the TA1. This year, the TA20 features a tough, new, weatherproof design, comes bundled with a tripod and can double up as a webcam.

The TA20 will sell at $299 this August, while the TA2 will also reach stores in August, selling at $249.

It’s handheld vertically-inclined cameras, the HX-WA10 and HX-DC1 (which can take still shots up to 16MP) will each be available in August also, with the WA10 selling at $499 and the DCI at $299.

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