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Tuesday, 14 June 2011


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Thank you Geraldo Revolver for that insightful report. Next up. How bug science is helping put away a bad mom. This story and more, after a word from our sponsors.

Why am I not surprised that only one of their designers is a photographer. Maybe they should go the whole hog and recruit only chefs!

Panasonic guys are gonna show up at your door tomorrow asking, "Ok, how did you know all that?"

The Onion, watch out.

The viewfinder is gone and now "Some of our more visionary designers are already proposing to eliminate the LCD viewing screen next."

That will truly be a 'point & shoot' camera. The advent of the accidental photographer who does know what was photographed until it is downloaded from the card.

Nice summation of the state of the art.

A shorter version is "don't give customers what they want".

They could do away with the lens, that would stop people worrying about how good or bad it is.
Many a true word said in jest!


Time to switch over to Olympus, before it gets any worse......

As a Panasonic owner (G1, GH1) I have to admit I like this -- and it rings a bit too true.

Soon, they'll be able to eliminate the price - making their customer 1346% happier :D

I have a GF-1. The way things are going, I think I'd like to get my hands on the never released GF-Zero, which, at two millimeters taller than the GF-1, is just a beast of a camera. It also has that superfluous built-in viewfinder, and those silly ISO and shutter speed dials.

Asked whether the GF18 wouldn't look silly next to a pancake lens, Elmer replied that the management had already identified that opportunity and were looking forward to launching their new nano-four-thirds lenses. Customer research shows that 57% of Lumix owners believe that f/22 is a bigger aperture than f/2.8, so the first "nano" lens will be a Leica branded Summi-summicron 25mm/22. Although f/22 lenses will require "at least ISO 6400" for comparable performance, Elmer assured us that the additional noise reduction required "will not result in any degradation of image quality as the optical system will remain diffraction limited".

It's so undeniably cute. However, I'll keep my GF1 so I
can use the EVF or a 40mm optical finder in the hot
shoe. Have the G3 on order from Panny to flesh out my
Micro collection. With the excellent lenses (20mm f1.7,
7-14mm,14-45mm,100-300mm) Panasonic is on a

You're better at this than I am.


considering how film is enjoying a haloed renaissance the elimination of the rear lcd could be considered better, hipper, more old-skule...

Makes you really wonder who's minding the
Panasonic store.

Am I correct in thinking that my next gadget bag will be the size of a pack of cigarettes.
Well I do see the day when you will wear glasses that will be the camera. The technology is already here. Great for street photography. Probably in 3D.

Honestly, as long as I can put the camera in M mode and easily change shutter, aperture and ISO, I really have no problem with the camera companies releasing models without tons of options and millions of buttons...especially if it means a smaller camera. That being said, touchscreens on cameras don't make a lot of sense, to me.

All of Mike's inventive and funny sarcasm aside, I wonder whether the consumer research commissioned by any Japanese camera company actually involves a global user base? I don't know anything about Japanese culture, and the corollary is they know nothing about me.

If the Japanese market decide to go in a certain direction, for Japanese cultural reasons, then I've still got some 2006 hardware that does for me, and the Japanese camera companies won't be getting any of my money.

I own a Nikon D200, and a Panasonic GF1, and a few lenses for each. If either Nikon or Panasonic want to continue the increased dumbing-down of features, or to advertise new exciting body colours (but less capability) in each generation, they can count me out.

Gosh, why would anyone buy such a large camera when I've got a perfectly good one on my cellphone? And mine gets phone calls too!

haha you had me going! That GF3 is really ugly if you ask me. Give me the straightforward brick shape of the GF1 any day over those curves. Edward Taylor's comment gives me some hope for a GF1 part 2, but we'll have to wait n see.

So this Elmar is the glue holding this whole concept together? Maybe it's time for a Collapsible Elmar.

In that interview Engadget refers to, Kitao says: "the company’s next priority is the GH series and bringing out a successor to the GH2."

Which makes perfect sense, of course--the GH2 has been available for almost as long as the GF1 has been discontinued, so obviously replacing it has to be done first.

Gosh, why would anyone buy such a large camera when I've got a perfectly good one on my cellphone? And mine gets phone calls too!

Unfortunately, I have an iPhone on AT&T, so it's a better camera than phone...

You can't fault them for thinking outside the box. They have different models catering to different markets, and this model is a good addition to it.

Still waiting for a "pro" m4/3 Olympus.

John Friendress, isn't your GF-Zero called, more or less, a G3?

The GF3 may seem smaller. But if you get worried, just click on the picture and it gets bigger again.

Maximum minimalism.

Ain't competition grand ! When m43 had the market to themselves, they just copied each others products. Panasonic made a lens, Olympus made their version of it. Then Sony had to get into the race. They made the NEX which is like a cell phone with a big sensor (minus the cell phone ... it's basically a big sensor). So now Panasonic had someone NEW to copy ! No wonder Canon has been so reluctant to get into it. If they let the existing players keep going, in another year or two, they can swoop in with something totally novel, like a small camera with small, fast lenses and enough controls to let you take pictures and dominate the market that they should have been shut out of. Unless anyone realizes that Samsung makes cameras, too. (I really hope their new sensor is a whole lot better than their old one and that people gobble up Samsung's since they seem to exhibiting more sense than Sony, Panasonic and Olympus combined).

By the way, I can't take credit for this - saw it on some forum - but someone suggested an alternate name for this genre of camera ... instead of EVIL and ILC and MILC and all the others. The RLC. That stands for "rear lens cap". You've seen the Loreo "lens in a cap" ? Well meet the new Panasonic "camera in a rear lens cap" :)

The evolution from GF1 to GF3 has not been a happy one for me, but I think it is worth delving a little deeper. Panasonic need volume sales to justify the sensor, lens and processor development that will help them compete. They now have a line of very small interchangeable lens cameras for people who want to move up from P&S.

In the G3 they have a camera with a built-in VF, more direct buttons, but still easy for people moving up. Then they have the GH2.

With this range they can touch various segments, and tie people to the system (largely lenses) much as Canon and Nikon operate. They will build volume in the process.

I see no reason to disbelieve the development of a more enthusiast focused GF series camera. If Panasonic were only interested in the lower end of the market they would be fielding more zooms: your P&S segment does not seem likely territory for good primes, such as the newly launched 25/1.4.

Patience is called for. They are broadening and deepening the appeal of M4/3. They know a reasonable number of more serious photographers are interested: now they need mass.

The link to "Fashion Camera" doesn't work.

Speaking of market research, I'm amazed to discover that consumers like to have pop-up flashes so low to the body that using it will cast a shadow with the kit lens.

Right out-of-the-box functionality! Want to use the kit lens? Want to use the flash? We're going to throw a shadow at the bottom of all your images! And then we'll warn you about it just so you know! You're welcome!!

" As a result, it's Panasonic warns that the kit zoom will cast a shadow across photos taken at its wide-angle settings (up to about 18mm)."

This must be part of Panasonic's plan to keep GF1 prices really high. By the GF18, the GF1 will be selling for $10,000 in BGN condition.

Geez! You completely had me, right up to the line about the contact lens. So much nonsense comes out of corporate talking heads that it's hard to know.....

I'm pretty much the poster boy for "ham-fisted", so I'm not much interested in the smaller-smaller-smaller movement. Panasonic G1, Olympus E-420 size is the lower limit for me.

It's funny, when camera makers hear us complain about the size and weight or our DSLRS they seem to assume we want something the size of a pack of cigarettes. What we (I) want is something closer to the size of an interchangeable rangefinder--with interchangeable lenses and a real viewfinder of course. Will it happen? I'm still waiting for those damned pigs to fly.

Looking at the image of the camera, I don't think that's a pop-up flash - I think it's a pop-up viewfinder! Now is everybody happy?

Next Panasonic GF, lens or camera? You decide. Never mind, you won't be able to buy it anyway.

Well it appears that Olympus has leapfrogged Panasonic and have already released a the nano four-thirds :)


I'm not convinced there's any inherent problem with the size of the GF3. It's still bigger than the Canon S95 in all dimensions, and there are and about comparable in size to the Olympus XZ-1, and both of those are beloved by many photographers. The physical interface of the GF3 is disheartening, but that probably can't be blamed on the size: again, compare the S95 and XZ-1, which manage to cram a tolerable number of buttons and dials into comparably-sized packages.

I personally would love something a bit smaller than the GF1 (probably more GF2-sized than GF3-sized) with a decent number and assortment of physical controls. I realize that's not what everybody wants, but then the G3 is only moderately bigger than the GF1, so it isn't like there Panasonic isn't making small-but-not-tiny options available. I really think on balance the're doing a good job of covering a variety of size/weight classes, and that we need to target our bitterness at the dumbing down of the interface design across the range.

In every market there are photographers, who generally want better cameras and more control; there are snap shooters who just want a simple device to point at the general direction of a subject to take a picture; and there are kawaii little girls (mostly girls, sometimes not so little) who just want a cute little colorful camera. The numbers are 90/10 against photographers. Of course a company making cameras should make them for photographers as well, not only for the other two market segments, but they are bigger and make more economic sense. After all, some photographers still use 40 year old cameras instead of getting a new one every half a year when a new fashionably colourful model comes out.

Since Olympus already makes optics for medical use, Panasonic is secretly working with them to shift the Micro 4/3s format to the the next major fad in cameras--the implant that gets injected into your noggin. If Arnold can have it in the "Terminator", why not you?
Add wireless capability to share your "vision" with fiends and family, and infrared capability for the thrill seekers.

Finally, a serious article about digital photography that doesn't pander to the film bias of so many of your readers.

What? Another CSC that I want even less than the last one? How can that be?

I can't wondering at the genius of Olympus, Sony and Panasonic for making successive models even less desirable than the ones that came before. Takes genius, that does!

"the film bias of so many of your readers"

Huh? Only 10% of TOP readers say they shoot "mostly film." 65% shoot "mostly digital," and the other 25% shoot some combination of the two.



Mike: I was joking. You see it really wasn't a "serious" article. Oh, never mind.


To be honest, I wouldn't mind a GF3 size if they put their best sensor and make the camera very responsive... Looks like they got that half way. I mean it's a really nice street life-candid camera.

"And mine gets phone calls too!"

Is that a bug or a feature?

"'the company’s next priority is the GH series and bringing out a successor to the GH2'"

Of course. Now that a few US retailers seem able to keep the GH2 in stock for more than an hour per week, it's time to discontinue it and introduce a new version that no one in the US can find to buy. Panasonic, after all, has a reputation to maintain.

I don't like it. Touch screen and a silly bump? Four way controller? Dedicated iA button? Give me a break. I'm glad I got the LX5 instead.

Yikes, why is that Panasonic so honking big?

The new Panasonic is 72% bulkier for it's given sensor area than the new Sony NEX. Panasonic clearly has a lot of catching up to do in the camera shrinking race.

The body (cubic mm) to sensor size (square mm) ratio for the Panasonic is 1003 to 1 and the Sony is only 587 to 1.

The new Sony NEX aps-c is 110 x 60 x 33mm vs the new Panasonic 4/3 107.7 x 67.1 x 32.5mm , but the Sony has a 365 square mm sensor and the Panasonic has a 234 square mm sensor.

Of course they both have a little work to get as compact as an 8x10 Deardorf (I think it is about a one foot cube unfolded with a lens!) at less than 550 to 1 .

The Deardorf is ready to shoot and can conveniently fold up to a less than a third it's shooting size when both the digital cameras still need lenses that are bigger than they are.

Admittedly no Deardorf is anywhere close to pocket size unless you dress like Bob Keeshan, but still the big sensor small camera thing has a way to go. Maybe a more reasonable comparison would be the Zeiss Super Ikonta C with a 135 to 1 bulk to area ratio when folded. Clearly the "big imaging area in a relatively compact camera" trend has long way to go before digital catches up with 1930s film cameras.

So there you have it. If Panasonic cut the size of their camera body in half they would be somewhere between this weeks Sony and a 1923 Deardorf and if they made it 7 times smaller it would be as efficiently packaged as a 1935 Super Ikonta C.

"This is likely to dismay the many enthusiast photographers who bought GF1s and are still hoping for a spiritual successor."

Nice quote from dpreview, but the truth is even more shocking for Panasonic. They have built a fantastic small camera and they decided to increase its popularity with the GF2 and now the GF3. That in the space of what, 8 month. Luminous Landscape had a preview of the GF2 last year November. Now in June the preview of the GF3. Why, nobody liked the GF2, sales were slow, so they up (or better down) the ante once more and go for smaller. I don't need smaller. I need a fast camera, not a fast focus system. Who cares for a fast focus when I have to worm my way through umpteen menus to change the ISO. Once again Pana, listen to your users (like MIKE for instance) who just want the capabilities of an GH3 in a smaller package and with a detachable viewfinder on Pen level. If you don't get your act together I'll replace my GF1 with a Pen.

But hey Mike, we can see our GF1 as cult camera's now. The only semi-pro EVIL Pana has ever made.

Greetings, Ed

when camera makers hear us complain about the size and weight or our DSLRS

Gordon, when Olympus released E-3, they said "professional photographers" wanted a heftier camera so they made one.

So, who's "us" and who's "professional photographers"? :)

BTW, when I take out my E-3, people usually go "oooh, you've got a real pro camera". :D

Dear Mike,

Ummm, I think you were supposed to read Dave Kee's comment with tongue as firmly in cheek as he read yours.

pax / Ctein

The only funny thing about GF3 is that it is a copy of SONY NEX (just look at the menus).
I just cannot understand why would anyone have problems with camera which is not intended for him. They made a camera for compact users and that's it. It is small - because compact shooters like small cameras. Honestly, I like small cameras too (and I shoot mostly film). That said, I would not buy any camera without a viewfinder. But most customers does not care - I know from SONY guys that NEX is selling just great. It's hard to blame Panasonic - ultimately, all they want to do is MAKE MONEY (and not MAKE CAMERAS - this simple truth seems to be very hard to understand).

Another pointless digital camera.

I think the magazine was actually 八方カメラ.

(Japanese geek joke . . . sorry!)

Most of reviewers and amateur photographers complain that small cameras like gf3 doesn’t have external controls. The question is: is there so much to control? Most of serious amateurs want only three external controls: ISO, shutter and apperture. But does an external control really make sense, if you have to choos only between f2,5 and f5,6 (supposedly without big impact on depth of field)? Lens control ring of canon s95 was IMHO created in order to please serious amateurs, but in real life you have almost nothing to change if the sensor ist that small.

GF3 with 14/2,5 is should be a good camera if you see it as something like Nikon 35ti, Leica minilux or Contax T2 digital.

The real story about the future technology in research by Panasonic is being reported by Un Yun for the Japanese blog Ear Shot.

Un Yun has confirmed that Panasonic is so driven to go small that they are 98% "there" in development of the latest IEC chip that is using a proprietary nano-cranial technology never before seen. The IEC (Inner Ear Canal) chip and body called the GF-Wonder, are placed in the shooter's right ear and activated via infrared ESP. It's really the next generation, and the talk about stealth street shooting and lack of "strap fatigue" is gaining momentum on the Twister feeds every second.

When asked about the color of the new "camera" Elmer replied that it is currently in focus group but plans for custom colors and self styled units is all part of the marketing plan. Size IS important but individualism rules the day here since we have effectively removed the size and weight issue from the equation all together.

The new Panasonic GF-Wonder...Just imagine the photographs!

Ilkka wrote:
"In every market there are photographers, who generally want better cameras and more control; there are snap shooters who just want a simple device to point at the general direction of a subject to take a picture; and there are kawaii little girls (mostly girls, sometimes not so little) who just want a cute little colorful camera. The numbers are 90/10 against photographers."

The trouble is, that market buys 2 kit zooms. The other 10% buys 90% of the lenses. (Obviously this falls into the 78% of statistics that are made up). I always wonder about our obsession with market share in terms of camera sales. It's considered a big deal if Sony's market share jumps from 10% of cameras sold to 15% of cameras sold, but if they sell more $799 kits and don't make a dent in the market for $1500 cameras among people who own $5000 systems, it's not that significant. Anyway, my point is the numbers are only 90/10 against photographers if looking only at unit sales of bodies. They should be much more in our favor if looking at the bigger picture. (Though maybe that's why the GH2 exists). Sony is supposed to be delivering a Carl Zeiss 24/1.7 for NEX soon. Hopefully they'll deliver a NEX that doesn't require menu diving to switch between AF/MF.

>> ...isn't your GF-Zero called, more or less, a G3?

Hi Nick. Yes, more or less. Though for some reason, I'm strangely anti-prism bump, or in this case, anti-EVF bump. To me, the G3 still looks like a small SLR that's been smoothed over in a sandstorm. I want the DMD to be boxy, like a Hexar RF, or a DMC-LC1, or an old Volvo.

Take a G3, raise the rest of the top plate to flatten it out and still contain the EVF, scooch that EVF over to the left, add some useful dials, square up the corners and edges, and I'm in. (I'm sure Panasonic will read this and get right on that for me.)

A wireless camera does not need LCD. The picture could be seen in your EVF and for the subject, her iPad she is holding via local wireless sharing (no need of Internet available). If Internet available, it could be in the net photo album in no time.

We can finally have our FMd from Nikon. Just the sensor, a wireless connection (or server with some security) and that is it.

What is the problem? My wife like her S95 very very much. Even order a book to learn more, not satisfying with information on the net. Size and convenience is important.

What we really need is a package the size of a Canon S95 with one external button. When you press the button, the unit expands into a D700 with a 28-300 zoom and an SB900 attached (or the Canon equivalent thereof). When you press the button again, it folds back to the small size. Call it the "transformer" camera.

Make sure not to press the button until the unit is fully removed from your pocket!

Some of you sound like photographers in the 1930s who are making fun of the funny little camera from Germany using moving picture film.

What are they thinking? The size of the film is so small that you can't possibly get a decent picture from it. Absurd and silly, can't take it seriously at all! What will they come up with next, something even smaller, just uses a quarter of the film size? Hey, a micro camera! Probably get someone in Estona to make it, what? Hahaha.


My daughter spent a few weeks in Japan recently and picked me up a GF2 with the 14 for just a bit more than what the lens sells for here in Germany. I was looking to get the lens for my EP1 and it was basically buy the lens and get the GF2 for free. Downside was Japanese-only menus (without language change options). As a result, I have actually read the friendly manual (in English) to understand what it meant. Oy! :-)

The GF2 takes GREAT pictures. Isn't that the whole point?

If you need to change settings, there are enough pre-set slots to do the job. I have one set for HDR work (5-stop bracketing+high-speed continuous shutter for five shots), another one for complete manual settings, one I haven't used. The blue button works very nicely as well for a lot of purposes. Sure, it doesn't have a dial to change settings, but the touch screen is fine...

I won't be getting a GF3 because the GF2 is fine for my with-me-at-all-times street camera...a role it fits beautifully with the 14 attached.

Sure, the camera is small. But they don't make cameras just for y'all. You wouldn't believe the purchasing power of Japanese housewives in their home market (my daughter's guest family there went and bought one when they saw how good the pictures were, but they got the kit zoom: the wife made the decision, end of story). Despite what pretty much everyone else here seeems to think, the real markets aren't necessarily the US and maybe Europe: this is aimed at Asia. People there take their basic snaps with cell phones, so there's got to be a real reason to buy a P&S, and many don't. This is aimed at entry-level users who would otherwise be lugging around a big Canikon with a moderately decent lens and hating to lug it around: people will buy this because it is nice and small.

The camera markets of yesterday were the US and Europe. The camera markets of today are China and India. The camera markets of tomorrow will be Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Y'all might laugh at Panasonic, but they are actually doing their homework.

Panasonic could produce any damn camera they like, so far as I'm concerned, if they'd only (1) improve the S/N of their sensors and (2) keep the 20/1.7 in stock at retailers. I'm sure they'll leap into action the moment they read this...

And regarding kawaii little girls, we are keeping in mind that carrying around a honking big DSLR with a 70-200/2.8 hanging off it is a fashion statement. So is carrying around an M3 with a DR Summicron. So is carrying around a Mamiya 7. And so forth. Right? Because maybe it's just me, but it sometimes seems like we only derogate a particular preference as a fashion statement if it's a preference of women.

You say you only bought your S95 because of the pictures it takes? Great. That means you'd be just as happy to buy it if it were hot pink, right?

I don't get the carping. What's wrong with the notion of a responsive little snapshot camera with a nice sensor? With the Panasonic 14/2.5 you have a fast 28mm RAW shooting camera that's barely bigger than a P&S, and is smaller than the Ricoh GR1 that many thought was the creme de la creme of inconspicuous street photography cameras. But the top shutter on the Ricoh was 1/500, and don't even start on the AF system or the squinty little viewfinder.

I think the control system Pany put together on the GF1 is excellent, but what's wrong with a touch screen on the GF3 to control ISO? I seriously doubt you'll have to go through 3 layers of menus to reach it. And in the real world if the AF system is even faster than in the GF1, it is plenty fast for street shooting.

Folks, if this had come out 3 years ago jaws would have dropped.

Other than having a photographic ego, what's with the insistence on manual everything? Gimme the intelligent program, put it in P and blast away. I know for sure my photos from something like this will be better focused and better exposed than the ones from a Leica M9.

@Andrew: the 20 is in stock. Just not in the US or Europe, because they are selling them in Asia. Why shouldn't they? They're probably losing money on any they sell in the US due to the exchange rate, so you box them up and move them to where you continue to make money...

@Andy: Like your thinking. Three years ago? One year ago! These are great photographic tools.

As an aside, I was just at the B+H website: there are no (non-S) Leica lenses in stock. Zilch. Across the board. Reason is probably the same as for the 20 lens.

I want them smaller still, little more than rear caps. I'd buy two, mount them on a couple of bright zooms, and call Bob my uncle.

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