Panasonic has added two new cameras to its 2013 line-up, the Lumix DMC-G6 and the Lumix DMC-LF1. The G6 is a DSLR-like mid-range mirrorless shooter with a 16 megapixel sensor, while the LF1 is a high-end compact with a built-in electronic viewfinder. Both cameras also boast the Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity which featured in the recent GF6.
An update to the Lumix DMC-G5 which was released last year, the new G6 sits between the recently announced GF6 and the highly-regarded and professionally-focused GH3 in the Panasonic G-series line-up. It features a 16 megapixel Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor (17.3 x 13.0 mm) which is paired with a new Venus Engine image processor. This enables an increased ISO range of 160-12800 (extendable to 25600) and rapid burst shooting of 7 fps in full resolution.
However, potentially the biggest upgrade to the G6 is the inclusion of the Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity which was recently seen in the Panasonic GF6. This means that not only can the camera connect to smartphones and tablets for sharing/editing images and remote shooting, but that this can be activated with a simple touch if they are suitably NFC-equipped.
A contrast AF system offers high speed and accurate focusing in low light conditions according to Panasonic. AF modes include Face Detection, 23-area-focusing and AF Tracking which is designed to keep the subject in focus as it moves. Full HD video recording is available in 1080p 60/50 fps with stereo sound. And thanks to that AF system and LUMIX G lenses – designed specifically for movie shooting – the G6 looks to be nicely videographer-friendly.
Coming in at 122.45 x 84.6 x 71.4 mm (4.82 x 3.33 x 2.81 inches) and weighing 340 g (0.75 lb), the G6 is larger than the majority of mirrorless cameras. That said, it does pack a 1.44 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder and a fully articulated three-inch touch-sensitive LCD with 1036K dots, and is still considerably smaller than most DSLRs … with the exception of teeny ones like the Canon EOS 100D.
Joining the increasingly competitive high-end compact market is the Panasonic LF1, which most notably features an electronic viewfinder for those who dislike composing shots on rear LCD monitors. It will sit alongside the LX7 in the Panasonic line-up, and while it features an increased zoom and that electronic viewfinder, it lacks some of the physical access to manual controls and the hot-shoe which made the LX7 popular with some enthusiasts.
Boasting a 12 megapixel MOS sensor measuring 1/1.7 inch (7.6 m x 5.7 mm) and Panasonic's Venus Engine, the LF1 has an ISO range of 80-6400 (extendable to 12800 with boost). Its 6-42.8 mm lens gives a 35 mm-format focal length equivalent of 28-200 mm. While this is a relatively speedy F2 at the wide end, this slows down to F5.9 at the telephoto, but that's to be expected of such a compact camera.
On the rear of the 102.5 x 62.1 x 27.9 mm / (4.0 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches) camera, one of the first things you notice is the EVF (electronic viewfinder), not because it's particularly large, but because you realize how rare it is to see a viewfinder on a compact camera nowadays. The 0.2-inch EVF has a 200K-dot equivalent, but there's still the option of composing photographs on the 3-inch 920K-dot LCD display.
Also of note is the control ring around the lens which gives access to frequently-used settings such as zooming, aperture, shutter speed or ISO sensitivity. Capable of shooting Full HD video in 1080 50i/25p, or 50/25p at 720, the LF1 also boasts the same Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity which has been added to other recent Panasonic releases for easy sharing and remote control via the Panasonic Image App.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 is expected to ship in June for a price of around US$750 with a Lumix G Vario 14-42mm II f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 should be available around the same time and will sell for $500.
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