Panasonic has recently announced a selection of six new cameras for 2012, with the compact for enthusiasts, the LX7, and the mirrorless G5 being the most news-worthy. The LX7 (which replaces the LX5) boasts an F1.4 maximum aperture and a newly designed 10.1-megapixel MOS sensor, while the G5 (replacing the G3) has a 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and an ISO range of up to 12,800.
Interestingly, with the introduction of the Lumix DMC-G5, Panasonic has also started using the acronym DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera) to refer to mirrorless cameras, an apparent sign the firm thinks they're now viable competition to DLSRs.
The G5 combines a 16.05-megapixel Live MOS Micro Four Thirds Sensor with the processing power of Venus Engine VII FHD to produce quality images and video. This combo means the camera has an ISO range of 160–12,800 - meaning that even images shot in low-light situations should be relatively noise-free.
'Light Speed AF' promises fast auto-focus across 23 focus points, with multiple-area AF, Face Detection, and AF Tracking. The Panasonic G5 also offers burst shooting at six frames per second (fps) at full resolution, or 20 fps in a reduced resolution mode.
Video options mean the camera can record in Full HD with stereo sound, and file options include AVCHD (1080p at 50 fps) and MP4 (1080p at 25 fps). Because the G5 is part of the LUMIX G system, the Micro Four Thirds camera is compatible with LUMIX G lenses specifically designed for movie shooting.
The G5 measures 120 x 83 x 71 mm (4.72 x 3.27 x 2.8 inches) and an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with eye sensor is joined by a fully articulated 3.0-inch LCD with 920,000 pixels and touch control shooting. This means users can change settings or set the focus point by touching the screen, even when using the EVF.
The Lumix LX7 is the latest in Panasonic's LX range and offers full manual controls in a compact-sized and stylish body. The range shares many features with the Leica D-LUX cameras, and the LX7 features a LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX F1.4-2.3 lens (with a 35mm effective focal length of 24–90mm).
Being a fast lens, this is said to allow for shallow depth of field shots and good bokeh despite the relatively small 1/1.7" MOS sensor with 10.1-megapixels. A macro focus range from 1 cm (0.39 inch) allows for close-ups of flowers or insects while the Nano Surface Coating should also help minimize distortion at the edges of wide 24mm landscape shots.
Measuring 11 x 68 x 46 mm (4.37 x 2.68 x 1.81 inches), the LX7 has an aperture ring and rear dial for scrolling through manual options and a fixed 3-inch LCD on the rear with 920,000 pixels. An ISO range of 80-12,800 will be good news for low-light shooters, while those who prefer a bit of speed should be impressed by the ability to shoot full resolution images at 11 fps, or 5 fps with AF tracking.
Video options have also been increased from the LX5 and now include Full HD with AVCHD (1080p at 50 fps) and MP4 (1080p at 25 FPS). The DMC-LX7 can also record high-speed videos at 120 fps (NTSC) / 100 fps (PAL) in HD (1,280 x 720) in MP4 format.
Pricing and release dates for both cameras are yet to be announced, though they are expected to be available around September.
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