Panasonic Readies Launch Of The World's Smallest Micro Four Thirds Camera

Thanks to the new Micro Four Thirds System standard, the LUMIX DMC-G1 eliminates the internal mirror structure normally found in digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. Because the internal mirror system is absent, the camera's size and weight is half that of standard digital single-lens reflex DSLR cameras, weighing in at just 385 grams (0.85 lbs).

Without the internal mirror system, the G1's flange back -- the distance between the mount and the image sensor -- has been cut from 40 mm to approximately 20 mm.

Panasonic said that the camera's compact size can also be attributed to its electronic full-time Live View Finder which differs from a conventional optical viewfinder. With the electronic Live View Finder's high-resolution 1,440,000-dot equivalent, shutterbugs can shoot the exact image the camera sees while also displaying information about the camera's settings through the viewfinder. The G1 comes with a built-in eye sensor, that enables the camera to detect when a user is nearing the view finder, and automatically switches off the LCD, which helps prolong battery life. The Live View Finder has a large magnification, 1.4x (0.7x on a 35mm equivalent). When the G1 is used in manual focus mode, the frame in the view finder or LCD enlarges by 5x or 10x.

David Briganti, national marketing manager of imaging at Panasonic, said that with the introduction of the new camera the company is filling a void in the digital camera market.

"Consumers wanted the power of an SLR, but previous models were bulky and inconvenient," he said. "The LUMIX G answers this challenge with the flexibility of changing lenses; a quick auto focus and a sensor that produces high-quality photos."

The Live View Finder and the 460,000-dot resolution, 3.0-inch LCD provides a 100 percent field of view which lets users adjust settings before they take shots. The company said this is "a great learning tool for consumers" who are beginning to use manual controls because they can visually confirm the effects of changed settings.

Additionally, the LCD can also swivel 180 degrees horizontally and 270 degrees vertically, giving flexibility to take high- and low-angle shots. The Auto Power technology also automatically boosts brightness by as much as 40 percent depending on the shooting condition so it remains visible in all lighting environments.

The benefit LUMIX G comes with Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode. When the camera is in iA mode, the G1 detects the shooting condition and automatically adjusts. For instance, the iA mode features face detection, which detects faces in the frame (up to 15 faces), even if they are moving.

Panasonic has not announced pricing, but the camera is slated for an October release.