Monday, 8 March 2010

the new G cameras: and what this means for the GF-1

I've been wondering about the GF-1 as a second camera. I'd like to like it, but its over priced and under featured if you look at the actual technical bits you get

Mean time, around a year and 10 thousand images after I first got my G1, the successor the G2 has been tentatively announced by Panasonic. But they didn't just announce a G2, they have added a G10 to the lineup This is interesting as it helps throw light on what I think is wrong with the pricing of the GF-1 (namely that its milking the market, who are perhaps more ignorant of cameras than at any time in history).

As well they have changed the standard zoom lens which is being supplied with the G cameras from the 14-45 shown below;

two G1 Lenses

to a 14-42 which has a plastic mount, and does not have the OIS switch to engage / disengage OIS operation (something to frustrate tripod users, but won't matter much to others).

FD 50mm on G1 CameraI normally use legacy lenses like this Canon FD 50mm on my G1 when its on a tripod so this won't bother me much.

You see the Panasonic version of image stabilization is in the lens not the body.

If you're not using a stabilized lens then you don't have it :-)

The introduction of the G10 to the series is interesting as the specification of the G10 is interesting.

Looking at the information on the DPReview site (assuming they don't move it as they did with the G1 preview) we can see that the G10 is some sort of halfway house between the G1 and the GF-1.

The GF1 has no EVF (it can be purchased as an optional extra for about US$190) and has a non swivel rear screen. The EVF that you do buy however is sadly much smaller than the EVF that is in the G1, GH1 or now the G2. It is 202,000 dots (which is 0.20million) pixels, with a 60 frame per second refresh, and 1.04x magnification.

The GF-1 viewfinder is however coincidentally exactly a match in spec for the one which comes in the G10.

In contrast the G1 has 1.4 million RGB pixels which are perhaps unique in that they are each cycled through Red Green and Blue (rather than being a red bar beside a green bar beside a blue bar) giving an effective viewfinder resolution of 1.4 million dots at 180 fps and a 1.4x magnification. Everyone who uses one is impressed by just how big and good the G1 viewfinder is.

To get an idea of the view of the GF-1 viewfinder have a look at the image on the DPReview site here.

This should in my mind create a little quandary in the minds of those who are interested in buying the GF-1, as the G10 now has almost every feature of the GF-1 plus it comes with the EVF built in. The GF-1 currently sells for more than the G1 (never understood that) and when you add the price and mass of the LVF-1 viewfinder it will be as bulky (worse actually) as the G10, and have precious few advantages aside from looking more like a typical digicam while the G10 will look more like a high end tiny sensor digicam like the Powershot SX10 or SX20.

Of course both cameras will be 4/3 sensors which will make much better images than any tiny sensor digicam.

So, what'll happen with the pricing of the G10?

If it comes in at less than the GF-1 (my suspicion) it will then make the GF-1 look more over priced and under featured than it does now. If it comes in over that price then it will be far too close to the G2 in price which can't be too high with the GH1 already setting the upper limits (and of course great cameras like the new Canon 550D nipping at the market).

Talk about make a rod for their own back.


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