On July 10, 2012, Panasonic hosted editors from Canada, US and Latin America to a one-day media event in Sonoma, California. Photoxels was present for the event. Panasonic execs from Japan, US and Canada presented the new Panasonic line-up for 2012: the LUMIX SZ5, FZ200, LX7 and G5. A number of new lenses were also made available for use on the Lumix G5 interchangeable lens camera.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5
The Panasonic SZ5 is a compact ultra zoom with 14.1MP resolution, 10x ultra wide-angle optical zoom (25-250mm equiv.), 3.0-in. LCD, HD Video 1280×720 at 30p, iA, Scene Mode, Panorama Shot, automatic image backup/transfer during camera battery recharging, and Wi-Fi.
The Lumix SZ5 has Wi-Fi with a very smart twist: no Wi-Fi hotspot is required and instead users connect the SZ5 directly to their smartphone device to easily shoot (remote shooting) and share photos.
A slim and compact digital camera which features 10x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-250mm) and integrates Wi-Fi connectivity to allow for quick file sharing while at home or on the go. Marrying the conventional digital camera experience with Wi-Fi capability allows users to connect the SZ5 directly to their smartphone device and easily shoot and share photos. Users can also save photos to the Panasonic exclusive cloud service, “LUMIX CLUB” and easily transfer images to Facebook™, Flickr™, Picasa™, Twitter™ or YouTube™. The DMC-SZ5 will be available in September in black or white.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200
The Panasonic FZ200 is an ultra zoom digital camera with 12.1MP resolution, 24x ultra wide-angle optical zoom (25-600mm equiv.), Continuous Shooting 12fps in full resolution, EVF (1,312,000-dot equivalent), 14 Creative Control Filters, iA, PASM, Scene modes, Full HD 1920×1080 60p videos in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) and MP4 formats, RAW, 3.0-in. Free-angle LCD (460k-dot), Hot Shoe, HDR mode, Panorama mode, and 3D Photo mode.
The impressive feature is that the F2.8 maximum aperture is available throughout the full range of the zoom! Imagine shooting F2.8 at 600mm!
Featuring a high-quality LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 25mm ultra-wide angle lens with a 24x powerful optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent: 25-600mm), the newest addition to the LUMIX FZ-series of digital cameras is the first digital compact camera2 to offer full range F2.8 aperture at 600mm, making it possible to capture moving subjects clearly with fast shutter speed, even from a distance. The DMC-FZ200 will be available in September in black.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
The Lumix LX7 is Panasonic’s premium digital compact camera with 10.1MP resolution (1/1.7-in. MOS sensor), 3.8x ultra wide-angle optical zoom (24-90mm equiv.) with F1.4 aperture at wide-end and F2.3 at tele-end, Continuous Shooting 11fps in full resolution, 16 Creative Control filters, Photo Style, Time Lapse Shot, iA, PASM, Scene modes, 3.0-in (920k-dot) LCD, internal ND Filter, Focus Lever, Rear Dial, Level Gauge, RAW, Hot Shoe, HDR mode, Panorama mode, 3D Photo mode, and Full HD Video 1920×1080 60p in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4 / H.264) format or 30p in MP4. An optional External Optical View Finder DMW-VF1 is also available.
This is one beautiful and pocketable camera. I simply love the F1.4 lens and the LX7 also has an Aperture Ring!
The LX7 is a new premium digital compact camera from the world-renowned and highly acclaimed LX series. The new LX7 is equipped with a fully redesigned lens, image sensor and image processing engine for superior performance and stunning image quality. Equipped with a newly developed 24mm ultra-wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMILUX lens with 3.8x optical zoom1, the LX7’s supreme lens features F1.4 brightness at wide-end and F2.3 at tele-end. The DMC-LX7 will be available in September in black or white.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
The Lumix G5 is Panasonic’s newest Single Lens Digital Mirrorless (DSLM) camera with 16.05MP resolution (17.3 x 13mm Live MOS sensor), full-area Touch AF, ultra high-speed Light Speed AF, Continuous Shooting 6fps in full resolution, Function Lever, Rear Dial, Live View Finder (1,440,000-dot equivalent), 3.0-in. Free-angle (920k-dot) Touchscreen LCD, 14 Creative Control filters, iA, PASM, Scene modes, and Full HD 1920×1080 60p videos in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) or MP48 format.
The Lumix G5 was by far my favorite camera during the Sonoma event. I attached various lenses to it and it never felt too heavy to handle, even with the 100-300mm (200-600mm equiv.) lens attached. It was fast, intuitive (the Panasonic people did not hand out User Manuals for any of the cameras — and I did not need one), and very enjoyable to use. I used it in the bright California sun and the high resolution LCD was a pleasure to use. As far as image quality is concerned, take a look at the Panasonic G5 Photo Gallery, especially at the ISO 1600 samples, and judge for yourselves. Just remember that I hand held everything, so don’t be too surprised to see a little blur in the very low-light samples. The Lumix G5 is a beautiful camera, extremely well-built and professionally finished. I’d be surprised if it didn’t quickly become a sure best-seller.
At this event, Panasonic used the DSLM acronym for the first time (I believe). I don’t remember seeing this used anywhere else before in this way, except for a short discussion in the DPReview News Discussion forum by V Luis back in April 16, 2011. In that same discussion, a number of readers supported that acronym as being the most logical, but it never seemed to gain any traction… until now that Panasonic has picked it up and has started using it. It’s in fact quite logical once you admit it: where the “R” in DSLR stands for “Reflex” (as in a mirror), the “M” in DSLM stands for “Mirrorless.” Say what you may, but the term “mirrorless” is here to stay. I like it.
The newest Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera offering from Panasonic, the G5 features a newly integrated 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor and redesigned Venus Engine to render clear, crisp images in both photo and video recording. Featuring a compact, lightweight body with built-in flash, the G5 boasts ultra-high mobility while offering Canadians powerful camera performance which achieves spectacular image quality, realizing true-to-life photo details through excellent resolution, image rendering and colour production. The DMC-G5 will be available in September in black, in body only and in two kit options (14-42mm standard lens or 14-42mm power zoom lens).
LUMIX G VARIO 45-150 mm Telephoto Zoom Lens
The newest addition to Panasonic’s line-up of Micro Four Thirds System standard lenses, the LUMIX G VARIO 45-150 mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S. (H-FS45150) is a telephoto zoom lens designed to work seamlessly with Panasonic’s LUMIX G-series cameras. Featuring an ultra-compact size and lightweight body, the new lens offers a versatile zoom range of 45-150 mm (35 mm camera equivalent: 90-300 mm) allowing users to capture crisp, clear telephoto shots. Available in a sophisticated metal look, the new LUMIX G VARIO lens will be available in September in black.
The media event was held at the Raceway in Sonoma. After the presentations, we separated into groups, with half donning racing helmets and zipping along the race tracks in Audis while the other half tried the new cameras hands-on to shoot the cars. Half an hour later, we swapped places, those in the cars grudgingly ceding their places to those taking pictures. It was great fun![Turns out Panasonic is a technology partner with the Raceway in Sonoma. In 2010, the Raceway in Sonoma launched a sustainability initiative, highlighting green performance activities at the track and partnered with Panasonic to design and install solar panel arrays at key locations campus-wide. Located at six sites throughout the facility, the solar arrays offset up to 41% of the racetrack’s electrical load.]
In the evening, Panasonic hosted a dinner — and low-light shooting opportunity — at the Ram’s Gate Winery, a beautiful building designed by world-renowned architect Howard Backen. Ram’s Gate Winery blends indoors and outdoors to offer breathtaking views of the surroundings. After feasting our eyes on (and taking lots of pictures of) the sweeping vineyard and bay views, we headed downstairs to the underground alcove and barrel cellar to test out the low light capabilities of the new cameras.
Read our Panasonic Hands-on Preview.
View our photos taken with the Panasonic G5 at the Raceway in Sonoma and Ram’s Gate Winery: Panasonic G5 Photo Gallery.