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All posts tagged "panasonic"

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Panasonic LX5 and Canon S95 Reviewed

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

Digital Camera Resource Page has just reviewed the two latest premium compacts on the market currently; the Panasonic LX5 and the Canon S95. The two cameras feature large aperture lenses at the wide end, cleaner high ISO claims, and manual controls with dedicated customisable controls; the S95 features the same lens ring control as the S90, while the LX5 now features a rear command dial and three buttons that can be user-defined. While the S95 is a small update, adding 720p video, both remain very capable cameras if you don't mind small sensor cameras. To find out how they faired, hit the review links and find out!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 Review

Canon Powershot S95 Review

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Panasonic Releases Three New Micro Four Thirds Lenses

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:37 AM

Along with the Lumix GH2, Panasonic also announced three lenses: 100-300mm f/4-5.6, a 14mm f/2.5 (pictured above), and the 3D lens mentioned a few months back. Expect all three to hit the stores in November.

The most interesting item to photographers would be the 14/2.5, however, it's left me feeling a bit unimpressed. While small, 14mm isn't quite the gap that needs to be filled in the Micro Four Thirds lineup. At 14mm it's fairly close to the Olympus 17mm, and something wider would be more enticing. A 12/2.8 would satisfy a broad range of people, though I would really love a 10/2.8 Please Panasonic, pretty please? The lens will go on sale for US$400.

The 100-300/4-5.6 comes out shortly after Olympus announced the 75-300/4.8-6.7 (though both this and the 14mm have been on the Panasonic roadmap for a while), and personally I think this is the more sensible option. While it is slightly bigger (about half an inch longer and a few mm wider), it is half a stop faster, and at US$600, is cheaper by a third of the Olympus. If telephoto reach is required, a 600/5.6 equivalent in a small lens like this isn't a bad deal.

The one that'll attract the most attention (but unfathomable to me) is the 3D lens. With little separation, and a maximum aperture of f/12 (!), um, well, this should be a toy to most. At US$250 it's certainly not too expensive a toy... Pictures of the other two after the break.


Panasonic GH2 Announced and Previewed

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:30 AM

Ok, this one slipped by me yesterday evening; Panasonic has announced the GH2, the successor to the GH1. Main additions are a new 16 megapixel sensor which now goes an extra stop to ISO 12800 (which I hope does even better than the GH1), a slightly denser EVF that now supports the GH2's multi-aspect sensor (which means it'll not give you black bars along the edges when shooting in wider formats), a touch screen 3" LCD, a 5 FPS continuous shooting mode (up from 3), and now there's a high speed movie mode, going up to 300 FPS. I couldn't find anything about the resolutions at the faster modes though.

The slightly changed layout also means there are now 3 custom function buttons (yay for custom buttons), though I'm not liking the position of Function 1, as it's a bit too far behind on the top plate for the index finger to reach. Another interesting thing is how Panasonic has decided to "crinkle" up the plastic to mimic the magnesium build on higher-end cameras. Personally if Panasonic wants to be taken seriously, they need to make the thing serious as well. Something about design honesty here...

The GH2 will go on sale in December. Pricing for this is at US$900 for the body only, US$1000 for the 14-42 IS kit, and US$1500 for the 14-140 IS kit. I think one of the shortcomings of the GH1 was its perceived high price; the GH1 was mostly only available with the 14-140 lens, and it was not a cheap kit. Hopefully by offering it without a lens or with a cheap lens, Panasonic can sell more of them. After all, it's a pity that one of the better sensors in the Four Thirds world (and one benchmark says the best) did not get much exposure to many photographers. Photos of the back and top plate after the break.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Here We Go Again: Panasonic Announces Stupid Expensive SDHC Cards on SDHC UHS-I Standard

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"Panasonic has announced its newest 8GB and 16GB SDHC UHS-I memory cards. UHS-I is the new standard for higher-speed Bus interface defined by the SD Association as part of the SD Memory Card Specification Ver.3.01, which provides up to 104MB/s performance."

Alright, so there's no pricing information yet, but like with all Panasonic SD cards based on the latest standards, they will be expensive, with promised speeds of 60MB/s. The announcement of the new speed standard has slipped under my radar, but now we have SDHC and SDXC standards to track, and the speed standards of Class 2-10 and UHS-I 1 to keep tabs on as well. Can the SD Association get their act together and get everything together in one standard for the future? Thanks!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cosina Joins Micro Four Thirds Standard; Announces Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Lens

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"Announced jointly by Olympus Imaging Corporation (President Masaharu Okubo) and Panasonic Corporation in 2008, the Micro Four Thirds System standard has rapidly grown in popularity. Now, support for the standard is expanding with the decision of COSINA CO., Ltd to join the Micro Four Thirds System standard. To coincide with this announcement, the company is releasing interchangeable lenses compliant with Micro Four Thirds System standard."

This is a nice announcement. Cosina has been on both scales of the lens manufacturing business, making some absolute cheapies that most photographers will never touch, but have also created great high quality lenses in their Voigtlander line, whom they purchased the rights to the name sometime in 1999. I have their 125mm f/2.5 APO Macro lens in F-mount, and it has been absolutely great to use. Having Cosina onboard the Micro Four Thirds system is great as it means there will be proper wide prime lenses for Micro Four Thirds users; current adaptations means most lenses end up with a 35mm focal length equivalent of 30 to 60mm - hardly wide at all! This Nokton will never have been available at the focal length of 25mm if not for Cosina making the lens dedicated for Micro Four Thirds. DPReview has the links to the official press release of the Cosina announcement and the lens.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mirrorless Cameras Round Up

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

"Having compared the size of several different mirrorless interchangeable lens systems, we'll now take a look at how much detail relative to noise is captured at any given ISO by each of these systems. "

Serious Compacts has done a really nice comparison of the various mirrorless cameras on the market, comparing them based on their size, as well as doing an ISO test. The comparison is split into two parts, so be sure to check them out.

Part 1: Mirrorless Camera Size Comparison: NEX5, NX10, E-P2, E-PL1, GF1, G2

Part 2: Mirrorless Camera ISO Signal/Noise Shootout: NEX5, NX10, E-P2, E-PL1, GF1, G2, GH1

Monday, August 9, 2010

PhotographyBLOG Reviews the Budget Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 PM

"The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS30 (also known as the DMC-FH20) is a slim and stylish digital camera with a versatile 8x, 28-224mm optical zoom lens. The FS30 also features a a 2.7-inch LCD screen and can record HD movies in 1280 x 720p at 30fps. The 14.1 megapixel DMC-FS30 offers Panasonic’s now standard Intelligent Auto mode for quick and easy shooting, Quick AF system, Venus Engine IV image processor, High Sensitivity mode and Extra Optical Zoom."

Continuing today's coverage of reviews, the Panasonic DMC-FS30 looks like a great camera if you are on a budget; a 28-224mm equivalent zoom lens, 720p video, and decent image quality. Panasonic has managed to produce some cheap but quality compacts in the FS lineup over the past few years, and this is one of the best efforts I've seen from them. If anyone has any suggestions in the "cheap but good" category, sound out in the discussion!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Panasonic Introduces HM-TA1 1080p Pocket Camera

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 PM

"Panasonic today introduced the Panasonic HM-TA1, a new Full High Definition (HD), 1920 x 1080 pixels-capable mobile video camera with pocket-sized dimensions for ultimate portability and ideal for on-the-go shooting opportunities. With an easy-to-use design intended for intuitive operation, the TA1 features an integrated USB terminal and software that allows for easy PC connection and uploading videos to online sharing sites such as YouTubeTM and Facebook®. The TA1 also supports the Apple© iFrame video format (960 x 540/30p), which is optimal for Mac® users to import quickly and maintain small file sizes. When using iMovie®, the iFrame video data in the video camera is the same format as the one that is used to edit."

I have a bit of a funny relationship with small, pocket cameras - I received a Flip Mino HD a couple of years ago at a Mobius event, and I used it exactly once. I simply didn't see the purpose - I could get better quality video from a point-and-shoot video camera, as well as take pictures, so what was the point? Then my wife and I had a kid. Things completely changed - now the Flip Mino gets almost daily use in our house. It's all about the right tools for the right job, and the Panasonic HM-TA1 looks like it would be a very worthy replacement for my Flip Mino HD. It offers 1080p (and the sissy-format iFrame from Apple) recording, can work as a Webcam, electronic image stabilization, and use SD memory cards. The one thing I don't see mentioned is the focal range of the lens; I find that the Flip Mino HD is difficult to use close up - I quite often have to take a step back when I want to use it, which I dislike. I also like that the Panasonic HM-TA1 (awful name!) has physical buttons - I think Flip made a huge mistake with their move to touch sensitive buttons on their new model.

Full press release and more images after the break.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Panasonic To Release 3D Lens for Micro Four Thirds

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"Like Panasonic's new 3D-capable HDC-SDT750 camcorder but don't want to shell out $1,400 for a brand-new kit? Get a load of this Micro Four Thirds lens. That's right, Panny's just announced an interchangeable 3D lens that affixes to the standard Lumix G-series mount."

3D 3D 3D; it seems the manufacturers are betting big on this. Me? Well, let's see: Loss of light, lower saturation, annoying glasses, little value-add, a whole lot of expensive gear, new workflows to manage, and hope that your audience has the right gear to see it right. Nope, not convinced. Plus, two lenses separated by a few millimetres does not seem to be really doing anything worthwhile. 3D is about as bad as Kodak trying to invent a new consumer film format every 15 years or so. Those of you old enough will remember how well those turned out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Make Your Own 3D Movie Experience

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"We'd heard Panasonic was planning a more affordable stereoscopic 3D camcorder, but it looks like we won't have to wait until a mysterious July 28th Tokyo unveiling to find out for sure -- it's called the HDC-SDT750, and Panny's advertising it as the "World's first 3D Shooting Camcorder.""

Budding directors no longer have to feel inferior to the slew of 3D movies coming out in theaters. They too can join the 3D craze! It did not take long, did it? I imagine that a few years down the road, we will finally have those holographic projectors they have been telling us are just around the corner for 50 years. And of course, with proejctors come camcorders as well! I could not find a price listed, but this baby will not come cheap, but you can probably wow all your friends when they come over where your home movies will make theirs look flat.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Panasonic Announces Slew of Cameras; LX5 Leads the Pack

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:44 PM

"You ready to get Lumix'd to the max? Panasonic has five new point-and-shooters prepped for this fall, headlined by the well-leaked LX5. That camera aims to keep what was good about the stylish, high-end LX3 while pushing image quality up a notch, with better image processing and a better lens in front of the same 10.1 megapixel CCD resulting in better low light performance."

Well, this isn't quite Photokina news yet, but Panasonic has launched a whole slew of cameras. The LX5 as leaked is a premium compact, with the new 24-90mm equivalent lens, an updated sensor from the LX3 (there are mentions of a new layer of microlenses), and finally a command dial in place of the old joystick. Though I have to say, the command dial looks rather tiny and recessed into the camera body. has image samples, so go on and take a look there as well. Read on for the rest. Read more...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Panasonic LX5 Surfaces

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:36 AM

As Photokina approaches, the rumours are going to start flying, along with product leaks from the companies themselves. 4/3 Rumours has unearthed the successor to the LX3 in the form of the LX5. The biggest change is the lens: in place of the 24-60mm equivalent f/2-2.8 lens, we get a new 24-90mm f/2-3.3 lens. While it's a little slower on the long end, it's also a little longer, and should make it more appealing to those who felt the 60mm end was too short.

The sensor seems to be the same 10 megapixel sensor used in the LX3, and that's a good thing. It has been two years since the LX3 was launched, and not having a jump in pixels makes me hope the megapixel race is over, at least in the serious camera category.

Other improvements include an option for a hot-shoe mounted EVF (I wonder if it will be the one used in the GF1), possibly a rear dial (finally!), and a re-designed grip. Overall I think this should be another hit for Panasonic.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Panasonic G2 Reviewed by Digital Photography Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 PM

"The G2 is an evolutionary - but nonetheless solid - upgrade to the G1, that answers some of the criticisms of the original model, adding the aforementioned video mode (720P AVCHD lite or MJPEG) and tidying up and expanding the external controls. The other big news is that the G2 gets touch screen technology (seen on several Panasonic compact DSCs) - not exactly high on our list of ways in which the G1 could be improved, but in the era of the iPhone something that undoubtedly looks good on the marketing materials, if nothing else." has posted their review of the Panasonic G2, and it is another favourable one for the G1's successor. It's not all perfect though, so hit the review (which also tests the new kit lens) and find out. Also, check out their new widget that compares sample images from four cameras, and allows you select any point from their test image to enlarge. Snazzy!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Panasonic G2 Reviewed; Micro Four Thirds Continues Its Advance

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 02:00 PM

"The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 is a new Micro Four Thirds camera boasting a 3 inch articulated touchscreen LCD that provides touch-based functions like Touch AF/AE and Touch Shutter. Other key features of the G2 include a 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor, upgraded Venus Engine HD II processor, sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400, 720p HD video recording in AVCHD Lite format, a port for an optional stereo microphone and an electronic viewfinder."

Well, it looks like Panasonic has another winner on its hands. If you did read the post on BCNRankings for interchangeable lens cameras sold in Japan, sales of Micro Four Thirds cameras are on the rise. I do like some of the changes Panasonic has wrought on this release, like moving the command dial to the rear of the camera, but at the same time, it's all so incremental. Yea, there's video now compared to the G1, but there's not much on the still camera side. I wish more companies would be like Nikon, where usually a new camera really brings about change.

Oh, and if you are interested in this camera, I suggest looking for the dual-lens version that comes with the 45-200mm lens as well. I believe it is quite competitively priced (unless Panasonic decides to screw over consumers in some parts of the world).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nikon Ranked First in Japan Sales for Interchangeable Lens Cameras for 1H 2010

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 AM

BCNRanking, which ranks Japanese product sales, has published their January to June 2010 results for interchangeable lens cameras. Nikon ranks as number 1.

In addition, just about every other company has managed to increase their share of sales volume at Canon's expense except for Sony. No wonder they were in a hurry to bring out the NEX cameras.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Digital Photography Review Does a Super Zoom Roundup

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 AM

"It's now more than a year since we published our last superzoom group test and despite the hype surrounding mirrorless system cameras such as Micro Four Thirds or the Sony NEX, and the fact that entry level DSLRs are becoming more and more affordable, superzoom cameras are as popular with consumers as ever. It is easy to see why. The combination of a large zoom range from wideangle to super telephoto, DSLR-like ergonomics and an attractive price point guarantee that these cameras appeal to a very broad audience."

Following up on their travel zoom roundup, Digital Photography Review has released one on the travel zoom's big brothers; the super zoom cameras. As mentioned, despite mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras being the new must-have for manufacturers, the appeal of such "bridge" cameras still lies in their versatility at a low cost. This time round, the winners are not so surprising. Still, I can't imagine going back to using thumbnail-sized sensors in my cameras!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Budget Camera Shootout - Eight Cameras Tested at Digital Camera Resource Page

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 06:43 AM

"For many years now, the trend on this website has been to review the more expensive, cutting-edge cameras. Not only do those cameras capture my interest -- they are what the majority of DCRP readers are curious about, as well. Recently, I was reminded by a reader that I wasn't giving enough attention to entry-level cameras. These cameras may be boring to tech enthusiasts, but let's face it, millions of them are sold every year to regular folks who want something easy-to-use that takes decent photos."

Jeff Keller of the Digital Camera Resource Page has done a nice roundup of eight budget digital cameras. As digital cameras becomes more commoditised, reviews tend to become fewer and fewer, especially in the budget section, where unfortunately it is an area where it's likely to be a big segment of consumers who will likely need some help in making their choices. So if you know of anyone who's just looking for a cheap, no-frills camera that won't let them down, send them over to this roundup.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Panasonic GH1 Firmware Hacked: High Bitrate Video Encoding Now Possible

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 11:30 AM

"Canon isn’t the only game in town when it comes to hacking camera firmware. The famous CHDK firmware hacks now have a rival, at least if you are shooting with a Panasonic GH1, and especially if you are using the Micro Four Thirds camera to shoot video. The hack, called PTool, doesn’t add nearly as many features as the Canon hacks, but what it does is startling. With PTool, you can up the video bitrate of the GH1 from a pedestrian 20Mbit to 32MBit in AVCHD. If you opt for Motion JPEG (MJPEG), you can shoot at an astonishing 50 Mbit/sec at a full 1080p. This, according to testers, offers better quality footage than you get from the EOS 5D MkII. Above you can see an example. To view it in its full HD glory, click through to the Vimeo page."

So I'm just a wee bit late on finding this out, partly because I haven't been visiting the excellent forums for some time. Amazingly, Tester13 (the guy who started all this) was only asking for volunteers not too long back. I'm amazed at the amount of work he's managed to do in such a short time. Short recap: The GH1 encodes its AVCHD files in 17 Mbps with no B frames, so any fast movement in the scene generally won't look good. Upping the bitrate helps, and if you follow the link, 32 Mbps in AVCHD is possible, and using MJPEG, 50 Mbps has been achieved. Check the link for more; Wired's article has a nice list of links appended at the bottom. I'm going to be messing around with this on my own GH1, and see what I get.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Panasonic Introduces the Lumix DMC-FX75

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"Panasonic announced today the new LUMIX DMC-FX75, a super-slim digital camera that packs big features, including a 24mm ultra-wide-angle F2.2 bright LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens with 5x optical zoom, which can be used while shooting High Definition video. The slim and stylish LUMIX FX75, a 14.1-megapixel digital camera is one of Panasonic’s high-performing hybrid models with the ability to not only take high-quality still photos, but can also record HD video in the AVCHD Lite format."

(Also known as the DMC-FX70 in Europe)

Uh, wot?

Panasonic's FX line of premium compacts are generally known for their looks and build quality, but somehow this time the design looks a bit... uninspiring. Panasonic does well to pack as many high-end features into the camera, like a faster lens at f/2.2 (at the widest end anyway), AVCHD Lite, and the latest fad of touchscreens.

Something I've noticed, is that Panasonic has slowed down their output of FX cameras, so making a decision for buying a premium compact from Panasonic isn't as hard. In fact, the upper range of Panasonic's line up is not hard to figure out. If you want something small, you take the FX75. You want a little more zoom? You can take the ZR3. Don't mind a slightly bigger camera? There's the ZS7 and ZS5. Need something rugged? Then the TS2 is for you. The problem comes when you go down to the more budget area of the lineup. I've lost count of the number of FS (aka FH) cameras they've been churning out in the past two years...

Panasonic Introduces 8mm Fisheye for Micro Four Thirds

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:00 AM

"Today, Panasonic introduced the LUMIX G Fisheye 8mm/F3.5 lens, the H-F008, with a 35mm camera equivalent 16mm lens, the world’s smallest and lightest* digital interchangeable fisheye lens compatible with the LUMIX G Series, DSL Micro (DSLM) cameras."

Panasonic has announced an 8mm fisheye lens for the Micro Four Thirds system. Being a full-frame fisheye, it'll cover the entire sensor while offering a 180mm degree field of view, which is pretty much the standard ever since Nikon introduced the 16mm fisheye years ago. Now, what I have to say to Panasonic is...what are you thinking? Read more...

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