Panasonic talks G3, GH2 facts

In a new interview with Photography Blog, Panasonic talk G series. The new $699 G3 kit will be released this summer and features the much needed aluminium body. Would like to see this on the GH3.

I have a question of my own for Panasonic: The GF2 and G3 both target the mid-market consumer, where is the real GF1 replacement? I don’t see it in either of these products. Panasonic themselves acknowledge that the GF1 was more of a semi-pro offering than the GF2.

Here is the low down on what we know about Panasonic’s G series after the latest interview:

Though it doesn’t have as many features, the G3 almost matches the GH2 for image quality in stills mode thanks to a new sensor and the same image processor. I’d expect it to be as capable as the GH2 if Vitaliy’s hack is applied to both. The sensor is slightly slower since it doesn’t do analogue to digital conversion on each line onboard the sensor like the GH2’s.

AF-tracking in video mode was disabled on the GH2 for ‘technical reasons’, and Panasonic have had a lot of requests to reinstate it. The G3 will have AF-tracking in video mode. No news on a firmware update for the GH2, although of course we know differently 🙂

Production of the GF2 and G3 happens in China. The GF1 has been discontinued. The GH2 is made in Fukushima.

Panasonic have modified the design of their lenses to incorporate a silver ring, which is purely cosmetic. If they could also modify the rubber zoom grip so that it doesn’t fall off after 3 months use, that would be nice too.

Panasonic found most people turned off the EVF sensor and used the manual button, so to economise on parts and bring down the cost of the G3 they removed the eye sensor. Not sure that is a good move.

Leica’s 25mm F1.4 will be produced in Micro Four Thirds mount soon. It is a beautiful lens, had the Four Thirds version and can’t wait for this one. Sigma will also be producing MFT lenses.

After feedback from the GH2 suggested focus points should be possible right across 100% of the frame, that has been implemented on the G3. Also ‘Film Modes’ have been changed to ‘Photo Styles’, which are: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait. Not as many as the GH2 but this is only a $700 mid-range camera so don’t expect as many as a $1.99 iPhone app like Camera+, oh no!

Panasonic wants the GH2 to compete on a level field with the 60D. I think in that respect they succeeded admirably but they now need to step it up even further, for two reasons. One, to capture the pro market and two, put more distance between the G3 and GH3 – the G3 is already snapping at the GH2’s heels in terms of image quality.

Sales of mirrorless cameras will eclipse DSLR sales in 2013, say Panasonic. DSLR sales have stagnated and mirrorless continues to grow, up nearly 20% in the UK year-on-year (2010-2011). Panasonic claim they had an 86% market share with the G1/GH1 against Olympus’s offerings in 2009 but now face more competition, especially from Sony.

All in all, for the intended market the G3 looks great – much more interesting than the G2 was. Now if only they’d have spared the aluminium chassis for the GH2! Even the GF1 had one. Please no more plastic bodies on high end cameras, Panasonic.