News coming out of PMA

Official Panasonic image

So, it would seem that the Lumix G1 that I picked up after reading through Michael Reichmann’s glowing reviews, and which I have enjoyed immensely in this past two months, is officially obsolete. Panasonic has announced the “GH1,” which is the same camera but with the ability to record high-definition video.

After looking through Panasonic’s Web site for the new GH1, it would appear that the camera offers slightly more manual control than the Canon 5D Mark II’s video mode.  Specifically, the aperture can be controlled by the photographer, as opposed to the 5D, which requires some clever manipulation in order to specify the aperture.
(A Google search will come up with a wealth of resources, but the bottom line is that a manual-aperture lens mounted via an adapter is the easiest way to control the video on the new 5D.)

No word on Panasonic’s Web site, or from DPReview, whether the audio levels can be controlled manually.  Because any mention of such a feature is absent, I’m left to assume that Panasonic followed Canon and simply reverted to auto gain for audio.  Nothing is ever perfect!  More after the jump.

While I do not see myself trading in the G1 for its new sibling, I will admit that the new 7-14mm f/4 (14-28mm equivalent) is an attractive lens, although I am disappointed that it does not have built-in image stabilization (O.I.S.).  No word yet on price.

While I have not written–and do not really plan to–a review of the G1, I should note that it is one of the most useful cameras I’ve owned.  It’s small, weighs slightly over one pound with a lens, captured 12 megapixels, and the image quality up to ISO 800 is really great.  The kit lens is surprisingly good, although it is a variable-aperture zoom which can be frustrating.
Autofocus is fast, and the articulated screen is surprisingly handy.  Furthermore, the Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is of shockingly good quality.  No, it’s not the same as looking through a mirror, but the savings in weight and size that can be afforded to the photographer who forgoes a prism is worth it to have a camera that can be carried around at all times.  I wouldn’t want to sling  over my shoulder either my 1D Mark IIn or  my 5D Mk II with the 24-70mm f/2.8 and carry it around daily.  But with the G1, it becomes a non-issue.

I am, however, disappointed that a fast prime was not also announced today.  Perhaps later this year?  Or maybe Olympus will commit to Micro Four-Thirds as well.  Time will tell.

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