There were a handful of new announcements at PMA that made an impression on me, such as the Underwater Case for New Olympus E-620 DSLR and the Sony DSC-HX1 with its sweep panorama mode. But my favorite new device is the Panasonic DMC-GH1 compact, interchangeable lens camera.
Compatible with the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the new LUMIX GH1 features advanced video photography functions, such as the ability to record High Definition (HD) AVCHD 1080p/24p video.* In addition, the new LUMIX GH1 comes with a newly developed long-zoom interchangeable lens - the LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm/F4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. This lens was specifically designed to support HD movie recording and features a silent motor and continuous auto focusing (AF) capability; two features which distinguish the LUMIX GH1 from DSLRs that offer HD video recording capabilities.
This camera is super compact, supports Raw capture, feels great in the hands, has a swing out 3" LCD, includes a microphone jack, provides 12.1 megapixel resolution, supports multiple aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2 or 16:9), face recognition, includes O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) to help reduce blurring from hand-shake; Intelligent ISO Control to help limit motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity, and Intelligent Scene Selector which automatically detects the five most common shooting situations - Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery and Close-up - then switches to the appropriate Scene mode.
When you're recording video, you can use the stereo mics on top of the camera (as shown in the image above), or connect an external microphone via the minijack and mount it in the hot shoe.
There's also a lens adapter that lets you use any four-thirds lens on this camera. So if you're an Olympus shooter for example, all of your lenses will work on the GH1, some at full functionality, others at partial.
I shot with the camera in the Panasonic booth at PMA, and was impressed with its fit and finish. The video capture displayed on an HDTV was crisp and vibrant. It was difficult to set the camera back down.
The Lumix GH1 should be available by summer. No price has been announced yet. You can read more about it on DPP via their hands on review of the GH1. There were some strong contenders at this year's show, but I think the Lumix GH1 takes the prize.
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Derrick Story, digital photography, Technology, The Digital Story, Lumix GH1