(FT2) Panasonic rangefinder styled Micro Four Thirds camera

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Image on top: The one year old Panasonic patent which shows a “DMC-LC1” styled Micro Four Thirds camera.

The last week I received two emails from an anonymous sender about a completely new Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera. Before you read the rumor please keep in mind that the message from an anonymous source and not from one of my trusted sources:

I can not tell you all the details. There will be a new camera type of Micro Four Thirds. The first camera will have a built-in electronic viewfinder and rangefinder look (Like the Panasonic DMC-LC1). It will not have a hybrid finder solution such as Fuji X100. The dimensions are slightly larger than those of the GF1. But the body is of very high quality! The camera is in fact designed to attract all those who want quality at an affordable price (though it will cost more than GF1 … certainly above $ 900-1000). It will use a new 14-megapixel sensor (the same of the future Olympus PEN).
I can not tell you more than that.

It’s not the first time I hear/receive such rumors about a Panasonic DMC-LC1 alike Micro Four Thirds camera. But the only reliable info I have is that there is a Panasonic patent with such a rangefinder MicroFourThirds design and following main features (Source: United States Patent Application 20100060771):
Built-In EVF
Titlable EVF
The EVF is able to selectively display both moving pictures and still pictures.
The EVF “could” be OLED
Built-in Flash

I also know from trusted sources that Olympus is working on a PEN with built-in EVF. If you know more about those Panasonic/Olympus compact MFT with built-in EVF feel free to contact me at 43rumors@gmail.com or use the contact form on the right sidebar! Thanks!

Reminder: Rumors classification explained (FT= FourThirds):
FT1=1-20% chance the rumor is correct
FT2=21-40% chance the rumor is correct
FT3=41-60% chance the rumor is correct
FT4=61-80% chance the rumor is correct
FT5=81-99% chance the rumor is correct

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  • Zonkie

    The most interesting thing would be to know if that new sensor that will be used in future 4/3 cameras from both Panasonic and Olympus has a new design (especially on chip A/D conversion) or if it will be the old design with more MP.

    If it’s new and improved, I wonder what can Olympus do with such sensor (seeing what they’ve been capable of doing with the old one in the E-5).

  • elliot

    Nothing but anonymous speculation. It’s FT1, why did you choose FT2?

    • admin

      Because thereis a patent that at least prooves that Panasonic is working on it. usually I set FT1 when I am almost sure it’s a joke.

  • Camajan

    designed to attract all those who want quality at an affordable price”
    And for 900-100$ LOL!

    Suddenly X100 doesn’t sound expensive…

    anyway…
    When this thing comes out it will be street worth at around 600$

  • Brod1er

    Sounds like the upmarket replacement for the gf1 using an upgraded gh1 sensor (which is 14mp). This will leave room for the more compact cheaper replacement which will compete with NEX. Makes perfect sense to split the gf1 into two lines to reflect the growth of the system and cater for more tastes (& compete with Sony). All good news for the consumer. The question is when?

    Now who is going to be first with a “this will kill nex” or “this is the death of m43” message!? Zzzzzzzzzzz snore yawn

  • Built-in EVF would be nice, given that it’s at least as good as the accessory one for the PENs.

  • Eric

    Figures, I got tired of waiting on this and just bought a NEX because I need some sort of digital camera, and I didn’t particularly like anything on the market. Grr, if this comes out I’m going to have to just turn around and sell it on eBay. I was really trying to avoid that.

    • hd72

      If it does get announced (which i hope it does), it will be months and months before an actual release date. You’ll get plenty of use of your NEX in the meantime. It will probably be Spring before the GF2 comes to market – and that’s a relatively official product mentioned by Panasonic.

      • AndersN

        Since Panasonic presents new cameras in September and March, the GF1 successor will probably be announced in March 2011. (G1 Sep. 08 -> G2/G10 Mar. 10, GH1 Mar. 09 -> GH2 Sep. 10, GF1 Sep. 10 -> GF2 Mar. 11?)

        • Miroslav

          Continuing with Panasonic announcement patterns: I’m wondering if we’ll see three new lenses in March … Do they present lenses in threes now :)? If the presentation slide we’ve seen here turns out to be true, we could see 25mm F1.4, 12-75/f2.5-3.3 and yet unspecified bright wide lens. That would be more interesting for me.

  • Miroslav

    Nice, but no IS, no buy. I have respect for current Panasonic leadership in m4/3, but won’t accept no image stabilization with prime lenses. Stabilize either sensor or all lenses, Panasonic. Until then for me it’s Olympus body.

    • Jason

      I agree…

      • Jonathan

        Judging by how far Olympus can go in optimizing IQ on a given sensor, the EP-3 might be really nice.

    • hd72

      Absolutely. In-body stabilization would also be a terrific way to differentiate their high-end line. Especially since it’s a more serious photographer who is into prime lenses and legacy glass.

      The camera could just activate in-body IS when lens IS is not detected. Plenty of features on a modern camera offer redundant or slightly different ways to achieve the same thing.

      • Dummy00001

        > Especially since it’s a more serious photographer who is into prime lenses and legacy glass.

        I think you are onto something here.

  • safaridon

    This should be no surprise as projected for almost a year now. I case you missed the point this is the first of two models this high end one with all metal body maybe weatherproofed and will come with the long awaited
    12-75/f2.5-3.3 fast zoom lens option. The EVF could very easily be same design as the Epson one used with the EP2 and maybe already an Epson design used in the GH2. The second model reportedly to be the small size one like the NEX.

    This makes it likely that Pany will also continue the GF with a slightly modified GF2 with existing sensor only with new 3 sensor processor to bring lightening AF speeds measured to be 5X faster than nearest ILS competitor.

    While I appreciate having in body IS on my DSLRs but with much better high ISO now available there is less point as much better to use a faster shutter speed in the first place to catch any action or object movement. Furthermore test show the IS in the PENs provide at most 1-2 stops of improvement based on DPR and cannot be used with video. Sony did not include in body IS in the NEXs as requires more space and height making the camera larger. Most legacy lens and single focal length lenses are relatively fast so don’t need the IS as much so that would not be a show stopper in my opinion but may be for others. I would rather have an AF that is more than 10 times faster for action then in body IS with slow AF. Maybe you haven’t noticed the fact that inbody IS causes excessive heat in certain applications. Just my opinions

    I am not surprised that Pany has decided to not release this model till early next year as would not want to detract attention from the the new GH2 which seems to be gathering momentum based on presales info. At any rate this rangefinder style model may be available at roughly the same time frame as the recently announced Fuji similar camera only with fixed lens.

    • hd72

      You make a lot of valid points, with the IS causing heat and with legacy lenses being fast.

      But that legacy glass also has twice the focal length on a m43 camera, so you need twice as fast a shutterspeed to handhold it. And you shouldn’t be forced to shoot wide open with every single photo you take.

      Also, even having one stop of IS would be the difference between using ISO 800 and ISO 1600. In a GF1, that’s the difference between something you can salvage, and something that gets deleted.

    • deniz

      IS increases creative control. for ex. it makes shooting with slow shutter speed and still being able to keep background steady possible.
      also there is the 2x crop factor on legacy lens. i say, at least for my experience, IBIS has been a treat.

  • NativeFloridian

    Admin, thanks for the GF update and please keep the speculation coming. Photokina is over and all the official product announcements have been made. This is the season to discuss possible future m43 products. I would prefer that you pass on some more of the information that you have even if it is ‘incomplete’. Your rumors ignite the conversation within the 43 community. This conversation is why I check your site and has been somewhat lacking lately. It should go without saying, but any inaccuracies within your self-described rumor site never damage your credibility.

    Modular camera?
    Future Olympus m43 lenses?
    “Professional” m43 camera?
    Any collaboration among the 43 partners?
    Sensor info?

  • kesztió

    LOL

  • Camajan

    1000$ for a 4/3 sensor?!?
    I think… NOT!!!:-P

  • How cares about the flash? This sort of camera is for street photography where the flash is totally useless.

    • sam

      I’d rather see a good viewfinder on the GF series than a flash but if both can work I wont be complaining, fill flash can be useful sometimes.

    • Throw in a small flash at least, why not

    • Miroslav

      Manufacturers would for sure like us to buy one camera for each type of situation, but I think they should be as versatile as possible ( while not sacrificing image quality ). So if the flash could be made to bounce as in E-PL1, it would more than welcome for indoor photography.

    • EP1 got attacked about its lack of flash compared to GF1.
      Sometime, it’s not just about useful or not, but does the feature sheet say yes or no. Bad press bad for consumer products.

  • gekopaca

    Someday my prince will come … I hope before I’m an old man !

  • Any rumour about the kit lens ?
    New 25mm f/1.x pancake perhaps ?

  • Luke

    I have given up waiting or this dream camera. Here you go Fuji….here’s my $1000. I was going to give it to Panasonic, but they kept messing around….. giving us one cool design and a bunch of old tired, lame (very slightly) shrunk down DSLR shaped cameras. I wanted to give them my money, but they played it safe and lost. I actually would have given my money to Olympus, but their first effort (which I bought) was slow, their next was nearly identical (but way more expensive…..and not competitive) and their last was a shadow of the original (maybe exciting for people who like compact cameras, but not for fans of good looking camera).

    • bob

      ditto for me! Fuji here I come….

  • The Okram

    I am very excited about the prospect of Panasonic giving us a rugged, high-quality-sensor, fast AF m4/3 camera. While I understand the appeal of such a body to street-shooting applications, there are also other exciting potential uses, like underwater photography (where we still need better low-light performance both in image quality and AF), and field-work (either the extreme outdoor photography like in mountaneering and expedition climbing, or scientific documentation like in geological field-work). In this fields of application the form-factor advantages of m4/3 format would really shine. I happen to be interested in both aspects.

    However the following feature would need not be sacrificed:

    – built-in flash: essential for triggering external strobes in underwater work, and for fill-in light (in general photography and also for field documentation)

    – LCD display besides the EVF, prefferrably tiltable. LCD is a must for underwater work – a workable live view is a fantastic advantage over DSLRs. Also, do not forget the potential of a tiltable LCD display (not necessarily fully rotatable like in the present G series cameras), which facilitates holding the camera the old waist-level-finder style, which is very useful in close-up and low-perspective work. OK, tiltable EVF might be a compromise, but I’d probably prefer an LCD.

  • Arkersaint

    Very interestig thread : I understant there are definitely strategic issues in a “field oriented” m43, briefly :
    – Bodies with integrated IS to be cleverly discarded by Pany (AF concerns)
    – Lens weather presently not sealed to become the main issue with Pany strategic non-commitment to professionnal photopgraphy

    I strongly doubt about any solution with Pany providing bodies and Oly the lenses… so what ?

  • Greg

    I love this GF2 rumor… I don’t want to buy the GH2 (yeah I know: nobody was pointing a gun on me to do so). Time to buy lenses and wait for this compact pro body… 😉

    aaaahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! (he runs away laughing madly)

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