I am still not 100% about some aspects of the new “mysterious” Olympus designed (or tweaked) sensor. What I know for certain is that Olympus kept the promise and will not join the Megapixel race which lead Panasonic to announce cameras with 16Megapixels (for the G3 and GH2). The new sensor has 12.1 Megapixels! I have been told that this is not the same “old” 12 Megapixel sensor which you can find inside the current Olympus PEN cameras. The sensor has been “tweaked” (and some sources say “redesigned”) by Olympus. What that word “tweaked” means is a big and yet unanswered question.
The second news is that the new PEN cameras will indeed use the new TruePic VI engine which has two cores. Olympus worked on all aspects of the camera, sensor, internal circuity, imaging processor with the main goal to increase the dynamic range and ISO performance. Sources said that we should expect an image quality that is at least on par (but more likely even slightly better) than the current top Olympus E-5 model. First reports I received from testers said that there is a visible step forward in image quality (with pre production models and unfinished firmware!).
In summary, Olympus may made a bit of mess with the product naming and specs (See for example missing tilt screen on the E-P3) but we have to give credit to Olympus for working on the key aspects where many of our 43rumors wanted to see an improvement:
1) That sensor is designed by Olympus and that means that they will no more have to rely on second generation sensors from Panasonic.
2) It’s nice to see that Olympus worked to improve dynamic range and ISO performance instead of increasing Megapixel numbers.
3) AF speed is amazing. And that’s going to impress many potential m43 buyers!
4) Finally some amazing lenses! The high quality 12mm f/2.0 and the cheap ($299) and fast 45mm f/1.8 portrait lens.
Overall I am very happy with the steps Olympus made with the new PEN’s. Of course there is still room for improvement. But guys, they are finally going in the right direction or not?
Panasonic has 30% of the mirrorless market share in Japan (and confirms the new lenses by late 2011)
CNET Asia was at the Asia Pacific Lumix G Seminar 2011 in Thailand. Panasonic told them that they are holding the 30 percent mirrorless market share in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong and 25 percent market share in Singapore: “According to Panasonic, the company aims to increase its market share in the total ILC category by 10 percent (which roughly translates to 120,000 ILC units) by 2012. To achieve this, they shared some strategies which include targeting shutterbugs looking to upgrade to dSLRs and expanding its current lineup of Lumix G Micro System cameras, lenses and accessories. Panasonic also announced plans to allocate US$20 million in advertising dollars to promote the compact design of the Lumix G series cameras and focus on their touchscreen capabilities and iA mode settings.”
Panasonic’s group general manager of AV in Asia Pacific, Motoki Nakahara, confirmed that there will be Micro Four Thirds lenses are slated for the later part of this year. As you might remember after the GF3 launch Panasonic confirmed that they are working on a professional GF camera, a new GH3 camera and that two new lenses would be announced by end of the year.
Reminder: Panasonic launched two cameras and one lens in 2011:
The G3 should be in Stock in most countries within the next days. Check those links: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay.
The GF3 should be in Stock by late July/early April. Check those links: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay (It’s difficult to find preorder options in Europe).
The Leica 25mm f/1.4 will be in Stock in late July. Check those links: Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay (Almost impossible to find it for preorder. And don’t confuse that lens with the Four Thirds version!).
Via CNET Asia
Here is a short update about the latest US deals:
UPDATE: The GH2 with 14-140mm lens is in Stock at Amazon (Click here).
There are a couple of GH2 body only cameras for sale via third party resellers on Amazon (Click here). For the normal price ($899)!
During the last month the Panasonic 20mm was very difficult to find in Stock. If you are willing to pay a bit more than the official price you can fidn them in Stock at Amazon (Click here).
Panasonic GF3 preorders accepted at Amazon, Adorama, and J&R.
The price of the Panasonic 100-300mm dropped down to $521 at Amazon, Adorama and B&H.
The new E-PM1 compared with the Olympus XZ-1 (Click on image to enlarge).
As you know Olympus will announce three new PEN cameras and the 12mm f/2.0 and 45mm f/1.8 lenses on June 30th (Click here to see the official Olympus invitation). And on top you can see the very first image of the tiniest of the three PEN’s the Olympus E-PM1! The other two cameras will be the E-PL3 (with tilt-screen) and the E-P3 (no tilt screen, built-in Flash). The main new feature of the Olympus cameras will be the new ultrafast autofocus that will beat the already fast Panasonic GH2 AF and it will be even faster than the AF of most current DSLR cameras!!! Also the sensor and imageing engine will be new (I hope to get some more news soon about that). Don’t miss any rumors: Join us on Facebook and Twitter! Subscribe our RSS feed!
A good source had the chance to play a little bit with the new smallest PEN. And this is his hands-on report (I have rewritten the report to hide the language style):
“The E-PM1 is really very small. The body size is very similar to the XZ-1 (Click here to see it) (similar depth and height, and a little less wide. Autofocus speed is awesome (faster than the E-30/E-5 by any means). And the AF is not only fast, it’s accurate! It has touchscreen, but it also has enough buttons like the E-PL1.) Overall it is a camera you can handle very easy. Looking at the size of the E-PM1 it might will not sue the BLS-1/5 battery, I am not sure about that but I think it could use the Li-70B battery from the XZ-1?
All three new PEN cameras do have touchscreen and a new circuitry that reduces power consumption and increases the battery autonomy.
Editor’s note: The new Panasonic GF3 is a bit smaller than the E-PM1 but that camera doesn’t come with built-in image stabilization and doesn’t have the same usability (the E-PM1 has more buttons).
Questions to sources: Do you know the price of the camera?
Links cameras/accessories mentioned in that article:
Olympus XZ-1 at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay.
Olympus E-PL1 at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay.
Olympus E-30 at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay.
Olympus BLS-1/5 battery at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay.
Olympus Li-70B battery at Amazon, Adorama, B&H, J&R, eBay.
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