USA: After the GX7 also price drops on the GH3 (-$200) G6 (-$100) and GF6 (-$100).

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Last week Panasonic surprisingly lowered the GX7 price by $100 (here at Amazon, Adorama, Samys and BHphoto). But today also the other most recent cameras got a huge price drop:

GH3 got $200 off at Amazon, Adorama, Samys and BHphoto. A special mention goes to Samys because they also give you a Lowepro case, 32GB SD and a $50 gift card for free!
G6 got $100 off at Amazon, Adorama, Samys and BHphoto.
GF6 got $100 off at Amazon, Adorama, Samys and BHphoto.

Basically Panasonic US decided to lower the price of all four new G/GH/GF and GX camera. These kind of general price drops didn’t happen in Europe yet.

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Video will be top priority for Olympus (Guest post by Vincent Verweij)

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Future models of Olympus camera’s will have more video capabilities, says European product manager Michael Guthman. “Movie capabilities will be a top priority in the future”, Guthman writes in an email to Dutch journalist and documentary maker Vincent Verweij. The latest OM-D E-M1 has been heavily criticized for it’s lackluster video capabilities and apparently Olympus is addressing the issues.

Guest post by Vincent Verweij
With the introduction of the ‘professional’ OM-D E-M1 many users were expecting big improvements to the video part of the camera. Previous models had very limited video-features. But the dissapointing fact was that video did not improve. The photographic side of things did, but video stayed behind. And that’s strange, because Olympus has the best video stabilization on the market, with it’s superb 5-axis on-sensor system, that works with every lens attached to the body. It’s like having a steadicam in the camera, smoothing every move and even stabilizing the shot while walking. It completely eliminates the need for external stabilisation gear, such as gimbals and even tripods. The 5-axis stabilizer makes the OM-D series a very interesting option for video-journalists and documentary makers, such as myself, who often have to work handheld in unpredictable situations. One would expect that Olympus would cash-in on this unique technology, by adding features that are critical to videographers. But they have, as of yet, not done that.

The most important video problem in Olympus camera’s is the lack of choice in framerates. All other brands, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony offer a choice of 25 or 30 fps, some even 24 fps (which is the standard for digital cinema and theatrical projection). All digital Olympus models ever produced, including the OM-D series, have always only been capable of filming at 30 frames per second (the US and Japanese standard).

Why is 25 fps so important? Well, Europe is a PAL-country, so in order to show footage on a TV, or distribute it as DVD, it must be shot on 25 frames-per-second, or 50 fields, else it will drop frames, giving every shot a stroboscopic effect. But not only that. The PAL-standard in Europe was chosen because the European electricity system runs at 50 Hz. By using 50 fields per second, you avoid flickering of video when filming in artificial light. Even in daylight situations this can be a huge problem, for example a few fluorescent tubes in an office with daylight coming through windows, will ruin the shot. The fixed framerate of 30fps makes Olympus camera’s practically unusable for anything but amateur video in Europe.

There are other things which should improve, to make Olympus camera’s more attractive for video use, not just in Europe. The obvious one being a better codec and higher bitrates. The bitrate on the EM-1 is now 24Mbit/s in 1080p, only a slight increase from the 20Mbit’s on the E-M5. The E-Ms use H264 and MJPEG codecs, causing compression artefacts such as banding and blocks. What videomakers want is high bitrate, low compression recording with a codec that stores every frame, not just keyframes. Think ProRes or CinemaDNG. And ofcourse a 4K option in the future. Blackmagic are leading the way here, with a range of affordable micro-four third camera’s. They also have 13 stops of dynamic range and 4K resolution in the top-model.

The HDMI-port on the OM-D EM-1 now does live output, that’s great. But it can only output video with metadata overlayed on screen. Rendering it unusable for recording with a second, external recorder (with a better codec). Same story with audio. The EM-1 now has an audio input, allowing external microphones to be connected. Great, but the audio level can’t be monitored on the viewfinder and LCD, so you have no way of telling whether the audio levels are okay.

Next, a built-in ND filter like the Panasonic AF-100 has, would be absolutely fantastic. That camera has an internal neutral density filter that is essential for video recording. The dedicated dial on the camera body lets you adjust the setting in three steps with any type of lenses.

I asked Europe’s product manager for the EM-1 about the video issues. Michael Guthman replied: “As you know Olympus is a company which is coming from the photographic side of the business. Therefore our top priority is to develop cameras which fits perfectly to the needs of photographers. However we know that the movie functionality becomes more and more important and we are getting the same request from customers. Therefore we could ensure that we are aware of this. Movie capabilities will be a top priority in future.

Let’s hope Olympus lives up to it’s promise. Most of these issues could most likely be fixed via a firmware update, on the existing EM-1 and EM-5 camera’s: 24 and 25 fps framerate, a better codec, HDMI clean output, audio metering. But 4K, ND-filters and higher dynamic range are things which would need new hardware. In the best case, Olympus will start with a firmware update so that videographers like me don’t have to wait until next year for an Olympus camera we can actually use.

Preorder Links:
Olympus E-M1 body at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto, Amazon DE (via DL), Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL), WexUK, Topshot FI, CameraWorldUK.
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, AmazonDE (viaDL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus E-M1 with 12-40mm Lens kit at Amazon DE (via DL), WexUK and CameraWorldUK, Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus E-M1 with 12-50mm Lens kit at Amazon DE (via DL), WexUK, CameraWorldUK, Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus EP-13 Eyecup for E-M1 at Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip for E-M1 at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus LC-62D Metal Front Lens Cap for 12-40mm at Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus LH-66 Lens Hood for 12-40mm at Adorama and BHphoto.

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Black GX7 now for sale in US too (and hands-on by Steve Huff).

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Steve Huff is busy testing the GX7 and on top you can watch his hands-on video. But as you know US readers can buy only the Silver version at Amazon US, Adorama, Samys and BHphoto. At least this was correct until today. For the first time the Black GX7 is for sale via BigValue on eBay US (Click here). But you have to pay an extra $150 for it :(

More new deals:
Silver 14-42mm lens for $259 at Amazon US (Click here).
GF3 with kit lens for $279 at Amazon US (Click here).

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Panasonic gets a technical Emmy award for CA correction.

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Didn’t know that you can get an Emmy Award also for Technology achievement! And this years prize goes to Panasonic for their in camera chromatic aberration tool! Here is the press text:

Panasonic Corporation will be presented with a Technology and Engineering Emmy® Award for 2013 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The honor is being conferred upon Panasonic in recognition of the company’s development of In-Camera Electronic Compensation for Lateral Chromatic Aberrations in External Lenses. The Emmy Award will be presented on Thursday, January 9, 2014 as part of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Lateral chromatic aberrations are inherent to all optics and must be compensated for in the optical design. The trend to smaller imager formats and less-expensive optics had meant compromises in image performance without an alternative solution to this problem. The concept of modeling the aberrations of a lens and applying real-time electronic correction provides a very significant increase in image quality and permits lower cost-cameras and optics to create better images. Panasonic has incorporated this technology into its HD handheld cameras from the    AG-HVX200 to the AG-HPX255 and in shoulder mount camcorders, through a feature it calls Chromatic Aberration Compensation (CAC), in its high-end P2 HD production cameras, including the new AJ-PX5000G (with AVC-ULTRA recording), the AG-HPX600, AJ-HPX3100 and the VariCam™ shoulder-mount series.

“Panasonic is honored to receive the coveted technical Emmy for its pioneering efforts in the development of Chromatic Aberration Compensation,” said Michael Bergeron, Business Development Manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America (PSCNA). “This technology has helped us maintain high-quality imaging while making improvements in size, weight and affordability, and now combined with master-quality AVC-ULTRA recording and native 1920 x 1080 imagers, CAC has contributed to new benchmarks for HD acquisition, getting around inherent limitations of optics.”

Source: Panasonic.com.

 

 

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Olympus issues a 12-40mm Lens delay warning. Robin Wong’s E-m1 part 5 review.

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Olympus Japan issued a warning on the 12-40mm Lens shipment. Because of the unexpected high demand the Lens shipments will be delayed (no date info yet). Also Amazon US has a high demand warning text.

Robin Wong (Click here) posted the Part 5 of the E-M1 review. This time it is comparison between E-M1 and E-M5.

 

Preorder Links:
Olympus E-M1 body at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto, Amazon DE (via DL), Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL), WexUK, Topshot FI, CameraWorldUK.
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens at Amazon, Adorama, BHphoto, AmazonDE (viaDL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus E-M1 with 12-40mm Lens kit at Amazon DE (via DL), WexUK and CameraWorldUK, Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus E-M1 with 12-50mm Lens kit at Amazon DE (via DL), WexUK, CameraWorldUK, Amazon UK (via DL), Amazon ES (via DL).
Olympus EP-13 Eyecup for E-M1 at Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus HLD-7 Battery Grip for E-M1 at Amazon, Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus LC-62D Metal Front Lens Cap for 12-40mm at Adorama and BHphoto.
Olympus LH-66 Lens Hood for 12-40mm at Adorama and BHphoto.

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