Panasonic LX6 with 1 inch sensor? (like the just announced Sony RX100)

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Image on top: The 1 inch compact camera from Sony.

It’s always nice to see how the high end compact cameras (with fixed lens) are evolving. They sometimes offer a great alternative to our Micro Four Thirds cameras because of the ulterior size advantage. My sources told me that Olympus/Panasonic will release the new LX5 and XZ-1 successor within the next 2-3 months (probably July). One rumor I heard many times is that they will both use a larger sensors. This is not a big secret. A couple of months ago Techradar (Click here) interviewed Yoshiyuki Inoue (Panasonic Senior Engineering Planner) who said “one aspect that is being given serious consideration for the camera that replaces the LX5 is increasing the size of the sensor, Panasonic’s Mr Uematsu even joked that it could have a 1in sensor like the new Nikon V1.”. Today Sony unveiled exactly an one inch RX100 camera -> Price and specs at Amazon US (Click here), Adorama (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here). So it’s possible that this is the kind of high end camera we will see soon coming from Olympus and Panasonic too! I think it would be a great solution for all of you looking for an extremely compact camera with zoom lens. Don’t you think?

P.S.:
LX5 at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.
XZ-2 at Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

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  • Farrukh

    It would certainly make for a great back-up camera :)

    • John Gaga

      C’mon Panasonic branded X2 with a zoom lens!!!

      Ha, we all know that’s not going to happen.

      I would like to see them think of the photogeeks once in a while and do a smaller rear screen but add a built in, and possibly collapsible, EVF, and a super light shutter release, and Oly to keep same sensor size as before but add the new iHS system/sensor for low light combined with their F1.8 lens and 12,800 iso would be almost night vision LOL

  • Robbie

    1 inch sensor with Pana Leica-branded or Zuiko lenses, not bad!

    • Zonkie

      I wish they put a very fast prime lens instead of a zoom. Something like a 20mm f/1.1 would be great.

      • John

        +1

        and OVF (or EVF), in the film age there were some nice compact cameras, i want something like the x100, but even smaller, so that it fits into my pocket

        • c.d.embrey

          I have both the Yashica T3 http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Yashica_T3 with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens and a Yashica T4 http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Yashica_T4 with a Zeiss 35mm F3.5 lens. Both are Full Frame Film, and either will fit in the front pocket of a pair of jeans. BTW this is a true P&S, the only control is flash on or flash off.

          Here’s a video of Terry Richardson using his Yashica T4 on a Fashion shoot http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8i3VETLflk The photo quality is excellent.

          I’d luv to own a digital version of this camera. But I have absolutely no interest in a X100 with a Hybrid Finder.

          • mocha

            +1

          • Andrei Yashin

            +1
            T4 is a greate camera. I still use it for ILFORD b/w film.
            And I dream for digital full-frame version of it.
            Its easy — add 24×36 matrix, display and simply menu to this camera.
            I think, that $1000 be good price.

      • spam

        And I hope they’ll keep the zoom, btw 20mm with a 1″ sensor would be a really weird combination, are you sure that’s what you want?

        • Zonkie

          Why weird? 20mm with a 2.7 factor is something like a 54mm in FF terms, no? That’s roughly a “normal” lens (could be 19mm instead, if you’re picky, I don’t care much).

          I own an LX3 and don’t use the zoom much (not that the zoom is very long, just 24-60mm equivalent). However, I shoot at f/2.0 very often, so I’d figure out I’d appreciate more a faster lens without zoom.

          • bli

            The “normal” lens should really equal the diagonal of the sensor, which for FF is ca 43mm. Thus, for a 1″ sensor (crop factor 2.7), the “true” normal lens would be 16mm.

            • spam

              +1, a slightly longer than normal is very rare for fixed focal length camera. Most people seem to want a wide angle or shortish normal on this type of camera.

  • Steve

    Sony has now set the bar for large sensor compacts at 1″

  • David

    Price it under the $650 cost of the Sony RX100 and you have yourselves a buyer Panasonic. I want to replace my LX3.

  • Chris K

    It’ll have to be a ton smaller than my GF3 and 14/2.5 for me to even give it the time of day. I’m talking iPhone small.

    • avds

      For iphone small, there the Nokia Pureview with a 2/3″ 41mp sensor already.

  • “Newly developed large-diameter F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens delivers refined background defocusing – bokeh.” with a crop factor of 2.7? (Need som DOF trolling in this thread :-) )

    • Here You Are

      People dont need razor-thin DOF. F/1.8 is F/1.8 no matter what the sensor size is ;)

      Happy now

      • MK

        no… actually i’d like a 20 page dissertation on equivalence and sensor size, followed by not reading anything except the first line, and subsequently to see people get mad on the internet

        • Duarte Bruno

          I know you are being ironic but there is more than one can handle at the dpreview’s forum circus.

          This place has been quite immune and I’d like to see it like that. ;)

          • Mr. Reeee

            +Zillion

            Jeezus Effin Christ, the DPReview M4/3 forums border on the unbearable at this point… with Equiv/DoF arguments, Nikon/Canon/NEX/Fuji is better than M4/3, I just got my OMD, please be nice, which lens should I buy, brat/cat pix, lookee here I’m smarter than everyone and here’s some graphs to prove it, plus all manner of other idiotic threads.

        • AndyBravo

          I really don’t understand all these equivalence debates.
          20mmDOF=20mmDOF,
          20mmFOV=20mmFOV minus the light cropped out outside the sensor area, so in practice it’s cropfactor X focal length.
          f stop 20mm=20mm per Area^2 of sensor. Light outside the edges of the sensor is cropped out, we all know this already with FOV that light is lost!

          I am not trolling, I am an engineer in the market for a small, light weight, high quality camera with good manual adjustments, who also understands the simple physics. I am leaning towards the G1X or EM5. I prefer a compact but the G1X is to slow in operation and f.stop, Maybe the EM5. The new Sony could be interesting, but lack of manual controls turn me off and I have concerns about DR, I don’t need 21zillion dots!

          • Matt

            The Sony mightn’t have dedicated knobs as with the G1X but it still has loads of manual control points, moreso than most NEX models and most G-Series Panasonics. So while not the top of the class in this respect, you still have manual control over just about everything within easy reach.

    • Peter

      Actually, I would expect more background blur at the tele setting. Even though it is f/4.9 this still results in a (slightly) larger physical aperture than the f/1.8 at the wide end.

  • The Other Chris

    Olympus should try to recreate the Stylus Epic/mju II. Just picked one up and I absolutely love it. Compact, fast 35mm f/2.8 lens, weather resistant, just an all around great camera.

    • Matt

      Fast f2.8 lens? Don’t you know that according to the spexperts littering the internet that f2.8 is so slowwwwww?

      Nice camera by the way :)

  • reverse stream swimmer

    -Why settle at 1″ sensor?
    -Only reason is if you’re going to source the sensor from Aptina or in this case Sony!

    -Why not reuse an existing 4/3 sensor? It’s already in production, no need to design a new sensor!

    Canon with G1X already launched a 1.5″ sensor compact camera, what prevents Oly & Pana following that route?

    My wishlist:
    * Performance through the 4/3 sensor compact.
    * Portability through the current 1/1.63″ compact.

    • BornBad

      Because the camera would be too big. G1X is as big as a GF5.

      Only difference would be, that you can’t change the lens.

      1 inch sensor sounds nice to me.

      • reverse stream swimmer

        It will be a challenge to follow Sony’s route with the RX100. Sony has miniaturization experience from phone manufacturing, Samsung as well, Panasonic to some extent.

        For sure this RX100 will cause some headaches for their competition, but with Canon first, and now Sony, others are expected to follow. Nikon has already experience designing optics for the 1″ sensor, so I’m expecting Nikon having an answer to G1X/RX100 already at Photokina.

        What Oly/Pana will be doing, it’s harder to guess. Perhaps joining Fujifilm at 2/3″ sensor size, a less crowded area of competition.

        • avds

          Nikon could “answer” with a similar 1″ point and shoot, but that way they would simply add their own weight to the severe beating of Nikon 1 that the RX100 is about to start…

          • Peter

            Agreed, it would make more sense (to me at least) for them to release more lenses for their V1

      • caver3d

        Why would a fixed lens m43 camera be much larger than the current ILC Olympus E-PM1? It’s can be done if Oly wants to do it.

        • caver3d

          In fact, Sigma has done it with the large Foveon sensor in it’s DP series of cameras.

          • spam

            The body could be even smaller than the E-PM1/GF5, but if you want a fast 3.5 to 4x zoom then it wont be room to retract it into the body. With a 1″ sensor you’ll get a much smaller lens (and not compete as directly with mFT).

      • avds

        The G1X is actually much larger than the GF line.

        The GF and E-PM lines, however, have been already successfully shrunk to the sizes of LX5/XZ and can probably go even further, although Panasonic is such a slow company and Olympus lacks financial resources for making revolutions…

        • reverse stream swimmer

          The GF line can be physically smaller, since the E-PM line also hosts a IBIS sensor stabilization. I doubt Olympus will omit a such.

          However, even the XZ-1, SZ-31MR & TG-1/-820 are all using IBIS, so it’s a core part of the Olympus cameras.

          • avds

            Indeed, Oly is unlikely to drop IBIS from any higher end offering.

            I wonder though if it should neccessarily require much space seeing that Panasonic managed to squeeze power ois into their pancake zoom.

      • slomo

        +1. The zoom lens would make the whole thing to be too big if it is in front of a 4/3 sized sensor. A camera with 4/3 sensor would be pocketable with a pancake prime between 14 and 25 mm FL.

  • bli

    Only problem with 1″ sensor for Pana and Oly: Sony is the master of miniatuarization, so their cameras might end up as more bulky. And I loved the fast lens on the XZ-1. But when I compared low light capabilities of the E-M5 and the XZ-1, it was total annihilation — the new cameras must have considerably better sensors than the old ones to be of interest.

    I loved the mju:s, though: protected by a “shell”, decent zooms, and tiny.

  • Patboyslim

    Wishlist for the next LX and XZ successor:

    -4/3 size sensor on a fix f1.8 prime lens or zoom (3x perhaps) with a constant aperture (biggest aperture that they can)

    -Overall thickness (body and lens combined) of 1.5 inch or less. Something you can fit inside a pocket with nothing protruding.

    -mp4 video recording

    • Catalin

      This is not true.

      The problem is, Sony just sucks at lens miniaturization, in which Panasonic excels (look at the NEX lenses vs the Panasonic zoom pancake).

      So, I would expect the LX6 to be the size of the Sony RX100, or even smaller.

  • Hard2Xplain

    Whatever size the sensor is, Panny should leaves room for EVF!

  • If you like shallow DOF, go for a camera with larger sensor. If you want a large aperture lens, be prepared to carry something heavier than 240g…..
    The Sony is a very interesting compromize, but are people willing to pay that price? (Premium) compacts try to survive the challenge from camera cell phones. Larger sensor is the way to go they believe.
    I am interested in this concept: Today have a m43 system + a D800 system and the m43 cannot compete quality-wise anyway. A camera with decent sensor size with fixed zoom is a more portable 2nd alternative. (Would like a VF even if it makes the camera a little bigger.) Looking forward to all options that will be announced up to Nirvana – sorry I mean Photokina.

    • reverse stream swimmer

      I was expecting at least your GH2 does beat your D800 for video, doesn’t it? Resolution-wise, I can understand there’s a difference though. And sometimes portability is a convenience of course, when the utmost DOF, DR and all those bells and whistles aren’t necessary.

  • aqasem

    I wish :D

    Advanced 43rd::
    43rd sensor 17*13
    2100*1500 native resolution (7×5)/300dpi” photo print (13*17cm)
    * clear image at iso 1600 for low light conditions.
    fixed lense 17.5mm f2.4
    IBIS same as olympus one
    full articulated screen
    AVCHD v2.0 60fps
    EVF

    Advanced 1″::
    1″ sensor
    2100*1500 native resolution (7×5)” photo print (13*17cm)
    * clear image at iso 800
    wide-zoom lense 24-70 f2.8 constant
    AVCHD v2.0 60fps

    who wish that 2 :)

    • Peter

      I want to make nice (clean, detailed) prints at 12×8″ (roughly A4 size, 30x20cm) of pictures taken at ISO800. I don’t care how many megapixels the sensor should be, I’m only interested in the end result.

  • Competition may drive Oly/Pany to the 1″ sensor, but if they could integrate most of the elements of the E-M5 sensor into the XZ-2, I’m not sure they’d need the larger sensor. What I’d really like to see in the XZ-2 is an optical VF which would be possible given the fairly short zoom range. EVF would add cost and suck more from an already small battery.

    The real crunch is the price point. I don’t see that it can be more than $499. That’s already pushing close to an EPM-1 + 14-42, and Sony, given their name and first on the market, will sell a ton of these.

  • yo

    screw compacts. getting the nokia pureview brohams

  • Luke

    100 different versions of the same camera…where is the imagination?

  • bli

    Right now, I am very happy with the E-M5 with 20/1.7 on camera: it is small, almost pocketable. And either the 12/2 or the 45/1.8 or both in a shorts pocket. I don’t feel like needing the RX100 class.
    Even the 75/1.8 may fit in a shorts pocket. That may, however, be unsuitable :-).

    • Peter

      “Is that a f/1.8 in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

      LOL

  • Peter

    The Fuji X10 is close to my “dream” compact camera to complement my Pany GH1 and Canon 20D. Some tweaks I’d like to see:
    * extend wide to 24mm (full-frame equivalent)
    * standard filter size please! and a hood…
    * add a rotary button (like the EV compensation) for selecting ISO
    * electronic viewfinder instead of the 85% optical finder
    * GPS would be nice for travel
    * as would “rain proof”
    * and a 1″ sensor would be welcome (if they keep the lens at f/3.5 or faster and the size/weight roughly the same)

    • Rich

      I’ve just treated myself to an X10 for walking and mountain biking and after 2 weeks I must say I absolutely love it. 24mm would be nice, as would a standard filter thread (!!). The OVF is ok, and I tend to only use it when I have no chance of using the screen (very very bright sunlight). Would definitely agree with at least “splash-proof” – was taking pictures by the sea in the rain yesterday and felt a little exposed! Not bothered about a bigger sensor as the current sensor works really well and allows that great F2-2.8. Some recent pics if you’re interested:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/richheath/sets/72157629905935280/

  • … 24mm would have been nice.

    Hope LX6 (out)matches the performance, at lower MP count. And is 24mm.

    Worth repeating: built-in lens cap is a must!

  • Rob

    This camera is quite a blow to Nikon with their 1 series. Probably a subtle finger up from Sony for them going to an alternate supplier for the Nikon 1 sensor (and maybe even a bid against winning them back to buy the Sony sensor for it).

    I think the m4/3 sensor is too big for a compact. 1 inch is already pushing it for what people are willing to carry around in their pocket and handbag. The Canon G1X is one of the most ridiculous camera’s I’ve ever seen and I can’t think of a single reason to choose it over a m4/3 camera of the same price. The 1 inch sensor thing makes good sense though for all the companies. Traditional compacts are already dying thanks to smart phones (that’s why I don’t have a compact) so they need to do something about the quality (whether big sensor of fast lens) as all the software gimmicks are never going to compete with a smartphone which is constantly upgraded for a few pennies anyway.

  • ab

    I would like an olympus with the 43rds sensor and a 17mm f2 lens built in. If the EM5 is the size it is they could really reduce by eliminating an evf etc.

    I am not interested in compacts with zooms any more… However I could just buy the new Sigma, noone has to listen to me. :)

    • Kiel

      Agreed, a m43 sensor with a fixed 17mm/f2.0 would be awesome – so long as they an reduce the size…

  • Leo
  • Miroslav

    If the first tests are to be believed, this Sony RX100 has the same low light capabilities at the wide end as my E-PL1 with the 20mm F1.7 lens. So, Olympus should think hard about replacing the sensor in the PENs with the E-M5 sensor or they’ll face much lower sales. The whole Nikon 1 system already seems obsolete – the cameras are larger, more expensive and with worse capabilities than RX100.

    P.S. I don’t want a compact with 4/3 sensor. The lenses should remain interchangeable. To remain competitive, Olympus and Panasonic should make smaller lenses, add more features to bodies and lower prices.

  • Catalin

    Well, for Nikon 1 haters: for one don’t forget the Nikon 1 cameras have phase-detection auto-focus, and also Nikon won’t give up so easily, I predict they will launch smaller cameras very soon. They can’t afford to lose this battle. And don’t forget that Nikon chose the right size of sensor from all the manufacturers (you will see !)

    Panasonic can outperform Sony in the LX6 vs. RX100 battle: They have the ability to make a small zoom lens with Leica quality. If their 1″ sensor will have 12-14 Megapixels they might even outperform the RX100 in low light. However, seeing their GF5 samples which look pretty average to me, I realize that I’m just dreaming. But I loved my LX3 and I used it alot more than my NEX-5n because of the smaller size. I really hope the LX6 will be a revolution.

    Like I predicted, 1″ sensors are the future. They are the only ones permitting pocketable cameras with higher and higher image quality, with or without removable lenses.

    • Miroslav

      The 1″ sensor is too small to justify a camera with interchangeable lenses. Nikon could have made a series of fixed lens cameras with that sensor instead of J1 and V1 and they wouldn’t be bigger than biggest modern compacts – the 3x x ultrazooms.

      Nikon should better roll up their sleeves and make an APS-C mirroless system before it’s too late.

      • Catalin

        1″ may be too small now, but in 1-2 years it will be just right and Nikon will already have an advantage. No one will want bulky APS-C cameras with huge lens (and I do own a NEX-5n). Look at how the m43 sensor from Olympus E-M5 now has APS-C image quality. In 1-2 years, a 1″ sensor will have the same image quality as the m43 sensor (in fact, the RX100 1″ sensor does seem to have the same image quality as many m43 sensors like the one in the GF5, and maybe even the one in the Panasonic GX1).

        So basically large sensors will rapidly (1-2 years) become obsolete in the pro-sumer world. Why hasn’t this happen until now, you may ask ? Because manufactures did not concentrate on this, but right now, they do – and it shows.

        • ronin

          The Nikon 1 system produces amazing results. Its speed is unmatched- unmatched- in the mirrorless world. That coupled with image quality beyond its weight class renders pedantic commentary purely on ‘sensor size’ obsolete, and its proponents as doddering totemic diddlers.

  • ras

    1″ multiformat sensor would be nice. 16:9, 3:2, 4:3.

    i’d prefer a 24-70mm equiv. lens, f2-2.8, or 28-100 f1.8-3.5. yeah…keep the long end as fast and short as possible.

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    He approached them through what he liked to call “preventive diplomacy” and while doing so sought to establish more independence
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    s definition to include climate activism, human rights, and micro-financing.

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