The reason why the new LVF2 adapter cannot work on your current GF camera.

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The old beauty: The Panasonic Panasonic GF1

Our reader TAGO (Thanks!) found the reason why the current GF cameras Panasonic by reading an old article at http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/interview/20090909_314443.html (Sep. 2009).

Here it is: “The External terminal for EVF,it is necessary to run through high-frequency parallel data. In that case, EMI increases and cannot confirm a standard. Therefore, GF1 cannot output data of more than 200,000 pixel to the external terminal.

So it sounds like it is not a bade joke or marketing trick if the new LVF2 adapter will not work on your GF cameras. The new adapter has 1.44k dot and that’s an amount of data the “old” connections of the GF1/2/3 cannot handle!

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  • Camajan

    Holly logic Batman!

  • frank

    Well they could have made the connector the same en then design the thing so that it could also handle the lower resolution that comes out of the GF1. But I guess this is progress. I have the GF1 with the EVF and I like using it although it is not the best out there. And when I buy a new body I’ll just have to calculate another EVF in the price.

  • Brod1er

    Ooooooooh a top down view of a GF1 with 20mm f1.7. Camera porn!!!!

    • Narretz

      Indeed. The GF1 is extremely sexy. A shame that the GX1 is almost monstrous in comparison. Beauty and the Beast if you wish. Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster.

      • JHCCAZ

        I don’t agree that they look so different. Everyone is overreacting to the unofficially published snaps of the GX1 that were taken with a very odd perspective – too close with a wide lens, probably the close-up mode of a compact camera or a phone. Understandable considering they were “illegal” photos, but hardly leaving the correct impression of the looks.

        Try taking a portrait of a beautiful woman by holding the camera a foot or two from her face – she won’t be so beautiful. Photographers on this site should know all about perspective, but still they are emotionally reacting to a distorted product photo.

        • ypocaramel

          yea, what’s up with the perspective anyways? The lens looks huge in same pics relative to the body and the other pics make the lens look small.

      • Jojo

        If you like….but who thinks much about the good doctor Frankenstein? It’s his beast that has the star turn…..

    • D

      Maybe it’s just me but Panasonic has yet to make a better looking camera than the GF1.

      • Henrik

        …sexy …better looking

        I don’t use these expressions unsually in a camera store? At least not for the cameras.

        • MikeS

          You, sir, have no passion for photography ;)

        • Mike

          You are so old school Henrik. No one buys cameras to take pictures with anymore, they are all made only for display on the glass shelves of curio cabinets.

          • So *thats* why Leica sells!!
            Like Fuchs wheels, to show off!

        • peter

          Good design is a good design is a good design.

    • I agree!!!!…. not only does it look great it truly was a photographic innovation, also.

  • dee

    more bad news…..thanks Panasonic :( I guess I will have to wait until the view finder is built it!!

  • Paul

    Could they not fix this with a firmware update?

    • Amir Kh

      No, it’s a hardware issue, not a software one.

  • nobody

    Will that mean that the GX1 will not work with future EVFs with higher resolution?

    Just saying, because Sony’s new EVF resolves much higher already today.

  • Parci

    While this is probably true, it still IS a marketing driven decision. They could have created a very high bandwidth port so as to be “future proof”. They didn’t. 3M+ dots viewfinder are already on the horizon, I really wonder whether this new port on the GX1 will be able to handle them or not…

    • Nick Clark

      +1 It must have occurred to them that EVF res would go beyond 200,000px… :/

      • Esa Tuunanen

        There were 922000 pixel EVFs already seven years ago!

    • twoomy

      Yeah and when they invented USB (1.0), they should have anticipated the USB 3.0 standard and just made it do that several years earlier. Har har. In technology, estimating for the future size and bandwidth is rarely successful.

      • Mike

        +1

        My Apple II doesn’t work with my current software. I curse those Apple engineers for not future proofing their 8-bit computers!!!!

        There is no such thing as eternal future proofing.

      • Godot

        But you can still use all your old USB 1.1 devices to this day, regardless of how new the port is.

        So while it’s understandable that the new EVF won’t work on an old body, at the very least Panasonic should allow the option of using the LVF-1 on a new body, if the user so chooses.

        But I fear that even that level of pin compatibility won’t be forthcoming…

        As I’ve said before, hopefully Panasonic will at least adopt the same accessory port as Olympus, to open up more options for users.

        • Mr. Reeee

          Yes, but if you connect a USB 1.1 device to a string of USB 2 or 3 devices all connected to the same USB bus, EVERYTHING slows down to USB 1.1 speeds.

          As far as the old port vs. new port, there’s no reason the new port would have the same pin setup, it would probably be an upgraded controller chip to allow for more throughput, just like USB.

          • Godot

            The slowdown effect is a particular weakness of USB… not an issue for a device that uses a port that takes a single accessory at a time, no chain or hub possible.

            My point is simply that there’s no reason the original accessory port and LVF-1 couldn’t have been designed with some level of forward compatibility in mind, even if it wasn’t possible (or more likely “affordable”) to build the LVF-1 as a 1.44M device.

            For example, knowing that in two years or so you will be building a higher-res upgrade, you design the first-generation port with room for more pins than you need today. Voilà, now it’s 2012 and your LVF-1 works in your new GX1, even if it doesn’t use all the pins in the next-gen port. (And maybe your 2012 model EVF can work at low res on your old GF1, too.)

            Assuming rumors are correct and the new port uses a completely incompatible connector, I think that can only be a very deliberate decision to break all compatibility between generations of bodies and accessories. Very annoying.

            • RW

              Careful Godot. If you suggest that engineering best practices be used when you design a camera system, somebody here will accuse of whining….

    • Miroslav

      There are three probable reasons for that (bad) decision:

      -cost. Better controller would surely raise the price of already too expensive GF1
      -“future proof” may not be much future proof. Some of the things invented by 2011 were simply not around in 2009 in order to test their compatibility.
      -milking the customers. Standard practice by most manufacturers. Why not extract some more money by making equipment that will become obsolete with next generation of basic product? Since all of them are doing that, the risk that it will backfire is low.

      I guess the real reason is the combination of three. But Panasonic is not alone: almost all Sony NEX 2011 addons do not work with 2010 NEXes, Olympus has some gear that is only compatible with AP2 etc. Just shows the speed technology is moving these days and how much money is needed to develop it.

      • ypocaramel

        Good points but I have one to add: in 2009 the GF-1 was an entirely new product line. Whereas we now know the GF-1 to be a commercial sucess, at that time Panasonic had no hard information whether it would be profitable to improve the line and make more GF cameras. Hence, they had no real impetus to be far-sighted and to incur the additional cost to build-in an accessory port with spare capacity.

        Though companies should have every confidence in the sucess of their projects, it is at the end of the day not realistic to assume that future projects will suceed.

        Of course they were probably more worried about internal competition with the G1 at the time. Probably figured anyone wanting a 1.44M EVF should just go buy the G1.

        As for the GF-2, well, there’s a pretty obvious reason why they didn’t upgrade the accessory port there too.

        But hopefully, now that the GF-1 was sucessful and they want to make the GX-1 to capitalize on that sucess, they would spend the money for a better port.

        • Let’s combine some statements here:

          > “milking the customers” + “Probably figured anyone wanting a 1.44M EVF should just go buy the G1.”

          Not probably at all. That almost certainly was part of the internal “logic” in the design process.

          > “Whereas we now know the GF-1 to be a commercial sucess, at that time Panasonic had no hard information whether it would be profitable to improve the line” + “future proof may not be much future proof.”

          These are what I call “design excuses.” Such things are promoted internally to justify decisions being made. It’s coupled with “we’ll just iterate to fix anything that we got wrong.” To me, that is both customer unfriendly but also design unfriendly. If you’re designing something that by definition is a “system” (as opposed to one-off product), you need to do everything to get it right from the start. Really right. Not almost right. Not “we think this might be right.”

          That’s one of the problems I had with 4/3 in the first place. Olympus made a lot of absolute statements about why 4/3 was the right size, then failed to actually make products the right size. A 4/3 sensor was NOT the right choice if the product was going to be about as big as all the APS DSLRs. The only justification for THAT decision would be cost, as in “a 4/3 sensor will cost us less than an APS sensor so we can sell our products for less.”

          > But Panasonic is not alone: almost all Sony NEX 2011 addons do not work with 2010 NEXes, Olympus has some gear that is only compatible with AP2 etc. Just shows the speed technology is moving these days and how much money is needed to develop it.

          No, I’d say it shows how poor the decision making is, not how fast it is being done. These companies are making SYSTEMS. They keep making substantive changes to the SYSTEM. They haven’t fully thought out the ecosystem of products around the base product, and it shows. At least Olympus/Panasonic seem to have thought out the lens part of the system (though we’re still missing fast zooms). And Olympus has been battery friendly for the most part (unlike Panasonic). But the more constant change you put into the system components, the easier it is for a customer to simply change to another system. If you have to buy a new flash, a new EVF, a new battery, new lenses (changes in Olympus AF), etc. just because you want the latest body/sensor, it gets easier to just switch to another system.

          The sales/marketing teams at these companies may like this constant turnover, but they are being shortsighted.

          • andy

            spot on Thom
            Panasonic changing of the batteries for example pissed me off greatly as I already had purchases 4 for my GF1/GH1…newer models came out (only next in line..were not talking 4th generation here) and changed for inferior ones… if I wanted the new G camera I had to buy whole new battery stock. Screw that.

          • ypocaramel

            I do agree with the systems point there, it is the unfortunate drawback from the decision. The point of my post, I must say, is not to excuse Panasonic’s decision but to provide a more nuanced analysis of how Panasonic arrived at that decision.

          • “you need to do everything to get it right from the start. Really right. Not almost right. Not “we think this might be right.” ”

            Designing a camera system with all the variables that comes in line, among which, (anticipated)popularity and sales figures goes well beyond simple mathematical demonstration. Maybe thats not what you meant. But thats how it sound
            Sure, everyone needs to get it right. Unfortunately, it is humanly impossible to know ahead of time that a design is right or not. There are no possible demonstration for that. The best you can do is to debate and come up with more or less likely truth. Then you do it and see how well you got it right.
            “We think this might be right” is be good enough, depending on all other variables, such as production cost, technical capabilities, etc.

            • Godot

              Since the G1 and GH1 both had 1.44M built-in EVFs, we know the technology existed when the GF1 was on the drawing board. At the time there were indications that Panasonic decided they simply couldn’t make a high-res accessory EVF in a suitably small form factor. Fair enough, but why deprive the camera of the guts to make use of such an EVF in the future?

              There was a deliberate decision to cut that corner, and now we see the result: the LVF1 is orphaned along with the three cameras it’s compatible with. And in all likelihood, whatever Panasonic announces next Tuesday will have a shelf life of 18-24 months, after which you will be expected to bin it for the next thing.

              The real short-sightedness here is in the m43 consortium settling on too narrow a definition of what constitutes a “system.” Had they included in the system spec things like batteries and accessory ports, this system would be much less of a minefield of incompatibilities.

              Instead, as of next Tuesday this system will have three or four different accessory ports and several accessories that work with a very limited number of bodies.

              Now, I totally “get” the design principle of using and releasing only that which works well today, not overreaching by using cutting edge but not-quite-ready tech. This is not really an example of that kind of thinking. It is more a simple failure to think ahead.

            • RW

              jules says; “Unfortunately, it is humanly impossible to know ahead of time that a design is right or not. There are no possible demonstration for that. The best you can do is to debate and come up with more or less likely truth. Then you do it and see how well you got it right.”

              Can’t agree with that statement. If I am interating on microwave ovens or other standalone devices, that might be OK – but if I am buying into a system that is promising me a future expansion path, I expectat that the manufacturer has done design prototyping and focus group tested the design in advance so that they can make roadmap claims with authority. I am not OK with doing that prototyping “live” in the marketplace and using my early adapters as guinea pigs.

          • Jason

            As a software and hardware engineer, one can futureproof yourself out of even making the product then. I deal with this everyday for a living. We make “systems” too, and sometimes it takes way too much time and costs too much to engineer around “what ifs”.

            Even if, from an engineering standpoint, the cost in resources and time isn’t the driving issue. Sometimes the current hardware just isn’t capable of working with future hardware no matter how much engineering is involved.

            • Esa Tuunanen

              > Even if, from an engineering standpoint, the cost in resources and time isn’t the driving issue. Sometimes the current hardware just isn’t capable of working with future hardware no matter how much engineering is involved.

              We’re not asking for compatibility with some probably completely strange tech we have 50 years from now but only for at least couple years.
              As good example you could still plug USB3 device into computer with USB1 port (or the otherway around) and it would still work at least in some way.
              Or how Serial-ATA 3.0 drives are compatible with oldest 1.0 specification port and vice versa… connecting Gigabit network device to 10Mbit device etc.

        • RW

          ypocaramel says: “Though companies should have every confidence in the sucess of their projects, it is at the end of the day not realistic to assume that future projects will suceed.”

          If you design your system based on the premise that your system may not succeed, and cut corners accordingly, it becomes pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • TheEye

    A shortsighted design is an intrinsic element of inbuilt obsolescence.

    From a marketing view, the consumer is supposed to constantly replace his current gear for incrementally improved equipment. Whoever falls for this plot deserves to pay over and over.

    Ever since the proliferation of digital I have been buying only as little gear as absolutely necessary, and I use this gear as long as possible. I will not “invest” much money in soon-to-be obsolete equipment.”

  • It’s a bit strange that Olympus-m4/3-cameras do support higher evf-resolutions. They use the same VF2-connector, right?

    • spam

      No, different connector, different design. Oly’s first EVF was 1.4 mill pixels so of course they designed their own port.

  • rUY

    owning to this and the slow development/improvement of sensor, I don’t want to buy any Panasonic product at all.

    • spam

      No problem, buy whatever you like

  • arguros

    Hi,

    This is really bad design development from panasonic.
    The GF1 is only few years old and they could have easily developed a stardard to transfer a much higher quantity of data.
    Also, the fact that on the GF1 the new X lens don’t display the focal lenght is to be blamed.
    I am afraid that in 10 years no ones of our current lens
    (20mm, 25mm) will work any more. Panasonic is showing us how bad is to assure back compatibility.
    Look instead at Nikon and Leica: 20yr/50yr old lens work no problem on current cameras.

  • Marq

    Its interesting to see this. So Panasonic went and put a lower cost connector into the GF1 and Olympus put a higher cost one from the start in their ep2. It then goes to show that Olympus really didn’t have the needed tech available at ep1 launch and so left it out and waited whilst Panasonic grabbed the one available to get the marketing cues.

    Olympus do seem to have a longer term strategy for this one then.

  • Marq

    Apparently olymps had a longer vision for their products (some at Least)

  • Andrew

    Ok, This is the answer…

    BUT, why m43 “standard” haven’t regressive compability? Why i couldn’t attach new LVF2 to GF1 and see those poor 200 000 dots?

    And all this from 2009 article; some time before gf2, gf3. Just thinking a little bit. SO what you say about non marketing trick or joke?..

    • Godot

      It’s becoming clear that the “standard” is largely confined to the lens mount and associated electronics.

      When it comes to accessories, image stabilization, certain lens corrections (CA), new lens features like power zoom… Panasonic and Olympus are free to use these things to differentiate themselves from each other.

      It’s easy to see that they want differentiation as a way to attract and keep customers, but it’s also idiotic. It’s a kind of forced brand loyalty — in reality it creates confusion and annoyance, all the more so when one manufacturer does it within its own product line.

  • Brod1er

    It’s not a question of vision. Panny had the 1.44 m dot G1 EVF out at the same time as the GF1. They chose not to enable the GF1 to connect to a high res EVF. Hard to say whether this was marketing or cost driven.

    • I think that for the GF1, ( I own one and love it) Panasonic made the decision to keep the LVF small and sexy (which it is!). If you notice, the higher rez. Oly finder is about twice the size….I am glad that they kept the LVF1 small. Also, remember, if you REALLY needed a better finder you soon had other cameras to choose from with built in high-rez viewfinders. (The GH2 is a great little camera).
      Now, since Pany is making this high-tech, new viewfinder….For this photographer they also need to make a beautifully-designed, truly-innovative camera (WITH A NEW SENSOR :-)), for me to attach it to! The GX1 doen’t fit the bill, or at least with the rumor info that we have, it certainly appears that the GX1 is no big whoop…just a half-baked holiday offering.

      • isnt the new 2.4m sony evf is smaller then even the low-res panasonic?

        • I don’t know frosti? … I was only comparing MFT to MFT LVF’s…post a link…I am all ears!
          If you are talking about the VF for the 5N…I think that it is somewhat larger than the LVF1…but your have a point…it is pretty compact and has a nice design (I like the way the front end is angled and the rubber eyepiece), ..not like that freaking Olympus appendage, which looks like a bad idea from the Futurama Pavilion at he 1964 World’s Fair…. LOL!

  • ypocaramel

    Well, certainly, the GF3, not having any acessory port at all, is unable to support the new EVF, or any EVF at all, for that matter.

    • Brod1er

      Re the GF3, I am sure Panny were drivenby cost and the fact that 99% of GF3 owners wouldn’t want an EVF. I love the EVF in my GH1, but am quite happy to compromise on my GF3 as I use it as a cheap& compact back up second body – a pop up flash is definitely more important than hotshoe and optional EVF on this camera. In many ways I think the GF3 is a well judged package especially with the new 14-42 X lens and 20mm f1.7 for low light/bokeh. If they make it 5mm thinner it would be perfect for what it is.

      • ypocaramel

        Yes, people were disappointed by the GF3 but I feel that it fills a very important market niche for Panasonic. Price and size is everything with that camera.

  • amne

    Any chance that the LFV1 will still work on the GX1?

    I currently have GF1+LVF1 (which i rarely use, but i need it every now and then), and in case i’ll get the GX1, i’m not interested in owning two viewfinders. LVF2 is appearently not an option then.

  • That explains for the GF1. What about the GF2? Why didn’t they think about future proofing a camera that’s not even two years old now?!

    I’ve been at the PEN truck in Hamburg yesterday where Olympus was handing out PENs for testing. Owning an E-PL1 with the VF-2 viewfinder I was very happy to see that Olympus does it right. The E-PL1’s batteries work in the new PENs as well, the viewfinder works on ALL current PEN cameras as well. Olympus has a proven history of building a system that does not render investments void when a new camera appears.

    It seems like Panasonic does not understand that aspect of system. They have proven their shortsighted planning with the X-lenses not working on older G/GF cameras and also the viewfinder.

    I also have a GF1 which I actually bought recently because I still believe it’s one of the most brilliant cameras ever made by Panasonic. But I probably augment my equipment with an E-P3 next year as Panasonic disappoints with the GX1.

  • spanky

    It’s a dumb explanation. You can design a high performance accessory to be backward compatible with an older system. It’s not like m43 has been around for 60 years, and we’re expecting some high-end digital accessory to plug into an analog port… As I said before, Panasonic isn’t thinking ‘system’ when they design their products. They’re used to having ‘use and discard’ products for everything else they do, so I don’t think they’re able to step away from that paradigm at this point. Japanese companies are not very good at culture change, which this would have to be.

  • It is the same bull with the batteries. Example Battery from the GH1 does not fit into the GH2, and the GH1 battery did have also more power. ( not to talk about the poor poor performance of the GH2 battery – discracefull) If you look at Olympus, there is be at last in the professional departement” kind of a consistance in the batteries

  • Anonymous

    that’s it ,..! I will consider again if I want to spend more money with Lumix body .Seem like panasonic had no clue since the release of GF1 – it appears to me GF- line is product without a good base system,..panasonic just made the body without a long planning system ,..
    look at G10,..a product which literally ,..failed. I guess panasonic is not a camera maker but just electronic company who always to try to bring a new features,body design and trend into their camera body.
    they never really understand ,..if they want to see the examples how SLR body design and Rangefinder design is not much changed for over 30 years,..compare to GF3 – and G3 ,.its took 2 years they change the design so radically dumb,..where in fact they have a close relationship ,with Rangefinder system through LEICA and the LC1 design. its so disappointing to me

  • > So it sounds like it is not a bade joke or marketing trick

    No, it’s the sales trick.

    Design something what surely be outdated by the time it hits the market and offer better solution in the next version.

    Resolution and scan rate of a human eyes hasn’t changed … I do know, probably for millennia. Were measured loong time ago too.

    GF1 was released in 2009 and even HDMI 1.3 in 2006 could transfer 1080p60. 1080p is more than 1.44M dots. 60Hz is pretty good frame rate: refresh every 16.6 milliseconds. Some mobile devices already in 2009 could output digital signal to HDMI via cradle/dock (since original HDMI connector was too large to fit into mobile devices).

    Greed, plain and simple.

    • Hi Dummy00001,

      I don’t think it’s a trick – the EMI issue is very real! It stands for Electro-Magnetic Interference and if it is too high, they are not legally allowed to sell the product in Europe or other regions. EMI is what sometimes causes speakers to buzz when a cell phone is around. There are laws in countries restricting this and at the time Panasonic did not design their EVF port to be shielded well enough. (Shielding takes up more space?)

      http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/electrical/emc/

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_compatibility

      • And you really think that there is an electronics’ engineer who does not know about EMI???

        The point is that very likely engineers have seen the problem in the interface on day one – but sales choose not to let them fix it because it would allow to sell more devices.

        Heck, even on my ancient Samsung dumbphone connector is shielded…

  • Zorg

    “Do the new accessories work on the old bodies?” is a good question, and one can understand that these old bodies aren’t designed to handle accessories that didn’t exist at the time, and that constraints on the final sale price of the new accessories prevent development, testing and implementation of backward compatibility for bodies that are officially out of the market.

    “Do the new bodies work with the current accessories?” is IMHO an even better question because these new bodies should be designed to handle current accessories (which may remain on the market in parallel to the new ones). Here constraints on the final sale price are lesser because accessory connection isn’t a major part of the new bodies, and margin on bodies is, in absolute value, larger than on accessories so there’s more design flexibility. Many photographers may be interested to buy a lower-end EVF for their GX-1 and put money on lenses (the new EVF will be more expensive).

    I may understand, and even forgive in a certain extent, incompatibility between new and old, much less between new and current.

    • Zorg

      So far the second question seems open. Admin, any info on that?

    • dzv

      > Do the new bodies work with the current accessories?

      In the blog post a few days ago (FT3), admin said:

      “I have been told the LVF2 has completely different physical connections.”

      If that turns out to be the case, then it’s almost certain that the LVF1 will not work with the newer bodies.

  • The Master

    I don’t really see the reason for all the sentimentalism about the GF1. I had it and sold it, due to several shortcomings: blown highlights, poor Auto ISO implementation, slippery and crappy grip, inability to lock focus close up, slow focus.

    I think Ricoh had it all along with their grip from the GRD and now the GX and I see Sony has copied it on the Nex 7. Pany should take notice of that. In fact, Pany should take notice of the built in EVF of the Nex 7, as well. Most people don’t need a viewfinder all the time, but to have a flush mount one that is there if you want it and doesn’t take up much space and doesn’t need to be added, seems like the perfect solution. Oly and Pany with there add on EVF’s are about as stupid as Apple Pie, with add on crust. Just put the damn crust on the pie and if I don’t want it, I won’t eat it. :)

    • Narretz

      You didn’t like your GF1? Heretic!

  • dzv

    Not a good enough reason, as far as I’m concerned.

    If the rumors are true, the new port is physically different from the original. That would seem to indicate one of two things. They either had ~really~ bad engineers who couldn’t design even a small amount of future-proofing into the specs, or else they always planned for it to become obsolete. Either way, it doesn’t speak well of Panasonic.

    It definitely makes me think hard about further investment in the m43 “system.” On the one hand we have this apparent practice of planned obsolescence. On top of that we have the iterative and conservate approach to new bodies (of which Olympus is also guilty).

    I can guarantee that if Canon (seemingly the last hope) comes out with a mirrorless format smaller than APS-C, I will be extremely tempted to jump ship. Even if their sensor is slightly smaller than m43 (but not Nikon 1 small), I think a lot of people will flock to it. At least with Canon we can hope that they will be more serious about the ecosystem.

  • Anthony

    “in that case, EMI increases and cannot confirm a standard. Therefore, GF1 cannot output data of more than 200,000 pixel to the external terminal.””

    This statement is a total line of bs. If EMI was the real issue, there would be no finite amount of pixels that would be a maximum out of the accessory port, the evf would just periodically fail from signl noise. think about it. olympus uses an external port and it can output 1.44million dots. Oh wait, thats right, olympus uses identical panasonic sensors and if the evf is a direct view from the sensor, the GF1 should be able to do the same. Panasonic is just being lazy and not providing the consumer what it wants: a higher resolution internal LCD and high quality EVF. I’m gonna try to hack the sony hi res evf to the GF1 in the upcoming month using an oscilloscope. stay tuned.

  • pdc

    Bitch,bitch,bitch ……
    Do you want progress or not? The new EVF is going to extremely sharp, so way more signal to get across the lines quickly. Panasonic are moving ahead, not like some of the whiners on this forum who have their heads stuck firmly where the sun don’t shine.

    • Mr. Reeee

      It’s necessary to jettison old technology to progress and not get dragged down supporting obsolete devices and “standards” .

      Sure, the new Panasonic EFV will be much higher resolution than their current offering, but then take a look at the new NEX EVF and you may weep. ;-)

      I was able to an A/B test between my GH2 and a NEX-7 last week at B&H. A Sony rep happened to be standing next to me holding a NEX-7 and let me use it for a few minutes. The difference is dramatic. Directly compared to my GH2, the NEX EVF has richer color, what appeared to be wider dynamic range and it’s (obviously) extremely sharp.

      Given that Panasonic is (supposedly… yeah, it’s still a rumor, right?) releasing a new add-on EVF (along with apparently updated supporting electronics in the GX1), it’s a pity they didn’t leapfrog the 1.44MP EVF and use one similar to the NEX 2.4MP EVF.

      Maybe Panasonic will surprise us and announce that they’re using the same port as Olympus and make it a real system with truly interchangeable parts!!!

      • spam

        Pana and Oly using the same port would be a real improvement for mFT. Don’t think it’s going to happen though.

  • Alyson

    Thom Hogan made an interesting point about the ability to simply switch system. One of the things I loved about owning a GF1 and GH1 was that they truly felt like a “system.” Nearly identical layouts, nearly identical batteries, nearly identical menu system. When the time comes to upgrade, I’ll have to upgrade both cameras if I still want a “system.”

    If this new GX1 doesn’t impress me, and so far what I’ve heard hasn’t, then it may be time to to ebay my entire m4/3 “system.” Sure I’ll have more than enough to buy at NEX 7 and a decent prime.

    • Mr. Reeee

      +10
      Switching systems is a real option, or at least augmenting. A system really is about lenses and I stopped buying native M4/3 lenses and use adapted lenses for the most part. It’s a simple thing to buy a half-dozen Leica M/Nikon/Pentax to NEX adaptors for my manual lenses.

      The NEX-5N would make a good compliment to my GH2 with the few M4/3 lenses I regularly use. With NEX and M4/3 adaptors, I could switch back and forth.

      Had Panasonic or Olympus released more flexible, compact bodies with a built-in EVF and movable hi-res display I wouldn’t be thinking like this. I’d settle for a movable LCD alone with optional EVF. The EPL3 is almost there, except for display. NEX-5N pretty much hits everything I’d like at the same price point.

      • Miroslav

        “Had Panasonic or Olympus released more flexible, compact bodies with a built-in EVF and movable hi-res display I wouldn’t be thinking like this. I’d settle for a movable LCD alone with optional EVF. The EPL3 is almost there, except for display.”

        Exactly my thoughts… I’d go for E-PL3 if it had a grip like NEX-5/7 / G3 / NX200 or bigger. But how am I supposed to hold it with my 14-150mm, for example? Hopefully E-PL4 (or PL5 if they skip 4) has articulated LCD and a proper grip.

    • Godot

      The battery thing is yet another example of poor planning. G1, GF1, GH1, G2, G10 (remember that?)… all take the same battery. So far, so good. Except the detail of Olympus using an entirely different battery.

      But then they decide they can and should start making slimmer bodies (GF2, G3), so the original battery is now too fat and must be replaced.

      Wouldn’t it have been clever to ask from the get-go: “what is the minimum practical thickness for a Micro Four Thirds body?”, and come up with a battery standard based on the answer? And (imagine!) to make that battery form factor part of the system standard shared with Olympus? But no…

      • Esa Tuunanen

        > Wouldn’t it have been clever to ask from the get-go: “what is the minimum practical thickness for a Micro Four Thirds body?”, and come up with a battery standard based on the answer?
        And have higher end bodies with some craptacularly tiny capacity pocket P&S battery?
        One battery size would be bad compromise so there should be two different, or three at most, battery sizes for bodies of different size.

        • dzv

          > One battery size would be bad compromise so there should be two different, or three at most, battery sizes for bodies of different size.

          Yes, one (small) battery size probably wouldn’t be suitable for all bodies, but I think 2 standard sizes would be enough to cover all bases. Or, you could even have 1 standard battery size, and if it’s nice and slim, you could let the larger bodies accept 2 batteries instead of 1 bigger one.

          • Godot

            Esa raises a legitimate concern, but I agree there could be several ways around it, from the mundane (battery grips, dual battery ports in high-end models) to the simple (different form factors that achieve large volumes/capacities while remaining thin), to the outside-the-box (insert your wacky idea here).

            Anyway, it’s moot…. I think we have to be resigned to a proliferation of battery form factors for the foreseeable future.

  • Colorado

    Sony EVF for NEX-5N and Olympus EVF for PEN2 also were nor backward compatible by the time they were released (NEX-5 and E-P1 doesn’t not support those EVFs). Nothing new here with Panasonic.

    • dzv

      > Sony EVF for NEX-5N and Olympus EVF for PEN2 also were nor backward compatible by the time they were released (NEX-5 and E-P1 doesn’t not support those EVFs). Nothing new here with Panasonic.

      I don’t think it’s a fair comparison, if the older model didn’t have an accessory port in the first place.

      But even if it were a fair comparison, that’s not much of a justification. Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t make it any more acceptable.

  • Aly

    I understand technology changes and not everything can be backwards compatible, but in a NEX world with 2.4m EVF’s and 921K tilting LCD’s, I would expect no less from the GX1.

    • RW

      +10

      Unfortunately, the technology changing argument doesn’t cut it for me. We are not talking about 25+ year old tech here – just 2 years. Any camera system that isn’t designing to a roadmap that looks forward 2 years isn’t really a system in my opinion.

      • Jason

        Then the company is making predictions about technology that might exceed predictions or might be worse than predictions. Technology is moving fast. Camera 2 years in the future has double the processing power to deal with high bandwidth of the viewfinder. How is a 2 year old camera going to work with a viewfinder that requires more processing power? You could limit the viewfinder on that camera but to me that is pointless. Or should panasonic not make the new viewfinder at all?

        • Godot

          The higher-res tech existed and was already in use for built-in EVFs at the time of the GF1. Not to mention that Oly’s high-res external EVF came along within months of the GF1.

          How much harder and more expensive would it have been to give the GF1 (and GF2 and LX5) guts capable of driving a higher-res EVF — just like the guts in the G1 and GH1 — even if the LVF-1 had to be low-res for whatever reason?

          Ah, but maybe this would have killed sales of the LVF-1, as many people would have waited for the upgrade instead of buying one. Simple solution: don’t announce this bit of future-proofing until your new-and-improved EVF is ready to ship.

        • RW

          @Jason

          I don’t follow your argument. I think that you are saying “how could they possibly have anticipated higher processing power in the future?”

          That feels like an easy prediction to me.

          Its not pointless to expect short cycle compatibility in a camera system – that is what you are buying into, after all. Nikon and Canon seem to do it with some confidence.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          > Technology is moving fast.
          Only for those who cannot remember the past.
          There was 922000 pixel EVF already seven years ago.

          • Jason

            Lets say it takes a ghz processor to move data to the new evf. How would an engineer make the evf work with a camera with an older processor that can’t handle the data?. One could argue panny should have put a larger processor in the gf1 to anticipate the new evf, but 2 years ago that could have been cost prohibative. The new evf could be designed to work at a lower resolution for the gf1 but then what’s the point.

            Predicting technology for future proofing and backwards compatability is a tricky game. I,ve seen companies become technologically stagnate because they spend too much time either future proofing or trying to make things backward compatible. I know because my company has customers who believe new products should be compatabile with 10 year old half million dollar pieces of equipment, while companies who don’t have such baggage are farther along in tech.

            • dzv

              An accessory port is nothing but a physical conduit for electrical signals. It doesn’t matter what’s on either end of the equation, the technology of transmitting electrical signals is very mature and fairly easy to predict. USB port compatibility is one example, and the iPod dock connector is another. The same physical connector is compatible with every iPod, iPhone, and iPad ever made (AFAIK). Sure, there are some features/functions that aren’t fully supported with older hardware, but for the most part, there is great backward-compatibility and future-proofing built in. It’s very simple, really. They just designed the spec with extra pins from the beginning. Even if the first iPods may have only used 5-10 of the available pins, there were 30 pins in the connector, so they could assign unused pins to new functions when needed. They even designed it in such a way that the signals sent over a particular pin could be changed depending on what device is connected. This allows them to theoretically have even more signal types in the spec, just not all at the same time.

              This is how an accessory port should be designed. The accessory port on the GF1 now sounds more like an “LVF1 port” and nothing else. Were there even any other accessories released for the port?

              • RW

                +10

                .and future-proofing the connector like you suggest could have been done for pennies per unit – so its not even a financial argument. Its just bad design and bad engineering – full stop.

                I feel sorry for customers that choose vendors who feel rudimentary future proofing is not viable (or not required).

            • RW

              jason says “I know because my company has customers who believe new products should be compatabile with 10 year old half million dollar pieces of equipment, while companies who don’t have such baggage are farther along in tech.”

              And would you still feel your customers were demanding too much if the equipment that they expected to be compatible was only 2 years old like the GF1? Good luck staying in business.

              • Jason

                It may not be as simple as how many pins on the port there are. There could be other electrical issues to keep in mind. There is also the issue of size as well regarding the port.

                I wouldn’t be suprised if the next iteration from Olympus is backward compatible either, or the VF2 work with a new body 3 years down the road.

                • dzv

                  Yeah, I realize it’s an over-simplification to just say “more pins = future proof,” and I’m not necessarily saying that the port needs more pins. More than likely the current number of pins would suffice, if the interface was just designed properly from the get-go. But my point was that accessory port or communication bus technologies are pretty mature, and I think it’s safe to say that it would only require a small amount of forethought, engineering, and money to implement a port with more than a 2 year life span. I’m sure that in your heart of hearts, you believe Panasonic could have done it if they wanted, without even breaking a sweat.

                  • Jason

                    People think data is data. Transfering files over usb is very different than transfering real time data. My company makes full bandwidth(3 to 8 Gb/s) video routers. Transfering video is just not that simple. One bit off can cause all sorts of problems in the video. If everyday consumers really knew what goes on when designing hardware(especially proprietary), they would better understand the choices companys have to make.

                • Godot

                  Olympus managed to design a more capable accessory port than Panasonic, used on similar-sized bodies, including some less expensive than the GF1, right around the same time. Cheaper Panasonic models than the GF1 were driving 1.44M EVFs before the GF1 arrived.

                  Seriously, what is the likelihood that the GF1 was hobbled for legitimate technical or economic reasons?

                  As for the Panasonic LVF2, it seems obvious that we should assume Panasonic’s new port and EVF will be just like the last one: the port will be single-purpose, and only ever work with one particular accessory. (I still hope to be proven wrong on this — ideally, Panasonic will announce it is adopting the Olympus port.)

                  What I can’t believe is that anyone is arguing that it really makes any kind of *sense* to design an accessory port without planning ahead at least a couple of generations. It’s not like they have NO idea of what they’ll be able to do a generation or two down the road, and are thus unable to design a port accordingly.

                  The GF1 was discontinued one year ago. The GF2 was launched one year ago. And yet these bodies already use a legacy accessory port that accepts precisely one and only one accessory. I’m sorry, in what world does that make any kind of sense?

            • Godot

              “One could argue panny should have put a larger processor in the gf1 to anticipate the new evf, but 2 years ago that could have been cost prohibative.”

              The G1 and especially G2 are very, very similar cameras to the GF1. Both were/are less expensive than the GF1. One preceded the GF1 by a few months, the other followed by a few months, essentially adding video and touch screen to the G1.

              And yet despite being cheaper than the GF1, the G1 and G2 both managed to drive a 1.44M EVF. Not as well as the current models do, but it’s very usable for everything except burst shooting and extreme low light.

              The technology was mature, not new, and did not drive the price of the G1 and G2 sky-high.

              I conclude that the decision to hobble the GF1’s accessory port was needless penny pinching at best, cynical built-in obsolescence at worst.

              The tech was already being used in less-expensive models that actually had MORE features. Read that again: Less expensive models with more features. And you’re telling me the GF1 couldn’t have used the same processor as the G1 for its accessory port?

    • MikeH

      In a NEX world there are incompatibility issues too. But hey, you can use all your m43 lenses on any other m43 system camera. Are you a happier camper now?

      Don’t be mad, take pics! :)

      • Jason

        I understand you’re point. But that’s just it. We are losing “new” business because we spend too much time making our stuff backward compatible. We have to delay our products to ensure backwards compatibility or design around older systems. Our competitors eitehr don’t have such baggage or don’t worry about backwards compatibility. It’s a risky game either way.

  • peter

    Anyway, 5 more days and we’ll compare the two…
    Meanwhile people still ask me about my GF1 when they see it

  • lnqe-M

    Folk is funny to day, them go in and out of system, not build up sysem by more lens, and photo tools. LOL

  • Mice

    I don’t suppose anyone has mentioned before, but will it work with the DMC-LX5?

    • Godot

      According to what we know so far, the new connector is 100% NOT compatible with the connector on the GF1, GF2 and LX5.

      • Mice

        Alright thanks. I’ve been looking for a LVF1 replacement for the longest time, only to have this blow up in my face once again…

  • RW

    The entire debate around this new EVF has gotten turned inside-out in my opinion.

    Even if I accept the premise that there are *valid* reasons why the new EVF cannot work with my GF1, it’s still inexcusable that the expensive LVF1 that I purchased in mid 2009 cannot be used with the GX1.

    That is 100% down to the connector design, and Panasonic could have future proofed that for pennies a unit.

  • AndersN

    The HDMI interface allows for 2 million dots and it’s been around since 2003. Panasonic wouldn’t have had to design a new interface until they decide to go beyond 2 million dots. Actually, HDMI 1.4 allows for 8 million dots.

  • Miki

    Waiting for a good viewfinder for a long time, and now this…Bye Bye Panasonic. Hello Fuji X10 (or Ricoh GXR?…)

  • L.Coen

    It’s purely about money. Panasonic knows that it could make some money off the new evf as the older model is or will be discontinued..what they probably concluded was that chances are that users of the gf1,gf2 who will buy a gx1 may opt to stick with the older evf for cost reasons. So their decision was simply about money or greed or however you want to look at it. Make the new evf incompatible with the older cameras…and then the user has no choice but to buy the new evf. This way of thinking will catch up with Panasonic in the future…in bad terms.

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