Olympus announces the E-PL1s and a new Kit lens!

Surprise! Olympus announced the E-PL1s! It is a slightly tweaked version of the existing [shoplink 14832]E-PL1[/shoplink] (it now shoots at 6.400 ISO and it also comes in red). It uses the new BLS-5 battery instead of the BLS-1 (To meet the new safety standards for lithium-ion rechargeable Electrical Appliance and Material Safety Law). But the most interesting news is the new version of the current [shoplink 14816]14-42mm kit lens[/shoplink]…the M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm II 1:3.5-5.6 kit lens! It has MSC (Movie and Stills Compatible) designation and it is smaller and lighter (112g= 25$ lighter) than the current version. The new kit should be released in Japan by December the 4th. The price of the lens only is 36,750 yen (US$440). There is no info about the possible release date in Europe and US/Canada. I was told the new lens will be available worldwide very soon. But there is no plan to release the E-PL1s in non-japanese countries.

More info:
Olympus Japan
E-PL1.net forum

(UPDATED) Panasonic GF2 will be released on 24 January 2011 (says Amazon UK)

[shoplink 17361][/shoplink]

Now we have a more precise release date for the just announced Panasonic GF2 camera. For those people hoping the camera would be in Stock by early January..stop dreaming! According to Amazon UKthe item is due to be released on January 24” And as you can imagine only a few lucky people will get it on that day. The rest of us will still have to wait a little bit more.

(UPDATE) The price:
– GF2 with 14-42mm lens for £599.99 ($968 or 706 Euro)
– GF2 with 14 lens for £629.99 ($1016 or 742 Euro)
– GF2 with 14mm and 14-42mm lens for £729.99 ($1178 or 860 Euro)

No shop is accepting preorders right now. But you can sign up at BHphoto and Amazon and they will notify you when preorders will start.

Panasonic GF1 vs. GF2 – Original Sound Comparison

Ifranznation.de just posted this very unusual but interesting GF1 vs GF2 sound comparison. The GH2 sound quality is actually better than the current GF1 recording. Franz also posted a few image samples on his blog (reminder he is testing a preproduction camera)

BHphoto confirmed that the GF2 approximal arrival is January (no price indication yet). Also on Amazon you can sign up to be notified when this item becomes available.

Panasonic GH2 news roundup

Lumix On The Road / GH2 From Paris to California from Jean-Baptiste Lefournier on Vimeo.

Many of you sent me links to new GH2 videos. That post will sum all those links (and thanks for your help):

[Panasonic GH2] amusement park at night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3FbDkfJUMs
[Panasonic GH2] Nedujinja shrine: http://vimeo.com/16497211
Panasonic Lumix GH2 ISO test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3qQbdH8A9I
Some new GH2 image samples can be found on Flickr.
Panasonic GH2 hands-on at Camera.itmedia.co.jp

Panasonic GH2 price and availability check:
Amazon US, Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon UK, Amazon France, Amazon Japan and [shoplink 17526]eBay[/shoplink].

Panasonic and Olympus financial reports (making less money with cameras)

The first half of the fiscal year 2010 for the Japanese company Panasonic is extremely profitable but the digital camera and mobile phone sales are in decline. The operating division’s profit is 61.3 billion yen (about € 548 million) – an increase of 481% over the previous year (quarterly figures, see table below). Panasonic attributes the huge increase in profits to reduce fixed costs and economies of scale. Source: Photoscala

The Olympus sales

In the second fiscal quarter of 2010/11 Olympus is continuing the downward trend of their photo section. Overall earnings of the “Imaging sector” decrease of 22.4% over the first half of last year. Source: Photoscala

Quesabesde about the GF2 “will we soon have to reduce the size of our fingers?”

The user reaction after the Panasonic GF2 anouncement is quite mixed. Some peope likes the new even slimmer Micro Four Thirds camera and some others do miss the manual controls of the [shoplink 14828]Panasonic GF1[/shoplink].

Now let’s bring some fire into that discussion! We want to report the negative GF2 critics written by Quesabesde. Not because we do agree or don’t agree with Quesabesde but because our readers want to read your opinion about the three main critics “against” the GF2:

1) The timing of the announcement is somewhat disconcerting: Few weeks before the holiday shopping season Panasonic reveals a GF1 successor that will be ready after the holiday season! And therefore it virtually buries the GF1 and GF2 sales.

2) Japancentrism: It looks like Panasonic main concern was to release a [shoplink 17230]Sony NEX (Click here to see these cameras)[/shoplink] competitor. Nex cameras have been prooven to be really popular in Japan. Panasonic (but in general all japanese companies) seem to lose perspective and believe that global tastes match those of its market.

3) Miniaturims trend: The GF2 sacrifcies usability to go against the NEX. It’s as if none of the current or future players in this market was aware that the most “popular” camera at Photokina has been the Fuji X100 (Click here to see the camera). Fuji used a photographic common sense to create the camera (good usability and size proportion). Steve Jobs recently said that 7-inch tablets were ridiculous. He asked, ironically, if those tablets will come with an included sandpaper so that users could reduce the size of their fingers.

Now, what do you think? Keep in mind that:
1) You have touch the camera for yourself to see if the touchscreen really works fine for you
2) There is still a chance that we will see a pro-GF model sooner or later

Will you buy the new GF2?

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