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(FT3) New m43 camcorder with a super 35 sized sensor?


image showing the sensor size comparison

The Las Vegas NAB show will start on April 14th. And of course we can expect new Panasonic (and other?) Micro Four Thirds camcorders. The questions only is….what kind of surprise should we expect? According to one of our sources there will be a new Micro Four Thirds mount camcorder with Super35 sized sensor! I haven’t got any detailed specs yet but I have been told all current m43 lenses will work fine on the new sensor size. For reference only, the Sony NEX-FS100 uses a super 35 sensor that which has a length of 23,6mm and a height of 13,3mm. The Micro Four Thirds sensor has a length of 17,3mm and height of 13mm.

I hope to get more specs about that soon. And as this is a major broadcast event I really hope Panasonic will finally release the new 12-35mm and 35-100mm f/2.8  powerzoom X lenses too :)


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


  • Guest

    Is that sort of sensor going to be covered by m43 lenses?
    It will suck if there’s vignetting/soft corners with most m43 lenses.. it won’t be any good for pros videographers, which are who this is targeted at.

    • Leu

      there probably won’t be any vignetting if pros steer clear of the cheaper pana-oly lenses and buy pro lenses like pros tend to do. This is definitely good news for m43’s and considering the video rep m43’s has it will be fantastic news for professional videographers looking for cheaper solution than the scarlet or c300.

      • Guest

        What is the point of making in m43 if you can’t use m43 lenses?

        The idea that “pros will buy pro lesnes, instead of the regular m43 lenses” is retarded.

        • Leu

          no its not, i don’t mean pro lenses that aren’t for m43s, I mean upcoming constant aperture pana’s, constant aperture oly’s, sneider kruesnach and slr magic cine lenses, plus lots of older legacy glass that easily won’t vignette on a super 35 sensor, properly adapted (ie, glass that was designed for 35mm).

          • Guest

            Ah. You mean cine lenses.

            Like the Zeiss Distagon 25/T2,9

            I still think it’s silly to make them to the m43 mount, and have different sized lenses, and sensors.

  • Reza

    FT1 at most? I don’t see it happening.

    • admin

      I see it. i was tempted to post it as FT4 :)

      • Digifan

        Then you must be in the know about some more details.
        Else I wouldn’t see it happen.
        Also IBIS will probably be a dealbreaker with such a sensor so it wil be a Panasonic thing only, OR?

      • And what by video dissolution, is it K4 video?

      • c.d.embrey

        Super 35 is a rather flexible term. Sony’s Super 35 sensors are a little smaller than Super 35 Motion Picture Film Frame Line. This page shows 4/3, Sony Super 35 and Film Super 35.

        Maybe this new camera will have a sensor Smaller than Film S35 or Sony S35, but will be Larger than 4/3. For marketing reasons it will be called Super35 ;) or maybe Super43 ;) ;)

        • ljmac

          That Sony site is seriously cheating – they don’t show the full 4/3rds sensor, but a “16:9 extraction”, while it shows the full size of the Sony sensor, even though it’s 3:2! What’s more, the multi-aspect sensor of the GH2 allows a bigger 16:9 extraction than this.

          • c.d.embrey

            The Sony FS100 is 16×9. The FS100 is an HD Video camera ONLY, it Does NOT take 3×2 Stills.

    • fta

      yeah, something sounds very weird! The whole point of m43 and 43 is the SIZE of the sensor and that the lenses focus on the sensor plane. If you put in a bigger sensor, it’s not m43 or 43 anymore… If it’s bigger then you dont use up the whole sensor… our m43 and 43 lenses can only focus at a certain focal plane size and distance.

      • amweber21

        It doesnt have to be a micro four thirds camera. Itd be a camera with a S35 sensor and a mft mount. Im all for it provided they up everything else

  • Riley

    the sensor already exists, by mistake or otherwise they displayed it here:

    that isnt a four thirds size sensor, it is larger than that, that is a movie industry film gate on the left of it.

    I think, high end video resources would look at the movie industry rental lenses for something like this. Yes its possible that a 4/3rds lens could be accepted, and clearly some would work, but I dont see that as whats intended.

    • admin

      Thanks Riley! I posted it.

  • IF something like this happens…. I expect that it would use a crop mode when using 4/3rd lens… and would come with some kind of PL mount (or a range of mounts) for utilising the full sensor.

  • reverse stream swimmer
  • John

    Re: the photo. That sensor was only put on display to compare the 4/3’s size to Super 35’s size and show that 4/3 is the perfect size for video. Also there’s no sense on putting a m43 mount on that sensor, possible a PL mount, but then they ruin their own lenses business. I don’t see that happening.

    • Riley

      no I discussed it with JW over at DPR, and we think its bigger than current 4/3rds sensors. And we think that’s an academy film gate. Now whether or not the idea they have now is exactly the same sensor remains to be seen, but the thing is they’ve been working on this idea of a larger sensor for some time.

  • fgl42

    Anyone know what the crop factor of Super 35 is? Micro four thirds is 2. Isn’t Super 35 something like 1.5, 1.4, or 1.6? So the 20mm Panasonic pancake would function as a 30mm instead of a 40mm? Is that correct?

    • reverse stream swimmer

      1.51x (24.9 x 14 mm)

    • Anonymous

      Crop factor is for stills. It compares a sensor to the size of still 35mm film, which is 65mm movie film. For video cameras, you should use Cine Factor, which compares to 35mm Academy Aperture. M4/3 Cine Factor = 1.19, which means a 45 degree AOV lens would be 25mm on the AF100, but it would be 30mm on a Panavision 35mm.

      • fgl42

        “Cine Factor”, “35mm Academy Aperture”, “45 degree AOV lens”, etc. I’m sure what you’ve just said is clear as day to some on here but I’m not sure what you just said. :) I can see cinematographers speak a different language. Anyway, if you take the 20mm micro four thirds pancake lens, which functions as a 40mm lens on micro four thirds; are you saying it would function as a 24mm lens on Super 35 and be considered an ultra wide angle lens? Also, this is off topic but cinematographers don’t use the term ISO do they? I forget the term they use but does it mean the same thing as ISO?

      • fgl42

        Anonymous, I have one more question for you if you come back to this thread. I read that Alfred Hitchcocks favorite lens was a 50mm, which he called the lens of the eye. Would that be equivalent to what we consider a 50mm today? Did 35mm stills film and 35mm movie film used to be the same size? If you get a chance to answer much appreciated. It’s not often I get to pick the brain of someone who is up to speed on cinematography.

        • Andrew Howes

          I poked around and it looks like, for Psycho at least, he shot in academy format. That’s about a 20x15mm frame. Then I figured out what a 4/3s crop on a full frame would be (24x32mm). I figured out the diagonals — 25mm for academy, 40mm for full frame. 40/25mm= 1.6. 1.6* 50mm =80mm. So I guess he means a portrait lens, more or less.

          I’m not sure my methodology is quite right, but it should be pretty close. He did apparently intend for the top and bottom of the frame to be cut off somewhat in the theater, which complicates things as well.

          This is kind of interesting:

          • fgl42

            Hi Andrew and thanks for that interesting link. I think somewhere along the way the story of Hitchcock using a 50mm on Psycho went wrong. I suspect he used a 50mm equivalent- perhaps something like a 32mm? Under Trivia about the film IMDB states: “In order to implicate viewers as fellow voyeurs Alfred Hitchcock used a 50 mm lens on his 35 mm camera. This gives the closest approximation to the human vision. In the scenes where Norman is spying on Marion this effect is felt.”

            No way does 80mm best approximate human vision. I mean, wasn’t the reason 50mm was standard for a 35mm stills camera was because it best approximated human vision?
            This is from a book called Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie:
            “Most of the time Hitchcock used fixed lenses and rarely a zoom. His favorite lens was a 50 mm, which he said was the lens of the eye…”
            You can read the whole part on Google Books. The cameraman makes it sound like it was indeed a 50 so maybe it was like a portrait lens. Very odd.

            • Andrew Howes

              I know, 50mm is definitely not a “normal” lens on a film camera. Unless he was shooting on 65mm/Vista Vision (He didn’t, I don’t think,) 50mm is a portrait lens on the camera he used. Particularly with the planned extra cropping.

              If I recall, Bresson favored a 50mm as well.

              • fgl42

                Thanks c.d. and Andrew. This is what David Mullen (someone who himself was the cinematographer on a bunch of big budget films) had to say over on Roger Deakins forum:
                I find it easier to just compare horizontal view rather than diagonal view since aspect ratio affects the length of the diagonal. FF35 is 36mm wide and Super-35 is 24mm wide, so that’s a 1.5X difference, so you’d use a 33.33mm lens in Super-35 to match the horizontal field of view of a 50mm lens in FF35. In practical terms, you’d use a 32mm or 35mm in Super-35.

                As for why old-time Hollywood cinematographers called a 50mm lens “normal” for both FF35 and 35mm cine photography, I think that was just a bit of mental laziness on their part, just applying ideas from still photography directly into movie photography. It’s also probably because the 50mm lens was the most commonly built & available lens for early cinematography, maybe because it was made by the same companies making still lenses. Though keep in mind that old movies were 4×3 until the mid 1950’s so the diagonal was a bit longer than later when movies were cropped to 1.85, so a 50mm lens in the old Academy days felt slightly wider-angle than it did in the later masked widescreen period.

                But I recall Hitchcock being so enamored of the “normal” 50mm lens that he shot most of “Psycho” and “Vertigo” on it… even though “Vertigo” was an 8-perf 35mm VistaVision movie (i.e. FF35) and thus the 50mm was “normal” on that movie but a bit longer-looking on “Psycho”. At least that’s what I heard. I recently read a book by his line producer Herb Coleman and he tells this story about having to do a pick-up or reshoot on “Vertigo” for Hitchcock and having to shoot on a 35mm lens because of space restrictions and Hitchcock giving him a hard time for not using a 50mm.

                I find it fascinating listening to these really talented cinematographers talk shop.

            • c.d.embrey

              50mm is considered as the NORMAL lens for 35mm Cine. 25mm is considered as the NORMAL lens for 16mm Cine. The idea of “Portrait Lens” comes from Still Photography and really doesn’t have anything to do with Cine. I’ve seen lenses ranging from 20mm to 100mm used for Close-Ups.

              “Crop Factor” was recently invented by Amateur Digital Photographers. I started working in Hollywood in the 1970s and NEVER ONCE heard “Crop Factor” mentioned.

              “…wasn’t the reason 50mm was standard for a 35mm stills camera was because it best approximated human vision?” No It Isn’t, 43mm is the diagonal on 24×36 film. Everybody used 50mm because it was picked by Leica as their “Kit Lens” many, many years ago.

              • Andrew

                Sure, but certainly a 50mm on 35mm movie film does not approximate what the eye sees. I’m aware that a 50 in FF doesn’t precisely accomplish that, either, but it’s clearly more similar.

                You can shoot a portrait with a number of non-ideal lenses in still photography, too, but for either medium, a moderately long, fast lens is desirable for blurred background and so forth.

                I know you may not intend it, but your general attitude and use of cap locks is condescending and antagonistic, and doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

                • c.d.embrey

                  Sorry that Hollywood reality doesn’t match your preconceived notions. You seem to think I’m lying when I say that 50mm is the normal lens,but I’m not. I’m retired IATSE and have worked on TV Commercials, Series Television, MOWs and Features.

                  Blurred Backgrounds are more important to Still Photographers and DSLR film-makers than it is to Hollywood. They mainly shoot between f/2.8 and f/5.6. Below are some typical lenses you will see on sets:

                  1. Angenieux 15-40mm T2.6 OPTIMO Zoom Lens
                  2. ARRI/FUJINON Alura Zoom Lens 18-80 T2.6
                  3. Cooke 15-40mm T2.0 CXX Zoom Lens

                  For Still Portraits I prefer 85mm on DX and 135mm on Full Frame. YMMV

                  • e

                    Bro, you ego is annoying. You’ve been a fucking PA your whole life on stupid film sets. Your that one annoying guy on film sets that everyone must learn to ignore.The only reason you chimed in is because you need it satisfy your empty ego. Grow the fuck up and quite naming lenses. Hollywood is old news. Try doing it all your self on your budget and produce something mind blowing. That’s what us young guys do.

    • Guy McLoughlin

      Using the image diagonals from the AbelCine format chart that RSS posted, the crop factor is…

      28.5 / 21.6 = 1.32

      • fgl42

        Thanks Guy. That doesn’t sound right though. I think reverse stream swimmer is probably right- it’s 1.51. I seem to recall hearing it’s basically the same size as APS. But I don’t know. The folks at Abel Cine should definitely know what they’re talking about. So maybe it is 1.32.

        • Guy McLoughlin

          Actually, it does sound right. It’s basic math, and I knew that the 1.52 was wrong as soon as I saw it.

          • fgl42

            In this thread over on his forum the cinematographer Roger Deakins said that if he could only use one lens it would be a 32mm. He shoots a lot of the Coen Brothers films and other big projects. So if you’re right that would mean the 32mm functions as a 42mm lens- is that correct? He says if he could only have 4 lens they would be 27mm, 32mm, 40mm, 65mm. I was under the impression the 32mm functioned more like a 50mm when it comes to Super 35. But if you’re calculations are right it would be more like a 42? Here’s the link to the thread on Deakin’s forum:

          • fgl42

            This article says: “Often on-set we call the lens in that range the (32mm Cooke S4 or 35mm Zeiss Superspeed) the British Standard lens because it’s a lens we use SO much. Field of view wise a 35mm lens on a Super35 cine frame is the equivalent to the much favored 50mm in full frame stills.”
            But if you’re right 35mm would only be 46mm.

      • Guy McLoughlin

        The crop factor that I listed is comparing M4/3 format against the Super35 film format. ( Just like the AbleCine chart does )

        Keep in mind that Full Frame 35mm Still Photo format has no real connection to cinematography, and thus is kind of meaningless when discussing cine lenses.

        So the crop factor of 1.32x happens when shooting video with a M4/3 camera relative to the Super35 film format. Thus a 24mm for the M4/3 format would be roughly equivalent to using a 32mm lens for the Super35 format.

        The Full Frame Still Photo format is not relevant at all.

  • matt

    very interesting, I would like to know if it would be possible to cover the full senzor with a m4/3 lens..
    Imagining a S35 senzor in af200 and maybe later in GH series would be big step up in IQ for micro 4/3 a little bit bigger body would only be welcomed for me.. I like more the GH1 with the grip .. so don´t be scared panny to put that S35 senzor in the GH series! :D

  • Bimbo

    Is the image circle of the lens large enough for a super 35 sensor?

  • Guy McLoughlin

    My guess is that only some M4/3 lenses ( standard and telephoto ) will cover the S35 format. ( wide-angles might be a problem )

  • Mike

    That’s an interesting rumor.

    A Super35 sensor is slightly larger than APS-C (24.9×14 vs 22.3×12.5).

    The Voigtlander 25mm vignettes when adapted to the Sony NEX, which has an APS-C sensor:

    Not by much, but with a slightly larger sensor the vignette will be slightly worse, and presumably on wider lenses it will be worse still.

    A crop mode would be a possibility, but I’m not really sure that really makes sense.

    To be honest, I’d rather see them develop a full raster m43 video sensor for the AF100 successor. If they want to compete at the high end with the F3 and C300 then Super35 is probably the way to go, but in that case I’m not sure why you’d put a m43 mount on it.

    So if this rumor is true, then it sounds like Panasonic is going to do something either very interesting or somewhat stupid.

    • I think Panasonic will use same mount so M43, who Nikon use DX lens on FX camera for example, so maybe Panasonic will use crop mode, but maybe also in combination multi aspect.

  • Marco

    For sure it’s gonna vignette! No matter what the quality of the lens is. It is a very bad idea!

  • Tulio

    The MFT with a Super 35 sensor is called Sony NEX.
    Again, Sony done just right, who would create a 4:3 sensor in 2007?

    • Jb

      NEX have good quality but size of lens is not very compensated, m4/3 i think system better compensated.

      I think panasonic put this sensor 35mm in new GH3 to counteract sensor of O-MD.

  • Charles

    Why do you keep saying the 12-35 and 35-100 are powerzooms? They aren’t. They zoom as you’d expect.

  • Vivek

    Why this is even a rumor? The picture shows a 35mm film strip (left) for size comparisons with an m4/3rds sensor (middle)!!

    Admin: How did you stretch that strip of film to a possibility of a larger 4/3rds digital sensor?

  • 4B12BRO
  • Vivek

    BTW, the claim that “all existing m4/3rds lenses” will work on the mythical “Super sized” 4/3rds sensor is totally false.

    Even the 20/1.7 does not even cover the APS-C sized NEX sensor.

    The worst is the fabulous Olympus 17/2.8.

  • Wayne

    This is not April first, the whole reason of 4/3rds is the reduced size.

  • Bob

    Makes no sense to me. A larger sensor would require larger lenses, so unless they’re going to use a mount other than m43 why would they do this.

    And, of course, if it uses a larger sensor and a different mount, it’s no longer m43, is it?

  • Guy McLoughlin

    …If this rumor is true, there is also the possibility that this camera will ONLY exist as high end prosumer digital cine camera that is designed to use special M4/3 digital cine lenses. ( there might be some compatibility with M4/3 still photo lenses, but this would be on a case by case basis )

    This would be Panasonic’s answer to the Sony F3 and Canon C300.

  • Berneck Ramolt

    Bigger is better , bring it on olympus!

  • mma173

    Not a good idea IMHO. They are facing lots of competition and they should focus on the m43s. If not, they will lose both markets.

    • Wyrob

      why? they do endiscopes and microscopes too, and it doesn’t appear that all of this energy devoted to m4/3 has hurt that lucrative part of the business.
      honestly, the more options the 4/3 and m4/3 users have to grow into within the system, the better for the longevity of the system. especially since there is no telling where the next trend is coming from…too much concentration on the same kind of m4/3 bodies is like putting all of your eggs in one basket.

  • adventsam

    They mean its the GH2 sensor of course, native 1.8 crop in video, it wont be 35 whats the point, no lens to use. GH2 already has the oversize sensor, af100 doesnt. The new cam will have the widened sensor for 16:9 native crop ala GH2/1

  • Hmmm… this is a tough debate, how much are you gaining by going super 35mm? 24% difference in size, marginal crop factor. Maybe some dynamic range. The new Nikon has a crop mode, maybe these cameras could too. I think that it becomes a buzz word game. Every idiot out there wants shallow depth of field out of focus shots, so they want big sensors. Super 35 just sounds sooo nice, and it is, so if Panasonic just slaps it on the side of the camera it could sell as well as everyone else. This and going 4K. Hmmm…Super 35mm Af200 with pl mount adapter included that shoots 4K…10 grand?

  • Matt H

    Not a chance this will happen. The multi aspect ratio gh2 sensor already makes use of the full image circle in 16:9. giving a size of 18.8 * 10.6 and aprox 1.9 crop. far short of supper 35. This link has a diagram showing it:

    As others have said, it just looks like a piece of film to indicate that 4/3rs is much bigger than 2/3 (twice as big: who would have guessed)

    4/3rd superficially looks similar in size to super 35 because the hight is similar. But not the width. Once you change the aspect ratio you loose that hight and the real difference becomes apparent.

    If Panasonic were to do this, then it wouldn’t be micro four thirds by definition.

    • Matt H

      * 4/3rds is 4 times as big as 2/3. Twice as big in hight and width.

      • Andrew Howes

        Most people don’t user area for these measurements. If they did, we would say that the m43 crop factor was ~4x, rather than 2x.

    • Vastloper

      But what if they increased the disctance from the sensor slightly? This would enlarge the image circle, without it affecting the image quality in the corners (by much), wouldn’t it?
      That way all the old lenses would still be compatible with the full sensor resoultion, I believe or would this give other problems with focus range or something?
      I would only hope the sensor would also have multiple aspect ratios like the GH2.

  • Pat

    No, they show you a 35 mm perf slide because in their literature they want to show how close in size they are, they will not be sizing up their sensor, they will probably have an AF100b with improved AVCHD 2.0, and thats it.

  • Nic Walmsley

    More rumors about the 12-35mm plz. If they are being released in one month, why so quiet?

  • alphakilo

    Its a great idea. Native MFT lenses will work in a crop mode without any noticeable difference from a 43 sensor camera, everything else will be bigger and better. With the right in-camera codec this will be a scarlet killer. I say this as an AF100 owner/operator, the only thing holding the AF100 back (and very very little at that) is the sensor. The fundamental problem with these large sensor video cameras (including HDSLRs) is that it is really expensive to make a fast MP quality 10X zoom, I don’t think that will ever change so anything to improve DR is ok with me.

  • om-4

    Let me have a go at explaining 35mm cinema film vs 135 film and 43 sensor.

    Film for cinema and stills is basically the same Oscar Barnack used motionfilm in his camera to bring about a smaller more portable camera opposed to big old sheetfilm or rollfilm.

    A motion camera ran film up/down producing a frame with 4 perforations resulting in a 1.33:1 (4:3) aspectratio.

    Barnack took the same film but ran it sideways producing a frame with 8 perforations resulting in 3:2 aspectratio.

    When Maitani introduced the Pen halfframe he actually went back to the motion aspectratio and yielded twice the frames compared to “traditional” 135 cameras.
    The original Pen has 4:3 aspectratio or somewhat close to this. The frame was in portrait mode for landscape you had to turn the camera (film runs up/down like motion camera)

    So today the Pana/Oly 43 standard is very close to a 35mm filmstill when used fullscreen. 24×18(film) vs 18×13(43)

    Motionpictures where shot fullscreen (4:3 ratio) and matted to widescreen when projected. What you often get when the frame was transferred fullscreen to fit 4:3 TV broadcast or videotape is unexpected elements in the frame like dollytracks or boom.

    Audiences have come to like and adopt the “widescreen” format but actually are missing the bigger picture that standard 35film has to offer. Using anamorphic lenses can exstract all/more from the film but most of the time it’s simply hard matted or matted (cropped) out later.

    Sidenote to introduction of widescreen televisions around the year 2000. In 2002 a man in the Netherlands felt he was cheated by Philips by pushing 16:9 widescreen TVs. The salespitch (believe) was you get more picture to the sides giving a wider view = better cinema experience. In fact the man felt he was robbed from top and bottom of the picture.
    The man went to the former Philips headquarters in Amsterdam and held many people hostage and demanded to stop producing 16:9 TVs. Eventually he killed himself.

    16:9 and other widescreen aspects are nice and all that but the man did have a point. Doing 16:9 in any sensor be it 4:3, APS-C, fullframe or 35mm film is throwing away pixels. I don’t think consumers will go back to 4:3 fullscreen to enjoy all that 35mm motionfilm/43 sensor can capture.

    So in effect a large part of the Pana sensor is useless unless you want to watch a film fullscreen on a CCTVscreen. If Pana is using a dedicated sensor for this new video camera than they are wasting space and pixels unless the new sensor can also be used in stills cameras.

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