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(FT4) More news about the next Panasonic camera with FourThirds sensor


Some new hints about the camera
1) Yes there will be a Leica version of the new Panasonic compact camera. And of course it will be a little bit more expensive ;)
2) The lens starts at 24mm and with f/2.0 (like the LX3!) but it has 3x zoom (unlike the 2.5x zoom on the LX3)

– It will have a special rangefinder-type optical viewfinder that is borrowed from Leica with marks in it for max zoom and fully wide angle!

  • MacroFan

    Great News,

    Was about to buy a EP-L1,if this turns out to be the offering then I will wait for the Leica version.

  • Zonkie

    I am really, really curious about how they will manage to make a 3x zoom that starts at f/2.0 for a 4/3 sensor that’s really small. No one has ever achieved such thing as far as i know.

    The G2’s kit lens is also a 3x zoom for a 4/3 sensor, but it is much slower at f3.5-5.6 and yet it is nowhere near pocketable. Olympus with some bold engineering manages to make their own zoom collapsible and reduce the size considerably (not pocketable, but close enough), though that’s still a slow 3x zoom. Making it much faster and much smaller than this is an incredible challenge that if it comes true it’s going to mean a big breakthrough in lens design.

  • Bu

    I wonder if it has a built-in flash…

  • Jose

    Hi zonkie,
    I think the 24mm f2 is possible since they have no limitation on the distance between the sensor and the lens. So, they don’t need to use a retrofocus design (like the usual wide angles).
    Also they start at 24mm, or at 24mm equivalent? (12mm)

  • don

    Everything in this latest rumor is plausible but for the f2 lens speed? This makes it very likely that the LX3 will be the same extended focal length from 24 to 72 just as the EX1 has. However if one looks at that small lens yes Pany could make it a half stop faster ie a 24-72/f1.4-2 about size of the GF1 but much thinner in main body. But such an optic would likely make it very expensive with optical viewfinder.! Wait a minute they keep mentioning “rangefinder” so maybe this small fast lens is not AF but MF to minimize size of lens? Since they are talking of the smallest m4/3 ever I think the LX5 will be f2 while the m43X will be f2.8 my guess. Also the smallest size to me would mean the optical rangefinder would likely be optional flash shoe mounted. unless it could be placed to far left of screen in a X1 sized camera and not in center over the lens as most optical finders are making them taller? Note earlier rumor of LX5 says it will have a removeable tilting EVF, ie hot shoe mounted.

  • Martin

    Yes it will be a complete breakthrough. The 12-60mm f/2 lens will actually be flat as it will be the first Fresnel zoom lens. Thanks to its stick-on design it will be interchangeable as well. Besides a built-in tripod, it will will also contain a miniature A3 printer as a bonus and the whole thing won’t be bigger than a sardine tin. Price about $300.
    Good morning!

  • spanky

    I’m sticking to my guess of 24-48/2.8-4.0 lens. The 2.0 doesn’t seem plausible in a collapsible, small zoom for such a large sensor, but I hope to be proven wrong.

  • WT21

    I realize some of this will be wrong, but if it’s even CLOSE to these specs, I’m very intrigued (assuming it’s around $600, and not $1000+)

  • Justin

    I’d pay upwards of a 1000 for a fixed f/2 24-72 lens attached to a m4/3 body with a rangefinder if it fits in my pocket.

  • Cs

    All I can say is that it realy must have a fast lens+mechanical mf+proper rangefinder vf, to make sense for me.

    This could be the perfect rangefinder experience people have been waiting for…but the lens must be fast, and mf must remain true to a rangefinder experience.

  • Duarte Bruno

    Holly glass Batman.
    Good morning to you too!

  • milos

    Does anyone know if it’s 24 mm or 24 mm equivalent (12 mm)?

  • jt

    If this camera is for real that is legitimately exciting. But what about the video?

  • central squared

    The optical viewfinder with RF-like frame lines doesn’t exactly make sense for a zoom lens. On a RF the frame lines mark what will be captured at the focal length of the lens (so you’d have marks for 28mm, 35, 50, 90, for example). There’s no in between. So for this rumored camera, it just doesn’t make sense. If it were an EVF then I’d see it as technically possible, not an OVF, if it functions as a normal zoom.

    That said, you could imagine a camera with preset fixed zoom lengths (28, 35, 50) and lines to match. That could be pretty cool, and I’d be interested in that. Similar to how a Leica tri-elmar or WATE works. I wonder about manual focusing (does it have a ring or buttons), but I guess the VF could just be used for composition and AF would be mandatory.

    Either way, it sounds pretty interesting.

  • Antonio Rojilla

    Too good to be true! You are describing a camera I’d pay $2000 for!

  • jt

    Macro Fan, why would you get the Leica version over the Panny version? My guess is the Leica version will be a bit more stylish and have the red dot, but like all rebadged Leica products it’ll be the exact same as the Panasonic version. I know the people who get ripped off paying way more for the Leica version like to claim there are some significant differences in IQ- I have yet to see convincing evidence of this. And even if there were some minor differences, you really think it’s gonna be worth paying twice as much for what is essentially the same thing?

  • don

    If true this could be much more of a break through then most realize. Imagine a 24-72/f2-2.8 fast lens on an overall camera size no bigger than GF1 x 2.5″ depth. If priced right no quality smaller compact could compete nor would larger zoom lenses on other small m4/3 products or APS-C cameras based on lens speed and size or likely price. With extended optical zoom this lens would go from very wide angle to portrait length at a lens speed unmatched by any other large sensor system a real threat to many DSLRs not going beyond those focal lengths. Pany already targets the smaller interchangeable lens with the GF1 and promised another low cost smaller low cost model. I don’t believe that Pany would give such a gem away for peanuts and it would still sell very well.

    On the other hand if the lens is f2.8-4 close to existing LX3 lens only slightly longer Pany could easily target a $600 price for the camera sans optional optical viewfinder since the existing LX3 is priced at $400 and larger sensor would cost at most $100 more.

    So if you want a very fast small HQ zoom (using software correction) get this new compact, if you want interchangeable small prime lenses get the GF1 or its future smaller cousin. If you want a small interchangeable zooms get the G10 or G2 or GF2 or GH2 and if you want HD video all of the above will do that but the GH2 and GF2 would be the best available.

  • PeterL

    The “rangefinder like” VF will be plainly a viewing window with frame lines, nothing more. There will not be a rangefinder in the camera, obviously, because no company on this planet will still launch a manual focus camera except for Leica.

    Aside from that, I’m hoping they actually managed to produce a 12-36 (24-72 equiv) f2.0-fxx lens by using a design that needs much less back focusing than a bayonet mount lens. If the sensor is anywhere near what is currently being launched, 1600ISO should be quite usable. And if it’s not too much bigger than the LX3, it’ll be mine. I expect a camera with such a lens and a viewing window but no EVF to go for €7-800. I’ll gladly pay up to €1000, for sure: the 24mm is brilliant and even if the 72mm is only f4, it’ll still be good for portraits.

    I’m also hoping they borrow the good bits of the LX3 firmware: 1:1 square mode and dynamic black&white.

    I’m starting to dream, but it all sounds a bit too good to be true.


  • jt

    The reason I don’t think this is legit is because Panasonic has made a business out of ripping off micro 4/3 shooters with ridiculously overpriced lenses. If Panasonic made a lens like this for the GH1 it would probably retail for around $1,000. I would love for this to be an affordable fixed lens camera, Panasonic could certainly do it, but I doubt they will. Either this camera is going to be $800+ or it’s not going to be released.

  • SteveH

    I would pay 800+ for this camera.

    • admin

      I am getting only good comments from my sources. I believe Panasonic will soon deliver us a very exceptional good and nice camera!

  • Very nice, looking forward to this being my next compact. I hope it has vertical sweep panorama for fisheye shots like the Sony NEX though.

    Any news on the video capabilities Ale. GH1 or GF1 sensor? Or completely new?

  • gerd

    mechanical linked zoom ring would be great !

  • Luke

    I don’t know why people are so willing to set “I will pay this much for this camera prices” without knowing more about the camera. And I don’t see why it has to automatically cost 2 or 3 times as much as the LX3. FWIW, my guess is that it will be positioned between the LX5 and the GF2. $450, $650, $850.

    I wonder if the LX5 and this similar m4/3 camera will share some accessories? Will a macro and teleconverter work for both lenses? I doubt it would be possible, but if it were, they would still be able to charge the same amount for them, but cost of production would be likely be lower= more profit.

    Regardless of all the speculation….I’m pretty stoked to see it and (and try it out….and maybe buy it [if the price is right for what it will do]).

  • Bar

    Why is everyone saying how much they would be prepared to pay for this camera? 700+ 800+ 1000+ Someone from Panasonic might be reading this! I think somewhere in the region of $300 would be an excellent release price for Panasonic to consider.

  • mmm

    I bet you this camera will look absolutely amazing as well. They wouldn’t go for the rangefinder style viewfinder without a really nice rangefinder styled body (which everyone has been screaming for since the original G1 M43.)

  • kesztió

    – 4/3″ sensor
    – 3×zoom
    – 24 mm eqiv.
    – F2

    Yees! it makes sense! Maybe FT(-4).
    Let’s be serious. If this camera had this wonderful compact lens why Panasonic wouldn’t sell it separately as a standalone MFT mount optics?

  • spanky

    kesztió says: “Let’s be serious. If this camera had this wonderful compact lens why Panasonic wouldn’t sell it separately as a standalone MFT mount optics?”

    …because it’s a fixed lens on a P&S camera that retracts into the body, which you can’t do as a standalone MFT optic… Having a mount for interchangeable lenses adds quite a bit of bulk to the lens, so once you take that away and are no longer constrained by physical dimensions, you can do lots of stuff you can’t do with a standalone lens.

  • Jeffrey D

    Also it dispenses gumdrops and doubles as a Roomba, for when you’re at home!

  • Nathan

    And it has ISO 12,800 with no noise so you can shoot in the DARK! In fact, you can shoot from somewhere else entirely! It knows what you WANT to shoot and it shoots that instead of the ugly thing the lens is pointed at! It shoots the next frame while you’re still chimping the first shot, just in case that one is better! Your shoes will be properly exposed and white balanced while you inspect your work!
    It’s also biodegradeable and earth-friendly. Its rechargeable battery unit runs on good intentions and second chances!
    The flash is full FP TTL capable and can be detached and fired remotely! It has a built in softbox for portraits, and can act as a flashlight or emergency rescue beacon! It shoots 1080p at 60 frames per second on a global shutter. It has a 4.3″ LCD with LED backlighting that only pulls 180 microwatts. One battery pack will last for approximately 18,998,347 shots before needing a five minute recharge in direct sunlight with its built in solar cells! It was invented by Kim Jong Il, the greatest photographer, dancer, ping pong player and golfer in North Korea!
    It will make you successful in life, irresistible to women, courageous and slender! Builds lean muscle while burning off fat!
    Buy one, get a second one free for your travel bag! But wait, there’s more! It plays MP3 and WMA audio through its built in headphone jack, and its touch interface has been judged as superior to the iPod Touch! Make CDMA and EVDO telephone calls, surf the web, send a text message to your boss telling him you can’t come in today because the weather is lovely!

  • this sounds an awful lot like the successor to the LC1/Digilux 2. I still use my Digilux 2, and the photos it puts out with the lens and senior combo are still unmatched . If Panasonic can make lightning strike twice and make this new model as outstanding as the LC1/Digilux 2, count me in.

  • Turner

    sounds very delicious to me. I’m curious about the Leica version. Could me my next camera after the LX3.

  • Chris

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Miroslav

    As Andrew Reid said, it would be nice if the camera could imitate some of the Sony electronic wizardry such as iSweep panorama, hand held twilight and HDR modes.

    If it can bounce flash ( as E-PL1 and some older Panasonics ) and has decent video, I might be interested, but the zoom range is a bit short for my needs.

    I also agree with kesztió, I want 12mm F2 standalone m4/3 lens ( prime or zoom that starts at it ), never mind how large it is.

    I still do not see a sense in making separate LX5 with smaller sensor except if this one is priced around 1000 EUR/USD and I’m afraid it will be.

  • badmin

    my sources tell me there is a projector to 120 hz / 1080i (37″) and a printer as well (ala polaroid). they filed the patent a few yrs ago, thx

  • Godot

    @ milos: didn’t read everything carefully, but I don’t think your question got answered.

    It must be 24mm equiv., so 12-36mm (real focal length, not equiv), because 24-72 (48-144 equiv) wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense and would be much, much harder to miniaturize the way this lens is supposed to be, especially with f2 at the wide end.

  • Godot

    If this camera is real, you’re dreaming (or maybe just new to the wonderful world of Lumix) if you think it’ll be priced under $1000. Even that might be a bit low for the gear being described.

  • Voldenuit

    Central Squared: Most likely the zoom will be a stepped FL zoom. This makes the zoom mechanism easier to design, and is already done by some enthusiast compacts (GX100, GX200). Hopefully, they’ll use this as an opportunity to fine tune the performance at each FL.

    Don’t expect a constant f/2 aperture. Most likely, it will be a f/2-5.6, or even slower. Which is still good in a compact with a big sensor.

    I wonder if they will market it as the ‘LC2’? I’m going to guess the Leica version will be cheaper than the X1, which makes the Panny version cheaper yet. $400-499? That would compete well with the E-PL1, since it’ll have a faster (and hopefully better) lens and be more compact, but lose out on ultimate versatility.

  • Irmo

    All the coments about “imposible f2 at 24mm” for f2 at 24mm you need entrice pupil of a size as by f6 at 72mm or f4 at 48mm … (teoreticly)

    makeing a f4 48mm realy small isn’t a problem (nobody of you whould wonder).

    I geose the lens will be f2-f4 or f2-f5.6 with pretty bad optical beheaver (aberation, vigneting) witch will be corrected in body (without possibility to switch off) even in RAW format)

    Whan I see the entrice pupil of old lenses (like 50mm f1.8 OM zuiko) the entrice pupil doesn’t need to be big, if you sacrifie some optical quality witch can be corrected to some part by SW.
    Why fixed lens? becouse thay can settup the SW just for this lens (all apertune, all focal length) and nobody will ever see how bad the lens realy is ….

    So yes the lens can be made and it can be small still …

  • Do

    I don’t think it’s possible. But maybe it is a fixed 24mm/f2 prime and you get the camera with an extra teleside and an additional wideangle converter. That wouldn’t be a zoom, but they could market it as “three primes in one” or something like that.

  • Yeo

    To Do, thats a good idea i am currently using the gf1 + 20mm f1.7 with the lw46 wide and some cheap ebay 2x tele. Great so far esp the lw46. Still a fair bit bulky though. Would like something smaller from pany seeing how sony managed to make their nex cameras so small!

  • Michael

    The rangefinder, reasonably fast lens, compact design, Leica version (FT4 ranking)… pretty promising. It is not an ILC but semi-pro specs. Why is Panasonic or Olympus not offering a semi-pro mFT body with wide range of fast razor-sharp primes first? They still aiming for consumer level (slow ultra-zooms etc.) but in high price point (well, it is something new on the market). Everyone knows that mFT could be decent alternative for a pricey M system, so what are they waiting for?

  • frank

    This site is getting more and more kooky everyday. If Panasonic does pull off something like this it will be an engineering marvel; MTF is no engineering marvel. “Just a bit bigger than (an) LX3”, doubt it. F2 24-72mm lens, that is pocketable, really doubt it.

    I reveled at the idea of this camera, at first. Then I realized all the hooey this site went on about just isn’t feasible. Can Panasonic build an MFT camera with a F2 3X lens? Sure. Will it be as small as described, no way; it would be at least as large as a GF1 w/14-45 or an E-PL1 w/14-42 kit lens. Will that make it less appealing? Who knows. But my joy has surely faded somewhat by my realization that physics still apply.

  • Godot

    “Whan I see the entrice pupil of old lenses (like 50mm f1.8 OM zuiko) the entrice pupil doesn’t need to be big, if you sacrifie some optical quality witch can be corrected to some part by SW.”

    ??? The f number is the ratio of focal length to pupil size. It is what it is, so a wide open pupil on a 50/1.8 lens is always about 28mm diameter no matter who made the lens for what format. Maybe what you’ve noticed is that some older lenses have a slimmer barrel because they lack electronics, AF motors and the like?

    That’s why there’s so much skepticism that the rumored lens is possible at the stated size (slightly bigger than LX3). For comparison:

    5.1/2.0 [LX3 wide] = 2.6 mm pupil
    12.8/2.8 [LX3 full zoom] = 4.6
    12/2.0 [rumored let’s-call-it-LC2] = 6

    So right off the bat, the diameter of the entrance pupil at the wide end has to be more than double that on the LX3.

  • Voldenuit

    @ Frank. The lens will probably be smaller than the Oly kit zoom when retracted. Remember, this is not a system camera, so they can design the lens to retract further into the body than is feasible with MFT. Also, the long end of 36mm is shorter than any of the standard MFT kit zooms. Lastly, I doubt anyone seriously expects it to be constant f/2 throughout the range. The Contax G Planar T* 35mm was pretty small, had AF, was FF and was f/2, so it’s not physically impossible in any case. The Sigma DP1, DP2 and Leica X1 are all APS-C and also “just a bit bigger than an LX3”. If it’s around the size of any of these cameras or the G11, it’ll be a hit.

  • san

    @frank it seems like you’re the one who is being coocky, you speak as if you are an engineering expert with authority to say what is possible and what is not, there are many things that are not possible but eventually made possible by technology so saying it is NOT possible will definitely ganna come back to haunt you later. This is a rumor site that reports on rumor, the info written are based on sources, which may be right or wrong, but that is why this is a “rumor” site not a fact site so relax dude.

  • frank

    @Voldenuit- Never mentioned it was to be a constant f2 lens. Sure it can be a bit smaller than typical zoom, but with an f2 it is iffy that is will even approach the size of a typical MFT kit lens. The Sigma cams you mentioned don’t have an f2 lens, they are a f4 and f2.8, a big difference, relatively speaking.

    @san- The word is kooky, not “coocky”, and it is not necessarily a derogatory term, by definition. You should be careful quoting people, you put words in my mouth, not nice. And how do you know that I’m not an engineer? Maybe I am speaking the way you describe because I do have “authority” to speak in such a manner. I understand that this is a rumor site, but they set themselves up to fail when they rate these rumors so highly, i.e. FT5 and FT4. And yes, technology will evolve, in the future, but this rumor is based around a camera coming out this month. I think you should work on your reading/comprehension skills and relax a bit yourself. Oh, and great glamour shot there.

    Certain aspects of photography, physics, haven’t changed in centuries boys. MFT is not going to change this.

  • Zaph

    I can understand the scepticism, and have some myself, but … let’s have a look at where we are at – what would you have said 10 years ago if I’d said we’d have a APS sized sensor in a tiny camera that fits in your hand and when you sweep it side to side shoots a stereo 3D panorama automatically? And it will be 500 bucks. Or we’ll have wireless memory cards that connect via the network to transmit your images? You would have called me crazy.

  • frank

    @Zaph- I assume you are directing the comment at myself, and, you are completely wrong. The advancements you discussed are completely different than the ones we have been discussing in this thread.

    What I am referring to in relation to the limits of physics is the size of the relative aperture (f/stop) in relation to the sensor size. There are limitations, and always will be. Will this change in the future, with new technology, possibly. We aren’t taking about “10 years” in the past or future, we are discussing a camera coming to market this month. It is not going to be what 4/3 rumors has described, it will be larger. Period.

  • Zaph

    It wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, just a general comment. I realise there’s the physics of it, but then the in-camera software has come a long way in terms of dealing with distortions in a way it wasn’t able to in the past that has allowed moves forward in that area. It’s just the whole “as if this is even close to possible” attitude I’m talking about.

  • Luke

    Also, no one knows the exact size. And one persons’ not much bigger than an LX3 could be someone else’s “That’s WAY bigger than an LX3”. I don’t know what FT stands for in the rumor likelyhood measurement, but the FT4 and FT5 ones are pretty solid. FT5s are practically news releases. We’ll know more shortly.

  • don

    If you consider the size of the existing LX3 and EX1 cameras and their respective lenses you can get a clue on what this new lens will be as the f stop is the ratio of the focal length to the pupil diameter. Assuming that the LX3 lens focal length would be extended to 72mm effective its speed at that range would decrease from f2.8 to f3.3 with the pupil element varying from a small 2.55mm at wa to 5.5mm at longest. Converting this to 4/3 sensor 2x size this would be a 12-36mm/f3.5-5.6 very small zoom retracting into the body would for 4/3 sensor translate into a tiny 12-36mm/f3.5-5.6.
    However the new EX1 lens is faster at f1.7 and f2.4 for same range or pupil of 3mm and 6.4mm respectively. Pany is able to get a fast f2 for the new lens by halving the distance from the sensor to the lens which reduces the size of front pupil in half at the wa end. The front wa pupil size should be about half that for the long end for a telescoping design. Using an equivalent design based on the EX1 the new fixed lens of same dimensions for the 4/3 sensor camera would become a 12-36mm/f2-4.9 and this could be housed in the existing LX3 sized body only the lens would extend a smidgen longer. I would expect Pany is keeping both an optical viewfinder and high resolution EVF hot shoe mounted to keep the camera size as small as possible. Thus what is being being rumored for this new camera as to its small size and fast lens is in fact very possible and logical progression.

    I would expect that Pany will expand the range of the new LX5 furtther to 140mm to match that of the existing popular G11 to an effective 24-140mm/f1.7-4 which would wider and faster and HD compared to present competition. This lens would still be faster than the existing LX3 at its present maximum focal length. Pany has learned from Canon with their S90 and G11, that customers pay more attention to the fast f stop lens speed at the wide angle end ie f2 than less observant of the slower speed at the tele end as long as they get the range. Consequently this new camera with larger sensor in LX3 size should be a huge success.

    I would expect that Pany could sell this camera for not less than $600 with the LX 5 at $400 but could be higher as they would not want it to canabalize their m4/3 interchangeable camera and lens sales as well as compete very successfully with any quality compacts and the ILS NEXs and EPL1s.

  • Turner

    Man – can’t wait to get more informations about this new camera. I’m especially interested in the Leica version. Were are the first picture leaks? What is the official name of the camera? When will it be available?

    Maybe I just start saving mony for it … ;-)

  • Turner


    If I could make a wishlist of features for this camera:

    – excellent display like the one the LX3 has (not like the one of the X1)
    – Leica typical finish, like the X1
    – fast lens as predicted in rumor
    – high quality of lens (Leica standard)

  • Joachim

    I hope that the new Leica camera has a builtin optical viewfinder (similar to that of the analog Leica CM).

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