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(FT4) Panasonic to kick in the butt of Nikon on Friday?


Our friends over at Digitalcamerainfo (Click here) confirmed that the new Panasonic lenses will be announced on Friday afternoon (Tokyo time). I am still waiting to get more details from sources. All I know is that the lenses are quite a revolution in the sense that the lenses will be extremely compact. I think Panasonic’s goal is to kick in the butt of the upcoming new Nikon mirrorless camera. As you know those cameras are rumored to have a smaller than Micro Four Thirds sensor in order to allow a more ocmpact lens design. But it looks like Panasonic has been able to make the 14-42mm and 45-175mm zoom lenses smaller than the Nikon expected. Imagine if the rumors are true. Micro Four Thirds could have a larger sensor (which theoretically should allow a higher image quality) and smaller lenses! If that turns out to be true than Nikon may made a mistake?

Tomorrow Sony and Nikon will announce their new mirrorless cameras and lenses. You can follow the news on Mirrorlessrumors!

  • I thought about NIKON’s move, too, and came to the following thoughts:

    NIKON doesn’t really WANT to build and sell mirrorless system cameras because their main interest is to protect their DSLRs and continue to profit from their reputation and expertise in THAT market. On the other hand they cannot afford to ignore the rapidly growing mirrorless system market. Therefore, they can only extend their product line-up by a camera type that does
    1) Not cannibalize NIKONs DLSRs
    2) Attract some customers that move up from the compact segment and would otherwise consider Sony’s NEW, a GFx or PEN-PL type of product. Means small housing, small sensor, good but not excellent image quality.

    With such a line-up they can keep the MFT breed fenced at both ends (that is what NIKON might think, not my opinion).

    • I don’t think Nikon is going into mirrorless wholeheartedly and will end up confusing it’s customers and we all know a confused customer doesn’t buy…

    • mpgxsvcd

      Unless they make a zoom lens the length of a pancake it really doesn’t matter. They can make the barrel diameter as small as they want to. If it won’t fit in a pocket the size really won’t matter.

      I don’t believe these lenses will be short enough to fit in a pocket so what is the point? Even if they are as small as the collapsible Olympus lenses they are still way too big to be carried in a pocket. There are already nice small carrying cases that fit the current zoom lenses. Making slightly smaller lenses will just mean that you have a slightly smaller lens in the same case.

      • I think you’re missing a point. The sensor size is close enough to C mount that you can use existing C mount lenses to compare with, I think. In theory, the lenses could be very small. In practice, I don’t know, as I’ve yet to see anything other than optical formulas on them.

    • Sorry, but when Nikon comes into mirrorless, they will come into mirrorless full force. Nikon needs to sell 20m+ cameras and lenses in the current year. They won’t get there by just selling existing DSLRs or Coolpix, and neither new DSLR nor any of the regular Coolpix that are coming will get them there, either. They’ve thought this through. They just haven’t told you anything.

      FWIW, the Nikon mirrorless system will launch with four lenses.

      • Not really, unless they are bringing something new to the party such as camera apps …which they are not.
        Who will buy them, coolpix upgraders? Nikon DSLR owners looking for a 2nd camera? Disgruntled micro four thirds owners?
        In fact it will aid Panasonic and Olympus by validating the micro four thirds systems.
        If Nikon had been doing any thinking in the last four years they would be the apple/htc of the camera world instead of the nokia.

        • BornOptimist

          The seriousness of Nikon is revealed by the dates on the patents which they have filed for the new system. They dates back to 2005-2006, so this is not something they have just started with last year. When it’s introduced it could very well be on the 3rd iteration, like Panasonic/Olympus (and they are still on 1st generation tech.). I believe, like Thom Hogan, that Nikon will hit this marked with a broadside, and the m43 community will notice it more than NEX/NX marked. Also Nikon will sell a whole bunch just on the name alone.

        • Yup. Nikon DSLR owners looking for a second camera will look to Nikon before they look elsewhere.
          Ultimately it will come down to the size of the package. We’ve all heard people who don’t think that m4/3 is sufficiently smaller than an APS-C DSLR to warrant the loss of quality.
          This Nikon system sounds like it will be a LOT smaller when lenses are taken into account.
          M4/3 is a guess at what size suits most people. This is just a different guess.
          Time will tell who is right, but I seriously doubt it will be a flop.

    • Mr. Reeee

      Nikon is the new Microsoft…
      … going under, under Ballmer? ;-)

  • Chris

    If true, that would be quite the turn-up for the books: imagine argumentative (m)43 users going ‘they’ve got a tiny sensor but the lenses are about the same size – what’s the point of this crippled system?’ ;-)

    • atlantropa

      In italian this is called “contrappasso dantesco“!

      • Chris

        Excellent, thank you! Now if a similar situation crops up I can make colleagues believe I have a veneer of Continental sophistication!:-)

        • atlantropa

          I’m the one who has to thank the other – found your post very witty indeed.
          Oh, and please, do not think I’m a somewhat an intellectual: here in Italy studying Dante’s Inferno is compulsory @ secondary school.
          Ciao, Rocco.

  • Supposing they really made something revolutionary (and i have my doubts about that, when was the last time we saw something really revolutionary in the camera business?) and bring a high IQ, ultra compact zoom for m43…what would prevent any other manufacturer from doing the same? Are there any propietary licenses in use? I guess we’d know by now…so…i’m quite a bit skeptic about this, just in the same way i was skeptic about Oly coming up with a new sensor with high DR and great ISO performance on E-P3 (we already know what happened then, lol).

  • even though that advantage here, nikon has a very well known name in the market, which could still mean many people would stick with nikon instead of going to panasonic.

  • I wonder if they are going to go with something like Canon’s “Diffractive Optics”: which are, essentially, Fresnel lenses, although much more sophisticated.

    I’m waiting for metamaterial lenses with negative refractive indices. Lenses made from those would be really interesting.

    • Ahem

      Canon’s? Diffractive optics have been around for decades, and Canon is not the only one playing with that.

    • you forget the ceramic optics

  • Nathan

    I think it’s obvious that Nikon has made a mistake with their sensor size. It doesn’t have to be APS-C, but theirs is a little too small. Pentax is the one who’s really blundered in this segment with a tiny (even for a compact) sensor.

  • Henrik

    In the rumors and announcements here, anything new from Panasonic and Oly will be revolutionary – to say the least, actually it will be mega-galactic. If then in the test it fails, as it regularly does, who cares.

  • Not likely. Nikon’s lenses are quite small, as in hold multiple ones in one hand simultaneously small.

    Panasonic’s announcement is likely to be a two-way thrust: get back to size parity (or better) with Olympus plus move further down the video compatibility path. It really shows the competing goals that Panasonic has put on itself. It needs zooms that are GF3 sized, and it needs lenses that more GH3 video forward.

    • “hold multiple ones in one hand simultaneously small” I do that anyway while shooting with micro four lenses and will have a lensbaby composer in my small shirt pocket too, no need to walkabout with 2 cameras and I can trust the Supersonic Wave Filter to do it’s job nicely.

      • There’s a difference between the words “with” and “in.” I can generally hold two m4/3 lenses “with” one hand (not if one is the 100-300mm ;~).

        • so instead of been able to hold 3 micro four thirds lenses (7-14mm,8mm and 14-140mm) in one hand as well as one attached to the camera (25mm Leica original)and a lens baby composer in my shirt pocket, with a nikon mirrorless I will be able to hold how many in my hand? ( not that I can see much use to be using 5+ lenses in the one scenario in quick succession…

    • If true I think Nikon has chosen the proper crop factor for them. I view NEX and m4/3’s as DSLR replacements, but if the rumors are true about Nikon’s mirrorless camera then that could be a perfect compliment to their users that want a travel camera to go along with their Nikon DSLR. That said, it could still be a tough sale if their camera/lens system isn’t significantly smaller than m4/3’s. But then again, I have no brand loyalty, I don’t care what logo is on the front. Seems like most Cankion users I encounter seem to buy one or the other simply because of the brand.

  • NativeFloridian

    After digesting the last few days of rumors… the following words have been used to describe the new panasonic lenses: “pro”, very compact, high resolution, inexpensive, OIS, internal focus, and power zoom.

    Chance of all of these being true… ZERO. I will wait for the announcement. I am hoping for an inexpensive “kit quality” zoom lenses that prioritizes compactness. I believe these type lenses are needed for the system to grow, as the average consumer appears to prefer zooms and are not willing to spend more on a lens than their original investment in the camera.

    • Jón

      NativeFloridian is correct. Pick any two: Compact, Zoom, Bright. or Bright, Cheap, Compact.

  • bart b

    Mirrorless is not the main goal of Nikons new image sensor, Coolpix is the maingoal for the new sensor.

    All other Coolpix models use the same size sensors you can find in your smartphone, nobody is going to buy Coolpix if the quality of smartphone imagesensors improves. The new Coolpix cameras will have the larger beter image quality sensor wich Nikon will use for the first time in their mirrorless camera.

    4/3sensor are to big to be used in ultra small cameras. so it’s still a good move off Nikon. Oly and Pany will not be able to compete with Nikon in the small camera markets :-)

    • Agent00soul

      There is no magic with Nikon’s 30% smaller sensor size. There is a diminishing return when you go smaller. Motors for AF, aperture etc. and lens contacts are the same size, regardless of sensor size. So Nikon’s lenses won’t be 30% smaller than m4/3 lenses.

  • uth


    is there any news about GH3 or new camera in this friday? or just lenses??

    • admin

      Just lenses!

      • uth


  • rUY

    No Way, Nikon is not a threat yet. I wish if Nikon can do better.

  • bilgy_no1

    If true, this would be funny:

    Sony created the NEX’s just to undermine m4/3 becoming a standard sensor size for mirrorless cameras.

    Panasonic creates two lenses just to undermine smaller than m4/3 sensors entering the market.

    This is business chess at Master levels, and a great show to watch…

    • Rutrem

      me to.
      if i have to choose a FF frame camera it would be a Nikon, and for APS-c also Nikon or Pentax. Much better build quality than Canon.
      I think this mirrorless would not bring much to this segment of cameras

  • Duarte Bruno

    What I really wanna know is…
    Are you gonna go my way?

    Sorry that wasn’t it!
    What I really wanna know is…
    When, will it go kit (with which cameras), how much?

  • Roy G

    You can’t discount trust. Pros aren’t going to jump ship to Olympus and Panasonic because of 4/3. They may buy one as an emergency camera but they’re not going to drop their pro Canons and Nikons. Some go for the Canon G because it is in the family, or they will wait it out and see what Canon and Nikon do with their mirrorless/ICL lines. I wouldn’t call it kicking butt unless you are referring to a rather small market, and I’d give it about five years to make that call.



    • MikeH


      I’m not sure that we all know the question you want to ask, what is it again? ;)

  • Rutrem

    is Nikon building another dead end line?
    well, if is true that Nikon mirrorless camera would have a half smaller sensor than 4/3 sensor, and that would not be possible to use DX and FX lenses on it?!
    who the hell is going to buy this thing!???
    why spend more to buy a mirrorless camera +lenses that u will not be able to use on a Nikon DSLR(APS-c or FF), if u get a little better image that a superzoom camera??? Or u can buy a NEX or GF or PEN camera with much longer upgrade path and much better image quality???!!!
    Nikon cheap dSLR D3100 sound like a much better choice…well not if u plan to buy a FF dSLR in the future, than the DX line of lenses would be usless on FF sensor…
    well its smells like a flop to me.

  • Mirrorless

    Small sensor is always a mistake. If I want crappy pictures I can use my pocket camera.

  • Mungozan

    They are not going to kick anybody´s butt if the rumor about “power zoom” design is true. Motor-operated zoom simply _will not_ be as good as regular manual zoom ring. Canon tried this years ago and failed miserably. As will Panasonic if they take that path. Period.

    • Unless there will also be at least a fly-by-wire ring for manual zooming. Let’s hope.

    • Scott

      Not if its for their video. Pwer zoom will attract videographers who are use to the typical video camera

    • Michael Meissner

      It really depends on the situation. I often times find myself shooting one handed (other hand is usually holding something such as a shopping bag or walking staff), and I shoot one handed. It was one of the areas that I find shooting with certain point and shoot cameras trumps shooting with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

      With my C-2100UZ, having a 10x zoom, I could let the camera dangle from the wrist strap if I needed my right hand, but I could bring the camera up to my eye to see the electronic viewfinder, zoom, and shoot and put down my hand, often before my subject had any idea that I was shooting. Now, if you have the standard DSLR two handed stance, everybody knows you are about to take the picture, and freezes up.

      • power zoom has massive uses for video, until you have tried then you won’t realise.
        As for power zoom I imagine it could be useful for sports photographers and journalists, maybe even wedding photographers doing reportage.
        But the power zoom rocker/button really needs to be on the camera body otherwise you’ll end up pushing the lens as you press the rocker/button (unless camera is on a very very firm tripod) and will be awkward for left handed users…

    • Rutrem

      Canon has donne also the first camera with a semi transparent mirror in 80s and failed…so if Canon fails this dont mean that the others manufacturers cant do better.
      Sonys translucent mirror dslrs are nice cameras.

  • Scott

    Nikon is real conservative with new ideas. Look how long it took them to join the digital slr game. When they saw digital taken over they booted fuji and took over their own digital cameras and now they are the leader

  • MikeMill

    I believe the main reason why Nikon decided to go for 2.7 crop is they do not want to make their mirrorless competitive with their current DSLR line.

    I kept thinking until recently that m43 should have had a bit larger sensor, but now I think it is actually the best size.

    • Agrivar

      Yes.. just look at the NEX. Larger APS-C sensor. But huge lenses. Nikon’s 2.7 x crop will mean smaller lenses, but IQ and low light performance will also be more like a compact.. so i’d rather buy an LX5 or XZ-1 than a 2.7x crop nikon mirrorless..

      m4/3 is still the best compromise IMHO..

      • Four by Six

        I agree that 2X crop seems to be the best compromise. Having said that, though, I don’t think the rumored 2.7x crop of Nikon will be a performance killer. XZ-1’s have a crop of 4.7x! If you look at the actual lens elements of the m43 lenses, boy they are small. I am excited to see how much Pany will be able to shrink them. I’ve have often stared at the 20mm pancake and wondered how small a manual focus version could have been made!

        • babbit

          I agree. It all depends on the lens that Nikon releases. If they are high quality and fast, then you can shoot at low ISO and can still get shallow DOF. That can negate many benefits of the larger M43 sensor. That’s exactly how M43 is a better system than the NEX line right now, the lens are the equalizer against the larger APS-C sensor.

          • Joel

            I am not sure though how much smaller than lenses like the 14/2.5 and 20/1.7 Nikon is going to get and still make them usable for people who like the MF override on their lenses… As it is the 14/2.5 is really tiny, I don’t see much advantage in shrinking it more.. Zoom lenses may end up being smaller will have to wait and see on that front, though DOF control will be an issue with 2.7 crop and slow zooms..

  • NativeFloridian

    Whether they realize it or not, I believe the average consumer is looking for one main thing when they upgrade from a point-and-shoot digital camera… the ability to take pictures in suboptimal lighting conditions (i.e. indoors).

    IMO, Micro four-thirds passes this litmus test ONLY with their faster lenses (i.e. 20mm pancake). Can the new Nikon pass this test with its presumably ‘better’ sensor tech (better high ISO)? Can it take indoor photos with a smaller form factor? If the answer is yes, then Nikon has a winner. If the answer is no, there is very little advantage for the average consumer to upgrade to the new Nikon format.

  • kukuku

    why not sony’s butt? is it too large for pana to kick? :)

    • Boot


  • Panasonic kicking Nikon’s ass? Maybe not tonight, admin.
    The name “Nikon” alone is worth two stops in some countries. Nikon will do very well with its mirrorless system whatever flaws it suffers from. It may form a more natural upgrade option from compacts than m4/3, which is still conceived by many enthusiasts as an experimental adventure led by two small manufacturers. Those people have been using Nikon and Canon’s reluctance to join the mirrorless game as evidence to immaturity and bad performance. Now that Nikon is supposed to have been developing its own mirrorless system many will choose to adopt it as a second camera option rather than settle for m4/3.

    • Boooo!

      So, the name “Nikon” is worth two stops, but the small sensor negates it, which means overall same performance as m4/3…? ;)

      • Joel

        Sadly if it has a Sony sensor it will probably have similar noise and DR to the u4/3 sensors.. I think the sensors are good enough and am happy even with the ep3 sensor, but if you want to compare stats Sony can produce sensors with the same or higher pixel density but still better noise and DR than Panasonic can produce..

  • Miroslav

    The more I think about how these lenses could work, the more I come to the conclusion that Panasonic has achieved more compact design by eliminating mechanical parts needed for zooming and making some small inside element that does all the moving. That’s the only way they could be smaller and that’s why they have power zoom – not because of video, but to keep the size down.

    So the answer to kesztió’s “DO THESE LENSES HAVE MANUAL ZOOM RING?” is probably “NO”.

    Two days to go…

  • mma173

    a high tech sensor used in conjunction with Nikon’s excellent software, will diminish any size advantages that M43s have; except for DOF (Judging based on the current M43s sensors)

    • flash

      Nikon software in their compacts leaves much to be desired. Olympus may have a lot wrong but it makes very good JPEGS which is essential in the compact camera market.

      Isn’t the really small camera market mostly dead now, that cell phones have small cameras on them? There soon will be cell phones with even better cameras. This is what has been causing a lot of financial trouble with the traditional camera companies.

      • mma173

        You are right about Nikon compacts but it’s highly likely that their mirrorless cameras will have a software that is similar to the one in their DSLRs.

        Regarding in-camera processing engines, both Olympus and Nikon are excellent and I do prefer the former. However, if Nikon get Sony sensors as usual, which are IMO are way better than Panasonics, they will be able to make images that are of a similar or even better quality in a smaller camera/lens combo.

  • Joel

    I find it interesting that in the DSLR market most people standardised on 1.5 crop and 4/3 went for something smaller but now in the mirrorless market we are all over the place..

    u4/3 is around the middle of the pack with Sony going bigger, Nikon going smaller and Pentax well they are off on their own planet.. It is actually going to make it rather difficult to directly compare them for many people who seem to only rely on measurable figures to compare systems (DR, noise levels, resolution etc)..

    I think, especially with the newer lenses coming out (mostly primes), that u4/3 is going to be a good compromise between size and image quality, but if Nikon has a smaller sensor with better DR Panasonic is going to have to lift their game in that regard and maybe Olympus will have to look elsewhere for their sensors..

    • flash

      The market place (not us) seems to look at advertisements, color of camera and price.

      I look at price, build quality, price, and performance. In that order. Needs all three thought. Most here I think look at performance, price and build quality. I have been amazed at the lack of build quality on some of the current camera offerings that are popular on the forums.

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    he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a number of websites
    for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform.
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  • Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis.
    It’s always interesting to read through articles from other authors and practice a little something from other web sites.

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