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Panasonic says: “G5 uses a different sensor than the E-M5”


Panasonic managers Izumi Tomozawa and Atsushi Kato had been interviewed in Taiwan by ePrice (Translation here). This are some of the key info:

1) G5 uses a panasonic sensor, not the same one in E-M5.
2) G5 can be considered as a sort of “GH2.5” according to Panasonic.
3) The 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor in LX7 is not a panasonic sensor, but purchased from another manufacturer.
4) While developing the LX7, there was two options: F1.4 lens with bigger body, and F1.8 lens with the same body size like LX5. In the end they chose to challenge the former one.
5) F2.3 at tel end is, technically, more difficult to achieve then F1.4 at the wide end.

I am surprised to hear they didn’t make the LX7 sensor!


New Panasonic stuff preorders:
Black G5 at Amazon (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here)
Silver G5 at Amazon (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here)
45-150mm lens in Black at BHphoto (Click here) and in Silver at BHphoto (Click here).
LX7 in Black at Amazon (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here) in White at Amazon (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here)
Other compacts, the FZ200 at BHphoto (Click here), the FZ60 at BHphoto (Click here).

  • djmdgk


    • jyzer

      indeed, why this post…

  • explorer76

    Hmm why would it be surprising that LX7 doesn’t have a panasonic sensor when neither LX5 nor LX3 had a Pana sensor? Pretty much everyone uses Sony sensors for P&S cameras. Even canon doesn’t make its own sensors for P&S cameras.

    Lets see if the G5 sensor is an improvement over G3/GH2/GX1 generation or not and if it can catch up with E-M5 sensor. I E-M5 is an expensive camera so it will be great to have that quality of sensor in a cheaper body

    • Duarte Bruno

      Yup, I was about to say the same…

      • spam

        Panasonic used their own sensors in LX3 and LX5 as far as I know. Nobody else has used the 1/1.63 sensors than these models except Olympus XZ1 which (according to rumors) used the LX5-sensor, but not the multiformat feature.

        The only 1/1.7 CMOS sensors I’ve seen so far is Canon’s sensor used in the S100 and the sensor in Samsung EX2f with unkown source. Both is 12MP though, but might fit considering that LX7 has multiformat support and never use the whole sensor at once.

        Sony’s 1/1.7 sensors have been CCD so far, but I’d expect them to make a CMOS backlit one which fit the EX2f-spec. It could of course also the one used in LX7.

  • Bronica

    Not surprised – LX3/LX5 had an unique oversized 1/1.63″ sensor. 1/1.7″ is standard – Sony?

  • Jason

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the G5 has neither a microphone jack nor an option for native 24p video, right? Based on those factors alone I really can’t consider this a “GH2.5”. Can’t wait for that GH3 though, if only in the hopes that the GH2 goes down in price.

    • beautemps

      You lucky just found out what the GH3 will have in plus: microphone jack, 24p video, weathersealed :-) and a little bit faster processor of course.

      • oversized sensor?

        • Napilopez

          The G5 already has an oversized sensor. Same size as the GH2, in fact. It’s just panny seems to have disable the multi-aspect feature for some idiotic reason.

  • ktr

    Well, that G5 has not the same sensor as the OM-D is definitely not a surprise. I just got the next issue of german FotoMagazin in my mailbox and they already made a short hands-on report due to upcoming Photokina (similar to They praised the evolutionary steps (handle, eye sensors, …) and of course the electronic shutter. A detailled test by them will follow.

  • DJS

    The G5 uses the GH2 sensor judging by the overall resolution 4602 x 3456 for both.

    • Bronica

      No – GH2 has a bigger oversized sensor fpr different formats – 18MP.

    • rrr_hhh

      No, not going from the specs announced. The GH2 sensor is a multi aspect sensor; it never uses the whole sensor. The 3:2 and 16:9 formats have a larger pixel count than the 4:3 format. Meanwhile on the G5 the largest pixel count for the longest dimension never increases. The 3:2 and 16:9 formats are just crops of the 4:3 format.

    • Napilopez

      The G5 also has an oversized sensor. It’s 18.3 megapixels total, the same as the GH2. That said, RAW files seem to show it having better IQ, so I’m guessing this sensor is to the GH2 what the GF5 sensor is to the GF3. The difference is that Panasonic has disable the multi-aspect feature of the sensor, probably to not infringe on the GHX’s abilities. Annoying business move. Not any different than them not allowing manual video control for similar reasons.

  • st3v4nt

    G5 sensor is not the same with one in EM-5….? So what’s new after Olympus said the use Sony made sensor for EM-5 it would be strange if Panasonic use the same sensor for their G5. What we want to hear actually something like this…:

    “In order to satisfy the m4/3 community and Panasonic m4/3 camera user we decide to use entirely new sensor that never used before in any G-series camera. It’s not GH-2 reused sensor nor G-3 enhanced sensor it’s entirely new and we challenge DxO mark and any other sensor analyzer out there to compare our new sensor with Sony sensor being used in EM-5 and see if our sensor can match-up or outperform EM-5.”

    • Ojojoh

      According to this earlier report, the G5 does use the same sensor as the GH2:

    • Duarte Bruno

      There have been previous reports that measured DR at base ISO in the G5 has raised between 1EV and 2EV.
      That was the only noticeable gripe with Panasonic sensors. The one in the GH2 competes neck and neck with every APS-C sensor out there in detail and overall IQ, except possibly with NEX-7 AT BASE ISO.

      I don’t need anything more than that, really!

      • Esa Tuunanen

        > The one in the GH2 competes neck and neck with every APS-C sensor
        I guess you missed this real world non benchmark comparison:

        GH2-sensor being better than those old 12MP sensor derivates doesn’t mean it would be that good. All later Sony sensors (used also by Nikon and Pentax) and not just latest 24MP sensor have had high DR.

  • Miroslav

    “I am surprised to hear they didn’t make the LX7 sensor!”

    Indeed. A Sony sensor in a Panasonic? That would be a major surprise and an maybe an explanation on why Olympus turned its back on Pana. Is Panasonic scaling down its sensor production?

    • Daemonius

      Actually it doesnt need to be Sony sensor. Aptina can make similar sized sensor. They make for example one in Nikon 1.

  • rune

    I a confused, why should the G5 NOT have the same sensor as the G3 and/or the GX1? Was there an announcement for it?

    • Li Hua

      Maybe nothing obvious progress had made on the G5 sensor compare to the one on the G3/GX1 besides becoming a “digital” sensor, so they though that’s not worth to hold a annoucement for it?

      • Panasonic announced from the beginning, that the G5 is built around a 16MP LiveMOS sensor “that hasn’t been used in a G-series camera before”. GX1 and GF5 cameras have already improved sensor circuitry over GH2 that doesn’t block as much light entering the photosite. In the new G5 they went further by moving some of the signal processing closer to photosites, decreased the read-noise and increased the quantum efficiency. The placement of the ADC on-chip preserves analog signal by digitizing it earlier in the processing chain. The image processor and the internal bus connectivity speed were redesigned in the G5, providing a silent electronic shutter that are also capable of 1080p video recording.

        • Esa Tuunanen

          > GX1 and GF5 cameras have already improved sensor circuitry over GH2
          GF5’s sensor performance is yet firmly unknown so forget what ever marketing excrements you’ve read. Job of marketing is legalized cheating and lying so considering they surely want GF5’s sensor to be cheap to manufacture it might even be just same old 12MP sensor tweaked for lower noise and faster read out speed.

          Again G3/GX1 sensor is obviously derivate of old 12MP sensor with similar limited maximum dynamic range.
          Neither it’s SNR/noise results are better than GH2 sensor’s in DxO.
          Which actually fits entirely to what is observable with eyes in Dpreview’s studio scene comparison when selecting RAW bypassing different quality demosaicing and processing algorithms: Detail/noise levels are essentially similar except at ISO12800 where GX1 is better just like in DxO’s results.

          And what might be new in G-serie might not be that in GH.
          That newer more modern design with fewer analog steps in signal chain and faster data transfer between pixels and processor is exactly feature of GH-serie sensor design needed for its video capabilities with simultaneous full res stills. That was told by one Panasonic representative in one interview as difference to sensors of G/GF series.
          Of course it sounds better for marketing to say that G5 has everything new.

          • Napilopez

            Esa, statements about the GF5’s performance are such because reviews of it have clearly shown it to perform better than the old GF3… There are plenty of reviews out already. Check the RAWs yourself.

            That said, the G5 has already been pointed out to be an upgraded GH2 sensor.

          • Nobody said that everything in G5 is entirely new, as it is with any camera upgrades. Also consider that some of the sensor design changes may give very small effects in standard operation modes, but benefit in others. For example, you mentioned the ISO12800, which is an extreme mode of sensor operation depending strongly on the noise floor (a combination of the sensor read noise, analog-to-digital conversion limitations, and amplifier noise). All the major sensor manufactures went in the direction of improvement of the noise floor characteristics at high ISOs, which may have no effect at low ISO.
            The first images obtained with Panasonic G5 appears to confirm that its sensor show better characteristics at high ISOs.

  • scooby70

    As stated/predicted by a well known blogger, I see nothing here to reverse Panasonics declining market share.

    Yawnfest. There’s nothing here that’ll get my money but Panny are at least lucky in that some other competitor systems seem to be at least as moribund and possibly more so.

  • It appears that the Panasonic is downscaling the sensor manufacturing. Probably the R&D too. That can’t be good.

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