by Ian Burley
A few questions answered about the first Micro Four Thirds camera from Panasonic Lumix just prior to its initial availability
- 30th October 2008: Olympus announces lens firmware updates for G1 compatibility
The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, the first ever Micro Four Thirds camera, will be available in a matter of days, but there are a few unknowns about the camera that we have sought to answer, especially if you are an existing Four Thirds camera user thinking of investing in a G1. Here are a few for starters:
Pricing and Availability
First shipments of the new Lumix G camera from Panasonic should be arriving in the UK before the end of this month, with availability from the beginning of NOvember. It's expected that the camera with, with the standard kit lens, will have a guide price of £599, but the actually street price will be anyone's guess. The 45-200 zoom has a guide price of £329. Dealers are likely to offer the 45-200 (90-400 equivalent) with the G1 boday and standard zoom at a discounted kit price.
The US price is $799 for the body and standard zoom.and $349 for the 40-200 tele zoom. See the official US press release for more details.
Autofocus via adapter with Four Thirds lenses
We believe that a total of seven Digital Zuiko and Panasonic Leica D lenses, that are designed for contrast-detect live view AF will work normall on the G1. These are:
- Leica D Vario Elmar 14-50mm f/3.8-5.6 (the Panasonic DMC-L10 standard zoom kit lens)
- Leica D Vario Elmar 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6
- Leica D Summilux 25mm f/1.4
- Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 (E-4x0 and E-5x0 standard zoom kit lens)
- Olympus Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f/4-5.6
- Olympus Zuiko Digital 25mm f/2.8
- Olympus Zuiko Digital 9-18mm f/4-5.6*
* We assume the Zuiko 9-18 will work, as it is live-view AF enabled for Olympus bodies, but haven't had official word from Olympus or Panasonic.
For these lenses to work normally on a G1, they must have the latest firmware installed. It's now possible for any Four Thirds lens to be firmware updated from any of the latest Four Thirds camera bodies. We ran a news release recently covering this development.
Manual focus only for all other Four Thirds lenses
The disappointing news is that you will only be able to manually focus all other Four Thirds lenses. Panasonic has decided not to implement a similar solution to Olympus' 'hybrid' live view AF, where contrast detect AF does its best to focus the lens in live view, but does a final phase detect AF action just prior to exposure. To be fair, as the G1 has no phase detect facility it's not easy to achieve the full utility of the Olympus solution. But an enhancement to manual focus by getting close to accurate focus, as hybrid live view AF does, would have been useful.
Manual focus confirmation
The G1 will not feature a highlighted AF point for manual focus confirmation. I'm told that this is something that could be considered for the future, but for now, users will have to rely on automatic magnification of the focus point area for critical manual focus. In fact this works quite well with the excellent electronic viewfinder.
No wireless flash support
I'm told that Panasonic has not adopted the Olympus R-series of remote wireless flash functionality with the G1. I'd expect an R-Series Olympus FL flash unit to work on a G1, but only in the standard modes offered by pre R-series units.
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