Thursday, 7 April 2016

News and Rumour Thursday: Panasonic, Think Tank and Lytro

In this week's summary:
  • Micro43s: Panasonic releases a camera with three different names around the world.
  • Think Tank: Announces their largest rolling case yet.
  • Lytro: Lytro quits the consumer market.


I was wrong that the next camera from Panasonic should be a GM5 replacement - and instead we have the GX85/GX80/GX7 Mark II. In the US, it's called the GX80, in Japan it's the GX7 Mark II, and in the rest of the world it's the GX85 (which I will refer to it by).

In many ways, I like the idea of the GX85. It's marginally smaller than the Olympus Pen-F, and considerably smaller than its big brother, the GX8. It offers some of the goodies we've come to expect from Panasonic like their excellent DFD (Depth From Defocus) AF, 4K video and, a first for Panasonic, 5-axis Dual image stabilsation combining optical (2-axis) and sensor (5-axis). The IS will work with both video and shooting, but no word if it can work when manually focusing lenses.

It also features a new electromagnetic shutter, which is supposed to reduce the effect of shutter shock. However, according to DPReview:
Panasonic, rather cautiously, only says that the new shutter reduces shake, not that it eliminates it. We're told that an electronic first-curtain shutter, would require faster sensor read-out.
But, like anything, there are some negatives. The GX85 misses out on the newer sensor used in The GX8/Pen-F, and is using the old 16MP sensor presumably used in GM1/GX7 etc. However, it now has no AA filter - which still only puts it in a similar class to the Olympus E-M1.

Although the camera has wi-fi, Panasonic has once again opted to omit NFC. Having used NFC on the Sony cameras, I think this is a big mistake as the lack of NFC makes connecting your phone to your camera much more of a chore.

For video enthusiasts, although the camera supports 4K video with 5-axis IBIS, but there is no headphone or microphone jack. You also don't get any of the Panasonic flat video modes. Since they have it as a paid option for the GH4, it would be nice to be able to optionally pay for V-log on this camera too.

You could argue this camera is more a stills camera, and that video users should look at GH4/G7. However, if that's the case, why does it come with a 16:9 aspect ratio viewfinder? That's a really odd choice of viewfinder aspect ratio for a Micro 43s camera, even a video-centric model.

On the plus side, the official specifications on the Panasonic Australia website do show you can select 24p or 25p, it isn't restricted to just the NTSC models.

If this had come out at the same time as the E-M1 instead of the GX7, it would have been just enough to steer me into the Panasonic camp. It will be interesting to see how it fares in the coming more in depth reviews - and what Panasonic offers next in the GM range.

DPReview: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 offers 16MP sensor with no AA filter, redesigned shutter mechanism
DPReview: Small but mighty: hands on with the Panasonic GX85/GX80

No word as yet on the rumoured new Panasonic Leica 12mm lens.

Think Tank

Some thought this was an April fool's joke - but it seems to be a legitimate product with just a poor choice of announcement date. Apparently the Production Manager 50 is supposed to manage the gear it would take two assistants to manage - but I suspect you'd need two assistants to move this beast around.


Quite predictable for some, but Lytro is leaving the consumer market behind to focus on VR technologies. The business case and rational behind it is quite an interesting read (from a business point of view).

I always thought their Lytro Illum looked like quite an interesting product if could be bought cheaply enough. That is, until I saw one in real life - it is simply massive compared to my expectations.

DPReview: Lytro CEO confirms exit from consumer photography business, focus on VR

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