Sony, Panasonic cameras combine small size with SLR features

Sony plans to launch its first camera into the space this year

It's been a year since Panasonic debuted the first digital camera that combined the compactness of a point-and-shoot with the flexibility of interchangeable lenses. The Lumix G1 kick-started a new segment in the camera market, which this week saw a new model from Panasonic and the second showing of a prototype camera from Sony.

The small cameras are aimed at users who want better photos than a compact camera can provide but don't want a larger device. They allow for interchangeable lenses but are smaller because there is no reflexive mirror like that found in SLRs. Right behind the lens is an image sensor that provides both a live preview and captures the image.

"The concept is to give customers a lot of opportunity to use different types of lenses," said Masashi Imamura, president of Sony's personal imaging business. By allowing photographers to change lenses, it's possible to get different effects and more interesting pictures, he said.The cameras use a smaller lens mount than conventional SLRs to remain compact.

Micro Four Thirds, a development from the Four Thirds format, has been adopted by Panasonic and Olympus and that means lenses can be swapped between the two cameras. Sony has gone for a different format although it hasn't yet provided any details about it.

Panasonic's new Lumix G2 camera brings several improvements over the G1. The 12-megapixel G2 will go on sale in Japan on April 28 and among the new features is a 3-inch touch-screen through which the auto-focus can be controlled. By touching the subject on the screen, the camera will adjust its focus.It shoots 720P high-definition video in the AVCHD Lite format, a version of AVCHD for digital cameras.In Japan the camera body alone will cost around ¥80,000 (US$885), and a kit with the camera and a 14-42mm zoom lens will cost an extra ¥10,000. Pricing and availability for other markets hasn't been announced.Sony's first compact camera with interchangeable lens, an unnamed model in its Alpha series, was first unveiled at last month's PMA show in California and is on show in Japan for the first time this week at the Camera and Photo Imaging Show in Yokohama.

Sony hasn't released many details about the camera and the three prototypes on show in Yokohama are positioned away from the hands on event attendees, but that hasn't stopped it from claiming technical superiority. The image sensor in its camera will be bigger than those on Micro Four Thirds cameras so will result in better images, it said.

Sony said the camera should be available sometime this year.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Topics: slr cameras, Panasonic, sony, photography, digital cameras
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?