The Panasonic Micro Four Thirds (MFT) revolution started out about 3 years ago in October 2008 with the birth of the Lumix DMC-G1, the first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera to descend upon a market filled with greedy photography enthusiasts. Naturally, in that span of time, the Lumix G series has seen a few refreshes to both its lineup and consumer segmentation. During the Panasonic Asia Pacific Lumix G Seminar 2011 in Chiang Mai, we were given some hands-on experience on both the latest DMC-GF3 and DMC-G3 in a form of a shooting tour around the culturally rich Northern Thai city. If you like to get a rough inkling of where both cameras stand compared to their earlier predecessors, make sure to bookmark our earlier preview articles on both G3 and GF3. Otherwise, here's the down low on what was revealed during the conference.
For 2011 and beyond, Panasonic is looking to expand their Lumix G Mirrorless sales through a four-pronged strategy:-
The fourth step is congruent with what was already mentioned in Panasonic's earlier camera launch in New Zealand this year, and highlights the company's focus on establishing new design and UI concepts through stylish and slim camera bodies, advanced touch operation and the evolution of their iA mode.
As part of their strategy and as a result of the market's growing needs, Panasonic has newly segmented their Lumix lineup, starting from the current series on seemingly differing ratios of two main needs - photo quality and compactness of a camera body. The DMC-GH cameras are intended for the high-end users who want the best of both photo quality and sizes. The DMC-G cameras rest comfortably in the middle, looking to target users who still want quality but less heft and more style. Last but not least, the DMC-GF series are for those who are looking primarily at ergonomically compact cameras, with quality as a secondary asset.
A few key takeaway points from the seminar with regards to the G3 and GF3:
Both cameras will also come with an improved iA Plus mode that allows users to freely control color (white balancing) and level of brightness. They will also come with the creative control mode which includes settings like Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia and High Dynamic. The GF3 will also come with an additional Miniature Effect setting. The Lumix G cameras will be complemented with a collection of lenses that cover a wide range of 7mm to 300mm. This includes the newly introduced Leica DG 25mm F1.4 ASPH prime lens and two more new lenses that is slated for release in Autumn 2011.