Instead of adding a larger sensor, changing the form factor, adding body-based stabilization, or making the body itself smaller, Panasonic added a touchscreen interface to one of its two new cameras. Both new Lumix cameras are entry-level-side additions to the Micro Four Thirds line, and they both offer built-in pop-up flashes.
Panasonic Lumix G2 gets a touchscreen
The Panasonic Lumix G2 is the touchscreen Micro Four Thirds camera, offering the same DSLR-like form factor and articulating LCD screen as last year’s Lumix DMC-GH1. On the inside, however, the camera is more like the relatively compact Lumix DMC-GF1, offering the same 12-megapixel Live MOS sensor and the ability to record 720p high-definition video in both AVCHD Lite and MPEG-4 formats.
The 3-inch swiveling touchscreen can be used to perform complex tasks such as slowly transitioning the focus between two points while shooting video or selecting an on-screen object for motion-tracking autofocus. Touch-to-focus, an on-screen touch shutter button, and touch-controlled playback are also among the UI’s bag of tricks. All those features can also be controlled via physical buttons on the camera.
The Lumix DMC-G2 will replace Panasonic’s first Micro Four Thirds system camera, the Lumix DMC-G1, and will be available in blue, red, and black. Although pricing and availability haven’t been finalized, Panasonic said the camera is expected to cost around $800 as a kit and will ship in May or June.
The entry-level Panasonic Lumix G10
The other new announcement is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10, which is the company’s new entry-level Micro Four Thirds system camera. It lacks the touchscreen and articulating LCD of the G2, as well as the dedicated video-record button and AVCHD Lite movie recording (the G10 records 720p high-definition video as MPEG-4 files only).
Panasonic says the new lens included with both cameras is a bit lighter and easier to control for novice users; the optical image stabilization control has been removed from the side of the lens, and the stabilization function can be turned on or off using the in-camera menu.
The Lumix DMC-G10 will be available in black. Although pricing and availability isn’t official, it’s expected to cost around $600 as a kit and ship this summer.