When Olympus and Panasonic announced their new Micro Four Thirds standard in early August, everyone expected Micro Four Thirds to quickly make its way to point and shoot cameras. That will still likely happen as there are many advantages to using the comparatively huge Four Thirds sensor in P&S cameras to break them out of the technology wall imposed by current resolutions on the tiny P&S sensors.


What was not foreseen was a Panasonic G1 Micro Four Thirds system camera with top-drawer features, 12MP Live MOS sensor, and a 3" tilt-and swivel LCD like the one featured on the Olympus E-1. Most assumed Olympus was the driving force behind Micro Four Thirds, but now it appears Panasonic pushed this standard to market.

In many ways this move really makes sense as Panasonic, who is a major player in other optical imaging, has a miniscule market share in the DSLR market, with DSLRs featuring Leica optics that mount on Olympus/Panasonic Four Thirds mount. It is no secret Panasonic makes the Olympus sensor as well as their own, and Panasonic would dearly love a much larger share of the sensor market than they now have. Sony is their major rival in other optical markets and Sony is dominant in the digital sensor market with only Canon as major competition. Panasonic wants a larger piece of that pie.

What is Micro Four Thirds?
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  • Maxington - Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - link

    "Read the review by dpreview.com

    I haven't see a single bad thing about live view so far. "

    You try panning fast, or pointing into into bright lights, or darkness.

    I've read the Preview of the G1. EVF has advantages, but it also had disadvantages.

    I'd kinda like a hybrid OVF/EVF if I could, sort of a heads-up display where it can overlay histograms and other information, but you can disable it if need be. Of course, that still requires a mirror assembly, so its back to DSLR territory anyhow.
    Reply
  • aeternitas - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    I agree. Thats something they should use as a selling point more than anything else about the camera. Reply
  • aeternitas - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    Them going on and on about how 'smooth' and 'accurate' ect ect this thing is and not mentioning the actual size of the CCD makes me roll my eyes.

    It’s pretty obvious to me this is a stunt to create some new type of camera sector. Compact SLR? Give me a break. That doesn’t even make any sense! By definition you’re going to have a lens, even if prime, that’s not going to fit comfortably in your pocket! Not only that, but if the camera itself is too light the lens will make it unbalanced on a tripod and in hand. I hope they were at LEAST smart enough to put the tripod threading further up closer to the lens itself under the camera, but that doesn’t change the in-hand issue.

    If you think it’s a non-issue then you’re better off with a PoS camera, because SLRs are made to be comfortable through 1000s of images taken in a days’ time. Your hands will start to hurt, and isn’t that kind of contradictory to the purpose of this camera? Comfort? Or is there another purpose? I don’t really understand the point of this.

    Let’s not forget the most important thing; Even the best consumer SLRS with full frame CCDs and superb SnR cannot resolve the resolution of the glass in front of them. What is the POINT of putting glass that even those cameras cannot resolve in front of this? It’s like putting 8GB of ram into a system that can only see 3.5.

    Unless this thing is like 300$, it’s sort of an insult to any photographer with half a wit.
    Reply
  • aeternitas - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    I’d like to correct that the CCD was mentioned, skipped a page. My mistake. My point is made clearer though, as the pixel density is 5. Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    Yes, the pixel density is 4.98 MP/centimeter square as we pointed out, but the New Canon 50D is 4.5 which is not a hyge difference. You missed the point that the P&S densities are 28 to 36 MP per square centimeter which are a huge density difference compared to 4/3.

    In fact all of the APS-C sensors are all but the same when you look at the huge density advantage they hold over the best of today's point-and shoot models. Frankly people need to get past the emotion over the 4/3 sensor size and look at the facts, which are nowhere near the stark picture some like to paint. The 4/3 sensor is 75% the area of the the Canon sensor, and 6 to 8 times larger than the best P&S sensors.
    Reply
  • Ajax9000 - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    "Frankly people need to get past the emotion over the 4/3 sensor size ..."

    Agreed.

    The smaller sensor in FT is claimed to be the equvilant of about 0.5-1 stop slower than the larger sensors in "conventional" dSLRs, but as can be seen with the Zuiko ED 12-60mm, the FT mount can enable faster lenses for a given size -- i.e. negating the supposed disadvantage. Lenses for mFT should be the same or better.

    [quote]
    Olympus ... have taken advantage of the Four Thirds sensor to deliver lenses which, for any given size, weight and cost, simply perform to a higher and more consistent standard than those optimized for larger formats ... The relatively fast maximum aperture (a half to a full stop faster than APS-C equivalents ...), coupled with the excellent wide-open performance, also allows the use of lower ISOs at equivalent light levels for maximum image quality.
    [/quote]
    From http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_12-60_...">http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/olympus_12-60_...
    Reply
  • aeternitas - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    The beef I have with this type of deal is there is no point. Honestly what’s the point? You can’t fit this anywhere a normal DSLR couldn’t go. It’s a diluted mix of SLR and point and shoots taking the worst qualities from each. Too big to be put anywhere advantageous over a normal DSLR and worse than even some of the worst pixel densities in the DSLR market.

    When you say it’s nowhere near the bad picture some people paint, you put yourself in a category of 'good enough'. People that spend 1000$ on glass and camera equipment do not do 'good enough' they do not want gimmicks. This is such a gimmick camera. The only interesting feature with practical use is that the glass is closer to the CCD.

    Like I said, they can word things in a way to make the practical aspects of teh camera that are bad, sound good, but in the end they need to stop it and focus on the true pluses of this design.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    The G1 at least is very similar in dimensions to the superzoom-class P&S cameras, and body-only similar in size to something like the Canon G9. So while this should take a big bite out of the superzoom market (at least once the micro 4/3 14-140 lens drops), I don't really consider it "pocketable". We have a couple of Canon S5IS cameras here in the lab, with the exception of large cargo pockets or maybe a pullover hoodie I don't have any pockets which could hold something that size comfortably. So if I am bringing some sort of camera bag anyway I don't see the problem with stepping up to the smaller traditional DSLRs from Olympus, Canon, Pentax, etc. But it will give Panasonic something different in the marketplace. Reply
  • tdawg - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    Being so small, yet packing potentially high level image quality, would be nice for hiking and camping where one doesn't want to haul a more traditially-sized SLR and lenses, I would think. Also potentially nice for people that like to sneak camera gear into concerts and such. :)

    Personally, I don't like non-optical viewfinders on my SLRs, but as long as it has a viewfinder in addition to the rear LCD, it might not be too bad. The problem is that I can't see myself investing any money in any system other than my current Nikon system, so...
    Reply
  • aeternitas - Monday, September 15, 2008 - link

    "Haul"? Are you serious? This thing maybe weighs 2-300GRAMS less than a proper DSLR. If you can't handle 300grams to take obviously better photography you might as well use your cameraphone with that line of thought. Reply

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