Observers knew the pickings would be limited at this year’s PMA. After the rush of announcements at last fall’s Photokina there wasn’t too much left for PMA some 5 months later. However, the actual announcements turned out to be even thinner than anyone expected.

Notable no-shows were the Canon replacement for the $8000 Professional 1Ds Mark III, which Canon says has a sensor outperformed by the sensor in the $2700 5D Mark II, and Sony’s replacement for the A700, rumored to be called the A800. Both were expected at PMA and their absence started their own buzz among show-goers.

These are tough economic times around the world, and even the robust interchangeable lens digital camera market is seeing sales declines in the last few months. This is obviously having an impact on camera sales, and manufacturers are more cautious in the costly development of new models.

The one area where new models were not lacking is in the Olympus/Panasonic four-thirds sensor cameras. The only two new interchangeable lens cameras were both 4/3 sensor – although the Olympus E-620 represents the continuing evolution of the Olympus 4/3 line, and the Panasonic GH1 represents the High Definition Video promise of the micro 4/3 line.

Olympus E-620
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  • Flyboy27 - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    Are there any lenses for micro 4/3 cameras besides the kit lenses. I can't find anything. All I see are regular 4/3 lenses. Are they compatible?
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    Panasonic also announced the LUMIX G VARIO 7-14mm/F4.0 ASPH lens introduction at PMA 2009. That brings the micro four-thirds lenses to four so far. The 7-14mm is equivalent to a 14-28mm lens on a 35mm.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    You might want to refer back to the Panasonic G1 launch article at"> where we discuss the technology, accessories, and roadmap in more detail.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    There are currently 3 Micro four-thirds lenses and all three have optical imaging stabilization with Mega O.I.S. In addition to the 14-140mm HD kit lens for the GH1, there is the $349 MSRP 45-200mm OIS and the G1 kit lens 14-45 OIS. Many more Micro 4/3 lenses are planned.

    Four-thirds lenses from Olympus, Leica, Panasonic and Sigma will work on the micro four-thirds mount with an adapter. Some fully support contrast detect AF and some do not. You can see a complete list of 4/3 lenses at Olympus. The Panasonic DMW-MA1 micro 4/3 adapter is available for around $169 at Amazon and other vendors. I have seen it advertised as low as $104.

    One of the lenses that works perfectly with the adapter on micro 4/3 is the Leica 25mm f/1.4. I also have used the micro 4/3 mount 45-200mm, which is equivalent to a 90-400mm 35mm lens and it is very good quality with useful image stabilization.

    A new adapter for micro 4/3 was just introduced for Leica M lenses. There are also adapters that will allow you to mount many other lenses like Canon, Nikon, Pentax, etc. on the micro 4/3 but they will be manual focus on the G1 and GH1.
  • extra - Friday, March 13, 2009 - link

    "Some fully support contrast detect AF and some do not."

    Yeah, most of them don't. However, the good news is this: Panasonic is on the ball here. With how on top of things they have been with their camera line up, they are clearly very focused on their imaging division at the corporate level.

    What this means is that you can pretty much count on there being a full lineup of great lenses from them. It's not going away. I wouldn't worry about the lenses that may be available in the future as long as you can live with what they've got now. Also, their lenses are optically quite good, even the kit ones~!
  • SuperflyDK - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    Quote: "However, in a very un-entry move, the 5 center AF points are all double-cross – sensitive to both horizontal and vertical. The entry competition has at best one center cross-point..."

    The Canon competition has this as well, so now there are 2 manufactures with 7 (or Canon 9) crosssensitive autofocus points in the upper prosumersegment.
    Both the Canon EOS 40D and the 50D has a 9 point crosssensitive AF.

    Cool regards,
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    The E-620 is entry, not upper prosumer, and nothing from Canon or Nikon in the entry area (XSi, XS, D60) has multiple AF cross-points that I am aware of. The XSi/XS has 9/7 AF points with only the center as double-cross. The D60 has 3 points and I don't think any of them are cross-point though the center one may be.

    The E-620 competes at entry and it is not really fair to compare it to mid-range Canon's like the 40D/50D. The Olympus E-30 competes in that market, and it has 11 AF cross-points in two planes (44 total AF points).
  • extra - Friday, March 13, 2009 - link

    Correct. *HOWEVER* there is a lot more to auto focus than simply being able to detect contrast in multiple directions. Having those multiple cross-type sensors doesn't automatically mean that the af on this thing is going to be better than canon or nikon af. Also remember that 4/3 is a much smaller sensor than aps-c. So I wouldn't get too excited about this thing yet, reserve judgment until more people have gotten to play with it.
  • teldar - Sunday, March 15, 2009 - link

    I believe he was replying to the inaccurate statement made by a previous poster. And since HE would be the person reviewing the camera for DT (he he is able to get a review sample) he would probably be the one who is most knowledgable and reliable about its performance if/when it's reviewed.
  • finbarqs - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    From panasonic's anouncement, they said that the camera will deliver full 1920x1080p video @ 24fps with full exposure controls

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