Saturday, November 5, 2011

Panasonic GX1 Soundly Disappoints (UPDATE)

Basically full information the Panasonic GX1 has leaked. Considering that excitement over this camera is very low, I'm guessing that this was a corporate sponsored "leak." (UPDATE: A full announcement has been made. My impressions are at the bottom of the post.)

This impression is further cemented by the fact that the video has yet to be taken down. If this is the case, Panasonic should be very worried. This video has been on YouTube for over twelve hours as of this writing and has fewer than 300 views (UPDATE: The video has since appeared on Gizmodo and Engadget and has rocketed up to 13,000 views). Not like this is a big shock. Absolutely nothing about the camera pushes boundaries. In fact, the camera doesn't even keep up with the proverbial Joneses. All of the hardware is years old. The sensor is over a year old, every feature from the touch screen to autofocus is two or even three years old. And, as with the ridiculous E-P3, these bits of technology were only competitive when they were released. Now, they are downright pathetic.

I am pissed off because Panasonic apparently thinks that this camera is a worthwhile replacement for the GF1, which the enthusiasts adored. It is not. If they sold this camera for less than $400, I would buy it. But no. Instead, they are insane enough to say that this camera will be worth $800. While I will happily admit that good photos do not require sharpness in the way that they require color and dynamic range, I love sharp lenses. It increases my flexibility to cut and crop which is very important for someone who photographs parties a great deal. That said, the wonderful lenses of Micro 4/3 are having an increasingly hard time offsetting the horrible cameras coming out of the pipe. The new Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 for Sony's NEX cameras shows that Sony cares, and I am not far away from making the jump.


And she is official. Panasonic has announced the GX1 and the first images are hitting the interwebpipes. The in-camera image processing appears to have finally caught up with Olympus, so that's a plus. Saturation retention is also good. I can't make any assessments about dynamic range or overall color since that can only be determined in post. Other than that, detail drop off after ISO 800 is severe, and much like the GF1 that I so love, I would never want to venture past ISO 1000.

Panasonic has made much ado about nothing. I do not want this camera. No one I know wants this camera. Interviews with Panasonic representatives have them talking about an NEX-7 style camera, while the NEX-7 is already on the market. Panasonic's PR representatives lines of bullshit did nothing but make me angrier. Not as angry as when Olympus released the E-5, thus confirming to all 4/3 users that the system is dead, but still quite angry.

The second issue with the philosophy of the camera is that it is SMALLER! No, no, nononono! The GF1 was perfectly sized. It was just small enough to be small, while still being large enough to not feel stupid with big lenses or be unwieldy. Insanity, it is.

This new X-Series of cameras supposedly represents the "pro" stuff Panasonic has to offer. If this is truly the best that they can do, we are about one year away from Panasonic and Olympus being essentially reduced to bit-players in the market that they created. The GX1 was ostensibly the release of a new camera, but it was actually the trumpet announcing the arrival of the new king, Sony.

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