Tech

Panasonic Debuts Micro Four Thirds GX1 and Dual Sensor 3D1

It's a mix of old and new with Panasonic, as the company debuted the dual sensor, dual lens 3D1 compact camera and the GX1, a Micro Four Thirds camera reminiscent of the format's debut camera, the GF1.

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Panasonic today announced the release of two very different cameras: the enthusiast-level Micro Four Thirds GX1 and the dual lens, dual-sensor 3D Lumix 3D1.

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At a debut price of $500 and with dual lenses and sensors, the Panasonic 3D1 offers two cameras for, well, the price of two. But the slim camera is capable of shooting 2D and 3D stills, as well as 1080/60i HD video and stills simultaneously. The dual lenses are designed using folded optics, offering a 4x optical zoom range.

For pure speed the 3D1 is also no slouch either, as its Venus engine is capable of processing shots at up to eight frames per second form the dual sensors, with dual still and video shooting options available. All this is controlled utilizing the camera’s 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD.

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The real power of the dual lens and sensor combination, however, is the camera's ability to simultaneously record video and stills at different angles of view. With each lens operating independently, users can zoom in to take a photo will staying wide to capture video.

With a dedicated 2D/3D switch on the back of the camera, it’s a simple matter for users to quickly change between traditional 2D capture and 3D stereo photography.

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Along with the 3D1, Panasonic has also announced a new line of Micro Four Thirds cameras: the GX1. The camera fits touch control, a variety of customizable buttons, manual controls, and substantial build quality into a relatively compact body.

It may be a case of teaching a new dog old tricks, but the GX1 calls to mind memories of Panasonic’s debut Micro Four Thirds camera, the enthusiast darling GF1. With a built-in hot shoe, flash, manual and customizable controls, the GX1 should hit home with those long waiting for a true sequel to the GF1.

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The GX1 will feature a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor in line with the G3 released earlier this year. It will not feature the same built-in viewfinder, but it will offer reportedly ultra-fast AF and a host of touch-enabled control features.

Panasonic specifically calls on the legacy of the GF1 in the press release for the GX1, citing the demand for an enthusiast-level compact system camera with upgraded technology.

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The GX1 should accomplish part of that goal by adopting the 16-megapixel sensor we tested in the G3. Upgrading from the older 12-megapixel version found in earlier MFT cameras, we found the G3’s sensor showed significant improvements in low light performance (the GX1 will reach 12800 ISO) and dynamic range.

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With a large curved grip, the GX1 will also present an upgrade in handling and control over the GF1’s successor in name, the GF3, which has been repurposed as a simple-to-use camera for those upgrading from point-and-shoot cameras.

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We’ll have to wait to get our hands on the latest Micro Four Thirds camera to see how well Panasonic has maintained the spirit of the GF1 in their new camera. The GX1 is expected to ship in mid-December, with 14-42mm kit lenses available.

The GX1 can be had with the standard 14-42mm kit lens for $799.99, or with the power zoom X-series 14-42mm lens for $949.99. The GX1 can also be had body-only in black or silver for $699.99.

The Panasonic 3D1 will also be available this December, at a suggested retail price of $499.99. For more information on both cameras, please visit http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/shop/Cameras-Camcorders.75045_11002_7000000000000005702>Panasonic’s website