I have been wish listing for a long time now a compact camera which uses the mFT four thirds aspect 'large' sensor in a compact with non interchangeable lenses. I reckoned Olympus would be first out, or perhaps a new player or even Leica, but it turned out to be their parent and current kings of compact enthusiast cameras Panasonic with their new Lumix-DMC-LX100 wonder machine.
Several of my predictions have come absolutely true, but anyone with a reasonable understanding of how cameras work, the current line up of models available in mFT system cameras and a bit of imagination could come up with namely:
1) Fast Lens, compact retracting lens
2) Lens elements individually adjusting
3) Wide end 24mm eq
4) Some compromise on long end to keep size down and f stop light
7) Not being able to use the whole mFT chip
The latter is a kind of quirk of the line of thinking that something has to give it you start trying to build something which physically must be almost as broad as it is long ie the f stop is a physically defined factor, you cannot escape the need for wide glass and in mFT, software correction. This prediction was also made in light of the fact that there is no point in trying to make an optimalised mid sized chip to be enveloped in the light circle of the lens when you have standard production of mFT and have optimised so much software for this, in parrticular JPEG engine and autofocus.
The camera is kept really quite small, not tiny for the asian market, and for my large hands I do not see anthing but advantage.
To cut to the quick I will include links to other people's run through the look and feel and controls below.
Here though are some key questions and some observations>
1) Quite short top end focal length of 74mm.
This means that the camera is actually competing for my EXIF with my kit lens, my oly 25mm f2.8 super lens, and of course my mobile phone and shelved older shirt pocket Konica (which took some great, great creative shots which stand up to 24" prints btw, more on the megapixel issue below)
2) Outcompetes older Olympus FT and mFT for price, size, MPX, and ISO
Where this outcompetes my current Olympus set up is that it does the range 24/70mm in glorious sub f 3 and with better ISO performance, onto a higher megapixel base plus I quite like alternative aspect shots, 1:1 and 16:9 are acvctually favourites in post proc!
Of course then it also becomes a jacket pocket camera to replace my mobile, which I do take some stunning shots with but always regret the IQ and not having my Oly system with me.The best camera is the one you have with you!!!
So in terms of thinking about getting into the mFT system with a fast 'street lens' then you are talking about quite an investment pre GH1 and EM5 or OMD body wise, with the 12/35 and 12/40 being still grossly expensive lenses which are a bit over specced in terms of the amateurs who will mostly be buying them.
3) How wil lit perform at the longer end with bokeh and the OIS system?
Two questions from the one thing/ how does it perform at the loing end? It is a focal length just into useable portaiture, so it must have decent bokeh, and for hand held the OIS has to work at the long end otherwise it is just a little icon label not worth the ink it is printed on. In my FT experience and from lining up to buy the f2.8 SWS lenses, it is enough but not that much, it needs IS and it needs high ISO to work, and bokeh is short of APS-C for the same focal length and aperture.
4) This Camera has KILLER video.
I was not much into video before, and relegated the CD card camcorder to being used by other family members while I took stills. But I have really changed my mind, especially with the XZ2 on the market which was impressive.
I now see video as a whole new art, integrating to my other hobbies and of course family chronicles.
With 4K video and mFT chip qaulity, this is just a boon.
The only fly in the ointment seems to be the lack of a microphone jack, although that may be just overlooked with an option for a hot shoe adapter?
5) Flash. Not inbuilt, no big issue especially if they have included remote radio triggering in camera, so you can get any flash unit and pop it in your extra inside pocket.
6) Should I just Wait for Something Even Better?
It seems panasonic have gathered everything they could and pressed GO ....but maybe it is too good to be true?
I am not waiting long on the fence, the only comments are it is not weather sealed and it is quite short at the long end.
However it is going to be about 200 / 600 Euros cheaper than getting into the equivalent mFT with fast lenses and an EVF, plus they will be a bit bigger and the ergonimics poorer.