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Huge news from Lumix: New cameras, new lenses, new system

Panasonic has announced a new line of full-frame mirrorless cameras, a new lens mount, a new lens for micro four-thirds and the new Lumix Pro Services. Let’s take a look at the new tools and the impact they could have.

S1 and S1R, 24 megapixels and 47 megapixels

The S1 and S1R area completely new, but they are the next evolution in mirrorless cameras from Lumix. Lumix has been building mirrorless cameras for 10 years and these cameras promise to build on that legacy. They are already refined and have the features photographers and videographers need and want.

Here are some of the standout features:

  • 24 megapixels and 47 megapixels
  • World’s first full-frame 4k 60p video recording
  • World’s first full-frame camera with both lens stabilization and in-body stabilization cooperating together for maximum steadiness in low-light and with long lenses
  • Dual memory card slots: one using XQD and one using SD (yep, two slots, Nikon and Canon)
  • Leica’s L-mount for lenses
  • Here’s the full press release

What does this mean?

It should mean better low-light performance from a larger sensor without more megapixels. Currently, my Lumix G9 has 20 megapixels and is 1/4 the size of full-frame. So, if it was a full-frame sensor it would be approximately an 80-megapixel sensor. These cameras will have fewer pixels crammed into the same amount of space, which usually also yields better low-light image quality.

It should also mean blazing fast autofocus and recording speeds. XQD cards write very fast and these cameras should offer the highest frame per second counts out there. That’s also related to the 4k 60p video, which means it records a 4k video at 60 frames per second (which allows for slow-motion playback). That’s a very large video picture. What’s more, they are planning to have 8k video recording available in this camera series by the 2020 Olympic games. Sheesh, that’s a lot of video file. It also translates to very high frame-rate capture of stills. Right now on the G9, you can record 6k-sized stills at 30fps. It’s a cool feature when motion is involved.

The L-Mount Alliance

Not only did they announce the new cameras, but they also announced a new partnership for lenses for the new system. The S series will use Leica’s L mount, which has been in production since 2014. That means that there are already lenses available. Not only are Leica lenses already available, but Sigma has also joined the “L-Mount Alliance” to produce optimum lenses for this new camera system.

Lumix has promised three lenses, a 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 50mm f/1.4 will be ready with the launch and ten more lenses ready by 2020. But again, there are already Leica lenses and third party lenses fro Leica ready to use, which is more than can be said for other full-frame mirrorless cameras. Of course, being Leica lenses, they aren’t cheap.

I’m really excited about Sigma’s involvement in this alliance. Sigma have produced more innovation over the last several years than any other lens company I can think of. Not only will they produce lenses, but I expect they will also produce cameras with the L-mount and Sigma cameras get me really excited (if I made a living as a landscape shooter, I’d be shooting Sigma cameras).

Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 lens for MFT

Panasonic has also announced a new micro four-thirds lens which will be the fastest continuous aperture lens ever built. Continuous aperture means it will be f/1.7 at the 10mm end and f/1.7 at the 25mm end. I’m personally pretty excited about this lens. It should be an exceptional environmental portrait and landscape tool. This lens will work with all current Lumix cameras and Olympus micro four-thirds cameras, as well as other cameras in the MFT consortium.

Lumix Pro Services

Lumix has had very good customer support and repairs have been turned around very quickly to this point, but now they are formalizing a program for professional service. It will be a subscription based program and it will be tiered with various levels of benefits. The site is live now, and more details will be coming soon.

Will I be upgrading?

I’m a Lumix ambassador. I have several Lumix cameras and many lenses and accessories. These cameras are very exciting and I’m stoked to try them out. I think the low-light performance will be incredible. I think the astrophotography will be terrific. I think everything will be terrific. At this point, I’m not planning to switch to shooting these full-time. I love how compact my MFT cameras are. If I develop a need for these features, I’ll jump on board right away. For now, I’m excited and I think the S series will be the best full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market.

See the keynote from Photokina below.

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