Enthusiast and advanced DSLR users are the target for a new HD video-equipped Micro Four Thirds camera from Panasonic called the Lumix G2.
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Set to replace the G1, the G2 is a 12.1-million-pixel model claimed to be the world?s smallest and lightest system [interchangeable lens] camera with a moveable screen.
Though not due in shops until June the G2 uses the same imaging sensor as the G1 which was announced in 2008.
The G2 will cost £629 in a kit that includes a new Lumix G 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS lens. A body-only price is yet to be confirmed.
Panasonic?s expansion of its Micro Four Thirds family comes as the firm claims have dominated this relatively new area of the market last Christmas.
Drawing on figures supplied to it by GFK Retail & Technology, the firm says it grabbed 9.1% of the UK interchangeable lens camera market in December 2009, compared to a ?5.4%? share for its rival Olympus.
?It really encourages us how consumers have accepted the technology,? said Panasonic UK?s DSLR product manager John Mitchell.
Key features of the G2 include a 3in touchscreen ?free-angle? LCD (460,000 dot) display and a new Venus Engine HD2 image processor that aims to boost processing speed and deliver ?exceptional noise reduction?.
The G2?s electronic viewfinder carries a resolution of 1.44m dots, says Panasonic.
Firepower also includes an equivalent ISO sensitivity ranging from 100-6400 and a 3.2 frames per second frame rate.
The photographer can select from nine AF points (23-area AF) and use the Touch MF assist option to touch and enlarge an area of the scene (up to five times). A focusing meter appears by rotating the focus ring.
A touch shutter option allows the user to focus on the touched area and release the shutter automatically. This should prove useful when shooting at low angles or when using a tripod.
Photographers can then review their captured images on screen by sliding a finger across it.
The launch also brings Panasonic?s Intelligent Resolution [sharpness control] technology to its G-series.
To enhance creativity of movie recording the firm has added Motion picture P, a mode allowing the user to control aperture by rotating the rear dial.
And users can shoot a still photo during video recording. The G2 records HD movies (1280×720 pixel) in AVCHD Lite and Motion JPEG (30 frames per second) formats.
New movie mode features include a ?touch focus? function and an ?extra optical? zoom said to extend zoom power by 3x.
There is also the option to remove – in camera – scenes from movie clips that are not needed. This should help save on storage space.