Lumix Full Frame Cameras
Well… it’s finally official and proof the rumors were true. Panasonic announced today at Photokina that they plan to release two full-frame Lumix cameras. That’s the big news, but it’s not the only Lumix news. Here’s a list of what was announced at the Photokina Press Conference. Keep in mind Panasonic Lumix was the first company to build a mirrorless camera back in 2008.
The Lumix S Series Full Frame Camera
Lumix has two full-frame cameras planned for release in early 2019. One is 24 megapixels and the other is a whopping 47 megapixels. Below are additional details.
Official Press Release describing key features of the newly developed cameras, the LUMIX S1R and the S1, are as follows. (Editorial Note: I have no idea what “Expressive capabilities” & “High level of expression” mean in the first bulleted paragraph. Maybe just lost in translation from Osaka?)
1. Expressive capabilities with high definition and high level of expression achieved with the newly-developed 35 mm full-frame image sensor and image processing engine (effective pixels: approximately 47M for the S1R and 24M for the S1)
2. World’s first support for 4K 60p/50p video recording in a full-frame Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera
3. World’s first full-frame camera equipped with Dual I.S. (Image Stabilization), enabling handheld shots for dark or distant scenes that would previously have required a tripod or other equipment
4. A double slot for XQD memory cards and SD memory cards, the first for Panasonic; and a rugged triaxial tilt LCD, emphasizing ease of use and supporting professional photography and videography
5. Leica Camera’s L-Mount, making it possible to use interchangeable lenses that meet the L-Mount specifications of the partners Leica Camera and Sigma. Expressiveness is further enhanced by increasing options for interchangeable lenses.
The L Mount Alliance
L-Mount Alliance: Lenses for the new full-frame system to be developed and marketed by Panasonic, Leica, and Sigma. Here is the official Press Release. Below is a list of L Mount series lenses ALREADY on the market and ready to go. Compare this to Nikon and Canon’s minimal three lenses that were announced for their new mirrorless cameras. Thanks to good folks at Sans Mirror for the list of L-Mount series lenses below.
- Leica Vario-Elmar TL 11-23mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH
- Leica Vario-Elmar SL 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ASPH
- Leica Vario-Elmar TL 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH
- Leica APO-Vario-Elmar TL 55-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH
- Leica Elmarit 18mm f/2.8 TL ASPH
- Leica Summicron 23mm f/2 TL ASPH
- Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 SL ASPH
- Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 TL ASPH 2
- Leica 60mm f/2.8 TL APO-Macro-Elmarit ASPH
- Leica 75mm f/2 SL APO-Summicron ASPH
- Leica 90mm f/2 SL APO-Summicron ASPH
- Leica Vario-Elmarit 24-90mm f/2.8-4 SL ASPH
- Leica Vario-Elmarit 90-280mm f/2.8-4 SL APO
Lumix Professional Services
We will finally have great support for our Lumix camera system. Our tireless Lumix Ambassador leader, Tom Curley, drove this program like a dog on a bone. As a Lumix Ambassador, Chris Kane and Jamie Ramirez have always taken care of me like no other support I’ve experienced. But now others will get the same great service. We can’t sign up until October 1st, but that’s not far off. From what I understand the service will be free for all Lumix users, but there will be additional benefits for specific equipment and a paid service for additional benefits. You can get all the details in this Official Press Release for Lumix Professional Service.
Lumix Leica 10-25mm Micro Four Thirds G Series Lens
As proof that Lumix is not giving up on the MFT mirrorless cameras, they cut their teeth on the new MFT 10-25mm F/1.7 for goodness sakes. (20-50mm equivalent). This demonstrates their continued commitment to G Series! Along with this lens, the head of Panasonic Imaging Network, Yamanisan, details their continued commitment to the MFT cameras at 29:49. I was really glad to see this.
Lumix G Series Firmware Update
Along with all of this, we’re also going to be seeing a major firmware update coming at the end of October for the GH5, GH5s, G9, and GX9 bodies. Below is a list from the official press release on details of the firmware update.
The new firmware includes the following upgrades:
LUMIX DC-GH5 Firmware Ver.2.4
- Improvement of AF performance 2.Improvement of video recording operation
LUMIX DC-GH5S Firmware Ver.1.2
- Improvement of AF performance
2.Improvement of stability during HDMI output
3.Improvement of video recording performance
4.Improvement of operation under specific lighting conditions (fluorescent lights, etc.)
LUMIX DC-G9 Firmware Ver.1.2
- Improvement of AF performance
2.Improvement of operation under specific lighting conditions (fluorescent lights, etc.)
LUMIX DC-GX9 Firmware Ver.1.2
- Improvement of operation under specific lighting conditions (fluorescent lights, etc.)
Lumix Official Announcement at Photokina
My Take On What We’ve All Just Learned
These new full-frame cameras have been rumored for several weeks, starting with the first suggestion on 43Rumors. I was stunned when this rumor was first discussed. My initial thought was, “Why in the heck do we need a full-frame camera?” More importantly, how in the heck does Panasonic think they can compete with Nikon, Canon, and now Sony?
The idea of Panasonic building a full-frame camera isn’t really new. I’ve been hearing MFT fans throwing their support behind the full-frame idea for several years. The success of what both Panasonic and Olympus have done, in the world of MFT, has encouraged photographers to want to see similar success in a larger sensor format. But I’ve always felt, NO! Keep your eye on the ball. Panasonic and Olympus should concentrate on perfecting the MFT cameras so they eventually EQUAL the quality full-frame cameras. That was my theory and I was steadfast until the rumors became more serious. As the rumors grew louder and the facts seemingly more inevitable, I began to rethink my position. And from that, I began to see the light on what is an opportunity Panasonic obviously saw several years ago. That opportunity is, the kingpins are vulnerable.
Nikon, Canon, Sony
When Nikon announced their new Z Series line of mirrorless cameras I was very surprised they only had three lenses to talk about. My goodness, they’ve been sitting on the sidelines at least five years. They knew this was coming. I was certain when Nikon pushed the button on their mirrorless they would do so with a huge splash, releasing at least a dozen dedicated lenses. But only three lenses? A week or two later Canon joins the fray and they too make an underwhelming proclamation, also with three lenses. I’m guessing they’re both thinking photographers are going to just love using the adapters for the Canon and Nikon lenses they already have. But I can tell you from experience, no matter who designs the adaptor, it’s never as good as a dedicated lens for a dedicated camera. Adapters are always a stop-gap measure.
And then there’s Sony who also started with very few lenses. But they’ve been at it for a while now and have made great progress in both numbers and the quality of the optics they have. An example is the Sony G Series 400mm F/2.8 and the 100-400mm zoom. Both these lenses are world-class optics that when combined with the jaw-dropping autofocus of the Sony A9, Nikon and Canon now have serious competition.
Freedom to Switch Between Camera Makers
And this is where it gets interesting. It’s obvious to me that somehow Panasonic knew both Nikon and Canon were not going into mirrorless with engines at full steam ahead. Somehow they understood both mega titans were going to be basically starting from scratch. Think about it, Nikon and Canon have a totally redesigned system with just three lenses each? That’s virtually nothing. In other words, there’s a huge opportunity for a dark horse, Panasonic’s Lumix, to join the game and be a serious contender. And when you hear about the Panasonic partners that were also announced–Leica and Sigma–you all of a sudden think wow, this could be for real. Obviously, Panasonic thinks so.
So the partner announcement is a big piece of the puzzle that really is equally exciting. Between all three companies, we now have what is the L-Mount Alliance. In other words, three major companies that will be sharing the same lens mount. Regarding Leica, they already have 13 lenses built and ready to be used with the new Lumix S Series cameras. Be warned, however, the Leicas are very expensive. Then there’s Sigma, who in the last 5-10 years, have upped their lens game to equal the best lenses being made by anyone in the business. They’ve developed a reputation for their Art Series lenses that are the envy of even the best lens makers in the business. Along with the L-Mount Alliance, Sigma also announced they’ll be joining the full-frame club with a new Sigma full-frame camera using their Foveon sensor. So we’ll then have three different camera manufacturers making camera bodies we can swap at will with the lenses we’ve bought for this system.
Options That Are Really Different
Finally, keep in mind that having two different systems is a tried and true business model that all full-frame players have adopted. With one big difference. The two Lumix systems, MFT and now full-frame, really are substantially different. And, the lenses for the MFT will be distinctly their own. Take Nikon for example, they do build a few DX specific lenses like the 17-55 F/2.8, which I don’t believe has been updated since it first came out. Compare it to Nikon’s full-frame equivalent 24-70mm F/2.8, and there is not a great deal of size difference. Same goes for the rest of their DX series lenses. Nikon’s DX lenses may be a bit smaller and lighter but not nearly what we have for MFT. With the Nikon system if you want a 600mm F/4 you have to use the one built for their full-frame cameras. I have no interest in carrying a 600mm F/4 full-frame lens any longer. With Lumix, you won’t have to if you stick with MFT, which by the way, is what I plan to do.
So that’s where we’re at today. Panasonic joining the full-frame world with what will most likely be one hell of a system. And keep in mind others could join the L-Mount Alliance. Can you imagine how great it would’ve been over the years to switch between Canon and Nikon without the need to buy new lenses? And now Sony wants to lock us into that same business model. Lumix, Leica, and Sigma are out to break the longtime shackles Nikon and Canon have profited from for decades. Imagine that, a new system that has the consumer in mind, not the other way around. Let me know what you think about this revolutionary idea of a reatively open source camera system in the comments below.