Panasonic has announced that it's developing two new full-frame mirrorless cameras, which will be released early in 2019.
The new system, dubbed the Lumix S system, has been developed in partnership with Leica and Sigma, with the cameras featuring Leica’s L mount, which is already used on some of Leica’s existing bodies, such as the SL.
A prototype camera will be exhibited at Photokina 2018, the photography expo that opens in Cologne, Germany tomorrow (September 26), with two new Lumix models being introduced next year – the 47-megapixel Lumix S1R and the lower-resolution Lumix S1, which will have a 24-megapixel sensor.
The system is a departure from Panasonic’s 'G' series, which uses much smaller Four Thirds sensors, although the company is keen to emphasize that both lines will continue to be developed and will exist simultaneously; 2018 marks 10 years since the launch of the Lumix G1, the world’s first mirrorless camera, which is credited as kicking off the entire sector.
At launch, three new Lumix lenses will also be available: a 24-105mm, 70-200mm and a 50mm f/1.4 (aperture values for the two zoom lenses have yet to be confirmed). There are plans for more than 10 Lumix lenses to be developed by 2020, while existing Leica SL and TL lenses can also be used with the new cameras.
As this is just a development announcement, official camera specifications are a little thin on the ground. However, Panasonic has confirmed that the new system will feature a completely new sensor, as well as a new Venus processing engine.
It also confirmed that there will be a dual image stabilizer, fast autofocusing and 4K video at 60p. The electronic viewfinder is claimed to be a higher resolution than those found in the Nikon Z7 or Canon EOS R (but the exact figure has not been stated), while the touchscreen will be tiltable on three axes.
Weather sealing, along with the ability to work in very cold environments, is promised, as well as a vast array of dials and buttons on the body to give quick and easy access to key settings for experienced photographers. The shutter is also said to be “extremely durable”. Like with the Nikon Z7 and the Z6, both bodies will be identical in terms of build and handling, with the key differences being internal.
Both cameras will have dual memory card slots – with Panasonic adopting the XQD format for the first time for one of those, while the other accepts SD format cards.
The higher-resolution Lumix S1R is aimed particularly towards professional stills photographers, while the lower-resolution S1 is targeted at video users.
Panasonic already enjoys high esteem with professional videographers, but recognizes that it needs to do some work to make it a credible stills alternative to more established brands.
As such, it's launching a new network for professional photographers, aptly named Lumix Pro. This will offer help and support to professional users in a tiered system, with the top tier allowing pros to access support no matter where they are in the world.
Pricing for the Lumix S1R and Lumix S1 has yet to be announced – expect more on that soon.
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