Panasonic Lumix GF3 camera and Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens announced

Today Panasonic announced their new Micro Four Thirds Lumix GF3 camera and a Leica branded DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH lens. The price of the GF3 is $699, the 25mm f/1.4 lens will cots $1099. Sample images can be found here.

Panasonic GF3 video presentation and full press releases:

The LUMIX GF3 Body Weighs Just 7.83oz and Produces High-Quality Photos, Full-HD Video Recording Capabilities and Smart Touch-Screen Controls

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Panasonic today announces its latest compact system camera (CSC), the mirror-free Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF3 is the company's smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens camera with a built-in flash(*1), with its body size comparable to that of a smartphone and weighing just 7.83oz (body only), less than a standard 8oz cup of coffee.  The Panasonic's LUMIX GF3 realizes all the features desired from a traditional DSLR interchangeable lens camera, only it accomplishes them in an ultra-compact body that is lightweight and simple to master.

This remarkable reduction in size and weight is thanks to advancements in new mirror-free camera technology, and large DSLR format sensors that are more compatible with a new class of compact Micro Four Thirds (MFT) System lenses. This new class of Compact System Cameras offers a weight and compactness not seen in traditional DSLRs, yielding greater portability and creative control. The DMC-GF3's image quality comes from a large DSLR-sized 12.1-megapixel sensor and newly advanced image processing technologies.

The LUMIX GF3 digital camera is based on the Micro Four Thirds standard of lenses, which includes Panasonic's 3D lens, thus the LUMIX GF3 not only provides outstanding still photos, full-High Definition 1080/60i video, but is also capable of shooting 3D still photos.

The Panasonic LUMIX GF3 produces high-quality photos with true-to-life details, thanks to excellent resolution, image rendering and color reproduction; high-grade lens options; and extremely precise Auto Focus (AF). Plus, the LUMIX GF3 creates the right balance between resolution and noise reduction, thus producing life-like images with accurate auto exposure and white balance, creating rich colors.  Taking a page from the renowned LUMIX GH2's image quality, the LUMIX GF3 boasts full sized DSLR like Image quality thanks the same Venus Engine FHD image processor.  The Venus Engine FHD image processor makes impressive low noise images from its 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor. Notably, images shot in low-lit situations at high ISO sensitivity setting, are stunningly clear with extremely sharp resolution. The image processor also excels in energy consumption by extending the battery life, despite its smaller size.

Thanks to a new mount, the LUMIX GF3 is approximately 16.7% smaller and 16.2% lighter than its predecessor, the LUMIX GF2.  Despite its small size and unlike many CSC cameras in this class, the LUMIX GF3 still maintains a built-in flash and features a new pop-up mechanism that helps prevent the vignetting effect due to short distances between the flash unit and the interchangeable lens.  With a newly-designed aluminum body that incorporates an ergonomic grip, and a well-designed control dial combined with a 3-inch touch enabled screen, the LUMIX GF3 is extremely intuitive and easy to use.

"The Panasonic GF3 compact system camera is extremely small and its newly-designed rounded body is quite attractive, which we expect to be popular among those users wanting to step-up from a point-and-shoot, yet who view traditional DSLRs as bulky and overly complex," said Darin Pepple, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "While the size and weight of the GF3 has been greatly reduced, Panasonic does not compromise what is at the core of every LUMIX, which is exceptional photo and video quality with an easy-to-use interface."

All models in Panasonic's LUMIX G Series of digital cameras feature Contrast AF for their focus system, as opposed to phase-difference AF systems, used in traditional DSLRs, which is susceptible to a mechanical margin of focus errors at wide apertures. With a Contrast AF system, focusing is controlled by the image sensor so that mechanical margin of error is reduced to achieve precise focusing, thus boosting higher number of in focus shots, especially when shooting in low light with wide open lens aperture. As a result, when the LUMIX GF3 is used with Panasonic's new wide aperture interchangeable lens, the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH, also announced today, the performance of the Contrast AF system is optimally maximized.

The Panasonic LUMIX GF3 features a high-speed and extremely precise Contrast AF system that locks in approximately 0.18 seconds.  Taking further advantage of Contrast AF, the LUMIX GF3 incorporates full-area focusing which makes it possible to set focus on any point in the field- of-view. The LUMIX GF3 also features Light Speed AF, an extremely fast AF which measures at approximately 0.1 seconds(*2), which is achieved by reducing the detection time for focusing by doubling the sensors drive speed from 60 fps to 120 fps. With the combination of touch-control shooting, focusing on close up macro or still life objects is evermore quick and accurate thanks to the newly adopted Pinpoint AF that unlike a DSLR, offers near pixel level touch control focusing.

Manual control over focus is available in the DMC-GF3 and now features a quick 4x magnification feature. By simply touching the subject, that subject is then enlarged in a small window, allowing you to keep the rest of the image in view as a framing reference. Beyond 4x, that small window fills the monitor so even more control over focus fine-tuning can be achieved. This handy feature is available from both the MF (Manual Focus) Assist and AF + MF focus modes.

At the heart of the LUMIX GF3's simplified functionality is a large 3.0-inch touch enabled LCD (460k- dot) that allows for intuitive touch control of menus and most shooting, focusing, playback and effects controls. Menus can be customized using simple drag-and-drop actions similar to those on some touch-enabled smartphones. This allows for a custom user interface, giving Quick Menu access to functions that can be tailored to any user's expertise level. Users can also release the shutter using the touch-screen. Once locked onto a subject, the LUMIX GF3 tracks the subject with the AF Tracking feature and another touch allows the user to select the size of the AF area. In addition, Pinpoint AF function allows even more precise focus setting by further enlarging the focusing area. With increased customization, users can set the touch shutter and touch AF ON/OFF based on their preference. Touch-control also makes playback of photos and videos easy to flip through like pages in a book.

For those who miss the tactile feel of a traditional DSLR mode dial, the DMC-GF3 offers an innovative mode thumb wheel that quickly cycles though all available modes with visual feedback provided on the large 3'' touch-enabled LCD.

The LUMIX GF3 records 1920 x 1080 full-HD video in the AVCHD format, which features almost twice the recording time in HD quality than the conventional Motion JPEG. A dedicated video record button on the top lets users instantly start recording video, without having to hassle with any menu settings. The LUMIX GF3 allows for Touch AF in video recording, enabling professional-like features, such as rack focusing. For instance, by touching the subject on the screen, the focus is shifted to the subject.

Contributing to its ease-of-use, the LUMIX GF3 features Panasonic's acclaimed iA(*3) (Intelligent Auto) mode – and the new advanced iA Plus mode – are automatically engaged once the iA button is pressed, helping to make shooting video and photos with the LUMIX GF3 extremely simple – even to users new to compact system cameras. Panasonic's iA features include MEGA O.I.S. (included in several lenses), Intelligent ISO Control, and Intelligent Scene Selector, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent D-range Control and Intelligent Resolution.  With the new  iA Plus mode, the LUMIX GF3 easily enables commonly desired manual enhancements not available from standard camera auto modes such as peripheries defocusing around faces, exposure compensation, and color balance adjustments which are visually adjusted by moving an on screen slider with the user's finger or the thumb wheel.

The LUMIX GF3, like all CSCs in the Panasonic LUMIX G Series, is equipped with a highly-efficient Dust Reduction System. In some system cameras, if dust or other foreign matter gets inside the digital camera while the lenses are being changed, it's possible that the debris could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in your photos. However, the Panasonic Dust Reduction System helps to eliminate this problem by placing a supersonic wave filter in front of the Live MOS sensor that vibrates vertically approximately 50,000 times per second - thus repelling dust and other particles from the LUMIX GF3's sensor.

Two modes - Photo Style and Creative Control - let users at any skill level get creative with their photos.  With Creative Control, the user can choose the most-frequently-used color modes (Expressive, Retro, High Key, Sepia, High Dynamic and newly added Miniature Effect(*4) mode) with easy access. In Miniature Effect mode, the peripherals are defocused while saturation and contrast is emphasized so the photos look like a diorama. The Photo Style mode revitalizes the conventional film mode with settings in Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait presets while enabling finer adjustment of contrast, sharpness, saturation and noise reduction.

The LUMIX GF3, like all the CSC in the LUMIX G Series of digital cameras, is compatible with other Micro Four Thirds lenses and the full sized Four Thirds System standard via an optional mount adaptor.  Other accessories available to the LUMIX G Series include external flashes, PL and ND filters, leather cases, straps, and more.  The Panasonic LUMIX GF3 will be available in black, white, red and brown bodies for a suggested retail prices of $699.99 with the 14mm lens kit system starting in July 2011, and $599.99 with the 14-42mm lens kit system starting in late August  2011; and. For more information on Panasonic LUMIX G Series compact system cameras, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

*1 For an interchangeable lens system camera with a built-in flash as of June 13, 2011

*2 Approximately 0.1 sec with LUMIX G VARIO HD 14-140mm / F4.0-5.8 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S., approx. 0.18 sec with LUMIX G 14mm / F2.5 ASPH. and with LUMIX G VARIO 14-42mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S..

*3 Some functions in iA mode may be unavailable depending on the lens that is mounted

*4 Sound will not be recorded with [MINIATURE EFFECT] in Creative Control Mode and approximately 1/10 of the time period is recorded. (If you record for 10 minutes, the resulting motion picture recording will be approximately 1 minute long).

Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

* Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds Logo marks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Olympus Imaging Corporation, in Japan, the United States, the European Union and other countries.

* The "AVCHD" is a high definition (HD) digital video recording / playback format jointly established by Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation.

* All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.

* This unit is compatible with both SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. You can only use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are compatible with them.

The New LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. Lens Compatible With Panasonic LUMIX G Series of Compact System Cameras, Including LUMIX GF3

SECAUCUS, N.J., June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Panasonic today announced a new interchangeable Micro Four Thirds lens, the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. (H-X025), compatible with the company's LUMIX G Series of compact system cameras (CSC), including the LUMIX GF3, which was also announced today. The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens features outstanding brightness of F1.4, and despite the high-performance, it also remains incredibly compact and lightweight. The lens' brightness allows for a beautiful soft focus when shooting both photos and videos – without having to rely on a flash.

The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens adopts Panasonic's Nano Surface Coating technology on the surface of the lens, which helps dramatically minimize reflection at the entire visual light range (380nm-780nm). The technology encompasses an extra-low refractive index coating with nano-sized structure and results in the super-clear photo with dramatic reduction of ghost and flare.

The new lens system comprises of nine elements in seven groups using two aspherical lenses and one UHR (Ultra High Refractive) index lens. The newly developed UHR index lens and glass mold aspherical lenses achieve uniformed description from the center to the edges.

The lens' versatile 25mm focal distance (Equivalent to 50mm on a 35mm camera) is suitable for wide variety of occasions, giving users the flexibility in composition, perspective and aperture control.  The lens is capable to take daily snapshots including scenic sunsets to dimly-lit indoor shots to the deliberately-creative shots using soft focus.

When mounted on the Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras, the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm/F1.4 ASPH. lens can take maximum advantage of Contrast AF system, which boasts both high accuracy and high speed for optimal photos. Furthermore, seven blades give the aperture a rounded shape that produces an attractively smooth effect in out-of-focus areas when shooting at larger aperture settings. The lens also features a metal mount, making it extremely durable – even when repeatedly changed.

The LEICA DG SUMMILUX 25mm / F1.4 ASPH. lens will be available in August 2011 and pricing will be announced approximately 30 days prior to shipping. For more information about Panasonic LUMIX G Series digital cameras and Micro Four Third lenses, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.

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  • What’s a Pentax?

    The M4/3 Panasonic G3 is more expensive than the new APS-C Sony NEX-C3 (which comes with a lens).

    Panasonic needs to quit polishing the M4/3 turd of a sensor and go Fullframe.

    The video needs subtitles. The lady has some kind of cockney accent that is too difficult to understand.

    Better luck next time, Panasonic.

    :(

    • Heave Stuff

      On the contrary, the m43 scene is stating to get interesting!

      Cleary this camera is not aimed at replacing the GF1, but surely that is on the way. The 25/1.4 is welcomed, more so the expected Olympus 12 and 50mm lenses. My GF1 has been called a Compact System Camera for some time. “Compact” I agree with, it looks as if “System” will finally start to be an accurate description. Not a DSLR replacement, but at least a sort of digital Leica CL sort of outfit (12, 20 or 25, & 50), and I welcome that, m43 has been crying out for that!

      • http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189 ZDP-189

        I agree with Heave Stuff. I’m not m4/3’s biggest fan, but it has its place as a compact camera system and a universal body for legacy lenses. Improvements in sensor technology give me a lot of hope. Good quality normal and wide primes and maybe a big aperture, short tele with fast accurate low light focussing would make this a sensible choice for people who want quality images without taking up too much weight and space. I use a lot of full frame camera gear, but not everyone wants to find space for two dry cabinets, a large trunk and a couple of racks of lighting equipment as I must now do.

        • Nathan

          Just like not everyone wants to bring a 645D or Horseman with them on every shot, there is a definite market for a smallish system. People keep forgetting that 135 IS small-format photography.

          The only criticism I’ve found of the 4/3 (or indeed, APS-C) sensor sizes is the supposed lack of “bokeh” when compared to full 135 size.
          I’ve never found this to be a problem, since I shoot primarily the 35-100 f2 zoom at f2.8 to f3.5 if I want lots of background separation. I never find a use for background separation in wide-angle photography, so for 14-35mm I’m generally shooting at f4 or smaller.
          I think the complaints are primarily from people who bought a camera instead of picking the lens they want to use and buying a body to fit to it. I’m camera-mount agnostic, so I choose a lens and then buy a body for it, not the other way round. Since good lenses run 2000-6000 dollars, the investment of 1500 for a camera body is dirt cheap. Especially compared to the D3x.

    • Nathan

      You’ve clearly never used four thirds or micro four thirds. I have, and while some sensor measurement tests can declare that they are approximately one stop noisier than APS-C, which is one stop noisier than full 135, in use it is an insignificant difference.
      Considering that many professionals find the Canon G11’s tiny sensor still usable, how much more usable is a camera with a sensor 8x larger than that?
      The answer is pretty usable.
      Look, I understand you can’t be happy without ISO6400 smooth as a baby’s butt, but most professional shots are taken at 800 and below, and for that, even my E-30 can handle it with ease.
      My 7D is functionally identical to the E-30 for 90% of shots, and the additional sensor area on the sides is generally cropped for printing anyway.
      The Nikon D7000? Same thing, since generally I don’t shoot in the dark, and since the Canon, Nikon and Olympus systems are all at around f2.8-f3.5, I’m not having problems with ANY of them in terms of DOF and background separation. The main difference is in the extreme highlights, and with the E-30 sometimes I just let them clip a bit if it’s not detail like a wedding dress or something.

      I don’t get the hate. It’s a competent system, within its limitations, same as the 7d is when compared to the 5D.

    • Chebu Rashka

      haha, what a fool you’ve made out of yourself!!

  • Disiderio

    If image quality stacks up nicely against something like my d90 this could be my vacation camera.

  • Camaman

    Looks nice! :-)
    But I’am sorry to say the touch menu look slow, jerky and not very responsive… :-(
    To make a touch device in todays day of good and responsive smart phones is a big mistake…

  • http://www.hmeyephoto.com HM.eYe

    I don’t understand to whom Panasonic is addressing the GF3?
    No hot shoe, no viewfinder, !!! The Lumix LX5 has one ….
    After the launching of the G3, I thought that Panasonic will use the same sensor . but here we are with 12 Mp and a very similar sensor to the GF2, with no apparent ISO improvements.
    I am happy , after all, coz I purchased the GF2 few weeks ago , and was afraid the GF3 would be a better and more “real” camera …
    Now , I can keep my GF2 ….

    • Nathan

      It’s a consumer camera, consumers generally don’t use off-camera flash. It’s not even an enthusiast camera.

  • photonut

    the 1k price tag on the lens is insane!

    And why is it heavier than my old, excellent 50mm f1.8 Nikon. What happened to the idea of micro(!!!)4/3…

  • QZ

    The picture of the lens is that of the old 4/3 version, with an aperture ring:)

    • http://photorumors.com PR admin

      I got the real picture now, Amazon did use the old version and I got confused.

  • TaoTeJared

    Depending on the video it can produce, if you already have a DSLR set-up for images, that could make for a very interesting light weight video camera to take with you.

    25mm 1.4 – $1100 – Ouch!!! Exotic territory for a not so exotic focal length.
    $700 with a 28mm equiv lens, add $400 for a 40 equiv (20mm 1.7) = $1100.
    Or $600 for the 14-42mm, add a 45-200mm (90-400) for $350 = $950.
    Not cheap for sure. I still think these are overpriced for what they are.

    It will be interesting to see what the low light and video capabilities will be.

  • Anon

    I’m offended that they’re using the term Summilux on that lens. Summiluxes are hand-made in Germany, not machine-made in China or Taiwan. I have absolutely no respect for Leica anymore.

    • photonut

      For that price they should be hand-made…

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