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Tuesday, May 11, 2010


A new approach to interchangeable-lens camera systems gives photographers the option of smaller bodies. How do they stack up?

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The Samsung NX10 is the only EVF camera yet to use a larger, APS-C-sized image sensor. This 14-megapixel model is also capable of 720 HD video capture.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1. Panasonic’s second Micro Four Thirds model (and the second MFT model overall), the GH1 added a new 12.1-megapixel Live MOS image sensor and 1080p/24 full HD video capability with stereo sound to its G1 predecessor’s features. A free-angle, three-inch, 460,000-dot LCD monitor complements the 1,440,000-dot EVF (which tilts up 90 degrees). Quicker-than-usual contrast AF functions in both still and video shooting, while a Supersonic Wave Filter keeps dust off the image sensor. There’s no in-camera sensor-shift stabilization, but several of the lenses (including the 14-140mm video zoom) incorporate optical stabilization. Estimated Street Price: $1,499 (with 14-140mm zoom).

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2. The first Micro Four Thirds camera, Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-G1, surprisingly didn’t offer video capability. Its successor, the new DMC-G2, does. But the G2’s big feature is its new touch-screen LCD monitor, which lets you do things like select an AF point simply by touching the subject on the screen. In manual mode, you can set shutter speed and aperture via the touch screen and make two-axis white-balance adjustments via touch screen. The three-inch, 460,000-dot LCD monitor also tilts and swivels for easy odd-angle shooting. There’s also a 1,440,000-dot-equivalent eye-level EVF with a 180 fps refresh rate to reduce flicker. Other G2 stats include a 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor, built-in sensor-dust reduction, fast advanced contrast AF, 3.2 fps shooting of still images and very compact size (4.9x3.3x2.9 inches, 13.1 ounces). The G2 can do 1280x720 HD video in AVCHD Lite (for more minutes per memory card and easy viewing on audio/video gear) or Motion JPEG (for easier computer editing) formats. Estimated Street Price: TBA.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10. The economy model in Panasonic’s EVF lineup, the new DMC-G10 is a “lite” version of the G2, with the same 12.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor and Venus HD II engine, sensor-dust reduction, 144-zone metering, 23-area contrast-based AF, 3.2 fps shooting (2.6 fps with live view) and built-in flash. Like the G2, the G10 has a three-inch, 460,000-dot LCD monitor, but it doesn’t tilt or swivel and lacks the G2’s touch-screen capabilities. The G10’s EVF (Panasonic calls it an LVF, or Live View Finder) is lower-resolution (202,000-dot equivalent, rather than 1,440,000-dot). The G10 also lacks the G2’s AVCHD video, providing only Motion JPEG format. The G10 shares the G2’s supercompact 4.9x3.3x2.9-inch dimensions and weighs even less: 11.85 ounces. With an SD card and a 14-42mm zoom, the G10 weighs just 19.7 ounces—less than many DSLR bodies. Estimated Street Price: TBA.

Samsung NX10. The NX10 is the first interchangeable-lens EVF camera to combine an APS-C image sensor with a supercompact size. It features a 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor, high-speed contrast AF (single-shot and continuous) plus manual focusing, a supersonic dust-reduction system to keep the sensor (and images) free of dust spots, and ISO settings from 100 to 3200. A three-inch AMOLED monitor (said to be faster, higher in contrast, easier to view in bright sun and at acute angles, and lower in power consumption than conventional LCD monitors) and the EVF provide composition versatility. Estimated Street Price: $699 (with 18-55mm zoom).

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