Panasonic Skips 4, Goes Right to 5 (GF5, that is)

Panasonic today announced the GF5, the followup to the GF3. The primary differences with the new camera are minimal: 

  • The 12mp sensor has been reworked (Panasonic says "newly developed") for improved performance in low light. A new Venus VII HD2 processing engine also provides better JPEG quality. Noise reduction has been reworked to be a more complex, multi-step process that looks at shadows and highlights differently. Since everything in cameradom has to have a name or acronym, this new noise reduction technique is called 3DNR. 
  • Focus performance is said to be improved, though the specifics on this are vague.
  • Video adds .MP4 file format options, plus we get a stereo microphone set on top (though off center of the lens).
  • As usual, we get more filter effects (eight new ones this time). 
  • For me, the big change is the display. The LCD gets updated from 460k dot to 921k dot, and gains the GX1 style touch screen controls.
  • Continuous frame rates grow from 3.2 to 4 fps. 

Cosmetically, the aluminum chassis camera changes very little. The buttons on the back go "chrome" with their functions stenciled on the camera body (instead of the button), plus we get a new Display button. The front grip gets a textured surface (thank you!) and changes slightly in shape/size. And that's about it. If it isn't broke, don't fix it. So Panasonic didn't. 

Price will be US$750 with the compact 14-42mm X lens, US$600 with the bulky, older 14-42mm that really doesn't match up to the target concept of a "small, compact camera."

As usual with Panasonic, substantive leaks about the new camera were ubiquitous for at least a month prior to introduction. It's possible that you think that I'm late to reporting its arrival. But sansmirror doesn't report rumors or leaks, it tries to deal only with official information (and we respect embargo dates), thus we have to wait for the official announcement before covering the camera.

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