Panasonic dials back the clocks with the Lumix GX1
While Panasonic has done an admirable job in scaling down the size of its micro-four-thirds system cameras, some users have been left frustrated by the increasing absence of manual dials. Step forward the dialled-up Lumix GX1, which has had some early product shots leaked this week.
A quick glance at the leaked shots of the GX1, which hasn’t yet been officially unveiled, suggests that Panasonic has one eye on the change from British Summer Time, rolling back its own clocks to the early days of the GF-series cameras.
It looks as if with the new Lumix GX1, Panasonic has returned the missing mode dial and hot shoe which slipped away from the design of the GF-series cameras as they evolved into ever-smaller models.
Shrinking Panasonic Lumix GF-cameras
Panasonic defined the first wave of the compact system camera era with its Lumix G1 camera, but it was the smaller Lumix GF1 that really turned people’s heads.
Offering a large image sensor and the capacity for changing lenses in an admirably small camera body, the GF1 helped put compact system cameras on the map.
Despite its small body, it offered enough dials and buttons for swift access to the key functions that demanding photographers expected.
However, when the Lumix GF2 arrived, many were left perplexed by Panasonic’s decision to abandon the mode dial on the top of the camera in favour of a rear touchscreen that forced you to use the on-screen menu for switching modes.
The GF2 still offered a hot-shoe for a flash or external electronic viewfinder, as well as a rear control dial for selecting the shutter speed or aperture.
Panasonic simplified things even further with the newer Lumix GF3, which certainly offered an incredibly compact design, but took the approach of a point-and-shoot camera, foregoing a control dial on the rear entirely, and losing the hot shoe on top of the camera.
For first-time system camera owners, the GF series had developed into approachable step-up from an everyday point-and-shoot camera, but for demanding photographers looking for a portable alternative to a DSLR, the back-to-basics approach was proving frustrating.
Lumix GX1 returns to its roots
A quick glance at the leaked images of the new GFK suggests that Panasonic is returning to the winning design of the original GF1.
Back in comes the top function dial, as well as the hot shoe, which were both absent from the GF3. We haven’t yet spotted any previews of the rear of the camera, though it’s a safe bet to expect at least one function control dial to compliment the rumoured touchscreen.
While we’d expect the GX1 to feature some up-to-date specifications (early suggestions indicate a new image processor and re-designed 16Mp image sensor), it’s interesting to see how closely Panasonic has mimicked it’s two-year old design of the original GF1 camera.
While we’d fully expect Panasonic to maintain the GF-series as the most approachable point-and-shoot variety of its micro-four-thirds cameras, it’s good to see that this won’t mean abandoning more instantly functional compact system cameras. The GF1 was a triumphant design, and we can’t wait to see what the GX1 has to offer when it’s unveiled in full.
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