Monday, July 9, 2007

Fauxtokina 2007: Panasonic speculation and predictions

Panasonic DSLRs

  • In typical Panasonic fashion, the L1 came out as a flagship type of a model, just like the LC1. According to statements made by Panasonic representatives, there will be at least one more Panasonic DSLR. Given the relationship with Olympus and the links between the E330/L1, a 10mp DSLR is expected, with live view, sensor anti-shake and dust reduction. Sounds like the E510? Given how well the E410 did in the dpreview review, it sounds like a good idea! Other possibilities include a E410-like model. Less likely is a Panasonic version of the new Olympus flagship (E3 or P1 or E-P1 or something), but you never know

    Panasonic Non-DSLRs

  • The 1/2.5" Panasonic sensor is at 7mp, while the biggest sensor jumped to 12mp with the FX100
  • slotted in theory? A post in the Panasonic dpreview forum talked of two cameras being slotted in. The first half of the slotted in theory came true a when the FX-100 was announced using a 1/1.7" sensor instead of the usual 1/2.5" sensor of the FX-series... So based on that, I am guessing that the slotted it would fall either under the LC-series or a wide-angle FZ-series or the LX-series but grown up.
  • 4/3rds non-DSLR? One possibility mentioned in the dpreview forums is a non-dSLR by Panasonic using the 4/3rds sensor (new 10mp nMOS or the older 8mp). Panasonic has already designed the LC-1 body which would be an interesting match for this sensor, and the in-camera tilting flash.
  • LC-series? The slotted-in theory could revive the LC-series. Or one with a 4/3rds sensor mentioend above. Since the FX-100 was in-between the FX- and the LX-, an upticking LX- could fall somewhere between the LX-, LC- and FZ-. Perhaps using a 28-200mm lens?
  • LX-series? The easiest thing would be to put the new 12mp sensor in the LX2 body. But based on the slotted in theory we could have an LC-like camera? LX2 was announced in July 2006 which makes it a candidate for a July refresher. An LX- with a 28-200 equivalent lens sounds like a slotted-in Lumix to me. Could the LX-series go wider like 24mm on the Ricoh GX100? Or how about a fixed-lens beauty like a GR-D? Please note that such a camera would look really good (and sell well too) in a Leica outfit!

  • Big FZ-series? The simplest thing would be to stick the new 12mp sensor in the FZ50 body. And they may do just that. Or perhaps not? One reasonable thing to speculate is perhaps coming up with a wide version of the big FZ? So they could have two models in parallel, one going long and one going wide? But perhaps these would not be parallel, but one follow the other? Going wide certainly helped the TZ3.
  • Medium FZ-series? The FZ8 grew up by gettting RAW and a few other necessities in Jan 2007. What's next? It's too recent to be upgraded just for the sake of megapixels (or perhaps a juicy 8mp sensor is waiting?). What if this guy goes wide as well? In parallel to the existing lens? Let's not forget that once Panasonic finds an advantage they are not shy about pushing it through: they are the ones after all who put a MegaOIS lens in every single camera they make, even the entry-level models.

  • Small FZ-series? The 1/3.2" were replaced by the TZ-series
  • TZ-series? In theory there shouldn't be any new TZ-series, but given how successful they are, Panasonic may add another model. The latest models (TZ3, TZ2) came out Jan 2007. The TZ1 started the TZ-party
  • FX-series? We should have sniffed the FX-100 when Panasonic introduced the FX-30 after the FX-50 instead of something higher model-number-wise. But we didn't. There's plenty of FX- models out there right now, three new announced in Jan 2007 and three more July 2006. I don't see anything new this year. By the way, the smaller FX- series is known as FS- in Japan. Just to be create some unnecessary confusion I guess :-) No expectations of something new. Expect a CES 2008 refresh for the FX30, FX12 and FX10.
  • LZ-series? No expectations of something new this year. Expect a CES 2008 refresh for the LZ7 and LZ6.
  • LS-series? No expectations of something new this year. Expect a CES 2008 refresh for the LS60, LS70 and LS75.
  • did I forget anything?

    What to expect from Panasonic in the rest of 2007? (pure speculation!)
  • New models in July. That's what Panasonic's history suggests. Both LX1/LX2 and FZ30/FZ50 were announced in July 2005/2006. Incidentally Panasonic has not announced anything after July of each year since October 2003.So keep that in mind!
  • If Panasonic comes up with an 8mp 1/2.5" sensor, then perhaps we could see a refresher of at least the top of each line from 7mp to 8mp. This could upset the balance mentioned above.
  • Predicted names of speculated models: FZ60, FZ55 (if wide), LX3, LX5, LC3, FZ9, TZ5 (or TZ4). DSLR: L2 or L10

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