4/3 Rumors: The history tree of Panasonic G cameras – COMMENTARY

https://www.43rumors.com/history-tree-panasonic-g-cameras/

“… At the Cp+ show Panasonic is displaying that history tree table….”

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 professional rangefinder-style camera with Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Aspheric Power OIS lens, now replaced by Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS lens, with its unique tilting electronic viewfinder for waist-level or eye-level use. With the GX9 enthusiast camera most certainly not being an upgrade to the professional GX8, what fate does Panasonic have planned for its professional rangefinder-style camera line?
Panasonic camera family tree displayed at CP+ Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2018 inducing more questions than answers. Is the GX8 professional rangefinder-style camera to be upgraded sometime in the future? What is to happen to the unique, tiny and very desirable GM camera line?

Commentary

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Panasonic Lumix G Tenth Anniversary Family Tree, different again.

Panasonic’s latest action in apparently replacing the professional-quality Lumix DMC-GX8 with the enthusiast-level Lumix DC-GX9, more accurately named the Lumix DC-GX7 Mark III in Japan, has the many professional users of the GX8 asking questions that are simply not being answered.

Two recently published graphics, the Panasonic camera family tree displayed on a wall at the CP+ trade show in Japan and a different Lumix G camera family tree distributed as part of the company’s celebrations of the launch of the first Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) camera, the Lumix DMC-G1, back in 2008, are inducing even more questions that remain unanswered.

Is Panasonic’s professional rangefinder-style camera line really now dead, with the GX8 the very last of its kind?

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5, the perfect tiny top-quality interchangeable lens camera for discrete, near-invisible documentary and street photography. Has Panasonic killed the GM line dead for all time?

Where is the update for the GM5, the best small, discrete, near-invisible camera for street photography and unobtrusive documentary photography I have ever seen?

I missed out on buying my own GM5 and have been searching fruitlessly ever since for a tiny but top-quality camera equipped with interchangeable pancake prime or zoom lenses to be carried at all times wherever I go.

Until Panasonic shocked and disappointed its professional stills and video user base with the GX9 aka GX7 Mark III, I had been planning on adding a GX9, what should have been the real GX9, to my kit for use in documentary moviemaking and photography.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 with optional hand grip with screw that must be removed to access SD cards and batteries. The DC-GX9 reportedly has short battery life so you may unscrewing and screwing back this hand grip throughout the day. The attached Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Power OIS is reportedly a good lens but perhaps not the best fit for this camera.

Now that may never happen.

Now I am wondering if I should be spending my money on Fujifilm cameras instead even though there are no direct substitutes for the GX8 and GM5 in Fujifilm’s otherwise promising camera collection.

Fujifilm’s rangefinder-style X-E3 does not have the GX8’s unique tilting EVF nor its more pro-quality stills and video features although it is reportedly a great little interchangeable lens camera for stills and video though crippled by Fujifilm’s bizarre aversion to exposure zebras.

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Fujifilm X-E3 with Fujinon XF 23mm R WR, the company’s APS-C/Super 35 rangefinder-style camera, also able to use the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens as well as all other Fujinon X-Mount prime and zoom lenses.

The X-E3 might otherwise make for a good, discrete, near-invisible documentary and street camera when equipped with Fujifilm’s only pancake lens, the Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8, though I have yet to obtain an X-E3 review loaner to put this hope to the test.

There is also the fact that Fujifilm does not make other equally good pancake prime lenses and nothing like Panasonic’s amazing though awfully under-rated Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Mega OIS zoom lens.

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Fujifilm X100F with fixed 23mm f/2.0 prime lens, that can be supplemented with the Fujifilm WCL-X100 II wide conversion lens and TCL-X100 II tele conversion lens, giving the camera 23mm, 18mm and 35mm focal lengths, equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to 28mm, 35mm and 50mm, at the price of extra cost, size and weight.

Fujifilm’s real-rangefinder fixed-lens APS-C-sensored X-100F makes for a great little documentary and street photography camera though it badly needs its own version of the Fujifilm MHG-X100 hand grip, a crucial accessory given the X100F’s small, slippery body.

Panasonic’s recent design, manufacturing, marketing and naming decisions and lack of communication about them have thrown me and not a few other professional users into a quandary to the point where we are wondering if we should be looking at other makers’ products even though the Micro Four Thirds Super 16 format has its many advantages and those other makers also have their own bizarre blindspots and weird omissions.

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Rolleiflex 4.0 FT twin lens reflex telephoto portrait camera, special edition. The GX8 allows me to emulate its magnified waist-level viewfinder for portraits and fly-on-the-wall documentary photographs.

Then there is the question of the GX8’s unique and irreplaceable tilting EVF, the one thing that allows me to shoot in the magnified waist-level viewfinder manner of great classic analog cameras like the Rolleiflex TLRs and that no other camera maker emulates in the digital era, not even with tilting monitors you have to squint at and shade with your hand in order to have a hope of seeing well enough under bright outdoor light.

If Panasonic no longer makes the stills cameras I need and my GX8 finally wears out after too many shutter actuations, I face kissing goodbye to a way of seeing and photographing upon which I built my style, my career and my life.

There is so much more to the GX8 and the technology it gave me and that is mostly absent from the GX9 than an homage to some of the best of the past, as I was reminded on absentmindedly picking up and handling my GX8 just now.

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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8’s fully articulated monitor beats any tilting or fixed monitor screen especially in combination with its tilting EVF.

Its combination of fully-articulated touchscreen, touch focussing, tilting viewfinder mechanism and beautiful, brilliant EVF screen is an incredibly potent one for unobtrusive, immersive documentary and portrait photography often at times mere centimetres away from your subjects.

If you are lucky enough to have a GX8, pick it up, turn it on, flip up its EVF, open its monitor to the left and tilted slightly flat, place your left thumb on the touchscreen to perfectly nail focus, operate the camera’s buttons and dials with the fingers of your right hand, all simultaneously, and feel the power and control in your hands, the GX8’s uncanny ability to help you capture the perfect moment.

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The fully-articulated monitor that the GX8 has and that the GX9 does not have is far superior to monitors that tilt up or down. I often use my GX8 like this for portraiture in vertical aka portrait orientation with camera handheld or tripod-mounted.

Now consider what has been lost to us with the GX9.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens, for “street photography”. This is an excellent lens for “street photography” being tiny, discrete and collapsible though you will need to supplement it with a fast pancake lens like the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric or Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lenses for indoors and available darkness use. Bizarrely, the 12-32mm is not being bundled with the GX9 in the USA so far as I can tell.

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