The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 is the sixth digital mirrorless interchangeable lens camera introduced that adheres to the recently developed Micro Four Thirds System (MFT) system design standard, and the fourth Panasonic model MFT camera introduced. The G10 model was announced concurrently with its more capable sibling, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2, in March 2010.
About the Micro Four Thirds System
The Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system design standard was jointly announced in 2008 by Olympus and Panasonic, as a further evolution of the similarly named predecessor Four Thirds System system pioneered by Olympus. The Micro Four Thirds system standard uses the same sized sensor (nominal 4000 pixels by 3000 pixels) as the original Four Thirds system. One potential advantage of the smaller MFT system sensor (when compared to market leaders Canon and Nikon APS-C and full frame sized) is potentially smaller and lighter lenses. The smaller MFT sensor allows for a reduced image circle which allows the development of smaller and lighter native lenses. The MFT sensor has a crop factor of 2.0 when compared to 35mm film equivalent full frame sensors. By comparison, the more popular consumer (as opposed to professional) DSLRs such as those made by Canon, Nikon and Sony have 1.5 to 1.6 crop factor APS-C sensors, which means larger and heavier lens designs. For example, a typical Olympus MFT M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens weighs 112g, is 56mm in diameter and 50mm in length. The equivalent Canon APS-C DSLR EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens weighs 190g, and is 69mm in diameter and 80mm in length
While the older Four Thirds system design standard allowed the incorporation of a single lens reflex (SLR) camera design including a mirror box and pentaprism based optical viewfinder system, the MFT system design standard sought to pursue a technically different camera, and specifically slimmed down the key physical specifications which eliminated the ability to include the traditional complex optical path and the bulky mirror box needed for a SLR optical viewfinder. Instead, MFT uses either a built-in (Panasonic) or optional (Olympus/Panasonic) compact electronic viewfinder (EVF) and/or LCD back panel displaying a Live view from the main image sensor. Use of an EVF/back panel LCD and smaller four thirds image sensor format and allows for smaller and lighter camera bodies and lenses. The MFT system standard also specifically includes seamless switching between still photography and HD video recording as a design criterion.
MFT cameras are physically slimmer than most interchangeable lens cameras because the standard specifies a much reduced lens mount flange to imaging sensor plane distance of just 20mm. Typically this so-called flange focal distance is over 40mm on most interchangeable lens cameras. The MFT system design flange focal length distance allows for, through use of an adapter, the possibility to mount virtually any manufacturer's existing and legacy still camera interchangeable lens (as well as some video and cine lenses) to an MFT body, albeit using manual focus and manual aperture control. For example, many theoretically obsolete 35mm film camera lenses, as well as existing current lenses for APS-C and full frame DSLR's are now usable on MFT cameras. As an example, an older (i.e., used, obsolete and low priced), but still high quality, 50mm f/1.8 "standard" lens from a 35mm film camera can be used on a MFT camera body. With MFT sensors having a crop factor of 2.0, the old 50mm f/1.8 "standard" lens becomes a high-speed (although manual) 100mm f/1.8 telephoto portrait lens. So the MFT system allows the re-use of expensive lenses that may have outlived their 35mm film format camera, and can be used on a modern digital camera body capable of both still and HD video recording. Similarly, the MFT system design allows current DSLR lenses to be used as well, although only with manual focus and aperture control.
The G10 was positioned as an entry level, basic MFT camera, similar in form and function to other Panasonic MFT still cameras such as the more feature laden Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, GH1 and G2. The G10 retained important core features such as the MFT sensor, and shutter systems, the ability to change lenses, but omitted certain cost driving features, notably the articulating LCD, in favor of a fixed panel LCD, and the high resolution electronic view finder (EVF) in favor of a lower resolution EVF, with a less clear and smooth image than its sister cameras with built-in EVF's. Unfortunately, using a lower cost EVF has been the one of the main criticisms of what was otherwise considered very capable still camera. Apparently there are situations under which low resolution EVF is not easily usable. In fact, other than the EVF and LCD changes, on paper at least, the G10 might even be considered more capable than the G1, because it has video capabilities where the G1 did not.
The G10 featured Motion JPEG video capability only, with a mono microphone, as opposed to more capable AVCHD recording formats found in the other Panasonic G and GH series cameras, with the exception of the G1, which had no video capability.
The G10 is supplied with a standard Panasonic 14â"42Â mm Æ'/3.5â"5.6 kit lens (28â"86Â mm equivalent) and can use all native Micro Four Thirds System lenses. Four Thirds System lenses can be used with an adapter, as can the lenses from nearly every major manual focus camera mount, such as Leica M, Leica R, Olympus OM, Nikon F, Canon FD, Minolta SR, M42 Screw Mount, Contax/Yashica Mount and others. Canon EF mount lenses can be used with an adapter, but native EF lenses are electronically controlled, and will therefore not have aperture control or autofocus. The Micro Four Thirds System specification supports lenses with optical image stabilization.
The camera was available in one color: black (suffix K).
Upon introduction the United States, MSRP was set at USD 600.00 with the kit lens.
As of mid-2011, the G10 camera had no immediately apparent successor model, with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 seemingly covering the replacement space for both the G10 and the G2 cameras.
Micro Four Thirds Camera introduction roadmap
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 web site
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 Press Release
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 Review â" Digital Photography Review
- Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 Review â" Imaging Resource Review
Media related to Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 at Wikimedia Commons