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Mark Peters : March 4th 2006 - 16:00 CET
Interview Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 SLR

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PanasonicPanasonic interview : At the Photo Marketing Trade Show (PMA 2006), we have interviewed Suguru Takamatsu, Coordinator Marketing Team Overseas Sales & Marketing Group and Ichiro Kitao, Product Planning Manager, from Panasonic Optical Group. At the start of the PMA 2006 Panasonic introduced their first digital SLR camera. The introduced was held just before the official start of the PMA. The press conference was attended by hundreds of journalist from all over the world. The Panasonic Lumix L1 is a 7.5 Megapixel DSRL camera with some unique features like anti dust filter and live view mode. We asked Suguru and Ichiro about Panasonic's first digital SLR camera, the Lumix DMC L1 and future developments.
Interview Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 SLR Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 SLR
The Panasonic L1 is operated much like a traditional film camera but provides a variety of innovative features that increase the fun of shooting photos. While the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 is digital, it has a classic design that will remind users of traditional analogue cameras. These characteristics, together with a shutter speed control dial on the camera body and an aperture ring on the Leica D Vario-Elmarit 14-50mm/F2.8-3.5 lens (also being introduced), distinguish the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 from conventional digital SLRs in both design and operation.

1). Question: Congratulation with the introduction of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 SLR. The whole world watched Panasonic unveiling its first digital SLR camera. Specifically what consumer group you are targeting with the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1? Answer: Thank you very much. The Panasonic Lumix L1 is not for the entry-level user, nor for the digital photography starter. We are also not aiming at the professional user although they may want to use the Panasonic L1 as a compact DSLR, giving them a convenient and small sized high quality camera in the field. We are aiming at the middle range of photographers, the advanced users.

2). Question: The new Leica D 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 lens has the Mega O.I.S built-in. One of the advantages of the FourThirds system is that all lenses are compatible with each camera. Does this mean that the Mega O.I.S will also be available on the Olympus digital SLR cameras? If so, what is the key selling point why someone has to choose Panasonic above Olympus? Answer: The Mega O.I.S will be available for Olympus users as well if they are using the new Leica D lens. However, we have incorporated two modes of Mega O.I.S. Both will work in combination with our Panasonic DMC L1 camera, but mode 2 will not function on other brand cameras. This Mega O.I.S mode is communicating with the camera itself, and this is one feature the Panasonic differs from other brands. With mode 1 the O.I.S is always working and is mainly focusing on eliminating hand shake. With mode 2 the O.I.S will be activated when you push the shutter button.

3). Question: The press conference mentioned that the new Live MOS sensor handles low light situations more effective. Can you explain why? Answer: The sensor can produce very high quality images where noise is not a big issue. Without getting into too much technical detail the major reason is that the combination of Live MOS and power consumption or CCD and power consumption is with the Live MOS sensor far more efficient.

4). Question: Can we expect more lenses of Leica/Panasonic with Mega O.I.S? Answer: Of course the new Leica D lens is a very interesting lens and it is to be expected that more lenses will follow. However, it has yet to be decided which kind of lenses will be developed and with what kind of specifications. It will not be necessary to develop every lens with O.I.S on board. For some lenses image stabilization is not necessary and will only add more costs to the development.

5). Question:What will be the biggest competitor of the Pansonic Lumix DMC-L1? Answer: As far as the price range, although keep in mind that we cannot give you the actual price yet, we are aiming at cameras like the Canon EOS 30D and Nikon D200. At first we will be offering the Panasonic Lumix L1 in a kit, but we havenĀ“t decided yet if we want to sell the body and lens also separately. This will depend on the demand and reaction of the market. To be realistic, we don't expect to sell many and many of the new Panasonic L1 digital SLR camera, so it will be unrealistic to predict any high sale numbers. It is our first DSLR product, but off course it is our wish that it will sell very well!

6). Question: Will Panasonic be using their own RAW format, or will it adept to the Adobe's DNG standard? Answer: That is to be decided yet. If it is better to use the DNG standard we will certainly do so. But we haven't made a decision at this point yet. Remember the Panasonic Lumix DMC L1 as we have shown you is one the 5 pre-production samples we have in the world. The functions, ergonomics and features are not final yet.

7). Question: Does the Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 use the same live view as the Olympus E-330? And what is the main purpose of live view on a D-SLR? Answer: The live view of the Panasonic L1 will be slightly different. We are not using two kind of image sensors. The only live view we offer is with the mirror locked up. Olympus is also using a second sensor that receives the light via a second mirror. Live view is not meant to replace the optical viewfinder for normal use. It will become handy for special photography as macro photography and low angle shots. It gives our end-users a little extra.

8). Question: The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 digital SLR incorporates a new image processor, the Venus Engine III. What is the benefit of this processor? Answer: Our new Venus Engine III image processor is able to detect a variety of noise types separately. With this Venus processor we will be able to reduce this noise very effective which will result in better image quality.

9). Question: How about the price and availability of the Panasonic DMC-L1? Answer: At this moment we are not in the position to give you an actual price, but as mentioned before we are targeting at the group of Canon EOS 30D and Nikon D200 users. We hope to be able to make the Panasonic Lumix DMC L1 available around Photokina (September 2006).





   Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1
   Panasonic Lumix DMC-L1 Specifications
   Panasonic DMC-L1 at PMA 2006
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