Panasonic Full Frame, coming soon near you :P

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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I wanted to wait a bit before bringing this up so it doesn't feel like beating a dead horse, especially when a lot of people have been panicking (really ?!?) about the imminent (seriously ?!?) death of Micro Four Thirds format. This will be just my opinion and what it means to me and putting it out there so it doesn't feel like an echo in my mind every time I think about it :)

Why? Well, at least to me, it seems obvious why Panasonic decided to go Full Frame. The biggest attraction and selling point of Panasonic cameras, especially GH2, GH3, GH4, GH5, has been their video quality and features. Panasonic offered amazing features and video quality with Panasonic GH2 compared to many of the DSLR and mirrorless competitors at that time and at a lot lower budget, besides the downsize in weight and size for portability. Canon may have brought the high quality professional looking video with EOS 5D Mark II but Panasonic brought it to the masses at a price point where almost any amateur could afford it. Panasonic GH3 upped the anti with a higher build quality and with even more video oriented features. Then the GH4 came out with the first 4K high-quality video camera and even professionals took it very seriously. Now we have GH5 and GH5S with 4K 60P and 6K 30P.
Panasonic wants to keep its high-quality video capabilities and have a good market share in the filming department but Micro Four Thirds can only go so far in terms of resolution. Panasonic wants the room to evolve, 8K by 2020, 16K beyond that. Unless there will be an amazing technological breakthrough in sensor miniaturization and optimization to give that to the Micro Four Thirds format it's just not possible, and that's why Full Frame is the choice of the future for Panasonic's hold on the video department. It's a financial decision that makes sense to make a profit and keep their relevance in this department.

What about the imaging side? Well, why not? If they want to make a Full Frame camera for their future why not make in still imaging oriented format as well. I don't see why they wouldn't have as much still imaging capabilities as is video features directives. Though it's not too far to expect that videos features might be the first priority in the design of them but that shouldn't make them a bad still camera. I can see Full Frame being used and loved by event photography, like weddings, but it should be usable in any kind of usage (hopefully the AF-C will be better in the near future).

What about the Micro Four Thirds format? Well ... people like to quote history without truly understanding it. Four-Thirds is being put out there too much without proper content. The Four-Thirds format was abandoned because even though it did give some advantage, Micro Four Thirds gives even more of the advantage that the 21.6x17.3 mm sensor sized was promised back in 2003. The mirror box kept Panasonic and Olympus from creating cameras as small as the Pen and GX/GM/GF line that we have now. And we can see, now that we have them, how much weight and size you can save up when you lose the mirror box by comparing the Olympus 7-14mm f 4, 12-60mm f 2.8-4, 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5 to Panasonic 7-14mm f 4, Panasonic-Leica 12-60mm f 2.8-4, 50-200mm f 2.8-4.
And it would make no sense to keep a DSLR and a Mirrorless format that tries to achieve the same thing but one does it better. Financially, the Four Thirds would be dead weight to keep on, but it is understandable that the client base of it be angry for Olympus and Panasonic to do that. At least Olympus gives us an answer with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I and Mark II. I don't see why Panasonic would give up on Micro Four Thirds any time soon (for the next 10 years at least) since it achieves different goals then Full Frame and it's a well established and build format in the 10 years of its existence.

What about the economic side of developing two formats? Well ... sacrifices will most likely have to happen. Panasonic is one of the biggest electronics corporations, it has the budget and the profitability to keep even an unprofitable market until it gets what it wants. There is a limited number of engineers and manufacturing capabilities, one would expect. I do expect that the Micro Four Thirds development will be slower in the future, to be able to bring their new Full Frame lineup to the size that Micro Four Thirds is. But they are not alone in doing that, they have Sigma and Leica to add to the ecosystem, and as the alliance they have with Olympus it's easier to build something when you have two heads (or more) to put together.
Panasonic already has a lot of covered ground of photography with the set of lenses and cameras options. It is very likely the reason why Panasonic said that they are consolidation their camera lineup some years ago, it was a preparation to make sure there are enough manufacturing capabilities to go around and cover most needs of their customers.

Ok, now what? Well ... it should be normal business, as usual, no need to stress about the future of Micro Four Thirds, enjoy the gear, invest in what you NEED and LOVE and go out and make amazing images.

What about Olympus? Well ... they are doing just fine, I doubt Olympus brand will die just because Panasonic added another level to their imaging business. Micro Four Thirds will not go away and Olympus has invested enough in this format to satisfy a lot of their clients. More lenses will come out from them, possibly, more then Panasonic will in the near future. Should they go Full Frame with Panasonic, Sigma and Leica? Maybe, it's their decision but I don't see them doing that because Micro Four Thirds is what they wanted when they started all of this back in 2003 if they wanted Full Frame they would have done it since then.

I used to be very confused and, admittedly, frustrated why Panasonic was balloning its cameras in size in the last few years (GH line, G line, GX8). Maybe they were trying to satisfy the DSLR photographers that complained mirrorless cameras are too small and to light to be comfortable for them (people who shoot with Canon 5Ds, 1Ds, Nikon D800s, D5s etc). But I started understanding why the GH line was growing in size, after reading more and more interviews with Panasonic engineers how much power it used and cooling needed to give the powerful video functionality. Now that Panasonic will have a Full Frame lineup for video maybe Micro Four Thirds cameras will shrink a bit (I am willing to sacrifice the video powerhouse features) and go back to the days of the G2s.
I'm not all that interested in the Panasonic S lineup for my use unless they will make a rangefinder style Full Frame camera, something like a Panasonic GX10.

I have been a Panasonic used since 2010, went through Lumix G1, G2, GX7, and I always love the Panasonic interface and usability. Even though I have moved to Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I and E-M5 Mark II, it's just a temporary switch to be able to use the Olympus 14-54mm f 2.8-3.5 and 50-200mm f 2.8-3.5. When I can afford the Panasonic-Leica 12-60mm f 2.8-4 and 50-200mm f 2.8-4 I will move back to Panasonic bodies. The only use I would have for a Full Frame camera is to play with legacy glass.

Sorry if the post was too long, I am not here to start a flame war with Full Frame against Micro Four Thirds. I just want a conversation about what and how people feel the added OPTION that Panasonic wants to bring.
 

Wasabi Bob

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MFT isn't going away. The movement to development a full frame mirrorless camera has been adopted by many companies. This is a logical step in expanding the product line. The two new models are aimed at the still photographers, each having a lot less video capability compared to the GH series cameras. All of these facts have been stated by each manufacturer. Given the existing MFT base, and the higher cost of the FF camera it would be suicide to abandon MFT, thinking that the MFT people will upgrade. Photo Plus show is coming up in a week or so, and I'm sure more info will be shared at the show in NYC. Chill out and enjoy the ride!
 

Mattyh

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For those that need full frame this is great news, for those that actually enjoy photography this news holds no interest.
 

dirtdevil

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I'm saving money for the S1 but I'm keeping my m43 lenses and a m43 camera as a backup for paid events, and for travel (and wildlife for the crop factor).
 
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