Creating new products, including digital cameras, and finding their markets is not an exact science; and, even Panasonic, with all of its many decades of innovation and success in the general consumer electronics industry requires some time and tweaking to determine exactly what consumers want in any particular product. Such is the case with Panasonic’s interchangeable lens, or mirrorless, cameras. In fact, it’s safe to say that most of the companies offering mirrorless cameras are still trying to match their products with the exact market segment that is likely to buy them.
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Panasonic may be one of the first of the major camera manufacturers that have finally understood the mirrorless camera buyer; keeping in mind that he or she is quite new, given the recent development of this camera technology. Announced during early April 2013, the GF6 appears to be a mirrorless camera that will satisfy the photographer that doesn’t want to lose all the “automatic” capabilities of a conventional point-and-shoot, but also wants more points of control when he or she chooses to use them.
Other manufacturers of mirrorless cameras have also come to recognize that this “dual” approach defines the market for their cameras, but the Panasonic GF6 may just have a number of extras that gives it a competitive advantage.
“Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi! We all cry for Wi-Fi!”
What also defines the mirrorless camera market is strong social media use, so Panasonic gave the GF6 a robust Wi-Fi capability. First, this new camera, as with a number of newer Panasonic models, has Near-Field Communication (NFC), which creates a Wi-Fi connection with another device simply by tapping them. The other device must be compatible with the GF6’s technology, however; and although newer Android devices are compatible, Apple devices are not. You can still establish a Wi-Fi connection with Apple devices, but it’s a manual operation that requires you select a compatible connection in your phone’s settings, and then enter a password. The good news is you must only do this the first time. Thereafter, the camera will remember the connection and data can be easily and quickly sent to an Apple device.
Very Versatile Touchscreen LCD
One of the those points of control on the Lumix DMC-GF6 that Panasonic has given those photographers who want more than the point-and-shoot experience is the upgraded touchscreen LCD. It has a higher resolution at 1,040,000 dots as well as a number of improvements that almost puts it in a class by itself. With capacitive instead of pressure-touch operation, the screen is similar to a smartphone, which made it possible for Panasonic to add photo-editing tools, such as Clear Retouch mode, that a simple touch activates and controls. Ergonomically, the GF6’s LCD tilts to various angles. It has been engineered with a special mechanism that raises it higher than a typical hinge. This means you’ll see more of the Live View image in the touchscreen for self-portraits because the body won’t block the screen. With complete articulation, the screen can also be lowered to view it above your head or at any number of other angles of view.
Added Camera Controls
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 mirrorless camera is also able to serve both ends of the spectrum of its audience with auto or user-directed controls. Use the camera’s iA button that you would find on most point-and-shoots to allow the GF6 to operate like a fully automated camera. Looking for more control? Then, you’ll like the addition of three customizable Fn buttons, one on the rear of the camera and two accessible from a “pull-out” table on the touchscreen.
Other Specs of Note
16MP Four Thirds sensor (same as GX1).
1080p30 video as MP4 or AVCHD (presented as 60i PsF in AVCHD mode).
Jog lever around shutter button (which operates zoom or exposure compensation).
ISA sensitivity expandable to 25,600.
Faster startup (as quick as 0.5 sec with non-power-zoom lenses).
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 is bundled with the new Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14–42mm f/3.5–5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS lens. The camera can also be paired with the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14–42mm f/3.5–5.6 II ASPH OIS lens, or pancake lens.
Panasonic’s announcement of the Lumix DMC-GF6 digital camera did not indicate when it would be available, so it can’t yet be pre-ordered from Amazon. Some sources state that the camera/lens bundle will retail for approximately $680.
Photo Copyright ©2013 Panasonic Corporation of North America
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