Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Large Sensor, Digital Compact Cameras are Coming!

If you follow this blog, you have probably read about my using compact 35mm film cameras in part because there haven't been any compact digital cameras with large, DSLR sensors...or at least not any that seem to work that well, especially in terms of autofocus performance (e.g., the Sigma DP1/DP2 and Olympus E-P1).

Well, both Panasonic and Leica (who often work together to produce digital cameras), are coming out with some new compact digital cameras sporting DSLR-size sensors that may finally lure me away from my compact 35mm film cameras...!

Panasonic announced the new GF1 which sports a 17.3 x 13.0mm four thirds sensor in a compact camera body that is similar in size to the Olympus E-P1 (note: a APS-C sensor--e.g., as used in Canon's Digital Rebels and 10D thru 50D DSLRs--is 23.6 x 15.8mm). The GF1 allows interchangeable lenses and initial reports indicate the autofocusing system is significantly improved over the Sigma DP1/DP2 and Olympus E-P1...more akin to the ones you find on DSLRs.

The GF1 will sell for $899.95 with a 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens (35mm equivalence: 28-90mm) and is reported to be shipping in October 2009.

Leica has announced three new digital cameras: one with a medium format camera sized sensor (the S2), one with a full 35mm sized sensor (the M9), and one with a APS-C sized sensor (the X1).

While all of these are interesting entries into the digital camera marketplace, it's the X1 that most interests me. It's a true compact digital camera with a true APS-C DSLR size sensor. The lens is a fixed 24/2.8 Leica ELMARIT ASPH lens (equivalent to a 36mm lens on a 35mm film camera), which may not appeal to people who have become accustomed to zoom lenses.

The compact 35mm film cameras I use are all fixed lenses as well--usually somewhere in the range of 28mm - 40mm--and I have found I like having the higher quality optics you can get in a fixed range lens for my more personal, fine art work anyway.

The Leica X1 will sell for $1995.00 and begin shipping in January 2010.

Of course, I've got some high-quality compact 35mm film cameras I've picked up used for under $100! The differences in price ($899.95 - $100 = $799.95 and $1995 - $100 = $1895) pay for a *lot* of film and film processing...:p.

Michael Grace-Martin is a professional wedding, portrait, event, stock, and fine art photographer based in Upstate New York. He is also the author of this blog. All images and text are (c) Michael Grace-Martin Photography. His main website is:

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