Could the New Panasonic Cameras Be Like the L1 or LC1?

The digital camera world is abuzz about the new Micro Four Thirds camera by Panasonic with a zoom lens attached. Further, 43rumors’ sources are saying that it will have a rangefinder style viewfinder. Now, does all this sound a bit familiar to you at all? Remember the Panasonic L1 and LC1?

Note: this posting is based on speculation, a rumor and observations of digital camera trends in the market.

The Panasonic L1 was a Four Thirds sensor camera that looked and felt a lot like an old rangefinder as the aperture dial was on the lens and the shutter speed dial was on top. Additionally, the flash worked a bit different—it popped up for a bounce effect and then popped up again for direct illumination.

The new camera described could perhaps be a mirrorless version of this camera directed more towards professionals.

Or, what seems to be more feasible is the fact that a newer version of the LC1 may perhaps be made, but with a Four Thirds sensor and in a mirrorless body. The LC1 had an F2.0-F2.4 Leica Summicron lens that was permanently attached; and that matches up with the specs stated by 43Rumors. As it stands, it was the Leica Digilux 2’s twin. This further points to evidence that Leica may create their own version of the camera with their own custom menu settings and more tweaks to emphasize image quality over anything else.

Want even more evidence? Look at the trends: the Panasonic L10 and the Panasonic G1/GH-1/G2/G10 all look very similar to one another. The former being the original Four Thirds camera. Panasonic essentially recycles their designs that work, which is a good business practice. The G1 was essentially the L10 with some minor tweaks and without the mirror and pentaprism. The cameras that came after were built upon the G1 being their predecessor.

From this, we can conclude that it is a possibility that the new camera may look like the LC1. Could this mean that Panasonic is going back to their roots with a mechanical zoom, aperture ring and focusing ring? We can only wait and see what’s to come.

I’m a bit of a Panasonic fanboy myself as I’ve always loved their products quite a bit because of the simple elegance and more emphasis on what professionals want and need with a camera like the GF-1. They were the first to do it and then Olympus followed suit. They make wonderful lenses and I always find myself coming very close to buying a GF1 and 20mm F1.7 but can never pull the trigger because of what my 7D and 5D Mk II can do. Granted, they’re different classes of cameras—I know that. But professionals become spoiled after a while when you get the image quality and the feature set that we can get, even if it is a bigger body. A smaller body is nice, but I can’t justify it right now. In the years to come as my vision becomes worse, I do see myself moving to a rangefinder like a Leica M9 or Micro Four Thirds cameras as their viewfinders allow me to shoot without my glasses.

If you want a smaller camera, check out my posting on small cameras for professionals.

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments below.

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.