The Hybrid Camera Age?

At this year’s PMA a new breed of cameras were introduced.  The micro four-thirds standard or hybrid camera, is the catch phrase being thrown around, to describe a camera which has an interchangeable lens supporting point-and-shoot cameras.  It lacks a mirror box, which defines an SLR.  So it directly images on the sensor. What remains a mystery, would be if these new, but odd technical showpieces will find a market.  Panasonic, Olympus and Samsung have all decided to throw their hats into uncharted waters.

Panasonics G1K

Panasonic's G1K

Panasonic announced their hybrid camera, the DMC-G1K [or the G1 for short].  It lacks the ability to shoot video. Which made their next, more expensive camera, a slightly bigger deal.  The GH1 can shoot video. Why is this a big deal? When you have interchangeable lenses you can get better quality glass which results in a shallower depth of field.  This is interesting, because this puts consumer video at a disadvantage.  Usually, consumer video is very sharp and equally weighted making everything appear flat.  Unfortunately, Panasonic has not released pricing on the GH1 and are very tight lipped [believe me…I’ve e-mailed them] and the pricing makes all the difference.

Summer 2009?

Summer 2009?

Olympus’ prototype hybrid camera is one of the more interesting, but nebulous out of all the cameras mentioned at the PMA’s.  It was only unveiled under glass and not much is known about the little gadget other than a note on the side of it that said “Summer 2009”.  The Olympus looks like an old fashioned range finder camera, but makes it stand out when compared to its competition.

Samsung NX Series

Even less is known about Samsung’s NX series of camera. It was under glass, but as you can tell it looks very similar to the Panasonic GH1.

Other Cool Cameras announced:

Sonys Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1

Sony's Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1

Sony announced their Cyber-shot DSC-HX1.  I guess ‘Sony’s hybrid camera’ name was taken.  One of the most noticible features is its 20x zoom.  Which is cool considering a lot of point-and-shoot monstrosities are emphasizing infinite, super, mega zooms!  It has a CMOS instead of CCD sensor.

Canon PowerShot SX1IS

Canon PowerShot SX1IS

Canon, never to be outshined announced their PowerShot SX1IS.  However, what sets the Sony Cyper-shot apart from this camera would be its Dynamic Wide Panorma mode.  In this mode you basically press the shutter and pan across the scene and by some form of technological witchcraft the image is stitched together creating a panoramic image.  Essentially, the technological witchcraft is the ultra-fast shooting mode being initiated once the shutter is pressed.

FinePix Real3D Digital Camera

Fuji’s FinePix Real3D Digital Camera, should definitely win the award for most ‘out there’ concept.  No glasses or weird stereoscopic viewing system, the camera supposedly takes actual 3-dimensional photos.  You know, the kind that moves when you move your head from one angle to the next?  Well Fuji has cracked the code and is introducing something knew to the photo world.  If anything, the camera looks odd and will only be a niche product, but there has to be some ambitious artist out there that had a ton of ideas pop in their head at the mere mention of this camera’s capabilities.

With all these new and strange cameras being announced and pushed as the go-between for those looking to get something a little more advanced than a point and shoot, but something not as serious as a D-SLR.  Will there be a market for this?  The Fuji 3d camera and the Olympus prototype definitely look like novelty gadgets, but could there be a place for this technology in the ever evolving world of photography?

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