The way in which light is gathered and focused in SLR cameras has not changed right from the film days to the current generation of digital models. Panasonic and Olympus were working on a more compact system called the Micro Four Thirds system, derived from the tried and tested Four Thirds system that’s been used until now.
The new camera is called Panasonic Lumix G1. Panasonic does not call this a DSLR but they refer to it as a Digital Interchangeable Lens System Camera. The naming scheme not withstanding, the Lumix G1 is a first of sorts. It has an electronic viewfinder, a first for a non point-and-shoot model. Panasonic’s move to the Micro Four Thirds system allows them to make cameras that combine the compactness of point-and-shoot cameras with the versatility of SLRs.
The camera produces 12MP images, can shoot in JPEG (two quality levels) as well as RAW. Face detection, AF tracking, 4x digital zoom and optical image stabilization, ISO 3200 are in the features list.
It will be interesting to see how the competition responds, especially Olympus who are also working on a Micro Four Thirds model. As for the biggies in the business like Canon and Nikon, it will mean a new series of lenses, while they have a vast array of lenses from the film days.