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Panasonic unveils Lumix G7 and an all-new action cam

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Panasonic has unveiled two new cameras in the Lumix line-up including a brand new “bullet” style action camera along with the freshest model in the G series, the G7.

Initial hands-on time with the G7 at the launch event was focused on some clever parkour action, with a team of urban commandos brought in for Panasonic to ably demonstrate the camera’s killer feature: 4K Photo.

It’s not exactly a new thing. The G7, however, makes the feature more accessible, with a top-panel mode dial selector that makes 4K easy to switch into, unlike previous models that required users to mine a menu.

Also, there are three sub-modes: a pre-burst mode that captures images before and after using the shutter button; a familiar vanilla-flavoured burst mode; and a burst start/stop mode.

The new Lumix G7
The new Lumix G7

After capturing the burst sequence, playback presents the pics in a carousel-like sequence you can flip through to choose the best shot.

Outside of this feature, the G7 presents pretty much what you expect from a G series shooter.

The feature list includes max 1/6000sec shutter speed, creative panorama, silent mode, level gauge, white balance bracket, Intelligent Auto, scene guide with 20 sample situations, focus peaking, snap movie, Wi-Fi sharing and time lapse function.

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It captures to a 16-megapixel MFT sensor with JPEG, RAW and MPO (a format for 3D, for which there is a dedicated lens sold separately). Movies are shot as AVCHD or MP4.

It will be released in late June and will be priced at $899 body only or in three kits: with a 14-42mm lens at $999; a twin kit with 14-42mm and 45-150mm lenses at $1199; and a zoom lens kit with a 14-140mm lens at $1499.

The HX-A1 action camera is an interesting beast that faces already strong competition with the GoPro the dominant player in the field.

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Those with an interest in action cams, especially those who want to shoot in low-light or even no-light conditions using the HX-A1’s infra-red capabilities should be taking a second look.

It will come to market late June at $299 and comes with a multi-mount, tripod mount and GoPro adaptor mount.

It will be supported by a range of accessories including a head mount (with adjustable strap), suction cup mount and a nifty twin mount that will hold two HX-A1s in opposing directions – ideal for a lot of sports such as surfing or snowboarding where the rear view can be as good as what’s coming at you in front.

Panasonic's new HX-A1 Action Cam
Panasonic’s new HX-A1 Action Cam

It’s waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and freeze-proof, capturing 2.66-megapixel JPEGs to a 1/3in MOS sensor, recorded to a microSD card.

Video is captured as Full HD in MPEG-4/H.264. It weighs just 45g and it has a stated battery life of up to two hours and 45 minutes with an optional power pack.

Other features are the ability to use it in “Wireless Twin Camera” mode with a compatible camcorder to record picture-in-picture footage and it can be used as a computer webcam connected via USB.

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A standout feature is the ability to pair it with Panasonic’s Image App to provide a live preview over Wi-Fi so you can check your framing to adjust as necessary. It should be interesting, too, to see how users will put the infra-red capability to work.

As a demonstration at the launch event, I strapped the HX-A1 to my head and sat in a pitch black room while a parkour expert flipped and twirled under infrared lighting.

I could see nothing with my naked eye but the camera caught the action. Neat.

* Written by Chris Oaten , a professional photographer from Insight Visuals