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Hybrid Cameras
DSLR Image Quality In a Compact Size

Hybrid cameras offer the image quality similar to SLR cameras, yet they are more compact as point and shoot cameras are.

These cameras eliminate the standard internal mirror used in DSLR cameras. They can offer Live View through the LCD screenand have interchangeable lenses.

The new system is called the Micro Four Thirds System. This system is currently offered by both Panasonic and Olympus. Samsung has come out with their own hybrid camera. It is not considered a Micros Four Thirds system, yet it still eliminates the mirror box and offers similar advantages.

These cameras are a consideration for avid photographers who may not be quite ready for a DSLR camera but want the image quality in a more compact sized digital camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1

See video below!
This is Panasonic's new hybrid camera, replacing the G1. One of the differences is that the GH1 will have 1080p HD video. It is also anticipated that the GH1 will have better high ISO performance. Continuous auto focus (AF) can be used if you are recording movies which is an advantage.

It incorporates Intelligent Auto for Face Recognition and you can also use iA in movie mode. If you want to record a movie while taking pictures, there is a special one touch button. Whatever settings were used for the picture taking is now used for the movie mode. There is also a Creative Movie mode where you can manually set the aperture and shutter speed.

There is also a feature to help prevent blurring from hand shake. Another feature, Intelligent ISO helps to reduce motion blur and AF Tracking which allows the camera to lock on a subject to keep it in focus. Intelligent Exposure makes sure the exposure is correct, working with highlights and shadows for excellent detail.

If you look into the viewfinder an eye sensor switches it on, displaying camera information. If you look away from the viewfinder, it is switched off and the 3 inch LCD is turned on.

In My Colour mode, saturation, brightness and color can be adjusted. Check the Live View to see how your picture looks! The camera takes interchangeable lenses and both Four Thirds lenses (with the use of an adapter) and Micros Four Thirds lenses can be used.

Here's a video showing all the great additional features of the Panasonic DMC-GH1. If you watch (or skim through) to the end, they show what a movie recorded in HD video looks like on a plasma 42" screen!

*Note: There is now a newer model called the Panasonic DMC-GF1 with the following features:

1. Smaller than the GH1
2. Larger sensor for better light sensitivity
3. 12.1 megapixels
4. 3" LCD
5. Built in flash
6. Hot shoe for external flash
7. Optional electronic viewfinder (you must pay for this)
8. ISO100 to 3200
9. Four custom modes which can be recalled 10. Seventeen scene modes
11. Shutter speed 1/4000 to 60 seconds
12. Various preset color modes (including saturation for enhanced color)

Olympus Hybrid Camera

Olympus also now has a Micro Four Thirds system camera. It is the Olympus E-P1. It does not have an electronic or optical viewfinder, but it's image quality and color is very good.

Samsung NX Series

Samsung has their own take concept for a hybrid camera...not a Micro Four Thirds, but their own version. It will have a larger sensor than the Micro Four Thirds system, but the lens size will be the same. The body thickness will be similar. It will have both an electronic viewfinder and full time live view. A series of lenses will be available and the camera should be out in the second half of 2009. There is talk that it will have Wi-Fi connectivity and also HD video.

The hybrid cameras are in a class of their own. They offer high end image quality similar to many SLR cameras, have interchangeable lenses, there is an LCD screen, and most of all, are much more compact in size as opposed to most DSLR cameras.

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