The Red Line Special

The Red Line Special

Sounds like a 1930’s race car, doesn’t it? Nearly as good – this is a Panasonic full-frame race car of a camera – slotting into their lineup as a more compact version of their big S1.

Hard sometimes to equate the outside sizes of some photo equipment with the contents – we’ve seen very large bodies and lenses feeding into quite small sensors and vice versa – this camera is tending toward the latter design. It still doesn’t make the sensor larger than the actual camera body, but I’ll bet there is someone in a design bureau that is doodling with that. Remember that designers have given us the Goggomobile Dart before and they can do it again.

Okay – 24mm x 36mm sensor – 24megapixel. Compact body. L mount. Very fast autofocus, extensively concentrating on head, face, and eye detection. Full video suite – dual card slot. Extended number of shots per charge. A real all-rounder that can do professional-quality video work as well as stills.

I found it in the cabinet paired with a Sigma 45mm f:2.8 lens of remarkably compact dimensions. This lens sometimes lives on the Sigma FP camera and is extremely sharp. A good choice for the prime enthusiast. I’m sorry I didn’t think to turn the camera round to the self-video mode when it was being photographed to see what the framing was like with the 45mm lens.

I did turn it over on my hands to see if the grip could accomodate a western hand – it can – deep enough to get a good grip on the body. Controls plain enough and well-spaced for normal fingers.

I also turned it three ways to compare the size and shape with the GH5 that was reviewed earlier in the week. Quite a difference in depth – it would be a lot easier to carry as a traveller. But note the little touches of Panasonic quality – the lugs are lined with steel grommets for increased wear resistance. Locking tabs on the hot-shoe covers. Don’t laugh – there are people who obsess about these theings and if Panasonic can keep them happy beforehand, all the better.

The choice of the L lens mount is a wise one – P look forward, as do L and S, to increased use of this size mounting. It presents fewer optical difficulties for new lens design than some of the older and more restricted mounts….without being so large as to be difficult for the body design team. More and more lenses are being mounted in it.

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