There's no doubt now that mirrorless system cameras are here to stay, with Samsung, Olympus and Sony all now heading down the trail that Panasonic blazed with its revolutionary G-Micro system, and more sure to follow. The original Lumix G1, the first camera of the G-Micro system, is now over 18 months old (where does the time go?), but Panasonic has not been resting on its laurels. It recently launched two new models as the second generation of G-Micro cameras, the Lumix G2 which I reviewed last month, and the camera that I'm looking at today, the new Lumix G10.
The G10 is the new entry-level model of the range. Its stablemate the G2, featuring a high-res field sequential viewfinder, articulated monitor and HD video is currently selling for around £550, while of the first generation models the 1080p HD video equipped GH1 is selling for around £900 and the compact GF1 is around £650. The G10 is currently priced at around £450 as a kit with the new 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens, which seems very reasonable until you discover that the original G1 is still available with a kit 14-45mm lens for around £440. However price isn't the main selling point of the G-Micro series; in fact you can get a good APS-C digital SLR for around £100 less than the price of the G10.
More worrying for Panasonic is the growing competition from other brands, particularly the extremely impressive Samsung NX10, selling for around £470 but equipped with a full-sized 14.6MP APS-C CMOS sensor and 7.5cm AMOLED monitor. Sony has also just launched the NEX-3, which also has an APS-sized sensor of 14.2MP and is crucially much smaller and lighter than even the GF1, for £450 with a 16mm lens. Panasonic's developments partners Olympus have the stylish Pen E-P1 available for around £380. Faced with this growing competition is Panasonic's new starter model priced just a little too high?