Panasonic has hinted at the possible future launch of a compact-style Micro Four Thirds digital camera as part of a commitment to expand its G-series range.

The news comes just days after the firm announced its first Micro Four Thirds (G-series) camera with video capability.

Announced last year by Olympus and Panasonic, the Micro Four Thirds format is an interchangeable lens system that uses a camera body smaller than a traditional digital SLR.

Its protagonists promoted it as a way to attract compact camera users who were put off by the bulky camera bodies that characterise digital SLRs.

But, so far, only Olympus has announced its intention to market a compact-style body.

Panasonic?s two G-series models, the G1 and GH1, are more akin in shape to a DSLR.

Flexible system

Asked whether Panasonic intends to launch a more compact-style camera body, Ichiro Kitao general manager at Panasonic?s Products Planning Group, said: ?It is one of the choices ? a more entry-level piece than the G1 or a step up piece?In the coming years we would like to expand our G Micro [Four Thirds] system.?

In an interview with Amateur Photographer at the PMA show in Las Vegas, he added: ?There is a great possibility to make any kind of product.?

Kitao would not be drawn on further details and the timing of any future launches.

And he did not appear concerned that, by not launching a compact-style Micro Four Thirds camera now, Panasonic may miss out on attracting the mass market consumer.

Asked whether he is worried that Olympus plans to market a more compact-style model, Kitao told us: ?We are, of course, in competition with Olympus but we would like to promote Micro Four Thirds with Olympus ? so, it?s a good thing.?

Consumer ‘awareness’

Meanwhile, Panasonic UK is on a mission to heavily promote Micro Four Thirds to British photography enthusiasts as part of its commitment to the system.

?This year we intend to make a huge push for Micro Four Thirds,? said Panasonic’s UK product manager for Lumix, Mark Robinson.

He said that the firm wants to raise consumer awareness of the system, using television advertising to help its campaign.

?Our single biggest mission is to get our message out.?

Robinson added: ?In the fullness of time our intention is for [Micro Four Thirds] to be a mainstream product.?

To ensure UK photo enthusiasts play a role in future cameras, the firm plans to pass any feedback to Panasonic?s research and development team in Japan.


Panasonic GH1 with video

Micro Four Thirds system gets off the ground