Smartphone makers have mostly worried about creating great phones with increasingly better cameras. Panasonic has flipped that concept. Instead, the company has introduced a new product that’s essentially a camera first, smartphone second – the Panasonic Lumix CM1.
In a release on the device from the company’s official website, Panasonic says the Lumix CM1 has a Leica DC Elmarit Lens, with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel MOS sensor and other features you’d expect from a DSLR or high-end point-and-shoot camera.
That includes things like full manual control over the lens focus, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. The lens on the Lumix CM1 actually extends from the device. However, that’s not for zooming purposes, only to allow more focus control.
Here’s a glimpse of the new device focusing on its camera features:
This new device is also capable of shooting 4K video and 4K-quality photo captures from that video.
And because the Lumix CM1 doubles as a smartphone, the images you capture with it can easily be shared to social media streams, emailed, and uploaded to sites like YouTube right from the device.
As a smartphone, the Lumix CM1 will run on the latest Android operating system. A Google Drive app is pre-installed on the device, giving you a place to store the videos and photos you create.
Inside the new Panasonic device is a Qualcomm 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There is a microSD expansion slot to increase the storage space with 128GB more.
There’s a high-quality camera lens on the rear of the smartphone portion of the Lumix CM1. Meanwhile, the face of the smartphone (the view screen of the camera) is a 4.7-inch full HD display.
The device also has NFC technology and is capable of receiving LTE and WiFi connections. The Verge notes that this is the first Panasonic entry in the smartphone arena in the last two years. Shortcomings in previous devices kept the company away from that competitive market.
An initial planned release in Europe suggests a cost of 900 Euros, translating to more than $1,100 if it was for sale at a comparable price in the U.S. today. But not specific price tag or date for release in the U.S. market has yet been set, so time will tell.
Expect to see more ‘photo and video first’ smart devices in the near future, however. This Panasonic entry was debuted at Photokina, a photography technology convention held in Germany. The ability to share high-quality images on the go is one of the emerging trends from that show. From a Photokina release:
“Image capture devices are used to document one’s every step as robust miniaturized action cams or as so-called wearables or photo and video glasses. At the same time the recordings can be shared with any desired individuals, groups or with everyone via WiFi, NFC, smartphone and WLAN connections. The new WiFi-enabled image capture devices enable everyone to participate in their own personal experiences and those of others.”
I saw something similar to this in LG before. I think LG is the first to really integrate cameras with a cellphone. However, this got my attention because of the design. It looks more like a camera than a mobile phone.