Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3. Panasonic's top-of-the-line mirrorless model, the Lumix DMC-GH3 provides a rugged, dust- and splash-proof magnesium-alloy body that's a bit larger than its predecessor's for easier video shooting. The 16.05-megapixel Live MOS image sensor delivers improved still image quality, as well as new video capabilities. Normal ISO range is 200-12,800, expandable to 125-25,600. The GH3 can shoot full-res images at 6 fps (4 fps with live view) and 4-megapixel images at 20 fps. Contrast-based Light Speed AF exchanges data at up to 240 fps between body and lens for superquick performance for stills and video.
Panasonic's GH cameras have been noted for their video capabilities. The GH3 expands on them. It can shoot MOV (H.264) 1080p at 60, 30 and 24 fps and 720p at 60 fps, 50 Mbps with IPB compression and 72 Mbps with Al-Intra compression. It can also shoot AVCHD Progressive at 1080/60p and AVCHD 1080 at 60i and 24p—all with SMPTE timecoding, if desired. It can also shoot MP4 1080p, 720p and 480p video at 30 fps. The camera is designed to disperse heat for longer run times. Built-in microphones record stereo sound, and there's a 3.5mm external microphone jack, plus a headphone jack.
A 1774K-dot OLED Live View Finder provides handy eye-level still and video shooting, while the free-angle 3.0-inch, 640K-dot OLED touch-screen monitor offers easy odd-angle shooting and autofocus-point selection. A flash-sync socket lets you connect studio flash systems. There's also a built-in flash, a hot-shoe and wireless off-camera flash capability.
Built-in Wi-Fi provides easy linking to smartphones or tablets. Images are stored on SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, including UHS-I-compliant. A new Tough Battery is CIPA-rated for 500 to 550 images per charge (depending on the lens), and the optional Battery Grip DMW-BGGH3 doubles that. Estimated Street Price: $1,299.
Samsung NX20. The NX20 features a 20.3-megapixel, APS-C Samsung CMOS image sensor, as do all current NX mirrorless cameras. But the NX20 also features a "mini-DSLR" design, while the other NX cameras (except the next Galaxy NX) use a "flat" compact camera-style design. There's a built-in SVGA (1440K-dot) eye-level electronic viewfinder to complement the bright, tilting and rotating 3.0-inch, 614K-dot AMOLED monitor.
A top shutter speed of 1⁄8000 sec. with a very brief lag, along with 8 fps shooting at full resolution, puts the NX20 right in there with the top APS-C DSLRs in terms of shooting speed. It can shoot at up to 30 fps at reduced 5-megapixel resolution.
Video features include full HD 1920x1080, HD 1280x720, 640x480 and 320x240 at 30p, plus widescreen 1920x810 at 24p. There's also Multi Motion that lets you produce clips at ¼ to 20X normal speed. Sound is stereo via a built-in microphone, and there's a jack for an external mic.
In i-Function 2.0 mode, you can make many camera settings using the lens' focusing ring. The depth-of-field preview button can be programmed for other functions, including activating/deactivating the RAW+JPEG feature.
Built-in Wi-Fi means you don't need a Wi-Fi card or other device to upload your images to a social-networking site or compatible smartphone, or e-mail them. Estimated Street Price: $599 (with 18-55mm zoom).