Despite the fact that mobile photography has never been as big as it is today, smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom that put the quality of the camera above all other specs haven’t really caught on with consumers.
The approach that’s proven most successful thus far is to pack the best possible camera inside a phone without making it actually look like a camera.
That precedent is doing little to deter Panasonic, however, as the electronics giant has announced a new smartphone at the Photokina imaging trade show that puts the camera first (or as Panasonic refers to it, a capable camera with communications capabilities).
The device in question is the Lumix DMC-CM1, an Android-based smartphone that packs a 1-inch image sensor capable of producing 20-megapixel images with help from a Leica-branded fixed f/2.8 lens that works out to the equivalent of a 28mm zoom lens. If you’re keeping up, that’s the same size image sensor found in mirrorless cameras such as the Sony Rx100.
There’s also a dedicated shutter button as well as a manual lens ring to assist in dialing in the aperture / shutter speed. Oh, and did I mention it can capture 4K video, too?
As for the phone itself, you’re looking at a device with a 4.7-inch full HD display. Under the hood is a quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC clocked at 2.3GHz mated with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (expandable via microSD card slot). It’ll run Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box, we’re told.
Panasonic plans to launch the hybrid camera phone in limited quantities. Expect to pay around 899 euros ($1,162) for the opportunity when it arrives in France and Europe this November. No word yet on whether or not Panasonic is planning to bring the CM1 to the US or other regions.