Cameras that talk to phones? What will they think of next! The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF6 is the latest Micro Four Thirds camera combining a compact body with different lenses to give you a lightweight alternative to a dSLR -- and the GF6 pairs off with your phone too, thanks to Wi-Fi and, for perhaps the first time in a camera, NFC.
Download the Panasonic Image App to your iPhone, iPad or Android phone or tablet and after setting up the app, you only need to touch the camera to your phone or tablet to turn it into a screen showing what your camera sees. So you can leave your camera on a tripod, wander off with phone in hand, and still snap pictures.
NFC is usually found in phones, and allows gadgets to transfer files and data wirelessly between them simply by tapping them together. It's the same technology that allows you to pay for stuff by tapping a phone against a till. Here, the various connection options allow the GF6 to transfer images to a smart phone or tablet, share by email or online, and even remote control the camera from the screen of your phone or tablet.
As well as firing the shutter, you can zoom, focus and adjust shutter speed, aperture and exposure settings from your phone, or start and stop recording high definition 1080p video with stereo sound.
When you're done with each shot, you can transfer and share pictures automatically to your phone and tablet, tagged with location data.
The camera itself sports a flip-out 3-inch 1040K-dot touchscreen and built-in flash. Inside is a new 16-megapixel Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine processor that can handle up to ISO 3,200 sensitivity.
For extra pizzazz in your pictures, you can also add one of 19 filter effects to a snap. New effects in the GF6 include Bleach Bypass, Toy Pop, and a teasingly-named Fantasy setting. You also have the option to create stop-motion animation, which I could see making good use of a phone or tablet as remote control.
Oh, and you'll be pleased to hear the Intelligent Scene Control, which recognises lighting conditions and adjusts settings accordingly, now offers Food Recognition mode.
The Panasonic Lumix GF6 comes in black or white with a 14-42mm lens for £500 at the end of this month. Have you made the switch from dSLR to Micro Four Thirds? Do you like the idea of cameras talking to phones? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.