Steven, are you UK or US... here is a offer for Europe from one of the biggest Panasonic broadcast dealers:
I tested their Demo and ordered my LT from them.
Varicam LT review with shot-by-shot comparison to FS7:https://vimeo.com/167962330
Now what would the R&D costs of the Varicam sensor and image technology be? Panasonic has so far probably lost a lot of money with the Varicam 35 so it´s good for us and them to now have this image quality available for any serious DP/filmmaker. The LT is clearly aiming at Arri Amira, at half the price.
The Sony FS7 is the paradigm camera in the price range you mention, but also shows serious shortcomings even if you don´t compare it to a master camera as the Varicam LT (which I did).
Had a Varicam LT for 3 days and ordered one after. I´ll try to post a review with a shot by shot comparison with Sony FS7 the next days. Price is right, Amira costs twice as much without lovely ISO5000. Varicam LT offers easy workflow with 65mm, 35mm and 16mm film looks depending on how you use it, so many filmmakers will love it.