Sunday, February 04, 2007

Panasonic Unveils New Digital Cameras

Following a month of high-profile product releases by a handful of the biggest names in consumer electronics, Panasonic has unveiled eight new digital cameras in the Lumix line.

The eight new DMC models -- the FX30, LS70, LZ7, LZ6, TZ3, FZ8, FX10, and FX12 -- span the cost spectrum from roughly $150 to $350, and offer a minimum of 6-megapixel quality along with Panasonic's Intelligent Image Stabilization system.

Antoinette Marty, an analyst at Current Analysis, said the new cameras are similar to others on the market, but stand out when it comes to their zoom capabilities.

Up Close and Personal

One example is the 7.2-megapixel DMC-FZ8, which replaces the FZ7. It features a 12x optical zoom lens and boasts the Venus Engine III, Panasonic's image-processing engine that can record at a sensitivity setting of ISO 1250 with full resolution.

Three of the new cameras fall into the ultracompact category -- the FX30, FX10, and FX12. Panasonic claims its 7.2-megapixel FX30 is the world's slimmest digital camera -- a mere 22-mm thick -- with a Leica wide-angle lens.

Leica is known among photography professionals for excellent image quality. Panasonic credits the Leica lens with allowing its Lumix digital cameras to take photos that appear to have the same warmth and subtlety as photographs shot on film.

What You Want

The least expensive if the bunch is the 7.2-megapixel DMC-LS70. It's geared toward photography novices and features a 3x optical zoom and 2-inch LCD. It is powered by two AA rechargeable batteries.

Current Analysis' Marty said these sleek cameras fall in line with what consumers want -- ease-of-use, storage capacity, and image quality.

All the new cameras in the Lumix line are available later this month, except for the TZ3, which is available in March.

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