updated 09:25 am EST, Wed January 31, 2007
Eight Panasonic Cameras
Panasonic today overhauled its Lumix cameras with eight new models across its entire American range. Leading the announcements is the DMC-FZ8, an update to the FZ7 which increases the sensor of the 12X zoom camera to 7.2 megapixels alongside a new ability to shoot directly in RAW instead of TIFF or JPEG. An enhanced version of the Venus III engine also lets it shoot at ISO 1250 sensitivity without adding excessive noise, the company says. Optical image stabilization and an 848x480, full speed widescreen movie mode carry over from its predecessor. Panasonic anticipates shipping the FZ8 in February for $350.
Click through for a full image of the FZ8 as well as details and photos of the additional Lumix models. [images courtesy DPReview]
The company also introduced the DMC-TZ3 (pictured below), a compact model with a 28mm wide-angle lens and an exceptionally high 10X optical zoom. It too shares the new Venus III engine and has a special ultra-high ISO 3200 shooting mode as well as optical image stabilization. A 7.2-megapixel sensor is built-in that can be used to force different aspect ratios, and SDHC support adds storage beyond the 2GB mark for frequent shooters. The camera will arrive in March for $350.
Complementing the TZ3 is the equally wide-angle FX30, which the camera maker says is the world's thinnest camera with a 28mm lens of its kind. The FX30 is only 22mm thick but is still capable of shooting in the wider aspect for closer shots or large portraits. Although set to 3.6X optical zoom at full resolution, the camera's unique system will boost zoom to 5.3X by dropping to 3 megapixels, using the middle of the CCD in tandem with the lens to extend the overall range. This Lumix is also unique for its intelligent ISO control, Panasonic says. While many cameras will auto-adjust ISO based on light, the FX30 can detect fast movement and increase ISO to compensate for possible blurring. The FX30 will be available in black, blue, light brown, and silver starting in February for $350.
The newly announced DMC-LZ6 and DMC-LZ7, in turn, trade a slight increase in thickness for strong zoom. The pair of 7.2-megapixel cameras use standard-angle lenses but gain a 6X optical zoom useful for longer-distance shots. The Venus III-driven cameras are divided primarily by LCD size: the LZ6 displays its output on a 2-inch LCD, while the LZ7 upgrades to a 2.5-inch screen. Both are powered by AA batteries (including Panasonic's longer-lasting Oxyride models) and should ship in February at prices of $180 for the LZ6 and $200 for the LZ7.
The DMC-FX10 and DMC-FX12 are upgrades to Panasonic's stylized FX series, using lithium-ion batteries to slim down their size. A 2.5-inch LCD, 3X true optical zoom, and optical image stabilization are present on both. The 6-megapixel FX10 will ship in blue, pink, and silver trims in February for $200; its 7.2-megapixel counterpart the FX12 will be ready at the same time in black or silver for $230.
Lastly, the basic DMC-LS70 is meant to bring higher-end features into the mainstream and uses the same Venus III technology and optical image stabilization as the other new models. A 7.2-megapixel camera with 3X zoom akin to the FX line, the LS70 uses AA batteries instead of lithium-ion and a more compact 2-inch LCD. It will be ready in February for $150.