Panasonic today added six new models in its LUMIX line of digital cameras, including the LUMIX ZS3,the waterproof LUMIX DMC-TS1 and the LUMIX DMC-FX580.
LUMIX DMC ZS3 and MC-ZS1
Panasonic introduced the LUMIX DMC-ZS3 and DMC-ZS1, both members of the new ZS-Series, the successor to the LUMIX TZ-Series. The LUMIX ZS3 features 10.1-megapixels, a 25mm ultra-wide-angle lens and 12x optical zoom, meaning it has added 2x optical zoom to the TZ-Series camera, yet reduced its size. The ZS3 also features a LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens and High Definition (HD) video recording ability, known as AVCHD Lite.
The ZS3 is the first digital camera to feature HD video recording in "AVCHD Lite 2". Compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format, AVCHD Lite allows longer recordings with breathtaking HD visual and audio quality.
The ZS3 also expands Panasonic?s Intelligent Auto (iA) mode with the addition of Face Recognition ? a feature that "remembers" faces from previous shots. When a registered face appears in the frame, the camera will prioritize focus and exposure to capture it beautifully.
With Face Recognition, when a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt the users to register the face. Once registered, if the face appears into the frame again, the camera will display the name specified for that person and prioritize focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and sharply focused.
New this year to the ZS-Series, iA mode is also available in Movie Mode. It automatically selects the most suitable Scene mode and helps to correct handshake, focus and brightness problems. In Movie Mode, the ZS3, Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) helps prevent handshake when using the high-powered zoom. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. And Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Macro, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the situation to optimize visual quality.
The imaging power of LUMIX has further evolved with the Venus Engine HD, which boasts two CPUs to provide approx. 2.4x processing capability and support for AVCHD Lite and HDMI output. In image processing, luminance noise and chromatic noise are reduced separately before and after signal processing.
Playback with the ZS-Series is also easy. Simply insert the camera?s SD Memory Card into the VIERA HDTV?s Image Viewer SD Card slot for a photo slideshow. Alternatively, connect the camera via an optional HDMI mini cable, the DMW-HDC2, to a VIERA Link-equipped Panasonic VIERA HDTV and use the television?s remote control to run mixed slideshows of photos and videos. The ZS3 features a 3-inch, 460,000-dot Intelligent LCD with a wide viewing angle.
The ZS1, like the ZS3, features a 25mm ultra-wide angle, 12x optical zoom. Distinguishing it, the ZS1 features a 10.1 megapixel CCD, a standard iA mode (no Face Recognition) for still image recording and a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot Intelligent LCD.
The DMC-ZS3 will be available in silver, black, blue and red for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $399.95, while the DMC-ZS1 will be available in black and silver for an SRP of $299.95. Both models will be available in April 2009.
Panasonic also introduced the LUMIX DMC-TS1, the first waterproof, shockproof and dustproof digital camera to also feature AVCHD Lite High Definition (HD) video recording capabilities.
The LUMIX TS1, with a 12.1 megapixel resolution, features a 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens, a 4.6x optical zoom and Panasonic?s proprietary iA (Intelligent Auto) mode.
The TS1 is waterproof to a depth of 10 feet, shockproof from falls up to 5 feet, and dustproof. With its rubber padding, reinforced glass and carbon resins inside the camera, the TS1 features an airtight body protected against water immersion, dust and sand.
The TS1 also features a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot Intelligent LCD with a wide viewing angle. Plus, the TS1?s LCD panel is deliberately thickened for protection against pressure, allowing the display to operate with clear visibility even underwater.
The TS1 records AVCHD Lite HD video, allowing almost double the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. The TS1 also features Dolby Digital Creator to record high quality audio.
Also new in 2009, the TS1 features iA mode for both still images and in Movie Mode. For iA in Movie Mode, the TS1 features Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.). Face Detection, Intelligent Exposure and Intelligent Scene Selector are also supported. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind. The TS1?s iA for still image also adds Face Recognition.
The imaging power of LUMIX has further evolved with the Venus Engine HD, which boasts two CPUs to provide approx. 2.4x processing capability and support for Face Recognition, AVCHD Lite and HDMI output. Thanks to the Venus Engine HD, it?s easy to view photos or movies recorded in AVCHD Lite. Simply insert the SD Memory Card from the camera in the Panasonic VIERA HDTV?s Image Viewer SD Memory Card slot to start playback, or connect the camera via an optional HDMI mini cable to a VIERA Link-equipped Panasonic VIERA HDTV and use the TV's remote control to run slideshows.
This multi-task image-processing engine also enables a fast response time. The TS1 starts up quickly in 1.3 seconds and shutter release time lag is approximately 0.005 seconds. The Flash Burst mode makes it possible to take consecutive shots with continuous emissions of the flash. The Venus Engine HD also supports a High Sensitivity mode that lets the TS1 record up to ISO 6400, sensitive enough to capture subjects in near-total darkness without using a flash.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TS1 will be available in silver, green or orange models in April 2009 for a suggested retail price of $399.95.
Panasonic's newest touch-screen LUMIX digital camera, the slim and stylish DMC-FX580 is the successor to last year?s DMC-FX500. The new DMC-FX580 features a 25mm ultra-wide-angle LEICA DC lens with F2.8 brightness, a 5x optical zoom and an increased recording image size from 10.1-megapixel to 12.1-megapixel. Using the touch-screen operation is easy with the DMC-FX580?s 3.0-inch LCD.
Though featuring a touch-screen, the FX580 uses a hybrid operation system combining the new touch-screen interface and a conventional operation system with the cursor key for intuitive control. Taking advantage of both operation systems, users can set the Auto Focus (AF) and Auto Exposure (AE) at the desired part of the frame by simply touching the subject on the screen while recording. In manual exposure mode, aperture and shutter speed can be adjusted by moving the slider. Users can also make fine adjustments to white balance and color temperature with the touch screen. In playback mode, simply slide a finger across the screen to activate touch scroll for viewing images. An Easy Organization menu is provided to simplify image organizing so the user can quickly select an image to view and edit with the touch menu.
The LUMIX FX580 features Panasonic?s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, a system of technologies, such as MEGA O.I.S., Intelligent ISO Control, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent Exposure and Intelligent Scene Selection, that engage automatically, without the user having to adjust any settings.
Panasonic?s iA also adds Face Recognition. With Face Recognition, when a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt the user to register the face. Once registered, if the familiar face appears in the frame again, the camera will display the name specified for that person and prioritize focus and exposure so that the face is bright and sharply focused. During registration, the user can change the icon that indicates when the registered subject is in focus and the person?s age can also be added. In playback, users can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback, so organizing and viewing photos is much easier.
The Venus Engine V has twin CPUs to boast approximately 2.4x processing capability and also supports a High Sensitivity mode that lets the DMC-FX580 record at a setting of up to ISO 6400.
The DMC-FX580 can also record High Definition (1280 x 720p) motion images at 30 fps.
The DMC-FX580 features an aluminum body and available in silver and black starting in April 2009 for a suggested retail price of $399.95.
The new 12.1 megapixel DMC-FS25 features a 5x optical zoom and a 29mm wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens, a 3.0-inch intelligent LCD and is the top-of-the-line FS-Series model. The model combines easy operation with a sleek look, enabling both beginner and advanced users to take beautiful digital photos with a camera that slips in a pocket.
Panasonic has enhanced the Intelligent Auto Mode (iA) on the DMC-FS25 from the previous FS models to now include AF tracking and Intelligent Exposure functions in addition to the standard Mega O.I.S., Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Face Detection.
The newly added dedicated iA button on top of the camera enables the user to enter iA mode directly without the need for entering the menu.
Other features of the DMC-FS25 include a Venus Engine IV image processor, which provides an advanced signal processing system and a shutter release time lag as short as 0.006 seconds. The Venus Engine IV also supports a High Sensitivity mode that lets the camera record at a setting of up to ISO 6400.
The DMC-FS25 records WVGA (848 x 480) motion pictures at 30 frames per second in 16:9 wide-screen format, as well as standard VGA (640 x 480) format.
It will be available in silver, black and gold for a suggested retail price of $249.95 and will be available in April 2009.
The 12.1-megapixel DMC-FX48 features a 25mm ultra-wide-angle LEICA DC lens and a 5x optical zoom (equivalent to 25mm to 125mm on a 35mm film camera), yet its slim profile makes it convenient to slip into a pocket. The FX48 also features Face Recognition, a new technology to Panasonic?s proprietary advanced iA (Intelligent Auto) mode.
The DMC-FX48 can also record High Definition (1280 x 720p) motion images at 30 fps.
Other features of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX48 include a 2.5-inch, 230,000-dot resolution Intelligent LCD,
a new Panorama Assist scene mode allows users to shoot a number of consistent photos, either vertically or horizontally, High-Speed Burst (Speed Priority) that fires off approx. 10 shots per second as well as a Macro Zoom function that lets users pull subjects even closer to capture close-up shots by using the 3x digital zoom in the wide-angle.
The DMC-FX48 will be available in silver and black models starting in April 2009 for a suggested retail price of $349.95.