Panasonic introduces the first digital cameras to combine 12x
optical zoom with an optical image stabilizer. Integrating unrivalled optical
and digital technologies with ergonomic design, Panasonic’s three new
12x zoom Lumix™ models achieve a level of performance never before seen
in digital cameras.
New models DMC-FZ3 (3-Megapixel), DMC-FZ15 (4-Megapixel)
and DMC-FZ20 (5-Megapixel) feature a versatile, high-performance Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT
lens with powerful 12x zoom (equivalent to a 35 – 420mm zoom lens on
a conventional 35mm film camera) and F2.8 brightness throughout the entire
zoom range. With their extraordinary telephoto features and precision image
stabilizers, these cameras are engineered to capture every detail of distant
or quick-moving subjects with superb brightness and clarity.
Panasonic’s MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer automatically detects and
optically compensates for hand movement by shifting internal lens elements,
enabling the user to capture crisp, clear, distortion-free ultra-telephoto
or macro shots of distant or moving subjects, even in low lighting conditions.
“Photographers, especially those who shoot sports, wildlife or live
performances, know that it’s difficult to get sharp images if they are
using a long lens on a handheld camera. The zoom accentuates every little movement
of the hand,” commented Monica Helmer, Marketing Manager for Panasonic. “We’ve
incorporated the technology we developed for our camcorders to create Panasonic’s
MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer, a true optical image stabilizer that uses the
full capacity of the camera’s CCD to compensate for hand jitter.”
These cameras also feature an extra-low dispersion (ED) lens to minimize color
aberration (color bleeding) - a common problem in high-magnification / large
aperture lenses. ED lenses are typically exchangeable lenses designed for single-lens
reflex cameras and high-end, professional cameras.
Panasonic has also improved its innovative Venus Engine LSI, the “brain” of
the camera that converts the optical data into digital information. The new
Venus 2 Engine LSI handles all image processing functions simultaneously -
from displaying the image on the LCD to writing data to the memory card - as
soon as the CCD captures the image signal. This simultaneous, parallel processing
results in a quick start-up, increased shutter speed and reduced lag time.
The improved LSI also allows faster consecutive shooting than its predecessor.
If desired, the camera will keep shooting until the memory card is full.
A conventional LSI generates a luminance signal from the green component of
the incoming light. Panasonic’s Venus 2 Engine LSI generates the signal
from the red and blue components, as well as the green. This rich information
in the luminance signal helps to boost the diagonal, horizontal and vertical
resolution, resulting in superb images. The system also uses a low-pass filter
to accurately handle the borders between colors and a noise-reduction circuit
to help boost image sharpness and clarity.
All three cameras also include a host of sophisticated features such as MEGA
BURST consecutive shooting mode, real-time histogram, auto bracketing, color
viewfinder and much more.