Panasonic Unveils Three New Wide-Angle Lumix Cams
The fall camera lineups keep on coming (see stories on forthcoming releases from Fujifilm and Olympus), as Panasonic today announced three 12-megapixel, wide-angle point-and-shoots slated for September release.
The biggest and baddest of the three looks to be the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35, an 18X optical megazoom model (27mm to 486mm) bolstered with optical image stabilization and 720p AVCHD Lite high-definition video recording at 17 megabits per second (the capture bit rate for the AVCHD codec is in mbps).
A few advanced in-camera settings are available in both movie and still modes, specifically manual aperture and shutter controls, as well as a mode optimized for high dynamic range shooting. The camera will also have several specialized movie modes; Panasonic is touting the camera as a powerful point-and-shoot for shooting both stills and video. The FZ35 will replace the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 and will be available in September for $400.
On the slim end of the spectrum is the Lumix DMC-FP8, an ultracompact with a 4.6X optical zoom range reaching from 28mm to 128mm and also featuring optical image stabilization.
The FP8 has a couple of futuristic design elements: a Leica DC lens with "folding optics," and glowing blue LED buttons on the back to help with low-light operation. The FP8 shoots 720p HD movies as motion-JPEG files, which are typically more easily handled than AVCHD Lite files; shooting rate is 30 frames per second. The FP8 will be available in September for $300.
Rounding out today's announcements is the Lumix DMC-ZR1, featuring an 8X optical zoom, an ultra-wide-angle Leica lens (25mm to 200mm), and optical image stabilization.
Like the FP8, the DMC-ZR1 shoots 720p high-definition video at 30 fps and saves the clips as motion JPEG files. No information on pricing or availability is available on the ZR1 just yet.
All three cameras also feature Panasonic's Intelligent Auto mode, which optimizes in-camera settings based on the shooting environment, as well as a Face Recognition mode, which lets you register your friends' faces in pictures and have them auto-tagged in subsequent shots.