Panasonic Announces Double-Duty Megazoom, AA-Powered Pocket Cam

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47
Panasonic took a short break from shrinking down its interchangeable-lens cameras today to introduce two new fixed-lens models. The 24X-optical-zoom Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47 and the AA-battery-powered Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS5 will join the company's Lumix lineup later this year.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47: A Manual-Oriented Megazoom

The 12-megapixel Lumix FZ47 is Panasonic's latest high-zoom fixed-lens camera, with a 24X optical zoom range that reaches from 25mm to 600mm in 35mm film equivalent.

The company is touting the FZ47's still-capture and video-recording capabilities, as the camera has a low-noise lens motor that allows shooters to zoom without lens noise in video mode, as well as full manual controls and creative-effects modes for both stills and video. The FZ47 also offers the company's "Sonic Speed AF" autofocus system, which we've definitely been impressed with in the past.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47

From the looks of it, the Lumix FZ47 will offer quick access to its manual controls via a DSLR-like array of physical buttons and dials, with dedicated buttons for autofocus and exposure lock, manual focus controls, video capture, and user-defined custom settings. Still-shooting modes include full manual mode, aperture- and shutter-priority modes, a 3D still-capture mode that records 2-megapixel .MPO stereoscopic images, and an assortment of creative filters that mimic a tilt-shift lens, shoot high-dynamic-range (HDR) images, and produce pinhole-camera-style photos.

The Lumix FZ47's burst mode caps out at 3.7 frames per second at full 12-megapixel resolution, or at 10 fps for 3-megapixel images. Although it does have a lot of manual shooting options for more-seasoned photographers, the Lumix FZ47 lacks a RAW shooting mode.

In movie mode, the Panasonic Lumix FZ47 captures 1080i video at 60 fields per second in its 17-mbps AVCHD mode, as well as 1080p video at 30 frames per second and 20 mbps as MP4 files. The camera also offers full manual controls over shutter speed and aperture values in video mode, which is a rarity for a fixed-lens model. When shooting video, the camera has an "Active Image Stabilization" mode that compensates for a greater range of hand shake.

In addition to a fixed 3-inch LCD and a pop-up flash, the Lumix FZ47 offers an eye-level electronic viewfinder. Measuring 3.62 inches deep, 4.74 inches tall, and 3.14 inches wide, it's just a bit smaller than your average entry-level DSLR.

Available in black, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47 is due in August for $400.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS5: AA-Powered Low-Light Shooter

Panasonic is touting the low-light chops of the 1.07-inch-deep Lumix DMC-LS5, which runs on AA batteries. The 14-megapixel Lumix LS5 has a 5X-optical-zoom lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8--not the brightest lens we've seen, so the camera must get its low-light skills from its CCD sensor or other in-camera enhancements.

The Lumix LS5's optically stabilized 5X-optical-zoom lens reaches from 26mm to 130mm in 35mm film equivalent, and its in-camera features are almost fully automated. You won't find any manual control over the shutter and aperture, but the camera does offer a variety of auto and scene selections. The Lumix LS5 also captures 720p high-definition video at 30 frames per second in .mov format.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS5

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS5 is slated for release in November, but the company has not yet announced pricing information.

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