Five Panasonic cameras

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For a company with no “history” in picture-taking, Panasonic certainly has zoomed into the spotlight with a wealth of great digital cameras. A collaboration with the venerable Leica certainly has helped on the lens front, but you’ve got to give Panasonic credit for delivering some great cameras. Now the company has unveiled its Fall 2010 lineup.

DMC-LX5

Aimed at photo enthusiasts, the LUMIX LX5 features a new high sensitivity CCD and a 3x (24-90 mm) f/2 Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens. Panasonic says the lens minimizes image distortion, resulting in stunning, true-to-life images with outstanding resolution and detail.

The LX5 features an image processing engine that combines technologies resulting in professional-quality photos, especially in low-light situations. Like its predecessor, it features a 10.1-megapixel CCD, but features an expanded dynamic range resulting from an increase in the sensitivity and saturation levels of the sensor.

The newly developed Venus Engine FHD image processor enables higher-speed, higher performance while incorporating the Intelligent Resolution technology. The triple CPUs in this imaging engine dramatically speed-up processing while achieving exceptional noise reduction performance. With its high-sensitivity CCD and the brightness of the lens, minimum illumination of the LX5 is as low as 3 lux while shooting video.

The camera can record HD videos in AVCHD Lite, a format that allows almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. In Creative Movie mode, you can set shutter speed and aperture manually. My Colour mode and Film mode are available for more extended expression and creativity when shooting photos as well as videos.

Dolby Digital Creator records high quality audio and the 3.8x optical zoom is available while shooting video.

The LX5 has also been redesigned externally – with a thicker grip making it easier to hold and a newly-incorporated turn-and-push jog dial to make selecting and changing settings faster. The camera also features a hot shoe, which allows for the attachment of accessories, including an optional Live View Finder which helps shooting under strong daylight. The 1:1 square format setting is added in the aspect ratio option which can be selected with a switch on the side of the lens barrel.

The DMC-LX5 will be available in black in late-August for a suggested retail of $499.95.

DMC-FX700

The LUMIX DMC-FX700 records 1920 x 1080 Full HD videos in the AVCHD format and features a three-inch touch-screen LCD. The 14.1-megapixel digital camera features a 5x (24-120 mm) f/2.2 Leica DC Vario-Summicron lens.

The FX700 adopts full touch-screen operation, which allows for Auto Focus (AF) to be set by touching the three-inch LCD screen. Once a subject is locked with a single touch, the AF tracking function will follow the subject while moving. With the Intelligent Scene Selector, the camera automatically switches to the appropriate mode according to the subject selected. All menu settings are now available with one-touch control for shooting images and videos.

The FX700 offers Intelligent Resolution technology and Dolby Digital Stereo Creator to record high-quality audio.

Panasonic’s iA (Intelligent Auto) mode is further advanced in the FX700 with the addition of Motion Deblur mode by updating the motion detection (Intelligent ISO Control) and brightness control (Intelligent Exposure) to gain the highest shutter speed possible. Combined with lens brightness and the POWER O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilizer), the FX700 reduces blur caused by handshake or a moving subject.

Intelligent Burst mode now determines the frame rate in burst shooting according to the speed of the subject’s motion. Included in the iA suite of technologies is: POWER O.I.S., Face Recognition, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure.

The FX700 also features the new Venus Engine FHD image processor which includes advanced signal processing capabilities and incorporates Intelligent Resolution technology, which examines three areas pixel-by-pixel, to allow for additional zoom without the loss of photo detail.

Check out the camera’s Handheld Night Shot. Using the high-speed MOS sensor, this new mode shoots 10 consecutive shots to simulate and detect the perfect shot of any subject while simultaneously fixing the subject’s position. Through the MOS sensor’s short shutter speed, exposure is increased while noise is reduced to create a sharp, beautifully-illuminated night shot without the use of a tripod.

The FX700 will be available in black in early September for a manufacturer’s suggested price of $399.95.

DMC-FZ40

This is a hybrid digital camera, combining a 24x optical zoom (25-600 mm) and creative manual operations to offer photographers of all levels the opportunity to take crisp, artistic photos and High Definition (HD) videos. This 14.1-megapixel model has a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens and a new image processing system which achieves high picture quality for both still images and videos.

Panasonic says the Sonic Speed Auto Focus (AF) and high-speed start-up found on the FZ40 are at the industry’s fastest level.

Intelligent Resolution technology offers optimum signal processing, giving images outstanding natural clarity, says the company, with a specific focus on the finer details.

The FZ40 has also upgraded intuitive manual and creative controls including the new jog dial which helps to elevate the camera’s operability. The jog dial is a focus button which allows users to change settings quickly, including shutter speed and aperture, depending on the shooting conditions. Additionally, the new My Colour mode which has been popular on LUMIX G Micro System cameras, is available in both still and movie modes and gives users creative freedom with a suite of options, including new Pin Hole, Film Grain, High Dynamic and High Dynamic B&W.

Panasonic’s hallmark Intelligent Auto (iA) mode automatically selects the most suitable Scene mode and remembers previously-registered faces. And the intuitive system also includes POWER Optical Image Stabilizer (O.I.S.), featuring double the repression power compared to that of Panasonic’s previous image stabilization system, MEGA O.I.S. This system helps to eliminate blur resulting from hand-shake.

You can shoot HD movies in AVCHD Lite. Additionally, a separate and dedicated button located on the top of the camera allows you to instantly begin recording in video mode.

Other features include a three-inch LCD and a new Video Divide function with which you can separate a video into two sections to shorten or delete any unwanted parts. Also, the FZ40’s Wind Cut function blocks out noise from background wind when shooting in video mode.

The DMC-FZ40 will be available in black in late August for a manufacturer’s suggested price of $449.95.

DMC-FZ100

The LUMIX DMC-FZ100 is a top-of-the-line model with a newly developed Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens with 24x optical zoom range(25-600 mm). As the company’s first hybrid compact digital camera with a MOS sensor, the FZ100 can record 1920 x 1080 Full HD video.

The FZ100 has delivers burst shooting in 14.1-megapixel full resolution at 11 frames per second with a mechanical shutter, and increases the frames per second to 60 in 3.5-megapixel recording. Additionally, the camera features continuous autofocus up to five frames per second at full resolution. It also features Intelligent Burst shooting. The digital camera judges the appropriate shutter speed to suppress the motion blur according to the movement of the subject, rising as high as possible, activating the high sensitivity recording.

Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto (iA) mode now includes Motion Deblur mode. By updating the motion detection (Intelligent ISO Control) and brightness control (Intelligent Exposure), the camera delivers the highest shutter speed possible. Combined with lens brightness and the POWER O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), the FZ100 prevents any blur created from a handshake or a moving subject.

The iA suite of technologies includes: POWER O.I.S., Face Recognition, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure. Panasonic’s iA is also available while shooting video.

Face Recognition automatically remembers registered faces for future recording.

The Intelligent Scene Selector automatically selects one of six Scene modes to best suit the shooting situation.

The FZ100 also features Dolby Digital Stereo Creator. This high-quality stereo sound offers realistic sounds and effects to any movie. For greater sound quality, the camera has a newly-created port for an optional stereo microphone, and a Wind Cut function is available to drastically reduce background wind noise.

The FZ100 records HD video in AVCHD format.

With a variety of options including new Pin Hole, Film Grain, High Dynamic and High Dynamic B&W, the My Colour mode makes it easy to create innovative images and videos using new intensive colour, brightness and saturation levels.

Not so sure why it’s called this . . . Happy Mode is an option in iA that optimizes colour, saturation and brightness to make both photos and movies more vivid and true to the colour of the scene.

The DMC-FZ100 will be available in black in mid-August for a suggested retail price of $549.95.

DMC-TS10

Waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof. The LUMIX DMC-TS10 is the latest addition to the company’s TS-Series ofrugged models. Featuring a flat, slim profile and a folded optics design with a 4x optical zoom lens, the 14.1-megapixel TS10 is waterproof to approximately three meters, shockproof to 1.5 meters, dustproof and freezeproof to minus 10°C. For even further protection, the TS10 comes with a silicon jacket to help prevent scratches.

Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto (iA) mode offers a full suite of shooting-assist functions, with a dedicated iA button on the top of the camera.

The MEGA O.I.S. helps reduce blur due to hand-shake and the Intelligent ISO control prevents a moving subject from being blurred by optimizing the shutter speed and ISO sensitivity setting.

Human faces are captured in focus and with correct exposure using the Face Detection mode and unwanted red-eyes are digitally corrected and backlight compensation automatically adjusted. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically selects one of six Scene Modes – Macro, Portrait, Scenery, Night Portrait, Night Scenery and Sunset – that best suits the shooting situation. The Quick AF system allows the camera to keep focus on the subject while the camera is in recording mode even before pressing a shutter button halfway.

The TS10 can shoot High Definition video in 720p Motion JPG and the image processing Venus Engine IV features advanced signal processing technology for rendering high-quality images and videos.

The TS10 features a 2.7-inch LCD for both monitoring shots and playback. The Intelligent LCD function detects the light condition and automatically boosts the LCD backlighting by 40 percent when shooting outdoors in bright sunshine, and adjusts the frame rate when shooting in low-lit situations. By detecting the lighting condition precisely and automatically controlling the brightness with a total of 11 fine steps, this function gives the display the most appropriate clarity in any situation without using extra energy. The High-Angle mode makes the LCD screen extremely easy to view when the camera is held high, such as when shooting over a crowd.

The TS10 will be available in black in early October for a suggested retail price of $279.95.

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