Panasonic releases a bumper crop of new cameras for the new year, including eight compact cameras, three SD camcorders and eleven HD camcorders. As always, HardwareZone is here to help you make sense of the new goodies.
So what's new? All eight compact cameras come with Venus Engine VI, Panasonic's image processing engine. Intelligent Resolution makes images sharper and cleaner with finer detail and less image noise. Venus Engine VI also supports a super-fast response time, with Sonic Speed AF (Auto Focus) which lets you lock on the subject. A High Sensitivity mode lets the new cameras record at a setting of up to ISO 6400
iA (intelligent Auto) mode has been enhanced with the addition of AF Tracking, Intelligent Exposure and Intelligent ISO. Photos and movies can easily be shared with the new LUMIX Image Uploader, which lets you connect the camera to a PC and upload photos to Facebook and movies to YouTube. All cameras record movies at 1280 x 720, with varying frame-rates.
The FS37 and FS35 are the highlights of the new releases, both sport a 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens with a long 8x optical zoom (equivalent to a 28-224mm lens on a 35mm camera) in slim camera bodies. The FS37 includes a 3" large touch screen which offers Touch AF, Touch Zoom and Touch Shutter.
The Venus Engine VI in the FS37 and FS35 uses Intelligent Resolution to boost the 8x optical zoom to 10x with the Intelligent Zoom function. A new Extra Optical Zoom function takes the image resolution down to 3MP, but extends zoom to 18x by using the center part of the 16.1MP CCD image sensor to bring subjects even closer.
The FS18 and FS16 both sport a newly developed retractable 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens with 4x optical zoom in a slim body.
Following in the footsteps of the slim FP-3 and FP-8 come the new, slim FP-7 and FP-5 with slide-down lens covers. The FP-7 comes with a 3.5" large 16:9 LCD touch screen, while the FP-5 has a 3" 3:2 LCD.
The S-Series is a new addition to the LUMIX world and according to Panasonic, is simple, stylish and smart, developed for users who are picking up their first digital cameras. For the ultimate in ease of use, only essential functions have been built into the S3 and S1, but Panasonic assures us that they haven't skimped on performance.
The S3 and S1 still come with iA (intelligent Auto) mode, which include MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent ISO. Like the FS37, FS35, FS18 and FS16, the S-Series cameras sport the newly developed 28mm wide-angle lens with 4x optical zoom (LUMIX DC this time, not LEICA DC). They both sport a 2.7" LCD on the back.