Singapore, 21 July 2010 - Panasonic has announced five new compact cameras to the world, including the long-awaited DMC-LX5 - successor to the DMC-LX3. Three other hybrid cameras were announced, and they are the FX700, FZ40/45 and the top-of-the-line FZ100. Of course, there's also the FT10, which is part of the LUMIX's active outdoor series.
Here's a quick summary of the features of each of the five different camera models announced by Panasonic today:
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX5
The LX5 follows through on the category previously carved by the LX3, known as the premium compact cameras, with a full redesigned lens, CCD and image processing engine, among others. It has a super bright F2.0 ultra wide angle 24mm LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens that minimizes distortion giving users stunning, true-to-life images in great resolution and detail. The optical zoom is now extended to 3.8x (90mm) from the LX3's previous 2.5x (60mm).
Externally, it has a thickened grip, a new turn-and-push jog dial, a hot shoe that supports the optional Live View Finder (for shooting under strong daylight) and a 3.0-inch large 460K-dot high resolution intelligent LCD with a High CRI (Color Rendering Index) backlight LED. The latter gives users remarkable visibility both in shooting and playback in any conditions.
While the LX5 continues to share the same megapixel count as the LX3 (10.1-megapixel), Panasonic has redesigned the 1/1.63-inch 10.1-megapixel High Sensitivity CCD with a wider dynamic range, by expanding sensitivity by approximately 31 per cent and saturation by approximately 38 per cent. This gives the LX5 an advantage as the higher sensitivity and lens brightness allows a minimum illumination as low as 3 lux in movie recording. Not only that, the CCD in the LX5 can reproduce images shot with the lens set from 24mm to 90mm in any of the three aspect ratios - 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9. In fact, users can also capture an image in all three aspect ratios simultaneously via the Multi Aspect mode.
Besides the lens and CCD, a new Venus Engine FHD has been developed that allows users of the LX5 to capture images at higher speeds and gain higher performances. Not only do users get faster processing speeds, but they'll also gain exceptional noise reduction performance. With the Venus Engine FHD, users will be impressed by the excellent energy efficiency when they do AVCHD Lite movie recording or outputting both images and sounds via HDMI. Shutter release time lag is an approximated super-short 0.007 second, and with the Sonic Speed AF (Auto Focus), the LX5 gives approximately 40 per cent higher speed and quick startup time compared to its predecessor.
Additional features include the Intelligent Resolution technology which scans an image and detects 3 areas for enhancements - outlines, detailed texture areas and soft gradation areas. Edges gain more clarity, textures are accentuated and noise is reduced to make images smoother. These are applied across both still images and movie recording. If you're wondering about battery life, the Venus Engine FHD allows users of the LX5 to take up to 400 pictures (CIPA) per single charge.
For movie recording, the LX5 provides both high quality HD movie recording in AVCHD Lite as well as motion JPEG formats. Creative options like Creative Movie mode, My Color mode and Film mode allow users to explore extended expressions not only in photography but also in videography. So far, there are two colors - black and white.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT10
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT10 features a flat and slim profile thanks to the folded optics for its 4x optical zoom lens unit. It features a 14.1-megapixel CCD with credible toughness to be waterproof (up to 3 meters), shockproof (sustaining a fall up to 1.5 meters), freezeproof (up to -10 degrees C) and dustproof.
Panasonic's world-acclaimed iA (Intelligent Auto) mode makes it easy for anyone to take beautiful photos by various shooting-assist functions. Other built-in tech include the MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) for hand-shake, Intelligent ISO Control for subject movement, Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector.
With the DMC-FT10, users can record HD (High Definition) movies in 720p Motion JPEG. The FT10 also has a powerful battery life that can last as long as 300 pictures per single charge (CIPA). There's a 2.7-inch large LCD with AR coating and 4x optical zoom (an extended zoom range to 8.4x is possible in 3-megapixel resoluion mode). The FT10 is available in four colors - Black, Blue, Silver and Red.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FX700
The third model, and one of three hybrid digital cameras announced, is the LUMIX DMC-FX700. It not only records high quality 1920x1080 full HD movie in AVCHD format, but it also comes with the trappings of high specifications.
These include a 14.1-megapixel CCD featuring an F2.2 super bright 24mm ultra wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMICRON lens. Optical zoom is at a high 5x (potentially 6.5x when used with the Intelligent Zoom function). It comes with a 3.0-inch large LCD with full touch control.
Technologies and features, like iA (Intelligent Auto), POWER O.I.S., Face Recognition, Face Detection, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector, Intelligent Exposure and Venus Engine FHD, are all packed into its small compact frame.
Two aspects of iA mode are clearly distinctive. They are Motion Deblur mode and Intelligent Burst mode. The former is available by updating the motion detection and brightness control, giving off higher shutter speeds. When combined with the lens and POWER O.I.S., the FX700 is able to eradicate any kind of blur, be it caused by handshake or the subject's motion.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ100
The DMC-FZ100 is Panasonic's top-of-the-line model in the LUMIX popular FZ series. It packs a powerful optical zoom lens (18-24x, or 27mm to 25mm) thanks to the newly developed LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens.
There's also the new 14.1-megapixel MOS sensor for high quality 1920x1080 full HD movie recording (as smooth as 60i (NTSC)/50i (PAL)). The sensor also gives the industry's fastest level of burst shooting at 14.1-megapixel resolution at 11 frames per second (mechanical shutter) and 60 frames per second in 3.5-megapixel recording mode. Users can also record high speed movie at 220 frames per second in QVGA size (something the naked eye cannot see) - great for Safari trips no doubt.
Like most of the other models, the FZ100 has the new Venue Engine FHD and coupled with the Intelligent Zoom function, is able to extend its zoom range to 32x equivalent.
There's a new jog dial on the FZ100 that makes manual control and usage easier. There's a focus switch on the lens barrel and explore new creative options via Creative Movie mode and My Color mode.
Like the other hybrid models, the FZ100 comes with Motion Deblur mode as part of its iA mode. It has a 3.0-inch free-angle intelligent LCD and has a battery life that can last for approximately 410 pictures on a single charge.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ40/45
Finally, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ40 (known as the FZ45 in Europe) is the third of the three hybrid digital cameras announced today. Packing a 14.1-megapixel resolution CCD, the FZ40 delivers a powerful combo of optical zooming and creative shooting options including manual operation.
The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens in the FZ40 provides an optical zoom range from 18x to 24x (27mm to 25mm at wide end), and comes packed with technologies like the Venus Engine HD II, Intelligent Resolution technology, iA (Intelligent Auto) and POWER O.I.S. (optical image stabilization).
With the Sonic Speed AF function in the FZ40, this puts the FZ40 (with the FZ100) as models with the industry's fastest level of response when capturing fleeting photo opportunities.
The FZ40 has a 3.0-inch Intelligent LCD screen and has a battery life that can last up to 580 shots (CIPA) per single charge.