Panasonic is introducing a ton of new products at its typically packed-to-the-rafters CES press event at the Mandalay Bay hotel. On the digital imaging front, Panasonic unveiled nine new point-and-shoots.
Wi-Fi is a given for many 2013 cameras but Panasonic is taking things a bit further by adding Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. You’ll find both connectivity options in the new compact long-zoom Lumix ZS30 (shown above), which has an 18.1MP high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, 20x zoom, and takes AVCHD Full HD videos with stereo sound. With integrated Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities, the ZS30 lets you frame and shoot an image remotely with your smartphone or tablet, share images with social networks, and browse your photos and videos via your TV or smartphone. This sounds good in theory, but until we play with a working sample, this is just a claim, albeit a good one.
Panasonic also claims the ZS30 is one of the slimmest 20x cameras out there and it has a 24-480mm Leica DC lens. It has 5-axis Power O.I.S. to help eliminate blur at extreme telephoto limits and, thanks to the MOS sensor, can handle 10 fps. The camera has a built-in GPS, a 920K 3-inch LCD, and a number of art or creative filters. The ZS30 arrives at the end of March and Panasonic will release prices shortly before they reach stores.
Also arriving in late March, the new ZS25 has a similar set of features but resolution drops to 16.1MP and there are no Wi-Fi/NFC connections. Of course, expect a lower price than the ZS30.
Almost every manufacturer at CES is introducing rugged cameras that can take a beating. Panasonic has an excellent reputation with its ToughBook brand of laptops and older tough TS series Lumix digicams. The new 16.1MP TS5 is waterproof to 39 feet, shockproof from 6.5 feet, freeze-proof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and pressure resistant to 220 pounds. The camera can definitely handle extreme adventures – or a fall from your pocket onto the sidewalk – and survive.
The 4.6x Leica DC-Vario Elmar zoom reaches from 28mm to 128.8mm. It takes Full HD 1920 x 1080 AVCHD videos, has a built-in GPS, Power O.I.S., and Wi-Fi connectivity and NFC capabilities. The camera’s new underwater mode enhances the colors when you’re shooting beneath the surface. Available in orange, blue, silver, and black. A bit less rugged is the new FT25, which is waterproof to 23 feet, shockproof from 4.9 feet, and freeze-proof to 14 degrees. The lens in this one is 25-100mm (4x), it only takes 720p MP4 movies, and has a 2.7-inch LCD. Both models will show up in late March.
You know the drill: Along with compact long-zoom and rugged digicams, companies are also introducing new mega-zooms. The new 16.1MP Lumix LZ30 has a 35x optical zoom (25-875mm).
Panasonic also announced the Lumix XS1, the first in a new range of “slim and stylish” compact cameras. It has a 16.1MP sensor and is .55 inches thick. The XS1 has a 5x zoom (24-120mm), Power O.I.S., and takes 720p video clips. It offers creative and artistic features and functions, including Creative Control that lets you choose from a selection of 13 different filters before you take your photo.
Two similarly styled cameras will also be available: the Lumix FH10 and F5. The FH10 provides identical performance to the XS1 (without Creative Control filters) in a slightly larger camera. The new, entry-level Lumix F5 has the same design as the FH10 but drops to a 14.1MP chip.
The last one in the Panasonic digicam parade is the basic SZ3 with a 16.1-megapixel sensor, 10x Leica lens (25mm wide angle), 2.7-inch LCD, and 12 creative effects.
Expect the LZ30, XS1, FH10, F5, and SZ3 to also arrive in March. Price is to be determined for all the cameras.