Panasonic's compact camera gets upgrade, while mirrorless models get ultra-wide lens

Panasonic’s pocket zoom camera is getting a makeover. On April 18, Panasonic launched the Lumix DC-ZS70, a compact camera with a 30x zoom. Along with the travel-friendly new point-and-shoot, the company also announced a new mirrorless lens, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f2.8-4 ASPH.

The ZS70 is an update to the ZS60, launched in 2016, and has a higher resolution sensor, faster frame rate in 4K, and several new shooting modes. The ZS70 uses a 20.3-megapixel sensor, bumped up from its 18-megapixel predecessor. Add that 30x optical zoom and you get an equivalent to a 24-720mm perspective on a 35mm camera – a long range that covers from wide-angle to telephoto.

Panasonic is pushing 4K video recording and image capture harder than any other manufacturer, and it’s bringing its latest 4K tech to the ZS70. While last year’s version added 4K to the series for the first time, the ZS70 bumps the frame rate to 30 frames per second (fps), versus the ZS60 at 15 fps. That 4K capability powers a number of advanced features shared by Panasonic’s pricer cameras, including the ability to change the focus of the photo with in-camera edits, cropping, merge multiple photos with different focal points with in-camera focus stacking, and a 4K burst mode that captures eight-megapixel photos at 30 fps. The 4K footage can also be stabilized electronically in-camera after recording, though some of the resolution is lost.

A new Light Composition mode enhances low-light images by detecting which pixels are the brightest and saving those light areas. According to Panasonic, “This makes it possible to produce more luxurious, dramatic images of situations such as fireworks or night scenes inside the camera with ease.” The camera’s new shooting modes also includes a 4K selfie option and in-camera beauty edits, along with the ability to add artificial depth of field, or background blur, using the Background Control mode.

The ZS70 uses Panasonic’s Depth From Defocus autofocus system, which Panasonic says gives the camera a 0.1-second autofocus speed. Along with a 49-point autofocus, the camera’s touchscreen, capable of tilting up to 180 degrees, can also be used to adjust focus.

The camera’s small size still leaves enough room for a 0.2-inch electronic viewfinder with an eye sensor for automatically switching from the LCD screen to the viewfinder. Access to controls is also simplified with a control ring around the lens. A five-axis optical stabilization system, Wi-Fi, and RAW shooting round out the camera’s list of features.

Expect the ZS70 to begin shipping in May, for $450.

For Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras, the new 8-18mm lens – the second in the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit series – is also scheduled to ship in May. Covering a 16-36mm equivalent on a 35mm camera, the 8-18mm lens offers an ultra-wide-view with a wide maximum aperture and the flexibility of a zoom lens. The lens has an autofocus motor rated at 240 fps to pair with quick camera bodies.

Designed with 15 elements in ten groups, the lens uses one aspherical Extra-Low Dispersion (ED), three aspherical lenses, two ED lenses, and one Ultra High Refractive (UHR) Index lens. These glass types are designed to reduce the spherical distortion common in wide-angle lenses as well as cutting back chromatic aberration or color fringing. Like the other lens in the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit series, Panasonic’s Nano Surface coating is also used to cut down on ghosting and flaring. On the exterior, the lens uses a splash and dust proof design, along with a performance rating down to -10 degrees Celsius.

The 8-18mm lens will list for $1,100.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Hi-viz bike reflectors and a tiny flashlight

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Nikon brings a classic workhorse lens to the Z series with new 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The Nikon Z series finally has a bright zoom available without an adapter. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm F/2.8 S offers new coatings and more customizable controls in a smaller, lighter body than the comparable F-mount lens.

Olympus packs an enormous zoom ability in its latest interchangeable lens

The Olympus Digital ED M.Zuiko 12-200mm F/3.5-6.3 has the widest zoom range of any interchangeable lens with a 16.6x zoom. The lens, which covers a 24-400mm equivalent, is also weather sealed.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Canon democratizes full-frame with the EOS RP, but keep your expectations low

At just $1,300, the RP is Canon's least expensive full-frame camera yet, but it was born into a world of high-end, high-cost lenses where it doesn't yet feel at home.

Using A.I., Lightroom can now boost the resolution of RAW photos

Need to eek a bit more resolution out of a RAW file? Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw can help with a new feature called Detail Enhance. The tool uses A.I. in the demosaicing process to enhance details and reduce artifacts.

Tight on space? Here’s how to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer

Never lose any of your cherished selfies or family vacation photos from your iPhone again by learning how to transfer photos from your iPhone to a computer, whether you want to use a cable or wireless transfer.

Corel VideoStudio adds tools for customizing color in simple video edits

VideoStudio is Corel's more consumer-oriented video editor but the software recently gained advanced color correction tools. The update adds custom transitions, along with speeding up performance, and adding new shortcuts.

500px reveals almost 15 million users are caught up in security breach

Almost 15 million members of portfolio website 500px have been caught up in a security breach. The hack occurred in 2018 but was only discovered last week. Users are being told to change their 500px password as soon as possible.

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.

Fujifilm’s X-T30 is a semi-pro, feature-rich camera that’s affordable to boot

Fujifilm's newest mirrorless camera delivers the premium features of the X-T3 without the premium price, giving aspiring enthusiasts a lower-cost option that can still match the image quality of Fuji's flagship.

Fujifilm XP140 squeezes more durability, low-light ability into a waterproof cam

Fujifilm's waterproof compact can now head even further underwater. The Fujifilm XP140 features several upgrades, including a more durable body, a wider ISO range for low light, and expanded auto modes.