Panasonic has taken the wraps off a new slate of Lumix cameras designed to appeal to a broad range of photo-conscious consumers, with models offering video capabilities, ruggedness, and compact portability. Plus, all the new cameras support the new SDXC storage format so users can capture up to 64 GB of photos or video without having to worry about swapping out media. The new cam
First up, the Lumix ZS7 claims to be the world’s smallest photo/video hybrid camera: it sports a 12.1 megapixel resolution, 3-inch LCD display, a 25mm ultra wide-angle lens, and a 12× optical zoom that even works in video recording mode. The ZS7 also shoots high-definition AVCHD video, includes an integrated GPS for geotagging photos, and features Panasonic’s latest Venus Engine HD for image processing, part of which is “Intelligent Resolution” processing that enhances details and sharpens edged…but there’s also a wide range of manual controls for folks who don’t trust newfangled technology or just happen to know what they’re doing. The ZS7 also features optical image stabilization, face detection, an intelligent scene selector, a “Happy Mode” that optimizes color, saturation, and brightness, and a High Dynamic mode. Panasonic hasn’t announced pricing or availability for the ZS7, but also says they’ll offer a less-expensive ZS5 with a 2.7-inch display and without GPS.
For folks who like to go outside to play, the Lumix TS2 is Panasonic’s latest ruggedized camera: it sports a 14.1 megapixel resolution and a 2.7-inch LCD display—it’s also waterproof to 10 meters (33 feet), freezeproof to 14°F; dustproof,and shockproof against falls of up to 10 feet. Unfortunately, the TS2 lacks any optical zoom, but does sport the Venus Engine HD can can capture ACVHD video…and Panasonic says the image processing means the TS2’s digital zoom isn’t all that bad. Like the ZS7, the TS2 offers optical image stabilization, face detection, intelligent scene selection, “happy” and high-contrast modes, and works with SDXC cards. No word on pricing or availability, but Panasonic does plan to offer it in silver, orange, blue, and yellow.
If the TS2 sounds appealing but you’d like something with a little more zoom and a little less heft, the Lumix ZR3 might be for you, featuring a 14.1 megapixel resolution, 2.7-inch display, and a 25mm lens with an 8× optical zoom. The ZR3 also features ACVHD Lite HD video recording capability, and includes face recognition and Panasonic’s new “Happy Mode” but seems to omit optical image stabilization and the Venus Engine HD, though it does pack in Panasonic’s standard intelligence features like Intelligent Resolution and Zoom, AF tracking, and smart exposure and ISO controls. Again, no shipping or pricing information, but the ZR3 will be available in blue, black, red, and silver.