Panasonic Puts Shine on Lumix Camera Line

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Panasonic has announced a slew of new models for its Lumix digital camera line, adding features sure to appeal to first-time and casual picture-snapper as well as powerful capabilities, big optical zooms, and technical hutzpah at the high end to keep photo enthusiasts happy.

Top of the heap is the new impressively-specced Lumix DMC-FZ8, sporint a 12× optical zoom, easy manual operation sure to appeal to all the photo buffs out there, and the company’s Mega Optical Image Stabilizer and Intelligent ISO Control, making it easier to capture blur-free pictures even in difficult lighting conditions. In combination with the Venus Engine III image processor, the intelligent ISO control adjusts the image exposure to try to keep even moving subjects clear and in focus. The FZ8 sports a 7.2 megapixel resolution, 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder, joystick-based control of manual focus and exposure (a popular feature which debuted in the company’s previous FZ7 camera), and the ability to capture VGA video at 30 frames per second. Expect to see the FZ8 this february for just $349.95.

Next up, Panasonic describes the Lumix DMC-FX30 as the “word’s slimmest” camera with a 28mm wide angle lens; regardless of whether it’s actually any thinner than competing shooters from Samsung, it does sport a 3.6× optical zoom, a 7.2 megapixel CCD, the same image stabilization, ISO control, and image engine found in the FZ8 (above), along with a 2.5 inch LCD viewfinder. No manual controls, but the autofocus capabilities and slim profile may make the camera a hit amongst social photographers; expect to see it in February for $349.95.

If you’re looking for features without the slim form factor or manual capabilities, the Lumix DMC-LS70 offers a 3× optical zoom on with a 7.2 megapixel resolution, along with the optical image stabilization, intelligent ISO control, and Venus III engine, with an expected price of just $149.95 when it hits stores this February. The LCD viewfinder is just two inches, but it can still capture VGA resolution video at 30 frames per second.

Panasonic’s other Lumix offers all focus on being compact. The Lumix DMC-TZ3 will hit stores this March for $349.95, sporting a 3-inch LCD viewfinder, 7.2 megapixel resolution, 10×optical zoom, and Panasonic’s optical image stabilization and ISO control. Panasonic is aiming the TZ3 at travelers, emphasizing the small form factor, wide-angle capabilities, and compatibility with “active lifestyles”—users can even get an optional underwater case. Meanwhile, the DMC-FX10 and DMC-FX12 (shipping in February for $199.95 and $229.95, respectively) offer 3× optical zooms, 2.5 inch LCDs, optical image stabilization and ISO control, and video capture. The FX10 sports a 6 megapixel LCD while the FX12 cranks back up to 7.2 megapixels. Both cameras also feature a “high angle mode” on their LCD viewfinder, making it easier to view when the camera is being held high—like over a crowd at a sporting event.

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