Panasonic unveils new cameras, small 10X zoom model

Panasonic unveiled on Tuesday three new digital still cameras for the global market.

Panasonic unveiled on Wednesday six new digital still cameras for the Australian market, most of which will be available from next month.

Among them is the DMC-TZ1, a camera that Panasonic says is the smallest camera available to offer a 10X optical zoom. The compact camera packs a 6-megapixel image sensor, although the highest quality image available to users is 5-megapixel because the camera doesn't use the entire sensor to capture images. Doing so would have increased the distance between the lens and sensor and made the camera larger, said Panasonic.

The camera is being promoted as perfect for holidays and its software offers some help on keeping holiday snaps in order. There's a world time mode, which more easily enables users to switch the camera to local time when traveling so dates and times on pictures are correct. The camera also features a calendar display which groups images into sets for each day of the holiday so a trip can more easily be followed.

Also unveiled on Tuesday was the DMC-FX01, which offers 6-megapixel resolution images and has a 3.6X optical zoom. Features of this camera include a lens that can take wide-angle images equivalent to that from a 28mm lens on a regular film camera.

Both cameras include an image stabilization system that is intended to reduce blur when capturing images at low-light or pictures of fast moving subjects. The system combines a low light lens with a servo-system that attempts to reduce the effects of camera shake and a fast shutter speed of up to ISO1600. They also both feature a 2.5-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor

The former camera measures 112 millimeters by 58mm by 40mm and weighs 262 grams while the latter camera measures 94mm by 51mm by 24mm and weighs 160 grams. Panasonic estimates the DMC-TZ1 can take 250 pictures on a single charge and the DMC-FX01 manages 320 images on a charge.

The DMC-TZ1 camera will be available in Australia April and will sell for $659. The DMC-FX01 will be available in late March and will be priced at $659.

Panasonic also launched the DMC-LS2, which is powered by two AA Oxyride batteries. The company claims using Oxyride batteries achieves 1.5 times the number of shots than conventional Alkaline batteries. The 5-megapixel camera has a 3X optical zoom lens, 2-inch LCD monitor and will be available from late March for $329. All three cameras store images to SD (Secure Digital) memory card.

The three other cameras launched include the DMC-FZ7 ($769), DMC-LZ5 ($549) and DMC-LZ3 (439). All cameras have burst shooting at 3fps and VGA (640x480) movies at 30fps. The will be available in mid March.

Panasonic did not reveal any details about its forthcoming SLR camera, jointly developed with Olympus. That camera will make is first appearance at the Photo Marketing Association trade show in New York on February 26.

The company also announced two photo printers, the KX-PX10 and KX-PX1. The printers are PictBridge compatible so they can be controlled directly from the camera and they also accept SD cards or can be connected to PCs. They will be available from March.

(Additional reporting by Howard Dahdah.)

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