Panasonic unveils its new range Lumix cameras -- now tougher than ever

New Lumix FS series and TZ cameras announced, plus super tough Lumix DMC-FT1.

Panasonic launches its new Lumix FS series and TZ cameras, plus its super tough Lumix DMC-FT1 hybrid camera(shown).

Panasonic launches its new Lumix FS series and TZ cameras, plus its super tough Lumix DMC-FT1 hybrid camera(shown).

Panasonic has launched its latest range of Lumix cameras in Singapore this week. The new Lumix camera range will be rolled out in stores from March, and will include the new FS series and TZ series cameras, as well as a brand new ruggedised camera called the Lumix DMC-FT1.

The 12.1-megapixel DMC-FT1, which will be released in April, will be the company's first rugged digital still camera and will be aimed at active users including beach-goers, bush walkers and divers, who want a camera that can take high definition video in addition to still shots.

"It's a rugged design that users can feel confident using in these rough environments,” said Tanya Mudge, Panasonic Australia's product manager for Lumix and Camcorders. Panasonic used its significant experience in creating its Toughbook range of notebook PCs, to make the Lumix DMC-FT1 dustproof, waterproof to 3 metres, and drop-proof from 1.5 metres.

Other key features of the Lumix DMC-FT1 include its 28mm, 4.6x optical zoom lens; face recognition focusing, optical image stabilisation, auto focus tracking, and AVCHD lite high definition video recording. The ability to record high definition video makes the Lumix DMC-FT1 a hybrid camera. The company says the Lumix DMC-FT1 can take higher quality and longer-length movies than cameras using the Motion JPEG format.

The AVCHD lite format will capture videos at 720p resolution and Panasonic claims that recording times will be almost doubled compared to Motion JPEG. A dedicated button on the body of the camera will initiate video recordings, so you don't have to fumble for the correct dial setting to change from digital still mode to digital video mode.

The Lumix DMC-FT1 will be available in a range of colours — silver, blue, green, and orange — and it will retail for $699.

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