Smarter, wider, slimmer, wireless – the news from Panasonic at PMA 2008
The pre-event PMA 2008 trade show bandwagon started this morning here in Las Vegas with a Panasonic Lumix press conference to introduce updated additions to the Lumix compact range and outlining its latest camera technologies, including plans to feature wifi connectivity.
Panasonic Lumix launched several new compact models, but no DSLRs, this morning. Perhaps the star of the new line up is the new TZ5 ‘travel’ camera, which has more pixels, a slightly slimmed down design, plus HDTV shooting and connectivity features, but not manual exposure modes as many reviewers had hoped. Below are the links to each of the press releases covering the new models:
Panasonic introduces the DMC-LZ10 and DMC-LZ8 cameras
Panasonic introduces the new 10.1-megapixel DMC-FS20 and DMC-FS5 cameras
Panasonic announces the new 8.1-megapixel DMC-FS3
Panasonic announces the Lumix DMC-FX35 Camera
Panasonic introduces the 9.1-Megapixel DMC-TZ5 and 8.1-Megapixel DMC-TZ4
25mm extra wide lens
Lumix has developed a reputation for innovation, notably in the area of image stabilisation and wide angle lenses. Today Panasonic Lumix announced the introduction of an extra wide angle optic, equivalent to 25mm in traditional terms, notably wider than the typical 28mm extra wide angle view offered by Lumix and some of its competitors until now.
Panasonic also claims the new wide angle view is not at the expense of extra lens distortion or reduced sharpness in the corners. Four aspherical lens elements, contributing six aspherical surfaces, lie at the heart of the optical design.
Venus Engine IV
The fourth generation of Panasonic’s Venus Engine in-camera image processor has been revealed today as well. Venus Engine IV is designed to improve high ISO colour resolution, reduce colour bleeding and improve edge clarity.
Selected new Lumix models also get a new larger and more sensitive 1/2.33 inch 10MP CCD image sensor. HDTV compatible 720p resolution movie mode recording is also to be featured in selected Lumix models, including HD output from the camera.
Even more smart shooting features
Until now, Lumix cameras have featured various automatic image optimisation features, including Shake reduction, Scene detected, face detection and motion detection. This year’s models will add auto red eye correction, intelligent exposure (adjusting the sensitivity of multiple regions of a scene to preserve highlights while bring out shadow detail) and intelligent scene selection based on automatic evaluation of the scene. Some models will also get higher resolution LCD screens.
WLan cameras in the pipeline
Camera-integrated Wireless networking development has also been announced and there is the prospect of a tie-up with Google for Picasa web albums. T-Mobile is to provide public hot-spot access. There should be more news of this later as a prototype wifi-enabled camera is said to be one of the show exhibits on the Panasonic Lumix PMA booth we can see starting from Thursday.
Below are some shots from the Panasonic press conference.