Four new digital cameras have been added to the Panasonic Lumix digital camera line-up.


: Four new digital cameras have been added to the Panasonic Lumix digital camera line-up.


The 5-meghapixel DMC-FZ20 (RRP $1099) and the 3-megapixel DMC-FZ3 (RRP $769) are both fitted with 12x zoom lenses, while the compact 5-megapixel DMC-FX7 (RRP $879) and 4-megapixel DMC-FX2 (RRP $769) have 3x optical zoom lenses. All the new models feature high-quality Leica optics, coupled with Panasonic’s MEGA OIS optical image stabilisation. The stabilisation system is based on a built-in gyro sensor that applies automatic compensation to counter detected hand shake. A linear motor moves the lens to guide the imaging light straight to the CCD. Two compensation settings are available: in Mode One, continuous adjustment is applied, while in Mode Two, the correction is only applied when the shutter button is pressed, giving maximum compensation in all directions.
All four cameras feature Panasonic’s new Venus Engine II image processing, which promises higher camera responsiveness plus improved picture quality. The company claims shutter release lag times of between 0.006-0.008 seconds with click-to-capture intervals of only 0.3-0.4 seconds. Continuous shooting speeds have been improved across the range and all new models can continue capturing pictures to the available memory capacity. Image processing has also been enhanced and the new cameras boast improved diagonal resolution and reduced levels of colour fringing and vignetting.


The DMC-FZ20 boasts a wide range of user-adjustable controls, including P, A, S and M shooting modes, nine scene pre-sets, macro focusing to 5 cm and a ring-operated manual focus setting. Still images can be saved in either TIFF or JPEG format and movies are captured with QVGA quality at 30 frames/second. The FZ20 also supports AF distance metering and has an AF assist lamp for quick focusing in low light conditions. Three light metering modes are provided, along with 10 steps of white balance adjustment, sharpness, contrast and saturation controls and adjustable flash output. A histogram display is also provided, along with a flashing highlight indicator that shows overexposed parts of a shot.
The DMC-FZ3 has many of the same controls as the FZ20 but its sensor resolution is lower and its body is 230 grams lighter. Unlike the FZ20, which is available in black and silver, this model is only available in silver.
The compact DMC-FX7 and DMC-FX2 models differ mainly in sensor resolution but the FX7 has a large 2.5-inch LCD screen, while the FX2’s monitor is a 2-inch LCD. Neither model has an optical viewfinder. Both cameras are simple to operate, with an easy mode dial that contains four shooting settings: simple, Program AE and Macro plus settings for playback, movie capture and scene settings. Nine scene settings are provided, among them a self-portrait mode that focuses at around one metre and engages the camera’s Soft Skin Detail function. Both models are supplied with a long life lithium-ion battery plus a power-saving economy mode.


More information can be obtained by phoning Panasonic at 132 600 and product details are available at