Leica has built a name for itself in the compact market over the years with a handful of Panasonic rebrands — these Lumix models come equipped with a matte black housing, Leica lens and that famous red dot, with the inflated price tag to match. With this latest batch of cameras, the company appears to be taking a more respectable approach — at least with its high-end X2. But first, let’s tackle the V-Lux 40. On the Panasonic front, this camera looks strikingly similar to the Lumix DMC-ZS20 we saw emerge after CES. Both cameras include 14.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensors, a 20x, 24-480mm f/3.3-6.4 optical zoom lens and 1080p video capture. The housing has been modified slightly to include a recessed control panel, Panasonic branding has been removed and the Leica logo added. Such luxuries more than double the camera’s price from $269 to $699. Ouch. You can pick up the V-Lux 40 beginning today, or you can grab two virtually identical ZS20s for the same amount, with significant cash to spare.
You may remember the Leica X1, but you probably don’t. This $2,000 shooter was determined to be overpriced when it launched way back in 2009, and now the APS-C-equipped series has returned for a refresh. Dubbed the X2, this year’s flavor ups the ante with a 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor (boosted from 12.2) while retaining that beloved $2k sticker price. The compact all-in-one includes a fixed 24mm Leica Elmarit f/2.8 ASPH lens, which the company validates as a “classical focal length for photojournalism,” and a 2.7-inch 230k-pixel LCD on the rear. There’s also an option to add a Viso-Flex 1.4MP viewfinder with a 90-degree swivel function, along with a shoe-mounted mirror finder. The $1,995 camera’s price tag may be tough to swallow — but only until you discover the gratis copy of Adobe Lightroom in the box. Both the ZS20 V-Lux 40 and X2 are available now. Snap past the break for the pitch from Leica.
We’ve seen Panasonic’s 2012 lineup of ruggedized and entry-level point-and-shoot cameras, but now the Japanese-based manufacturer is unleashing a pair of compact “Traveler Zoom” cams to the 2012 mix. The Lumix DMC-ZS20 and ZS15 include 20x (24-480mm) and 16x (24-384mm) optically stabilized zoom lenses, respectively, 3-inch 460k-pixel LCDs, 1/2.3-inch High Sensitivity MOS sensors and a 10 fps burst shooting mode (5 fps with continuous AF). The higher-end ZS20 features a 14.1 megapixel sensor and 1080/60p video shooting while the ZS15 captures 12.1 megapixel stills and 1080/60i HD clips. Both cameras include 0.1-second “Light Speed Autofocus” and top sensitivity levels of ISO 3200, though you’ll need to opt for the ZS20 to take advantage of GPS with map logging and a noise-canceling stereo mic. The pair will ship in March, with a black, red, white or silver ZS20 running you $350, compared with a $280 price tag on the black or silver ZS15. As always, you’ll find the full PR after the break.
Panasonic has helped lead the market for ruggedized cameras, which have been a hit among adventurous photographers for years, and now the company has two new additions to add to its water/shock/freeze/dustproof cam line. Described as “the optical outdoor companion,” the Lumix DMC-TS4 is Panasonic’s new ruggedized flagship, replacing the TS3 and packing a 12.1 megapixel CCD sensor, 1080/60i HD video capture, a 4.6x 28-128mm optical zoom lens and 2.7-inch LCD. Naturally, it can withstand just about everything you’ll throw its way, considering that it’s waterproof to depths of 40 feet, shockproof to 6.6 feet and freezeproof to temps as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The TS4 also includes GPS, compass, altimeter and barometer functionality, logging all this data to supplement your photos with a full weather and location readout. Panasonic has also added full manual control, letting you adjust both aperture and shutter speed when shooting in manual mode.
The TS4 may offer a respectable spec list, but it doesn’t come cheap. The TS20 is an attractive alliterative, however, with a slim profile, 16.1 megapixel sensor, 720p HD shooting, a 4x 25-100mm optically stabilized zoom lens and a 2.7-inch LCD. It’s waterproof to 16 feet, freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and can survive drops from up to five feet. There’s no manual option on this lower-end model, but it does include Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode for more accurate shooting. The TS20 will ship in late-February in orange, blue, black and red for $180, while the flagship TS4 will be available in orange, blue, black and silver for $400 when it ships in mid-March. You’ll find both press releases after the break.
Panasonic’s Lumix line is celebrating a whole bunch of new entries this week at CES. The FH series is expanding with two new slim additions, the DMC-FH6 and DMC-FH8. Both models do 720p video at 30 fps and rock Leica lenses and 5x optical zoom. The 16.1 megapixel FH8 has a three-inch LCD and shoots HD videos in MP4. The 14.1 megapixel F6 captures HD video in JPEG format and features a 2.7-inch display. Both new entries in the SZ series, meanwhile, feature 10x optical zoom, three-inch LCDs and 25mm ultra-wide angle Leica lenses. The SZ7 does 14.1 megapixel images and 1080p video, while the SZ1 goes 14.1 megapixels and 720p on the video front.
Also debuting this week is the LUMIX DMC-S2, a 14.1 megapixel compact shooter with 4x optical zoom and 720p video capabilities. The point-and-shoot also features Panasonic’s panoramic mode for stitching together images and auto retouch to adjust contrast and brightness in photos on the fly. As for pricing and availability? Not so much. Panasonic has promised such things a month prior to release — whenever that might be. Lots of pertinent press info after the break.
Do you shoot 3D photos? Nope, neither do we, but Panasonic certainly seems to hope that’ll change — perhaps even as soon as next month, when its Lumix 3D1 hits store shelves… for $500. And how much camera does half a grand buy you? Well, for starters you get not one, but a pair of 25-100mm optical zoom lenses (30-120mm in 3D mode), pumping images to dual 12.1 megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensors. Two lenses and two sensors make this pocket wonder a natural at stereoscopic 3D video, but it can also pull some pretty clever tricks with still photos. Sure, you can shoot full-res stills and 1080i video simultaneously, but those dual zoom lenses can operate independently as well, letting you snap pics and/or video at multiple focal lengths — capture a wide-angle shot with one lens and a close-up with the other, for example. Panasonic wasn’t able to demo this functionality during our briefing, so we can’t speak to the interface, but it certainly sounds like a nifty concept. Beyond that, expect up to 8 fps burst at full resolution, a 3.5-inch touchscreen and “dramatically clear” low-light images, even at high-ISOs (according to Panasonic). Ready to hear more from the camera maker? Jump past the break for the full PR.
Remember the Lumix GF1? It was one of Panasonic’s first Micro Four Thirds cameras, setting the bar quite high for models to come. But the GF1′s successors — the GF2 and GF3 — did not live up to expectations, with the company gradually shifting the series towards transitioning point-and-shoot users, and away from early adopters who grew accustomed to the performance and build quality offered by that beloved early mirrorless cam. Now that familiar look and feel is back, in the form of the Lumix DMC-GX1. The 16 megapixel ILC includes a Live MOS sensor and Venus engine, with a maximum ISO of 12,800. Like other Panasonic G-series cameras, the GX1 uses a Micro Four Thirds mount, and is compatible with both Panasonic and Olympus lenses, including the standard 14-42mm zoom that ships with the $800 kit, or the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm retractable lens that comes packaged for $950. Existing lens owners can pick up just the body for $700.
What we really missed was the solid feel of the GF1 — everything from the housing to the controls felt well-made, while the design of later GF models, was… underwhelming. Picking up the GX1 helped to restore our confidence in the series — it was a pleasure to hold. There’s quite a bit of power under the hood, too. We weren’t able to test the GX1, which is expected to hit stores in mid-December, but Panasonic promises autofocus speeds of 0.9 second — you can focus simply by touching your subject on the 3-inch, 460,000-dot touchscreen. There’s also an external EVF option, which attaches to the camera’s hot shoe and offers a 1.44 million-dot display with 100-percent field of view. Movie buffs can capture 1080/60i HD video, with either MP4 or AVCHD compression. It goes without saying that the GX1 can shoot in RAW, and offers the complete gamut of advanced shooting modes. Of course the features don’t stop there, so jump past the break for the full PR from Panasonic.
For many photographers, in-camera WiFi may be an attractive feature before you leave the store, but confusing setup and limited functionality reduce its appeal once you actually go and try to use it. Panasonic sets out to better take advantage of wireless connectivity with its Lumix FX90, adding Android and iPhone app support for transferring pictures and video directly to a mobile device, then uploading them to Lumix Club — a cloud-based photo-sharing service — and on to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. You can also share photos directly from the camera — a dedicated WiFi button launches a menu prompting you to select a sharing service — but app support brings the added benefit of your phone’s data connection. Beyond those new wireless features, the FX90 includes a 12 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x, 24-120mm optical zoom lens, 3-inch touchscreen, and 1080i AVCHD video capture. The FX90 will ship this fall with pricing yet to be announced, but jump past the break for the full rundown from Panasonic in the meantime.
Sure, these days nearly all digital cameras can shoot video, but only a small handful give you the power to manually select aperture and shutter speed while doing so. The Lumix FZ47 is Panasonic’s latest high-end point-and-shoot to sport this functionality, providing full control over both video and still photo capture with its Creative Control mode. The 12.1-megapixel superzoom can shoot 1080i HD at 30 fps, though it’s notably lacking in the 1080p department. There’s also a 3-inch LCD, 24x Leica zoom lens with a 25mm wide-angle focal length, and an option to shoot 3.5-megapixel stills while recording video. For photographers wiling to settle for a good deal less power, Panasonic also just announced its entry-level Lumix LS5, which includes a 14.1-megapixel sensor, optical image stabilization, and 720p video, all powered by a pair of AA batteries. The $400 FZ47 will ship next month, while the LS5 hits stores in November, with pricing yet to be announced. Jump past the break for the complete rundown from Panasonic.
Right on schedule, Panasonic’s gone and made its thinly-veiled Lumix DMC-G3 Micro Four Thirds shooter official. The Micro Four Thirds shooter succeeds the G2with a a 16 megapixel sensor, support for 1080p AVCHD video recording with stereo audio, 4fps burst shooting at full resolution, and an articulating, 3-inch touchscreen that supplants some of the dials adorning the last-gen model. In addition to poking around menus, you can touch that display to focus on your subject, and slide your finger to tweak exposure, white balance, and depth of field — all in all, not unlike how you might interact with a smartphone camera. And, at 11.8 ounces, the aluminum-clad body weighs about ten percent less than its predecessor. Look for it in June for $700 in brown, red, and white — in addition to your garden-variety black. In the market for something more compact? Panny also trotted out the Lumix-FH7, a 16 megapixel point-and-shoot with 4x optical zoom and 720p movie recording. Oodles of photos below with a press release after the break.