Panasonic's just announced quite a handful of Lumix compact cameras, featuring both the new Venus Engine VI and Venus Engine HD II that claim to perform quicker with better noise reduction. What's more exciting is that these are all compatible with the forthcoming SDXC cards too, but check out their "Happy Mode" -- it makes photos "more vivid and true to the color of the scene you memorized." Yeah, as if we'd want photos that are more, um, real. Anyway, let's break it down here (clockwise from top left; non-US model numbers in brackets):
- DMC-FX66: This one's a 14.1 megapixel slim camera with an F2.8-5.9 25-125mm (5x zoom) ultra-wide-angle lens (with Power O.I.S lens-shift stabilization). The 720p video capture and 1.06 second start-up time are sweet too, but no AVCHD Lite here. On the back there's a 2.7-inch 230k-dot screen with wide viewing angle. All this is just 5.11 ounces including battery.
- DMC-TS2 (FT2): This camera has a lot in common with the FX66 above -- same sensor, same image stabilization, same scene modes (but with three extra), same focus modes and same screen. The main differences are its AVCHD Lite 720p video format, F3.3-5.9 28-128mm (4.6x) lens and added ruggedness -- waterproof to 10m, shockproof to 2m, freezeproof to 14 degrees Fahrenheit and dustproof. It's of course slightly heavier too -- 6.63 ounces including battery.
- DMC-ZS5 (TZ8) and DMC-ZS7 (TZ10): These two appear to be twins, except the former has a smaller screen (2.7-inch with 230k dots instead of 3-inch with 460k dots) and lacks GPS, AVCHD Lite and mini-HDMI port. Both do 12.1 megapixel pictures and 720p videos, have F3.3-4.9 25-300mm (12x) lens with lens-shift stabilization, and have identical scene and focus modes. With battery these weigh 7.55 ounces and 7.69 ounces respectively.
- DMC-ZR3 (ZX3): Whoa! Another 14.1 megapixel camera which does AVCHD Lite. The specs are almost identical to the TS2 except for the lens (F3.3-5.9 25-200mm 8x ultra-wide-angle) and lack of ruggedness. It weighs 5.61 ounces with battery.