Panasonic's Lumix line gets a lot more crowded

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.

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LAS VEGAS, NV (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic today announces a new stylish, compact digital camera, the 14.1-megapixel LUMIX DMC-S2, with advanced features, including a 28mm wide-angle LUMIX DC VARIO lens with 4x optical zoom, Sonic Speed Auto-Focus, and MEGA O.I.S. to help reduce blurry photos due to shaking hands, 720p HD video capabilities, plus Panorama and Auto Retouch Mode. The LUMIX S2 merges essential functions and enhanced performance features into a simple and stylish design making it an appropriate camera for users with any level of photography skills.

Featuring the new Panorama Mode, the LUMIX S2 allows users to shoot a horizontal or vertical panoramic image by taking a sequence of shots of one scene and overlaying the grouping of pictures to create one panoramic shot. The new Auto Retouch Mode adjusts contrast and brightness to give a different and unique look to any photo with the press of a button.

"With Panasonic's LUMIX S2, we are bringing to market an affordable, intuitive, compact digital camera with smart features, designed for users who simply want to take great quality photos and videos," said David Fisher, Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Marketing Company of North America. "Beyond the powerful 28mm wide-angle lens and HD video, the S2 also offers excellent landscape and large group shooting with the Panorama Mode and convenient retouching with Auto Retouch Mode."

In addition, the DMC-S2 features dramatically speedier focusing, allowing users to quickly focus on moving subjects when shooting sports and other fast motion scenes. The Sonic Speed AF system includes numerous re-engineering enhancements, including a higher-speed actuator, optimized algorithms and parallel software processing. The result is fast and accurate AF performance.

With Panasonic's popular iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode, the LUMIX S2 allows users to easily activate a suite of technologies that engage automatically – with no setting changes needed, for beautiful, natural shots. In addition to MEGA O.I.S., iA also includes Intelligent ISO Control, Intelligent Scene Selector and Face Detection. For video shooting, the LUMIX S2 features dynamic 1280 x 720p HD video recording capabilities.

The LUMIX S2 features a 2.7-inch Intelligent LCD and 28mm wide-angle LUMIX DC VARIO lens with 4x optical zoom and Intelligent Zoom for extended magnification to 8x, with the newly-integrated Intelligent Resolution technology. The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine is incorporated to enable beautiful image recording with higher quality signal processing, while the Sonic Speed AF makes it easier to capture spur-of-the-moment photos.


LAS VEGAS, NV (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic today introduced the new 16.1-megapixel LUMIX DMC-FH8 and 14.1-megapixel LUMIX DMC-FH6, both of which feature slim, compact stylish designs and are packed with advanced photography functions to enhance a consumer's ability to easily take beautiful photos, even in low light situations. Beyond its capability to shoot high-quality still photos, both models can record 720p High Definition (HD) video. The LUMIX FH6 shoots HD video in Motion JPEG format while the LUMIX FH8 records HD video in MP4 format and incorporates a dedicated video button in its design so users can quickly and easily switch from capturing photos to recording video.

"The new LUMIX FH8 and LUMIX FH6 incorporate high-quality LEICA lenses with advanced imaging technologies that help create stunning picture quality in an extremely compact camera size. Both offer users of all photographic experience the ability to capture exceptional photos and video with an ultra-slim point-and-shoot camera that will bring their memories to life for years to come. The FH8 goes even further by incorporating creative modes that spice up the memory-making for today's discerning photographer," said David Fisher, Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. "A new feature to some 2012 LUMIX models, including the LUMIX FH8, is USB charging which offers users a more convenient and flexible way to charge the camera directly from a computer."

Equipped with a 24mm ultra-wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-SUMMARIT lens, the LUMIX FH8 and LUMIX FH6 offer an incredible 5x optical zoom with f2.5 brightness, all while maintaining a stylish, and slim camera body. This high-end lens excels in shooting dynamic landscapes with wide-angle view and also in capturing moving subjects even in low-lit situations, like indoors or at night. Offering exceptional optical performance to provide minimal distortion and chromatic aberrations while suppressing ghosting and flare, the advanced lens unit allows for higher shutter speed and captures stunningly clear images. The 5x optical zoom also increases its power to the equivalent of 10x with the iA Zoom (Intelligent Auto Zoom) function with minimum deterioration of image quality thanks to the help of Intelligent Resolution technology. The multi-tasking image-processing Venus Engine enables beautiful image recording and Sonic Speed AF (Auto Focus) combined with a quick camera start-up time to offer a high-speed response time to ensure users can capture even the most spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities.

To encourage creative shooting, the LUMIX FH8 and LUMIX FH6 feature image effects that allow users to have more fun with their photographic experience. The Panorama Shot makes it possible for users to shoot horizontal or vertical panoramic images by taking consecutive shots and then overlaying for the effect of a panoramic photo. The popular Beauty Retouch function allows users to give photos a variety of cosmetic effects and Auto Retouch adjusts contrast and brightness levels to give photos a different look. The LUMIX FH8 also adds Miniature Effect mode where peripherals are defocused and saturation and contrast are emphasized to make the picture look like a diorama. Video recorded in Miniature Effect mode is played back in 10x fast-forwarding, making it comical and fun to watch*.

For users looking for a large screen, the LUMIX FH8 offers a bright 3-inch LCD screen, while the LUMIX FH6 is slightly more compact with a 2.7-inch LCD screen. The Intelligent LCD screens on both models are equipped with automatic backlight adjustment to offer a clear view of photos under any lighting conditions. In addition, both models offer LUMIX Image Uploader which lets users instantly share images and videos on Facebook© or YouTube© via a computer. The LUMIX FH8 also allows users to enjoy the new flexibility of USB charging or conventional AC adapter charging methods.

In iA mode users can automatically activate a suite of technologies to enhance photos without adjusting settings every time conditions change. As part of iA mode, the LUMIX FH8 features AF Tracking, making it easy to lock on subjects in a frame and keep them in focus – even as they move. Both the LUMIX FH8 and FH6 also include the following features in iA: MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization), Intelligent ISO Control, Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure.


LAS VEGAS, NV (January 9, 2012) – Panasonic today introduced the new LUMIX SZ-Series of digital cameras, the LUMIX DMC-SZ7 and the LUMIX DMC-SZ1, which combine a powerful 10x optical zoom with a 25mm ultra-wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens, in a slim and compact body, making it extremely portable and easy to carry. The LUMIX SZ7 (14.1 megapixels) can also shoot full-High Definition, 1920 x 1080 60i videos and with Light Speed AF, it has a super-fast focus response time of approximately 0.1 second – making it easy to capture spontaneous must-have photos. The LUMIX SZ1 (16.1 megapixels) features 720p HD video recording capabilities, and both models are easy to use thanks to Panasonic's popular iA (Intelligent Auto) mode which automatically chooses the best camera settings for natural, beautiful images.

"As more and more people revert to their smartphones because of convenience to take spur-of-the-moment digital photos, Panasonic is introducing two digital cameras that are not only small and compact, but also offer high-end imaging features such as a wide-angle LEICA lens, extremely fast Auto Focus speeds, and High Definition video, giving the consumer outstanding image quality," said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. "Panasonic's SZ7 and SZ1 are extremely compact in size, but offer features that are typically only available in much larger digital cameras, such as a 10x optical zoom, and with new features such as Panorama Shot and Miniature Effect, the SZ-Series is also fun to use."

The LUMIX SZ7 and LUMIX SZ1 feature two new shooting modes – Miniature Effect and Panorama Shot. In Miniature Effect mode, the peripherals are defocused while saturation and contrast is emphasized to make the picture like a diorama. Video recorded in Miniature Effect mode is played back in 10x fast-forwarding, making it comical and fun to watch*1. Panorama Shot makes it possible to shoot a horizontal or vertical panoramic image by taking consecutive shots and then overlaying the photos for the effect of a panoramic photo. Furthermore, both the LUMIX SZ7 and LUMIX SZ1 feature Creative Retouch which includes six filters -Toy Effect, Soft Focus Dynamic Monochrome, Expressive, High Key and Retro, each of which give the photo a more artistic look. Both models also feature an Auto Retouch function that adjusts contrast and brightness to give the photo a different look – all with a single press of the button.

To help ensure the LUMIX SZ7 and SZ1 are easy to use, both digital cameras feature Panasonic's popular iA (Intelligent Auto) mode. In iA mode, a suite of technologies are automatically engaged and the camera chooses the best setting based on the shooting environment. For instance, iA includes the new High Dynamic Range (on the SZ7 only), Intelligent Handheld Nightshot (on the SZ7 only) and Motion Deblur (on the SZ7 only) together with AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, MEGA O.I.S., Face Recognition (on the SZ7 only)/Face Detection (on the SZ1 only), Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure.

Other features of the new LUMIX SZ-Series include:
3.0-inch Intelligent LCD that automatically adjusts the backlight based on the environment's lighting
The LUMIX SZ7 features a MOS sensor to support full-HD video, while the LUMIX SZ1 features a CCD sensor
USB power charging in addition to the conventional AC power supply
3D Photo Mode allows the user to take 20 panning shots and then the camera automatically selects the two most suitable images – one for the right eye and one for the left eye – to synthesize a 3D composite. Available on the LUMIX SZ7 only
Dedicated video record button which lets users instantly start recording a video without having to make any extra settings. Additionally, the full 10x optical zoom is available in video recording mode
High-quality stereo sound via Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator accompanies the realistic HD videos. The stereo zoom microphone comes with zoom noise reduction system, and the Wind Cut function helps to block noise from background wind