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The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS85 offers a sensor resolution of 8.1 effective megapixels from a 1/2.5" RGB CCD image sensor, and Panasonic has coupled this to an image stabilized, Leica DC Vario-Elmar branded 4x optical zoom lens with a 33mm-equivalent wide angle. There's sadly no optical viewfinder, with the Panasonic LS85 instead opting solely for a 2.5" LCD display with 230,000 dot resolution on which images and videos are both framed and reviewed. The Panasonic LS85's lens has a maximum aperture that varies from f/2.8 to f/5.9 across the zoom range. The minimum focusing distance for the Panasonic DMC-LS85 is ordinarily half a meter, but drops to just five centimeters when switched to Macro mode.

The Panasonic DMC-LS85 has a 9-point multi-area autofocus system which also includes a single-point "high speed" focusing mode. As with many digital cameras these days, there's also a face detection function, with Panasonic's implementation using the information to adjust both focus and exposure to properly capture your subjects' faces. ISO sensitivity ordinarily ranges from 100 to 1600, with the ability to extend this as far as ISO 6400 equivalent in High Sensitivity Auto mode. Shutter speeds from 1/2000 to 60 seconds are possible. The Panasonic DMC-LS85 uses Intelligent Multiple metering, and offers seven white balance settings including Auto, Manual, and five fixed presets. A generous selection of twenty one scene modes let users tailor the look of their images, useful given that there are no aperture- or shutter-priority modes on the Panasonic LS85. There's also an Intelligent Scene Selection function, which can automatically select from a subset of the available scene modes. A four mode flash strobe includes red-eye reduction capability, and has a rated range of up to 5.9 meters at wide angle, or 2.8 meters at telephoto. There's also digital red-eye correction, and Panasonic's Intelligent Auto and Intelligent ISO functions as seen on past models.

As well as JPEG still images, the Panasonic LS85 can capture movies with sound at up to 848 x 480 pixel resolution or below, although the compression used is the older QuickTime Motion JPEG type. Movies are captured at 30 frames per second with audio. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS85 stores its images and movies on Secure Digital or MultiMediaCards, including the newer SDHC types. There's also a generous 50MB of built-in memory. Connectivity options include a rather dated USB 2.0 Full-Speed connection, plus standard definition NTSC / PAL video output. Power comes from two standard AA batteries, with Alkaline disposables in the product bundle. The LS85 is rated as good for 550 shots on a freshly charged set of NiMH rechargeables to CIPA testing standards, although Alkalines will offer only somewhere around 270 shots. The software bundle includes PHOTOfunSTUDIO Viewer v3.0.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LS85 will ship from April 2009, with expected pricing of $120 or thereabouts.