Panasonic LUMIX DMC-SZ3 Previewby Roger Slavens
With the LUMIX DMC-SZ3, Panasonic refreshes its compact travel line with an affordable, slim, long-zoom camera designed for stashing in your pocket or purse so you'll always be at the ready for capturing moments or making art when the muse calls. The Panasonic SZ3 features a 10x optical zoom (20x digital intelligent zoom) lens, ranging from 25-250mm (in 35mm equivalency), 10 frames-per-second continuous burst shooting (at 3 megapixels) and several creative filters and modes.
Measuring at 3.73 x 2.20 x 0.86 inches (94.8 x 55.8 x 21.9 mm) and weighing just more than 4 ounces, the SZ3 is truly petite. However, it boasts a 1/2.33-inch 16.1-megapixel CCD sensor that Panasonic claims outpaces the performance of its 14.1-megapixel predecessor. The new sensor is backed with high-speed signal input, high-sensitivity recording and Panasonic's Mega O.I.S. anti-shake technology. ISOs run from 100 to 1600 at full resolution, reaching 6400 in High Sensitivity Mode.
Though small, the Panasonic SZ3 is still big enough to host a 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot LCD screen on the back, in addition to that 10x optical zoom lens in the front. The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens features a maximum aperture range of f/3.1 at wide angle and f/5.9 at telephoto, and is comprised of nine elements in seven groups.
The SZ3 incorporates the manufacturer's latest raft of filters and fun modes, called Creative Control and Creative Retouch. Creative Control lets you apply filters (such as Retro or One Point Color) before you take the image, and Creative Retouch adds such effects as Toy and Miniature in-camera after shooting.
While it's no high-end movie maker, the camera appears to be a capable video recording, shooting in 720p HD at 24 frames per second in Motion JPEG format. And the Panasonic SZ3 does all for zooming while recording, a nice touch.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-SZ3 ships in March in blue, black and white. Pricing was not available at press time.