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Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FZ7 digital camera. Courtesy of Panasonic, with modifications by Imaging Resource. Panasonic announces DMC-FZ7: 6mpix, 12x zoom
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, January 23, 2006 - 02:00 EST)

A press release today from Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company has unveiled the Lumix DMC-FZ7 digital camera, an update of the existing DMC-FZ5 model with increased resolution.

Sporting a new six megapixel imager, the FZ7's body looks largely similar to its predecessor, with perhaps some reprofiling of the handgrip. Coupled to a 12x optical zoom lens with image stabilisation, this yields effective focal lengths from 36 - 432mm, just slightly more telephoto than the 35-420mm range of the previous model. Maximum ISO sensitivity with the new imager ranges as high as ISO 1600, and the FZ7 can capture images at u to three frames per second using its full six megapixel resolution.

Other updates in the DMC-FZ7 include a larger 2.5" LCD display, high-res (848x480 and 640x480) movie modes, and a new 710mAh battery pack. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7 will go on sale in March 2006, with pricing set at $399.95.

Preliminary product specifications are listed below; full specifications will follow once we receive them from Panasonic.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7
Panasonic's Lumix DMC-FZ7 digital camera. Courtesy of Panasonic, with modifications by Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Camera Type SLR-style
Manufacturer Panasonic
Model Number DMC-FZ7
Planned Price $399.95
Planned Availability Mar 2006
Image Capture
Sensor Type 6.00 megapixels (total)
Capture Speed Standard: 2.0 frames per second
Continuous: 3.0 frames per second for 7 frames
Image Preview / Review
Viewfinder Yes, electronic viewfinder
LCD 2.5"
Lens
Lens Type 12x optical zoom
Image Stabilization Yes
Focal Length 36 - 432mm (35mm equivalent)
Aperture Range f/2.8 (wide) / f/3.3 (tele) - ???
Focusing System 1, 3 or 9-point with AF assist lamp
Exposure
ISO Sensitivity 1600 max.
Creative
Scene Modes 16 scene modes
Digital Zoom 4x
Connectivity
Other DC In
Power
Battery Type 710mAh rechargeable
Battery Form Factor Proprietary
Product Bundle
Battery / Charger Proprietary 710mAh rechargeable battery and charger
 

Original Source Press Release:

Panasonic Announces DMC-FZ7 12x Zoom, 6 MP DSC

NEW COMPACT PANASONIC DIGITAL STILL CAMERA FEATURES OPTICAL IMAGE STABILIZATION AND 12X OPTICAL ZOOM

SECAUCUS, NJ (January 23, 2006) -- Panasonic introduces the latest addition to its celebrated Lumix(TM) digital camera line with the new, six-megapixel DMC-FZ7. This compact camera features a Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens system, powerful 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36mm to 432mm on a 35mm film camera lens) with aperture of F2.8 to 3.3, and Panasonic's MEGA Optical Image Stabilizer.

This compact, feature-packed model is Panasonic's most "anti-blur" camera ever, addressing the two major causes of blurred images: hand movement and subject movement. The DMC-FZ7 incorporates Panasonic's acclaimed MEGA Optical Image Stabilization technology, which uses a gyrosensor to detect and compensate for hand movement by shifting internal lens elements. It is a true optical system; the image is not electronically processed so there is minimal degradation and exceptional picture quality. MEGA OIS is especially important when utilizing the 12x optical zoom of the DMC-FZ7. At the greatest zoom, even the smallest hand movement could ruin the shot. With MEGA OIS, the image remains steady.

Additionally, the new DMC-FZ7 features a new High Sensitivity Mode which suppresses blur caused by quickly or unpredictably moving subjects, especially when shooting indoors with fast shutter speeds. The MEGA O.I.S. feature and High Sensitivity Mode allow the user to shoot with a maximum ISO 1600 setting.

"Panasonic's Optical Image Stabilizer technology used with this new High Sensitivity Mode dramatically helps consumers at all skill levels capture great shots," said Monica Helmer, marketing manager for Panasonic's Optical Group. "Everything about the DMC-FZ7 is designed to allow anyone to get high-quality results, whether composing a macro shot or catching the action on the fly."

The DMC-FZ7 packs a wealth of advanced technology and easy-to-use features in a sleek, compact package. It is equipped with both automatic and manual controls that meet the needs of prosumers and beginners alike.

Panasonic's LSI Venus Engine II handles image processing, LCD functions, and writing to the memory card simultaneously, making the DMC-FZ7 incredibly responsive with an industry-leading release time lag of 0.008 seconds minimum and shutter interval of approx. 0.5 seconds(1) minimum. The LSI also enables lightning-fast consecutive shooting capability, capturing sequential shots at a rate of up to 3 frames per second at full resolution(2). An unlimited(3) consecutive shooting function allows the user to take photos in succession until the memory card is full. The LSI also improves horizontal, vertical and diagonal resolution.

Users may choose from selectable AF settings. In addition to the 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot autofocus, the DMC-FZ7 can be set to 1-point high-speed autofocus. This setting nearly eliminates the time lag that often occurs with high-magnification zoom shots, letting users capture those great, spontaneous moments. An AF Assist Lamp provides extra lighting as a focusing aid for slightly dark situations where AF focusing would ordinarily be difficult.

The DMC-FZ7 also includes a new, large 710 mAh battery to help extend the amount of pictures taken on one charge; 16 scene modes; 4x digital zoom; color viewfinder; 2.5-inch LCD monitor; and normal (640 x 480) and wide (848 x 480) VGA motion image recording. Optional accessories include ND filters, AC adaptor, MC protector, close-up lens, wide conversion lens and tele conversion lens.

The DMC-FZ7 is scheduled for March delivery and will have a suggested retail price of $399.95.

About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. (NYSE: MC) and the hub of Panasonic's U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Information about Panasonic and its products is available at www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.

1- Not including time for AF.
2- Max 13 images in standard mode/7 images in fine mode.
3- The speed of the consecutive shooting varies depending on the memory card. The number of recordable pictures depends on the memory card size, battery life, picture size and compression.
Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.
The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lenses are manufactured using measurement instruments and quality assurance systems that have been certified by Leica Camera AG based on the company's quality standards.
The use of recorded or printed materials that are protected by copyright for any purpose other than personal enjoyment is prohibited, as it would infringe upon the rights of the copyright holder.
All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.

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