Faraway, so close: Two new Panasonic ZS-series travel zooms
posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 1:00 AM EDT
According to the company, the Panasonic ZS20 is the world's slimmest digital camera with a 20x optical zoom lens. At 1.3 inches thick, you won't be slipping it in a shirt pocket, but it's plenty slim enough to make an attractive travel-zoom camera, offering all the reach you're likely to need, and then some. Its sibling, the Panasonic ZS15 has a 16x optical zoom--still pretty powerful, if not record-setting.
The duo differ in some other key areas, beyond the obvious variation in pricing. The ZS20 boasts a touch screen display, and a higher-resolution image sensor. It also adds stereo audio, and a special high-speed video mode (or slow-motion, depending on how you look at things). For its part, the ZS15 has a wider shutter speed range.
The less expensive of the duo is detailed in our Panasonic Lumix ZS15 preview, and ships from March 2012 priced at around US$280. Its more far-reaching sibling ships at the same time, priced at around US$350, and is further covered in our Panasonic Lumix ZS20 preview.
Panasonic Expands Its Popular ZS-Series Of Digital Cameras With New Advanced Features And Creative Shooting Options Packed In A Slim Body
Panasonic LUMIX ZS20, the World’s Slimmest Digital Camera with a 20x Optical Zoom Lens*1, Also Features Full-HD Video Recording and Built-In GPS Capabilities
Secaucus, NJ (January, 31, 2012) - Panasonic today introduced the LUMIX DMC-ZS20, the newest member of the acclaimed LUMIX ZS-Series, and the world’s slimmest digital camera with a 20x optical zoom lens*1. With a powerful zoom, a 24mm ultra wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens and the ability to shoot full-High Defintion (HD), the new LUMIX ZS20 builds on the series’ success as an extremely versatile point-and-shoot model. With a newly-redesigned lens system, the LUMIX ZS20 features a new mechanical structure and optical system to further improve image quality and with Nano Surface Coating technology, the LUMIX ZS20 offers stunning image clarity with minimized ghosting and flare.
Beyond the quality of its lens, the LUMIX ZS20 integrates an enhanced built-in GPS*2 functionality, making it easy for users to pinpoint locations where photos were taken and share with family and friends on internet maps. Map data can be installed onto the LUMIX ZS20 via a bundled DVD, giving the camera detailed worldwide maps of major regions on a scale of 1/25,000 or more precise. A user can copy the map data of a designated city to an SDXC/SDHC/SD Memory Card and get quick geographic information to know their location and if any landmarks are located nearby. More than one million landmarks and 82 countries/regions are covered in the bundled DVD map. Geo-tagged images are automatically sorted and can be played back along a map so that users can literally trace their photographic journey. Many GPS cameras show only the latitude and longitude of where a photo is taken, but the LUMIX ZS20 shows the name of the Country/Region, State/Prov./County, County/Township, City/Town/Village and Landmark – all of which is saved in the EXIF data.
“Panasonic has long been the leader in developing compact digital cameras with long zooms and wide-angle lenses and with the introduction of the LUMIX ZS20, we continue to be in the forefront with an extremely versatile digital camera that meets the needs of all different types of photographers,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. “With an impressive 20x optical zoom and 24mm wide-angle lens, the ZS20 gives consumer the ability to capture a variety of different shots, all while carrying a digital camera that is slim enough to slip in a pocket or small purse. Plus with Panasonic’s HD video recording capability and improved GPS functionality, the ZS20 is an excellent choice for consumers who want to fully capture the details of their memories.”
Featuring a newly developed 14.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor, the LUMIX ZS20 is able to provide even higher image quality compared to its predecessors. Coupled with the advanced image processor Venus Engine, the LUMIX ZS20 features high speed, high sensitivity image recording. High speed burst shooting at 10 fps in full resolution and Light Speed AF allows users to capture even the most fleeting photo opportunities.
With the ability to record high-resolution, full-HD 1,920 x 1,080 60p videos in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) format (or 30p in MP4)*3, the LUMIX ZS20 upgrades its full-HD recording capability and is able to produce extremely clear video details, even when subjects are moving quickly. A powerful 20x optical zoom with 2-step Zoom function is available in video recording and the popular iA mode assists users, making video recording as easy as aiming the camera. A stereo zoom microphone provides videos with the high-quality stereo sound of Dolby® Digital Stereo Creator, offering highly realistic sound in the captured video. The Auto Wind Cut function helps to block out wind background noise making voices clearer, and mechanical noise caused by zooming is suppressed to improve overall video sound quality.
In addition, the ZS20 has manual control options, allowing the user to adjust shutter speed and aperture, and 3D Photo Mode, the LUMIX ZS20 also features a variety of special effects that add fun to a photography shooting experience. Creative Control mode offers a selection of artistic effects including Expressive Retro, High Dynamic, Sepia, Dynamic Monochrome, High Key, Low Key, Miniature Effect, Toy Effect and Soft Focus. In Miniature Effect mode, the peripherals are defocused while saturation and contrast are emphasized to make the picture look like a diorama. Video recorded in this mode is played back in 10x fast-forwarding, making it comical to watch*4. Panorama mode makes it possible for users to shoot 360-degree horizontal or vertical panoramic images by taking consecutive shots and then overlay it for the effect of a panoramic photo. Creative Retouch mode offers users six filters – Toy Effect, Soft Focus, Dynamic Monochrome, Expressive, High Key and Retro – to create artistic looking photos. Additionally, the Auto Retouch function automatically adjusts contrast and brightness for a clearer, more natural image and can be applied with the simple press of a button.
For users looking for a more intuitive photo experience, the LUMIX ZS20 features iA (Intelligent Auto) mode, which automatically activates a range of technologies to enhance photos without adjusting settings every time conditions change. The new HDR (High Dynamic Range) together with POWER O.I.S. with Active Mode, which suppresses blur from hand-shake, AF Tracking, Intelligent ISO Control, Face Recognition, Intelligent Scene Selector, Intelligent Handheld Nightshot, Motion Deblur mode, Intelligent Burst mode and Intelligent Exposure allows users to point and shoot, leaving the camera to do all the work in capturing beautiful imagery.
Additional features and functionalities of the LUMIX ZS20 include:
Large, 3.0-inch 460,000-dot Smart Touch LCD Screen
Touch AF, Touch Zoom or Touch Shutter during recording and various playback functions like scrolling the map with high visibility.
Flexibility of USB charging or conventional AC adapter charging methods.
LUMIX Image Uploader for seamless and instant sharing via Facebook or YouTube. Users can checkmark the photo or video files they want to share, connect it to a PC with the included USB cable or by inserting the SD Memory Card directly into the PC’s SD Card slot, and then the uploading automatically launches with an easy-to-follow menu option.
Also introduced today, the LUMIX DMC-ZS15 features a versatile 24mm ultra-wide angle and powerful 16x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens (24-383mm on 35mm camera equivalent) with 32x Intelligent Zoom. Other features include:
12.1-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS Sensor
Full HD Video Recording in 60i AVCHD*5 and 30p in MP4
Large, 3.0-inch 460,000-dot Intelligent LCD
The LUMIX ZS20 and ZS15 will be available in March 2012 for a suggested retail price of $349.99 and $279.99 respectively. The LUMIX ZS20 will be available in black, red, white, and silver options; while the LUMIX ZS15 will be available in black and silver. For more on these Panasonic LUMIX models, please visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.
*1 As of January 31, 2012
*2 GPS may not work in China or in the border regions of countries neighboring China
*2 Depending on the locations, it may not be possible to correctly receive the signals from GPS satellites. In such cases, positioning may not be possible, or significant positioning discrepancy may occur.
*3 Maximum time to record motion pictures continuously with [AVCHD] is 29 minutes 59 seconds. (excluding when [GS] or [SH] is set)
*3 Motion pictures in [MP4] can be recorded continuously for up to 29 minutes 59 seconds. Also, motion picture recorded continuously in [MP4] is up to 4 GB.
*4 Sound will not be recorded with Miniature Effect and approximately 1/10 of the time period is recorded (If you record for 10 minutes, the resulting motion picture recording will be approximately 1 minute long).
*5 Sensor output is 30p
Leica is a registered trademark of Leica Microsystems IR GmbH.
The LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR 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 "AVCHD" is a high definition (HD) digital video recording / playback format jointly established by Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation.
The "AVCHD" and the "AVCHD " logo are trademarks of Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation.
AVCHD motion images recorded onto an SD Memory Card or a DVD disc cannot be played from a device that does not support the AVCHD standard.
Dolby and the double-D symbol are trademarks of Dolby Laboratories.
HDMI, the HDMI logo and High-Definition Multimedia Interface are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing LLC.
YouTube is a trademark of Google Inc.
Facebook and the Facebook logo are registered trademarks or trademarks of Facebook, Inc.
All other company and product names are trademarks of their respective corporations.
Some accessories are not available in some countries.
Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.
This unit is compatible with both SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards. You can only use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are compatible with them. You cannot use SDHC Memory Cards on devices that are only compatible with SD Memory Cards. (When using an SDHC Memory Card on another device, be sure to read the operating instructions for that device.)
About Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America
Based in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America, a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American Subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC) and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations, offers a wide-range of consumer solutions in the U.S. and Canada. The Company’s portfolio of innovative consumer products ranges from VIERA Full HD 3D Televisions, Blu-ray players, LUMIX Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Home Audio, Cordless Phones, Home Appliances, Wellness and Personal Care products and more.
Panasonic is pledged to practice prudent, sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources and protect our environment through the company’s Eco Ideas programs. Panasonic was the only Consumer Electronics company to be listed in the top ten brands on the Interbrand Best Global Green Brands 2011 ranking. Follow Panasonic on Twitter @panasonicdirect, and additional company information for media is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.
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