Panasonic Australia is set to use its sponsorship of the Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne to officially launch a brand new range of Lumix digital cameras that incorporate new technology that extends the zoom capabilities and quality of any images captured. The range will be launched tomorrow.
Panasonic will also launch an aggressive new marketing campaign in an effort to further expand its share of the digital camera market following on from the success of its recent “skipping” campaign for their tough new waterproof cameras.
In 2009, Panasonic Australia stripped market share from several digital camera manufacturers, in particular Sony and Samsung. It also took share away from both Nikon and Canon, which are market leaders in the category.
At the recent CES in Las Vegas, Panasonic revealed a range of new Lumix cameras due to be formally revealed this week in Melbourne.
Paul Reid, the Director of Consumer Products at Panasonic Australia, said, “We had a lot of success in 2009 with our Lumix range and I am confident that we can grow our share of the market in 2010. We believe that we have the right technology and the models that will appeal to consumers.”
Reid admitted that demand for premium and digital SLR cameras will drive the market in 2010.
Among them will be the DMC-ZS7, which comes with intelligent zoom and intelligent resolution control.
Panasonic Japan executives have said that in 2010 demand for “premium, feature rich” compact cameras and SLR type cameras will be in big demand as consumers move to upgrade their digital cameras.
A key part of the Panasonic offering will be the introduction of new digital camera technology such as intelligent resolution and intelligent zoom developments, which work hand-in-hand to digitally expand the optical zoom range of the camera while providing an image noise cleanup system to remove digital artifacts and render clear, sharp zoom shots taken at longer extensions.
The camera’s processor will automatically detect areas of deterioration in the image created by the digital zoom and correct just the noisy areas of the image, such as blurring in fine areas or jagged lines in areas of edge contrast.
The effect in the new advanced ZS series of point-and-shoot models will result in a 12x optical zoom being extended to 16x, while keeping images sharp and clear.
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In ZR-series models, an 8x optical zoom lens is boosted to 10x.
With its “tough camera” offering, which proved highly popular in Australia last year, a 4.6x optical zoom is boosted to a 6x effective zoom range using the new technologies.
When placed in Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto (iA) mode, all cameras carrying the feature will automatically shift into Intelligent Zoom and Intelligent Resolution modes. The system can either be switched off or on in any other mode.
Intelligent Resolution will also function in scenes that don’t require zooming to provide greater noise reduction in difficult areas, such as low-light settings.
The new flagship, high-zoom compact DMC-ZS7, which replaces the DMC-ZS3, has the same design as last year’s model, but steps up the optical zoom range to a Leica 12x optical zoom lens/16x extension in Intelligent Zoom and Intelligent Resolution modes.
Also included is 12.1-megapixel resolution; a 3-inch, 460,000-pixel LCD viewscreen; 720p/30 fps HD video recording using the AVCHD Lite codec; Dolby stereo microphone; HDMI output; and a full suite of intelligent auto modes, including face detection for focus priority and image sorting, and AF tracking. It also adds a 2x improvement in optical image stabilization using a newly named Power OIS system.
A new Sonic Speed AF system in the camera reduces auto focusing time to 0.3 seconds, putting it in a class with many digital SLRs.
The DMC-ZS7 will also add GPS technology to add image location tagging, in addition to automatically inserting the correct date and time in the picture’s XF data. When combined with Google Maps, the feature will present a map showing everywhere a group of images was taken. All DMC-ZS models will have manual over ride control. The DMC-ZS7 also will be offered in a choice of silver, black, red or blue.
The DMC-ZS5 will replace the DMC-ZS1 and offers the same basic feature set as the DMC-ZS7, omitting the GPS function, the AVCHD Lite codec (substituting Motion JPEG for 720p HD recording), and substituting a 2.7-inch LCD screen for the 3-inch screen on the DMC-ZS7. It will be offered in black or silver.
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The DMC-ZR3 will replace the DMC-ZR1 and will include a compact body design, a Leica 8x optical zoom lens (starting at 25mm) with 10x extension using Intelligent Zoom and Intelligent Resolution, full suite of iA features, Power OIS, 14.1-megapixel resolution, and AVCHD Lite for 720p HD video capture. It will be offered in blue, red, black and silver.
In the Tough Camera lineup, the DMC-TS2 will replace the TS1 offering a new ruggedly designed entry level long-zoom compact camera. Other features include 14.1-megapixel resolution, Leica 4x optical zoom with up an extension to 6x (starting at 28mm) in Intelligent Zoom and Intelligent Resolution mode, Power OIS, full suite of iA features, 2.7-inch LCD viewscreen, and AVCHD Lite 720p video capture.
The TS2 is waterproof to 33 feet (10m), shockproof to 10 feet (2m), freeze-proof to 14° F (-10° C).
Panasonic is also tipped to launch a new FP series of cameras that are super slim and include folded optics. The Lumix FP1 and the Lumix FP3 have 4x optical zoom lenses, and a new lens cover that also serves as the camera’s power switch. The FP3 features a 3-inch touchscreen LCD and 720p HD video recording.
Also available to the Australian market are new Lumix F-series models including the F3 and F2. Both will record HD video and are equipped with 28mm wide-angle lenses and an Extra Optical Zoom function to extend zoom power, from 4x, to 7.8x.
Both models feature Intelligent ISO Control, which prevents the blurring of a moving subject; face detection, which helps to clearly capture registered faces; and Intelligent Scene Selector, which automatically selects one of six scene modes that best fits the shooting situation.
The official launch will take place tomorrow in Melbourne.