Panasonic DMC-FZ30 Announced
Panasonic DMC-FZ30 is announced today. The Panasonic DMC-FZ30 is an 8 megapixel compact digital camera with a 12x Leica optical zoom lens equivalent to 35-420mm, optical image stabilizer, addition of a manual zoom ring and rotating LCD screen with 235,000 pixels. The DMC-FZ30 replaces the older and very popular Panasonic DMC-FZ20 model. The Panasonic DMC-FZ30 will be available in the UK in September in black priced £549.99.
Panasonic Europe Press Release
Panasonic is proud to introduce the 8-Megapixel, 12x optical zoom¡¡(equivalent to 35mm to 420mm on a 35mm film camera) LUMIX DMC-FZ30 inheriting MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) as an up-and-comer to its creative super zoom FZ double-digit line. The DMC-FZ20, released in 2004, has been internationally acclaimed for meeting the needs of the market by realizing the ideals of users.
The 12x optical zoom LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT Lens, which has been handed down since the first launch of the FZ series, underwent further development to provide even more superb picture rendering. The other key feature, the Optical Image Stabilizer, MEGA O.I.S. is deservedly continued as Panasonic advanced the theory that it should be standard in all digital still cameras. The newly incorporated Extra Optical Zoom extends the zoom ratio by using the center part of the high resolution CCD, to achieve 15.3x for 5-Megapixel and 19.1x for 3-Megapixel images with minimal deterioration.
Along with CCD size and total effective pixels, the FZ30 also has enhanced its excellence in other features: addition of a manual zoom ring to the manual focus ring, which was very popular in the FZ20; easy-to-see free-angle LCD; and adjustable dials for the aperture and shutter speed controls. Both the LCD and EVF have had their resolution increased by about 180%, offering a sharp, clear view. All these complete the FZ30 in the resulting picture quality and operationality.
The newly developed 8-Megapixel CCD is compatible with the 9-pixel mixed readout¡¡method, so now moving pictures with dramatically increased brightness can be recorded at 30 fps in VGA size, previously only recordable in QVGA. This technology is used for the LCD monitoring to provide a bright and clear view so subjects can be seen easily, even in low-light situations.
Taking advantage of these outstanding features, the LX1 incorporates the high speed, high quality image processing LSI the Venus Engine II. It boasts quick responsiveness that realizes the best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01 sec. Adopting a non-collapsible lens has substantially reduced startup time from about 5 sec to 0.97 sec. AF time in 1-point high-speed AF has been dramatically reduced to a quarter the level* of that of the previous DMC-FZ20.
Furthermore, by adopting a newly developed lithium-ion battery with a capacity increased from 680 mAh to 730 mAh, the FZ30 realizes the shooting of approx. 280** images for one charging.
The LUMIX DMC-FZ30 has the flawless basic specifications to fuel the spark of imagination in high-end users and is destined to join the Panasonic LUMIX high-end model lineup.
* Panasonic in-house comparison with DMC-FZ20 at the tele-end.
** Based on the CIPA standard.
1. 8-Megapixel CCD and 12x optical zoom LEICA DC Lens. The DMC-FZ30 includes an 8-Megapixel high resolution CCD and a newly developed LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 35 mm to 420 mm with a 35 mm film camera) lens. The combination of 3 aspherical lenses and 1 ED lens generates high optical performance while preserving the compactness of the unit. The Extra Optical Zoom, made possible by using the center part of 8-megapixel high resolution CCD, further extends the powerful 12x optical zoom when less than 8-Megapixel resolution is selected. The zoom ratio can be extended to 15.3x for 5-Megapixel and 19.1x for the 3-Megapixel image recording. Zoom range can be extended in total to a remarkable 76.5x (equivalent to 35 mm to 2677 mm on a 35mm film camera) when combined with 4x digital zoom, even if the shooting range is as short as 2m.
2. Optical image stabilizing system MEGA O.I.S. and High-speed High quality Image Processing LSI Venus Engine II
What we strongly believe indispensable for every camera, especially for a high-magnification models susceptible to vibration, is MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer). MEGA O.I.S. has been incorporated in all FZ series since its first launch and is now with all LUMIX lineup released in this year. Every slight hand-shake movement is detected accurately with the sampling frequency at 4,000 times per second and will be compensated to render clear, sharp images. This premier feature is subsumed with 2 selectable modes. In ¡°Mode 1¡±, the O.I.S. lens continuously compensates vibration, and ¡°Mode 2¡±,¡¡the O.I.S. lens suppresses hand-shake only at the moment the shutter button is pressed. In this mode, the lens can move in all directions at the moment to maximize its effect and higher-resolution image can be taken by capturing the image as close as to the center of the lens. Consequently, even without using a tripod, it allows you to reduce the shutter speed more than three steps compared to the conventional cameras without O.I.S., while assuring clear images. Its outstanding effects will be appreciated in all situations easily spoiled by hand-shake, especially telephoto, low light, and macro shots.
For the brain of the camera, high-speed high-quality image processing LSI Venus Engine II is incorporated to render clear images in detail, compensating the color aberration at the edges subject to occur especially in the telephoto shots. It also compensates for vignetting and generates bright image in every detail. This engine boast its high performance resulting in the best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01* sec helping to realize stress-free operation.
* Not including the time for AF.
3. Ring-operated manual focus and manual zoom Two exclusive rings on the lens barrel of the FZ30 provide manual control of zooming and focusing, allowing quick and fine control that cannot be achieved with button operation. This feature will be highly valued by high-end users not only for its precise controllability but also for the feeling of manual operation. MF, AF and Macro AF can be selectable with a switch located by the lens. Using MF you can zoom in the screen on the subject to focus easily. The magnified area is freely movable to realize unconfined framing, which is especially necessary when the camera is on a tripod.
Shutter speed and aperture controls are very easy and quick to adjust with the dials for them. The shutter speed can be selectable from 1/2000 to 60 sec, and the aperture from F2.8 to F11, to meet wider ranging shooting conditions. The AE lock button, a new control, is convenient for taking multiple shots at the same exposure setting regardless of the color of a subject.
4. High resolution free style LCD and EVF
The free-angle LCD is angle-adjustable to support comfortable shooting even in high- and low-angle shooting positions. With resolution increased by 180% compared to the FZ20, both LCD and EVF boast 235 k pixels, which realizes more comfortable operation when checking points such as the focus of details. Also, real time histogram and composition guidelines are displayed over the image on both the LCD or EVF. The high-resolution LCD and EVF allow the display of images even in tiny thumbnail size. Playback of 9, 16 or 25 is possible on a multi-split screen in addition to the normal 1 frame playback. This helps you to search for the image you want out of a number stored on the SD Memory Card, even the images are in bulk. The swivel LCD can be stored with the LCD surface on the inside to prevent scratching and damage.
5. Faster AF and enhanced options
The AF method can be selected according to the shooting situation: 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point high speed, 1-point normal speed and Spot. In the newly incorporated 1-point high speed AF,¡¡AF time has been dramatically reduced to a quarter the level* of the previous DMC-FZ20 thanks to the increased sampling frequency. Although screen-freeze in high-speed AF is now minimized, to take pictures of fast-moving subjects you can select 1 point normal-speed AF, which does not have any screen-freeze while focusing.
While using 1-point AF, you can specify a point out of 9 AF points. You can thereby enjoy free framing shooting even with the subject not at the center.
*Panasonic in-house comparison with DMC-FZ20 at the tele-end.
6. Quick and smart operationality
The startup time of the FZ30 has been substantially reduced to only 0.97 sec compared to the previous FZ20, which took about 5 sec.
Thanks to the multi-task image processing of the Venus Engine II, response has also been accelerated, resulting in the best-in-class level release time lag of approx. 0.01 sec for achieving more stress-free operation.
Consecutive shooting performance is also exceptional, providing shooting at 3 frames/second at full resolution. The Unlimited Consecutive Shooting function** allows limit-free consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD memory card. Burst shooting mode can be¡¡instantly activated with the independent button.
* Not including the time for AF.
** The speed of the consecutive shooting varies depending on the SD memory card.
7. Higher quality moving images
A newly incorporated CCD that adopts a 9-pixel mixed readout method makes it possible to record beautiful full-size movies at 30 fps in VGA size, only possible in QVGA size with the FZ20. The new CCD provides much more luminous signals, enhancing the picture quality not only in size but also in the brightness level, while also suppressing moir¨¦s.
Full advantage is taken of this by increasing the brightness of both the LCD and EVF when monitoring the taking of still images. This is especially effective in providing a clear view in low-light situations.
8. Easier and more comfortable operationality
By adopting a newly developed lithium-ion battery with a capacity increased from 680 mAh to 730 mAh, the FZ30 realizes the shooting of approx. 280* images for one charging.
In addition to the conventional ProgramAE, FZ30 is equipped with Auto mode, which caters for the entry level users. A total of 14 scene modes including 5 new modes Baby, Soft Skin, Food, Starry Sky and Candle, helps you to take beautiful images easily in wide-ranging situations. Still it is easy to select the one out of them thanks to the newly installed Scene Mode Help Screen that shows the description of each mode and the knack for shooting of each scene and helps users to take beautiful image easily.
Auto angle detection records whether an image was taken horizontally or vertically. This ensures that when playing back on the LCD monitor and displaying images on your TV or on a PC using included software, vertical images are automatically displayed vertically and horizontal images are automatically displayed horizontally. You can still view images in its full size by displaying conventionally.
The external design has also been reworked to move the doors of the battery and SD Memory Card so you can change either of them even when the camera is on a tripod.
*Based on the CIPA standard.
9. Expandability ¨C the proof of a true high end camera
The conversion lens newly developed for the FZ30 is dramatically reduced in both size and weight while enhancing its capability realizing 1.7x (714mm on a 35mm film camera) for a tele conversion lens and 0.7x (24.5mm on a 35mm film camera) for a wide conversion lens. Equipped with a hot shoe, an external flash can be fitted when necessary. The recordable image format is either RAW, TIFF, or JPEG (Fine or Standard). Expandability is the proof of a real high end camera, which is what the DMC-FZ30 also boasts.