Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38

July 27, 2009 | Mark Goldstein | Digital Compact Cameras | Comment |

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 is a new super-zoom camera featuring an 18x zoom lens with a focal length of 27-486mm. The 12.1 megapixel FZ38 (also known as the DMC-FZ35) offers an upgraded Optical Image Stabilizer, 2.7-inch LCD, ultra high-speed auto-focus and 470 picture battery life. Support for high definition video in the AVCHD Lite format is included, plus a Creative Movie mode which lets the user set the shutter speed and aperture manually. The Panasonic FZ38’s new High Dynamic scene mode helps to capture a scene with moderate exposure even if it contains both bright and dark areas. Available in early September in black and silver, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 is priced at £329.99.

Panasonic Europe Press Release

High Quality Photo and High Definition Movie with 18x Zooming

12.1-Megapixel Hybrid Superzoom Compact Camera DMC-FZ38 Featuring New POWER O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer)
*35mm film camera equivalent: 27-486mm

Lisbon, Portugal (July, 2009) – Panasonic is pleased to introduce the Lumix DMC-FZ38 digital still camera, featuring a AVCHD Lite high-definition movie recording capability combined with powerful 27mm wide angle 18x optical zoom high quality LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens*1. Joining Panasonic’s popular FZ series of cameras that pack a high-powered zoom and a host of creative options including manual operation into a compact body, the FZ38 also boasts upgraded O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) newly named as POWER O.I.S. and ultra high-speed AF together with other enhanced features that boost user fun and convenience.

The AVCHD Lite*2 realizes long time recording of high-definition motion image. The well-considered operational command layout including an independent movie recording button makes the DMC-FZ38 a true hybrid—a single model that performs admirably as both camera and camcorder while achieving smooth, easy operation in both modes. The adoption of AVCHD Lite lets users enjoy watching not only still images but also HD movies just inserting the SDHC/SD Memory Card from the camera in the VIERA Image Viewer(Built-in SDHC/SD Memory Card slot) on a Panasonic VIERA HDTV to start playback. Alternatively, simply connect the camera via an optional mini-HDMI cable to a VIERA Link-equipped TV and use the TV’s remote control to run slideshows including both still and motion images in the timeline.

The super-powerful 18x zoom lens makes it easy to pull in subjects from far away or to take dramatic close-ups. For an added boost, zoom power can be increased to 35.2x with the Extra Optical Zoom function*3. The 27mm wide-angle feature is ideal for both broad landscapes and tight indoor shots, letting photographers capture a wider view. The 12.1-megapixel resolution allows photos to be greatly enlarged while still retaining outstanding detail, or edited by trimming and enlarging parts of the photo to print.

Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto mode—a hallmark of Lumix cameras—now includes POWER O.I.S., a optical image stabilizer which boasts double repression power compared to the conventional image stabilization system MEGA O.I.S.. The advanced Face Recognition function recognizes faces up to three people simultaneously in photo recording mode*4.

The other feature that makes the DMC-FZ38 a real active camera is the extended battery life of approx. 470 pictures thanks to the highly energy efficient image processing LSI, the Venus Engine HD*5. 

The FZ38 inherits and enhances the manual operation that has proven so popular with other members of the FZ family. The FZ38 manual controls are more versatile than in previous models and the control layout has been improved, making use of the manual controls easier and more intuitive. Also, the Advanced Scene mode, unique to Lumix high-end compact cameras for users who want more creativity, now includes a Close-up mode that lets users enjoy sophisticated close-up photography according to the subject to shoot with remarkable ease. The FZ38 features a 2.7-inch Intelligent LCD with a wide viewing angle, improving visibility during recording and playback.

Taking advantage of the versatile 27mm wide angle powerful 18x optical zoom lens, the DMC-FZ38 lets users record both photo and movie with exceptional creative freedom. Users from beginner to serious amateur photographers will surely find new fun and ease of photography and videography with the DMC-FZ38.

Take High-Definition Motion Picture Recording to the Next-Level with New Generation AVCHD Lite and iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode
The demand for digital cameras that can record higher-quality movie has grown in step with the trend toward larger HDTV screens and new technologies of movie recording. Now, in addition to Motion JPEG images, the DMC-FZ38 can record high-definition motion picture in AVCHD Lite. It features almost doubling the recording time in HD quality compared with the conventional Motion JPEG format. The FZ38 also features Dolby Digital Stereo Creator to record high quality audio, so you can match the beautiful motion images with outstanding stereo sound.

Now on the FZ38, the popular iA (Intelligent Auto) is now further advanced to also be available in motion image recording. Newly incorporated POWER O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) helps prevent handshake even when using high-powered zoom. Face Detection automatically detects a face in the frame and adjusts focus, exposure, contrast, and skin complexion on it so it always turns out beautifully. Intelligent Exposure continually checks the ambient light level and adjusts the exposure setting as conditions change to prevent blown highlights and blocked shadows. And Intelligent Scene Selector automatically switches between Normal, Portrait, Macro, Scenery, and Low Light modes according to the situation to optimize visual quality.

Motion image recording can be started by pressing a dedicated button on the camera’s back panel—an extremely quick, convenient way to start motion image recording. Most of the camera’s settings will be carried over when switched to motion picture recording. The powerful 18x optical zoom is available in movie recording, too. A Wind Cut function is also available to block out most of the noise from background wind. The FZ38 also provides a Color mode and carries over 18 different scene modes from photo scene modes in movie recording. In AVCHD Lite recording, you can select from three levels of motion image quality: SH (17 Mbps), H (13 Mbps) and L (9 Mbps).

27mm Wide Angle 18x Optical Zoom High Quality LEICA DC Lens with POWER O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer)
The DMC-FZ38 packages a 27mm wide angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens with F2.8 brightness and powerful 18x optical zoom (equivalent to 27-486mm on a 35mm film camera) together with a 12.1-megapixel CCD into a compact body. The lens unit comprises of 11 elements in 8 groups, including 3 aspherical lenses and 2 ED lenses. Notably 2 ED lenses minimize the chromatic aberration that is likely to occur in telephoto images. This set of lenses secure picture quality high enough to pass Leica’s stringent standards and delivers exceptional optical performance. With the long zoom range from 27mm to 486mm, equivalent to 18x, the DMC-FZ38 can be the best suitable camera to take expansive scenery with dynamic perspective and a close-up of a distant subject, having the appealing angle of view. This powerful zoom also works during the motion picture recording.

Further, in 3-megapixel resolution mode, the Extra Optical Zoom function uses the centre part of the CCD to provide additional magnification, extending the zoom power to 35.2x.

The new POWER O.I.S. is extremely effective for high-power zoom shots, and clearly captures subjects in the ultra-telephoto range, which used to require a tripod.

Outstanding Basic Performance—Superb Image Quality with the Exceptional Response and Enhanced Performance of the Venus Engine HD
The common concept shared by all new LUMIX products for 2009 second half is the seamless operation, which is indispensable for stress –free photography. In order to respond to the foremost desire of all photographers—to catch every possible shooting opportunity—Panasonic went back to the basics and developed an industry-leading, ultra high-speed AF that is twice as fast as its predecessor DMC-FZ28 while dramatically shortened the start-up time, too.

To realize the ultra high-speed AF, a number of re-engineering and improvements are made including the adaptation of higher-speed actuator, the optimization of algorism and the parallelization of software processing element.  The result is ultra high speed yet accurate AF performance for users to enjoy the airy shooting that has experienced never before.  Panasonic also replaced its linear program processing with parallel processing to achieve an ultra high-speed start-up of 1.2 second, a remarkable 20% decrease from previous models.

The high-speed, high-performance Venus Engine HD has been re-engineered to support the recording of beautiful, high-definition motion images in AVCHD Lite. With its twin CPUs, Venus Engine HD boasts approx. 2.4x processing capability, greatly improving the speed of camera operations.

In image processing, luminance noise and chromatic noise are reduced separately before and after signal processing. This is further refined by separating noise two-dimensionally into high-frequency and low-frequency noise. The circuits then effectively reduce only the low-frequency noise to minimize the unwanted noise and help produce beautiful, sharp still and motion images.

This multi-task image-processing engine has a super-fast response time. The shutter release time lag is as short as approx. 0.007 seconds, making it easy to capture sudden, spur-of-the-moment photo opportunities. In burst shooting mode, the FZ38 can snap approx. 2.3 shots per second at 12.1-megapixel full resolution*1. In High-speed Burst shooting mode, it fires off an incredible approx. 10 shots per second*2. Newly added Flash Burst mode makes it possible to take consecutive shots with continuous emissions of the flash*3.

Despite its outstanding performance, the high performance engine is also more energy efficient to extend the battery life up to 470 shots (CIPA) per a single charge.

Further Evolving iA(Intelligent Auto) Mode
With the DMC-FZ38, taking great photos is that easy. Panasonic incorporated the Intelligent Auto mode in pursuit of the ultimate ease of operation and the reduction of misshots. In iA mode the camera does all the work, leaving you free to compose shots and capture moments. Just press aim, and shoot. This mode is now further advanced with the inclusion of further advanced image stabilization system POWER O.I.S. and Face Recognition for DMC-FZ38.

Taking advantage of Panasonic’s accumulated optical technologies, MEGA O.I.S.(Optical Image Stabilizer) has been incorporated into Lumix cameras from the early stage of digital camera development. This helped to show all digital camera users the absolute need for hand-shake compensation, and led to its prevalence throughout the industry. MEGA O.I.S. has now evolved into the new POWER O.I.S. on the FZ38, with a great performance improvement - twice the shake suppression capability of previous models.

The hand-shake component, which is physically generated when pressing the shutter button or when shooting at night with a slow shutter speed, is recognized as a low- frequency vibration, for which the new POWER O.I.S. is particularly effective. This greatly improves the quality of shots taken at night or indoors where a flash cannot be used, or where the photographer doesn’t want to use a flash because it would spoil the mood. It captures beautiful photos in situations that previously resulted in blurring.

The FZ38 features Face Recognition*, a function that “remembers” faces. When a familiar face is recorded several times, the camera will prompt you to register the face. Once complete, if the familiar face appears into your frame again, the camera will display the name you specified for the person and prioritize focus and exposure so that the registered face is bright and in sharp focus. Up to six people’s faces can be registered, and up to three can be simultaneously recognized to show their names once registered. Three face images can be registered for each person, to dramatically raise the detection accuracy. And when the angle of view is changed horizontally, the name display also rotates for easier reading.

You can also specify the age of the registered subject and have both the name and the age of the subject stamped onto your photos. When babies under 3 years-old are registered, the camera will automatically switch to Baby mode if the baby appears into the frame. In playback, you can choose to display only photos that contain a specific registered face using Category Playback. You can also view image slideshows of only a selected person. Face recognition makes sorting archiving incredibly easy. This advanced face detection system also digitally corrects unwanted red-eye during recording. With AF Tracking, the FZ38 can lock onto any subject and keep it in focus even if it moves - making it easy to get beautiful, clear shots when a great photo opportunity suddenly arises. Simply aim, lock, and shoot.

In addition to the advanced functions mentioned above, the iA mode inherits fundamental functions users need in a good digital still camera. These include Intelligent ISO Control, which reduces motion blur by adjusting the ISO sensitivity if the subject moves as the shot is taken. Intelligent Exposure optimizes the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully. It now features an automatic backlight compensation function that activates whenever the camera detects the subject is in backlight. Intelligent Scene Selector automatically detects the five most common shooting situations - Portrait, Night Portrait, Scenery, Night Scenery and Macro - and switches to the appropriate Scene mode.

The Quick AF system helps keep focus on the subject while the camera is in recording mode even before pressing the shutter button halfway. This improves the result out of a shutter chance because the focus is always near the subject and AF time is minimized. The user can activate all of these useful, convenient shooting-assist functions by simply selecting iA mode.

HD photos and HD movies with VIERA Link networking
Both photos and AVCHD Lite high-definition movies recorded by FZ38 on SD Memory Cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV with dynamic HD resolution. The user simply inserts the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SDHC/SD card slot) on a VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc Player to play the content. Alternatively, an optional mini HDMI cable can be used to output still and motion images recorded with the LUMIX DMC-FZ38 directly to the TV for easy VIERA Link operation. This makes it possible to take maximum advantage of the camera’s playback functions, including slideshows in which both still and motion images are played sequentially, or calendar displays and so on. Operation using only TV’s remote controller is super-easy.
In addition, with the included software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 HD Edition, it is easy to view and edit your recorded contents. You may also choose to upload your videos to YouTube or burn them to a DVD disc for archiving.

Intuitive Manual Control and Creative Option
The DMC-FZ38 concept goes much further than simply recording HD movies. Apart from the movie recording capability of conventional digital cameras, the DMC-FZ38 also features a Creative Movie mode, which lets the user set the shutter speed and aperture manually to make even more impressive movies. Changing the shutter speed brings special effects to movies, which is especially suitable for shooting fast-moving subject. The ability to control the aperture is convenient when there are several subjects at different distances and it is desired to have each of them stand out. Creative Movie mode gives the user a wider range of expressive possibilities to explore.

My Color mode, which was popular in the Lumix G Micro System cameras, is a special option that gives free reign to the user’s creativity. In My Color mode, the color, brightness and saturation parameters can be freely adjusted while seeing how the adjustments affect the picture lively on the monitor. This makes it easier and more fun to create interesting, expressive images. The user can adjust the settings that best suit the shooting conditions and his or her expressive intent, for greater photographic control.

The High Dynamic mode is newly added to the existing scene modes. This mode helps to capture a scene with moderate exposure even though the scene contains both bright and dark area together. The user can select either of three options, Standard, Art, or B/W, depending on the desired effect and personal taste to make the photo look natural to artistic.

About Included Software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 HD Edition
The latest version of the exciting bundled software PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 HD Edition allows you to view, edit and archive your captured contents with greater ease and fun. The new PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 HD Edition features dramatic speed-up of operation by achieving 10x as fast as the previous edition for start up and 8x for initial image registration process*. The GUI is re-designed by adopting simple graphic elements and layouts as well as the incorporation of wizard method, making the operation more intuitive and extremely easy.

Still and motion images can be transferred to the PC via a USB cable for viewing and archiving on the PC with the PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 HD Edition installed. Using PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 HD Edition, you can edit and remove unwanted portions of your video clips recorded in AVCHD Lite. Contents recorded in AVCHD Lite can be burned directly onto a DVD disc for viewing on a DIGA Blu-ray Disc player**. Alternatively, you can use the software to convert your contents to MPEG2 format to burn onto a DVD disc.

The portrait images taken with the camera’s Face Recognition function are organized neatly in the folder of the name registered with the camera. Not only that, the software also features an independent Face Recognition function that recognizes the faces in the picture stored in your PC to sort the photos by the face speedily. You do not have to pick out each photo one by one out of thousand of photos when you only want pictures of a specific person. With PHOTOfunSTUDIO 4.0 HD Edition, the software automatically sorts your images into virtual folders based on the faces you registered. You can also enjoy slideshows with a variety of effects and use your iTunes music library as background music. Motion pictures can be uploaded directly to YouTube using the built-in YouTube uploader.

About Panasonic
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 7.77 trillion yen (US$78.4 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2009. The company’s shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE: PC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company’s website at

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