The newest class of Lumix cameras occupy the entry-level side of the lineup, starting with the basic S1 and S3. Panasonic has made an effort to incorporate higher quality features such as optical image stabilization down through the entire Lumix line.
The S1 and its step up, 720p HD capable S3 sibling offer a subtle design departure from the traditional Lumix look. The edges are sloped, the camera surface has a sleek finish and the whole camera is thin enough for your back pocket.
The 12.1 megapixel S1 and 14.1 megapixel S3 are similar in feature set and both offer a 24mm 4x optical zoom lens.
Stepping up from there, you’ll find the Lumix FH2 and Lumix FH5, both with basic feature sets and wide angle 28mm Leica DC lenses.The FH2 has a 14.1 megapixel sensor and the FH5 has 16.1 megapixels.
Since Panasonic hasn’t released pricing at the time of the launch, it’s difficult to judge exactly how good of a value these features would be when they reach market.
The FH2 and FH5 retain a kind of boxy styling with a bright orange color option thrown in for flavor. They’re built solidly with beveled edges and LCDs that are flush against the camera’s back panel.
The slimmer FP series gets a refresh with the Lumix FP7 and FP5. These models both sport internally contained optics for a smooth front and back panel. The FP7 has the larger touchscreen at 3.5-inches.
The new FP cameras got the same rounded edge treatment as the S series cams. The new design is a little bit less stiff than the classic Lumix cameras we’ve come to know, which is fitting for a point-and-shoot with a trendy touch interface and a sleek modern profile.
Above that are the FH25 and FH27. Both have an 8x lens, 720p HD video and a 16.1 megapixel sensor. Differentiating the two models is a 3.0-inch touchscreen on the FH27.
The new Lumix cameras took a backseat at the Panasonic booth to 3D products. One of the more impressive booths in the central hall, Panasonic offered show attendees a look at its brand of 3D TVs thanks to a giant bank of displays.
Even with all of that buzz, Panasonic hasn’t forgotten about its point-and-shoots, offering subtle re-designs and an expanding set of features from the bottom to the top of the new lineup.