Secaucus, NJ (July 20, 2005) With the new DMC-FZ30, Panasonic thrusts its super zoom category of digital still cameras firmly into the hands of photo enthusiasts with an 8-megapixel, 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 35mm to 420mm) camera. Equipped with both automatic and manual controls that will meet the needs of prosumers and amateurs alike, the DMC-FZ30 incorporates Panasonic's acclaimed MEGA Optical Image Stabilization, which the company maintains should be a standard in all digital still cameras.
"The DMC-FZ30 answers the call of photography enthusiasts," says Monica Helmer, national marketing manager for Panasonic's optical group. "We listened to the consumers. They wanted a high-resolution CCD and a superior lens -- and we've delivered a camera that will exceed their high exceptions."
The 12x optical zoom Leica DC Vario-Elmarit Lens, which has appeared in all of the FZ series cameras from Panasonic, has undergone further development to ensure more superb picture rendering. Along with the CCD size and total effective pixels, the FZ30 also has enhanced and added a host of other features: a manual zoom ring along with a manual focus ring; an easy-to-see, free-moving LCD; and adjustable dials for the aperture and shutter speed controls. Both the LCD and the electronic viewfinder have had their resolution increased by about 180 percent, offering a sharp, clear view.
The FZ30 combines high-speed and high-quality image processing with the Venus Engine II LSI. It boasts quick responsiveness with best-in-class level release time lag of 0.01 seconds. Adopting a non-collapsible lens has substantially reduced start up time from about five seconds to about 0.97 seconds. Autofocus time in 1-point high-speed AF has been reduced to a quarter of the level achieved in Panasonic's DMC-FZ20 (based on the CIPA standard).
One interesting feature is the FZ30's Extended Optical Zoom, made possible by using the center part of the 8-megapixel CCD, extends the zoom ratio beyond 12x when the resolution is decreased. For example, when shooting at 5-megapixels, the zoom ratio can be extended to 15.3x, and up to 19.1x when shooting at 3 megapixels.
Two rings on the lens barrel of the FZ30 provide manual control of zoom and focus, allowing quick and fine control that typically can't be achieved with button controls. Shutter speed and aperture controls area also very easy and quick to adjust with dials. Shutter speed can be set from 1/2000 to 60 seconds and the aperture from F2.8 to F11 to meet a wide range of shooting conditions. The AE lock button, a new control, is convenient for taking multiple shots at the same exposure setting regardless of subject color conditions.
In addition to advanced features are great enhancements to basic functionality. A newly developed lithium-ion battery has increased capacity, allowing for up to 280 images with one charge. There are also 14 scene modes for beginning photographers, including five news modes: Baby, Soft Skin, Food, Starry Sky and Candle. Each scene has its own help screen to describe the affect and advise the photographer on how to get the best shot possible. Auto angle detection recorders when an image is taken horizontally or vertically and displays the file appropriately on the LCD monitor or on a TV or PC, using included software.
"The most demanding and exacting photographer will find the DMC-FZ30 suits all his or her needs," Helmer says. "The manual controls, the excellent zoom range, and the optical image stabilization provide all the tools necessary for capturing amazing images."
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 will be available this September for an MSRP of $699.95.