Since CES in January, we've been speculating on the impending release of a Wi-Fi enabled compact camera from Panasonic. The official announcement came today, with the unveiling of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ50.
Built around the compact long-zoom TZ platform that has been a popular line for the manufacturer, the new TZ50 features the TZ5's basic specs sheet: 9.1 megapixels, a 10x Leica wide-angle zoom, and the ability to record HD video. What it adds to this highly successful formula is the ability to upload images to the web directly from the camera via built-in 802.11b/g wireless LAN.
While specifics about the implementation of the TZ50's Wi-Fi connectivity haven't been fully spell out, it looks like setup options will be relatively limited. Users will be able to connect the camera via their home wireless network, or through T-Mobile's HotSpot wireless service in public locations, but depending on how connectivity is configured in-camera, accessing free public Wi-Fi may or may not be an option. In either case, the TZ50 comes with 12 months of free HotSpot service.
Images from the TZ50 are uploaded directly to Google's Picasa Web Albums, and can be automatically forwarded from there to friends, family, or your own smartphone via email.
Of course, all of the TZ5's headline technology, including it's advanced Intelligent Auto mode, Mega O.I.S. image stabilization, and Venus Engine IV processor make the transition to the wireless capable model as well.
With Nikon's recent announcement of the Wi-Fi equipped Coolpix S52c, we'd assumed that this wasn't far in coming, and it will be interesting to see if these latest Wi-Fi models represent a maturing of this technology as applied in the digicam space.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ50 Specifications:
|Sensor||9.1 megapixel, 1/2.33" CCD|
|Lens/Zoom||10x (28-280mm) Leica DC Vario-Elmar, f/3.3-4.9|
|LCD/Viewfinder||3.0", 460K dot TFT LCD|
|Sensitivity||ISO 100-1600 (High Sensitivity mode to ISO 6400)|
|Shutter Speed||60-1/2000 seconds|
|Shooting Modes||Intelligent Auto, Normal Picture, Scene 1, Scene 2, Motion Picture, Clipboard|
|Scene Presets||Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Sports, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Food, Party, Candle Light, Baby 1, Baby 2, Pet, Sunset, High Sensitivity, Hi-Speed Burst, Starry Sky, Fireworks, Beach, Snow, Aerial Photo, Underwater, Multi Aspect|
|White Balance Settings||Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Halogen, User Set|
|Metering Modes||Intelligent Multiple, Center, Spot|
|Focus Modes||Face Detection, Nine-Area, Three-Area High Speed, One-Area, One-Area High Speed, Spot, Macro|
|Drive Modes||Normal, Burst, High Speed Burst|
|Flash Modes||Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced On, Slow Sync, Forced Off|
| Self Timer Settings||10 seconds, 2 seconds, Off |
|Memory Formats||SD, SDHC|
| Internal Memory||Not Specified|
|File Formats||JPEG, Motion JPEG|
|Max. Image Size||3456x2592|
| Max. Video Size||1280x720, 30 fps|
|Zoom During Video||Yes|
|Battery||Rechargeable 1000 mAh lithium-ion, 300 shots|
|Connections||USB 2.0, AV output, HD output, DC input|
|Additional Features||Mega O.I.S., iA Intelligent Auto mode, Intelligent ISO, Venus Engine IV processing|