The newly announced Panasonic Lumix FZ35 looks and feels an awful lot like the FZ28. And why tamper with a high quality ultrazoom? Panasonic looks to build on the strengths of the FZ28, noted in our own review, and keeps the FZ ultrazoom line up to date with a few upgrades.
Starting with the basic specifications, the Lumix FZ35 will feature an 18x zoom lens with equivalent focal length of 27-486mm, a 12.1 megapixel CCD sensor, and Panasonic's updated Power O.I.S. optical image stabilization system. Without much technical information on the new image stabilization system, it's hard to tell how effective it will be. However, Panasonic claims that it will offer double the blur-reduction of its predecessor, and that it will reduce the effects of camera shake in instances such as when the shutter button is pressed. On the back panel, a 2.7 inch LCD is paired with an electronic viewfinder.
Exposure modes remain consistent with the previous model, including Panasonic's iA Intelligent Auto mode. Advanced users will still be able to use manual exposure modes, and the FZ35 will also offer advanced control over image quality with manual color and saturation adjustments.
Camcorder meets ultrazoom
Like the FZ28, the Lumix FZ35 will record 720p HD video. This model, however, includes AVCHD Lite encoding, a technology that combines advanced compression of HD video with Dolby Digital audio recording. The FZ35 also sports a dedicated video record button on the back panel. Other updates to the video capabilities in the FZ35 include use of aperture and shutter control while recording movies.
Stylistically speaking, the Lumix FZ35 is so similar to its predecessor that at a press event hosted by Panasonic two weeks ago, their prototype FZ35 was housed in an FZ28 body. As we guessed, photos released today show the final evolution of the FZ35 to be close to its predecessor, but it also looks very similar to the Lumix GH1.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1
Both the FZ35 and the GH1 are equipped with advanced HD video recording capabilities and the dual-core Venus Engine V. With the introduction of the Lumix FZ35, Panasonic seems to be taking another step toward developing a strong lineup of hybrid camcorder/still camera systems.
Pricing and availability
The Lumix FZ35 will become available in September 2009 with a retail price sticker of $399.99.