updated 02:20 pm EDT, Tue March 18, 2008
Panasonic Lumix FX500
Panasonic is expanding the top end of its Lumix point-and-shoot camera line with the FX500. The compact focuses on optics rather than just its 10-megapixel sensor; the 25-125mm lens is capable both of wide-angle shots and zooming to 5X, allowing the camera to catch both unusually large subjects as well as long-distance shots. Panasonic also claims a unique interface that combines both a touchscreen and a directional pad for users who want either the relative ease of the former with the option of falling back to physical controls.
The introduction also brings some of Panasonic's more advanced processing with full-speed 720p HD video recording, autofocus that tracks moving subjects, and a fully automatic mode that not only sets exposure time and ISO sensitivity but also the ideal scene mode, which includes better color temperatures and white balance. Optical image stabilization is built into the FX500, which will be ready by May and will sell for $500.