updated 06:00 pm EST, Tue January 10, 2012
Panasonic intros five new Lumix point-and-shoots
Panasonic brought five new Lumix point-and-shoot cameras to CES and we got some initial impressions. They include the mid-range FH6 and FH8 and the entry-level S2. All cameras felt really light, with their construction largely plastic.
The botton-of-the-rung S2 will be one of the least expensive to get 720p HD video capture capability, we're told. It has a 14.1-megapixel sensor, 4x optical zoom, 8x digital zoom and a 28mm wide-angle lens.
The mid-range Lumix FH6 and FH8 cams differ only slightly, with the former sharing the S2's sensor and LCD. The FH8 ups the sensor to 16.1 megapixels and the screen size to 3 inches. It adds a miniature effect depth-of-field feature and allows for USB charging, thanks to a cable to connects over micro USB to the wall socket or the camera itself.
Both get a Leica DC lens that has a 5x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. Either shoots 720p video. A retouch feature lets users make some edits to the images they take from the camera.
The SZ1 and SZ7 up the features even more, sporting 25mm lenses with 10x optical zooms, 20x digital zooms and thin 18.6mm bodies (21mm with the lens bump). The SZ1 gets 720p HD recording while the SZ7 can shoot 1080p video. Also, the SZ7 trades up to a high-sensitivity CMOS sensor, though it's lower resolution, at 14.1 versus The SZ1's 16.1-megapixel APS-C sensor. The autofocus of the SZ7 is also quicker, at 0.1-seconds, and it alone introduces the ability to capture High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos for the first time in the Lumix range. The USB charging feature is supported as well. It's the only one of the new cams to get a 3D photo mode too.
Panasonic's Mega optical image stabilizer is built into all the new cameras and all get a panoramic shooting feature.
The S2 will ship in black, pink and violet, the FH6 in black, silver or blue, and the FH8 in black, silver, red and violet. The SZ1 will get black, silver, blue and red colors while the SZ7 can only be had in black.
Ship dates aren't yet revealed, but they should arrive in a month or two.