Panasonic has unveiled its new ultra-zoom prosumer digital camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ7.
Building on the success of its well received predecessor, the Lumix FZ5, the DMC-FZ7 beefs up the sensor by a megapixel (6 megapixels), bolts on a bigger 2.5-inch screen and adds an intriguing ISO 1600 mode.
Sporting a sleeker, more sculpted form factor, the camera once again offers a large, fast lens in the shape of a Leica-designed 12x (36-432mm equiv. F2.8-3-3) optic with two stage optical image stabilisation.
A new High Sensitivity Mode allows users to shoot with a maximum ISO 1600 setting.
Inherited from Panasonic’s high end Lumix LX1 compact is a new ‘joystick’ control affording fast, easy access to settings such as ISO, image size & quality and white balance.
We really liked using this when we were testing the LX1 and hope to see other manufacturers employing similar devices.
Other welcome additions to the camera include an extended battery life, a manual focus option and a ‘wide’ (848 x 480) movie recording mode.
Like the LX1, the camera also offers a vast array of exposure options, including Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and fully manual, backed up by an exhaustive set of ‘scene’ options covering the useful (‘sports’) to the bizarre (‘soft skin’).
The camera looks well nippy in operation too, with Panasonic claiming an industry-leading release time lag of 0.008 seconds minimum and shutter interval of approx. 0.5 seconds minimum.
Sequential shots can be grabbed at a rate of up to 3 frames per second at full resolution, with focus selectable from 9-point, 3-point high speed, 1-point normal speed, Spot and 1-point high-speed autofocus.
The DMC-FZ7 is scheduled for a March delivery, retailing at a competitive $400.
Sensor: 1/2.5 ” Type CCD, 6.0 million effective pixels
Movie clips: 640 x 480 30/10fps, 320 x 240 30/10fps, 848 x 480 (16:9) 30/10fps
File formats: JPEG, MOV, TIFF
Lens: Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 12x zoom, 36 – 432mm equiv., F2.8 – 3.3
Image stabilisation: MEGA OIS Mode1 / 2
Focus: AF / MF switchable, Manual focus (joystick), Normal / Macro (Dial)
Metering: Intelligent multiple, Center weighted, Spot
ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 80, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400
High sensitivity mode: ISO 800 / 1600 (max resolution tbc)
Shuttter speed: 8 – 1/2000 sec, 60 – 1/2000 sec (Manual), 15 / 30 / 60 sec (Starry sky mode)
Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder, 0.33″ color (114,000 pixels)
LCD monitor: 2.5″ Polycrystalline TFT, 114,000 pixels
Weight (no batt): 310 g (x oz)
Dimensions: 112.5 x 72.2 x 79 mm (4.43 x 2.84 x 3.11 in)