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Panasonic Debuts ‘09 Lumix Slate

1/27/2009 04:04:00 PM Eastern

MIAMI – Panasonic will ship several new digital cameras to dealers in April, including its first to record HD video in the AVCHD format and a new touchscreen model.

Panasonic will update its suite of intelligent auto features with the addition in select models of facial recognition. Using the function, the camera will alert a user when a face is recorded several times, prompting them to register the face and input the name of the subject in the camera. Once a registered face appears in any future scene, the camera will give it focusing priority. The camera can also sort photos by face in playback mode.

The new mode is powered by the fifth-generation Venus Engine processor, which features a pair of CPUs to boost processing power and battery efficiency, the company said.

The 12-megapixel DMC-TS1 can record high-definition video in the AVCHD Lite format for 720p HD recording. It also offers a waterproof and shockproof housing capable of being submerged in up to 10 feet of water or enduring a fall of five feet. .

The camera incorporates a 4.6x optical zoom lens (28mm), a 2.7-inch LCD, and a new intelligent auto mode for movies. When active, movie mode will activate optical image stabilization, face detection, and intelligent exposure.

A new wind cut function reduces background noise generated by wind and the TS1 can zoom while recording. It also includes the new face-recognition function, an HDMI output and ISO 6,400. The T1 will be sold in silver, green and orange for $399.

The 12-megapixel FS25 sports a 5x optical zoom lens (29mm), a 3-inch LCD and an intelligent auto mode that now includes AF tracking and intelligent exposure — which improves exposure in shadows or brightly lit, or backlit areas of an image. Panasonic will add a dedicated intelligent auto button to the camera.

Additional features include the fourth generation of the company’s Venus Engine processor, ISO 6,400, the ability to add borders to images in camera and a my-scene setting that lets users save frequently used scene modes. A macro zoom feature employs a wide angle 3x digital zoom to capture close ups. It can record 848 by 480 resolution wide screen movies at 30fps, or VGA resolution 4:3 video at 30fps.

Included Photofun Studio 3.0 software can access face detection information to let consumers sort images by face as well as load videos to YouTube.

The FS25 ships in silver, black and gold for $249.

The 12-megapixel FX580 offers a 3-inch touch-screen LCD, and a 5x optical zoom lens (25mm/f2.8). Using the touch screen, consumers can set the auto focus and auto exposure by touching the subject on the screen. Additional adjustments, such as aperture and shutter priority, white balance and color temperature can also be made via the touch-screen.

The camera also offers 1,280 by 720p video recording at 30fps and a new panorama assist mode. It will be sold in silver and black for $399.

Panasonic will rechristen its ultra-zoom series ZS (replacing TZ). Two new models will be launched in the family: the ZS3 and ZS1.

The 10-megapixel  ZS3 features a 12x optical zoom lens (25mm), AVCHD Lite recording, face recognition, intelligent auto mode for stills and videos, the Venus Engine HD, HDMI output and a 3-inch LCD.  Additional features include 26 scene modes, and two new customized my scene modes. It will be sold in silver, black, blue and red for $399.

The ZS1 also boasts a 12x optical zoom lens (25mm). It will offer a 10-megapixel sensor, a 2.7-inch LCD, and a standard intelligent auto mode without facial recognition. It will retail for $299 in black and silver.

Finally, the 12-megapixel FX48 will feature a 5x optical zoom (25mm), face recognition, 720p video capture at 30fps, panorama assist and a 2.5-inch LCD. The camera offers a 10fps burst mode for 3-megapixel stills. It will be sold in silver and black for $349.

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