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Panasonic Broadens Lumix Camera Lineup

Panasonic dramatically broadened its digital camera lineup at its first Lumix Global Seminar, here, with the debut of a variety of sizes and feature packages that offer up to 7.2 megapixels and its Intelligent image-stabilization system.

Panasonic executives touted its market share gains and its breadth of digital camera features in formal presentations for the international press corps that was in attendance. The company claims that its Lumix line will have a 10 percent market share worldwide by the end of March with a target of 15 percent by 2009.

Mamoru Yoshida, director of the DSC business unit of Panasonic AVC Network Company, predicted “strong growth in the U.S. and Japan in digital cameras during the next two years.” He noted that Panasonic’s strength in developing more fully featured and unique digital cameras is because “Panasonic produces all of the key devices in the market.”

In providing an overview of the additions to the Lumix line, Panasonic tabbed the Lumix DMC-FX30 as the “world’s slimmest digital camera with 28mm wide-angle Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens.” The camera measures 3.74 inches by 2.04 inches by 0.87 inches. The unit, a successor to the DMC-FX07, is 10 percent smaller than its predecessor and features a 3.6x optical zoom, f/2.8 brightness and 2.5-inch LCD screen. The camera’s lens unit consists of seven elements in six groups, including five lenses with six aspherical surfaces, the company said. The suggested retail is $349 with shipments set for this month.

The Lumix DMC-TZ3 is called a “travel-friendly compact” at 4.2 inches by 2.37 inches by 1.47 inches and has the same type of 28mm lens as the DMC-FX30. The model’s 10x optical zoom enables users to take close-up shots even when users can’t move closer to the subject. The camera can reproduce images shot with the lens set in any of three aspect ratios — 4:3, 3:2 or 16:9 — and uses the Panasonic Venus Engine III image processing engine. Its suggested retail is $349 and will ship in March.

The Lumix DMC-FZ8’s key feature is a 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 36-432 on a 35mm film camera) coupled with Panasonic’s Extra Optical Zoom function that provides additional magnification, up to 18x, when taking photos with 3-megapixel resolution, the company said. The DMC-FZ8 also features a 2.5-inch LCD for viewing and monitoring during image playback and has been designed to include a multipurpose joystick for improved usability and simplified exposure compensation, the firm said. The camera has about 27MB of built-in memory and will ship this month with a $349 suggested retail.

In the FX series of compact digital cameras, Panasonic has added the Lumix DMC-FX10 and DMC-FX12. The new models offer a redesigned grip, built-in memory and a Leica DC lens with 3x optical zoom. The DMC-FX12 and DMC-FX10 feature a 7.2-megapixel and 6.0-megapixel CCD respectively, and both include a 2.5-inch LCD. Both cameras will ship this month with the FX12 retailing for $229 and the FX10 at $199.

The DMC-LZ7 and DMC-LZ6 models feature AA battery operation. The LZ7 has a 2.5-inch LCD screen and the LZ6 has a 2-inch LCD screen, the company said. Powered by two of Panasonic’s extended-life Oxyride dry-cell batteries, the LZ7 can take about 250 shots, and the LZ6 260 shots, on one battery charge, the firm noted. Both cameras ship this month with the LZ7 priced at $199 and the LZ6 priced at $179.

And the entry-level Lumix DMC-LS70 camera is also powered by two AA batteries and features a 2-inch LCD screen. The unit can take and store about 60 percent more shots with Panasonic’s Oxyride AA batteries than conventional batteries, the company claimed. Shipping this month, the suggested retail is $149.

The entire line’s recording media is built-in, SD memory card, SDHC memory card and MultiMedia card, Panasonic said.