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Panasonic Intros 18x Optical Zoom Lumix

Secaucus, N.J. — Panasonic will ship its first camera with an 18x optical zoom and several new in-camera technologies to dealers in September.

All of Panasonic’s new Lumix cameras will feature three new technologies including face detection, which can identify up to 15 human faces in a frame and adjust exposure and focus accordingly. An intelligent scene selector analyzes the environment and chooses the best scene mode for the shot and a continuous autofocus mode maintains focus while a subject moves.

The three new modes, along with Mega O.I.S. and intelligent ISO, can all be activated simultaneously under the new “intelligent auto mode.”

The 8-megapixel DMC-FZ18 boasts an 18x optical zoom lens (28mm to 504mm, 35mm equivalent). It is the second camera on the market, after the Olympus SP-550 UZ, to offer an 18x lens.

The camera also features a 2.5-inch LCD, electronic viewfinder, RAW shooting, 27MB of internal memory and 1600 ISO.

A custom setting mode memorizes frequently used settings for quicker access during shooting. The FZ18 will feature six auto focus modes: face detection, multi, three-point high-speed, one-point high-speed, one-point normal-speed and spot focusing.

In playback, the camera can sort images into portraits, landscapes, night shots and movies.

The FZ18 will ship in silver and black for a suggested $399.

The DMC-FX-55 and FX33 are compact point-and-shoots with 8-megapixel sensors and 28mm wide-angle 3.6x optical zoom lenses.

Both cameras offer a maximum ISO of 6400, 27MB of internal memory and burst shooting for up to seven 2-megapixel shots to be taken per second.

The DMC-FX55 will offer a 3-inch LCD and be available in silver, black and pink for a suggested $349. The FX33 offers a 2.5-inch LCD and will come in silver, black, blue and brown for a suggested $299.