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Panasonic Intros First 16:9 Digicam

New York — Panasonic introduced the first digital camera to incorporate a wide aspect CCD image sensor to deliver 16:9 images and video, today.

The announcement was one of four new cameras from the company, all of which will ship in September. They will offer Panasonic’s Mega Optical Image Stabilization technology and SD memory.

The 8.4 megapixel Lumix DMC-LX1 incorporates a 16:9 CCD which lets the camera capture wide aspect still and video images, in addition to the traditional aspect ratios of 4:3 and 3:2. The camera features a 4x optical zoom with a new, extended optical zoom feature. Using extended zoom, users can achieve greater magnification — up to 5x — by recording 5.5-megapixels.

The LX1 can also capture high-resolution movies at 848 by 480 resolution at 30 frames per second (fps) in 16:9. The camera sports a 2.5-inch LCD, a shutter lag of 0.01 seconds, and manual focus and exposure controls. It will retail for a suggested $699.95.

The company also bolstered its ultra-zoom commitment with the 8-megapixel, 12x optical zoom DMC-FZ30. The camera features 14 scene modes, automatic and manual controls including a manual focus ring, a free moving LCD that offers 180 percent more resolution than its predecessor, and a start-up time of less than one second.

The FZ30’s extended optical zoom feature lets users capture 5-megapixels while zooming up to 15.3x and up to 19.1x when shooting at 3-megapixels. The FZ30 also features a new lithium-ion battery for capturing up to 280 images on a single charge. It will have a suggested retail price of $699.95.

Finally, Panasonic introduced two FX-series cameras: the 5-megapixel FX8 and the 6-megapixel FX9. Both offer 3x optical zoom Leica lenses, a 2.5-inch LCD display, scene modes, and VGA movie recording at 30 fps with audio/video playback in-camera. .

The FX8, for a suggested $ 349.95, can capture up to 300 images on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery. The FX9, for a suggested $399.95, can capture up to 270 images with each charge.