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Panasonic Unveils 1st Lumix 10-Megapixel Digicam

Secaucus, N.J. — Panasonic unveiled five new Lumix digital cameras today, including its first 10-megapixel models and a new technology for combating image blur.

The company also released an HD photo viewer for viewing still images on HD televisions.

All of the company’s new cameras feature Mega Optical Image Stabilization technology and will ship in September.

The 10.2-megapixel DMC-LX2 replaces LX1 and continues to offer the 16:9 wide-aspect ratio CCD for widescreen still image capture alongside a 2.8-inch 16:9 wide-angle LCD screen and a 28mm wide-angle 4x optical zoom lens.

The LX2 ($499) will offer Intelligent ISO control (IIC), a new feature designed to compensate for blurriness caused by subject movement. According to Panasonic, IIC allows high-sensitivity recording at full resolution (1250 ISO maximum). The camera can detect a subject’s movement and adjusts the ISO setting and shutter speed automatically.

The LX2 will ship in September and offers 13 MB of built-in memory and an extended battery life of 300 shots per charge. It will also feature a print mode on the mode dial and will include software for editing RAW image files.

Another 10-megapixel model, the DMC- FZ50, will replace the FZ30 in September for a suggested $649. It will also feature IIC, a 12x optical zoom (35mm to 420 mm, 35mm equivalent) Leica lens and ISO sensitivity to 1600 at full resolution.

The FZ50 will build off of the FZ30 by adding a new “function button” to store frequently-used settings, alongside a new custom setting mode and the ability to work with TTL external flashes. The FZ50 features a 2-inch LCD which extends from the camera at a 180 degree angle. The camera’s battery life supports up to 360 images on a single charge.

The company also added two 7-megapixel models, the DMC-FX50 and DMC-FX07, and a 6-megapixel camera, the DMC-FX3.

The FX50 and FX07 offer a 28mm wide-angle 3.6x optical zoom Leica lens and IIC.

The FX50 ($399) features a 3-inch LCD with dual image playback, which lets users compare two images side by side. It will be available in silver or black.

The FX07 ($349) sports a 2.5-inch LCD and a wider array of colors including silver, black, blue or red.

The FX3 ($279), available in silver or black, features a 3x optical zoom and 2.5-inch LCD.

Finally, in an effort to court HDTV owners, Panasonic announced the HDTV Photo Player DMW-SDP1, an SD card reader that connects to HDTVs via component cable to display images at 1,080i.

The $129 device accepts both SD cards and the new SD High-Capacity format. The reader features Panasonic’s Venus Engine III image processing LSI (the same engine used in its still cameras), to enable a faster start-up time and image scrolling at one second intervals.

The unit offers three transition effects for onscreen slideshows, a rapid image search which displays up to 25 thumbnail images on the screen at once or a calendar view. Images taken vertically are automatically rotated. The SDP1 can connect to standard-definition TVs to view JPEG images and supports the playback of motion JPEG video formats. It includes a remote and can connect to PictBridge-enabled printers via USB.