As if you need to ask what the Z stands for. Panasonic has been pushing the optical-zoom envelope for years, and now, with the Lumix DMC-FZ18, pretty much turns you into some kind of stalker. The 8-megapixel camera with 18X optical zoom lens will be out in September in silver or black for $399. Like the more diminutive DMC-FX33 and FX55 we just told you about, this has the Intelligent Auto Mode that I am a fan of. When I played around with the FZ18, I let the continuous focus do all the work, snapping shots with perfect clarity, all the way across a large crowded room. Like I said, a bit stalky, but so very useful.
PANASONIC UNVEILS VERSATILE LUMIX DIGITAL CAMERA WITH 18X OPTICAL ZOOM AND 28MM WIDE-ANGLE LEICA DC LENS
LUMIX DMC-FZ18, a High-Zoom Camera, Introduces New Intelligent Auto Mode, Featuring Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector and Continuous Auto-focus
SECAUCUS, N.J. (July 24, 2007) - Panasonic today expanded its LUMIX family of digital still cameras with the introduction of the LUMIX DMC-FZ18, an 8.1 Megapixel compact camera with an impressive 18x optical zoom. In addition to a premium 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens, the DMC-FX18 joins the LUMIX DMC-FX33 and DMC-FX55 as the first Panasonic digital cameras to offer the revolutionary Intelligent Auto Mode, which include Face Detection, Intelligent Scene Selector and Continuous Auto-focus functions, allowing users to easily capture clear, professional-quality images in any situation or setting.
When this powerful camera, with an optical zoom up to 18x, is put into Intelligent Auto Mode, the multi-faceted functions engage automatically, so there is no need to adjust settings every time conditions change. The DMC-FZ18's intuitive Intelligent Auto Mode is comprised of:
• Intelligent Scene Selector, which automatically selects the appropriate scene mode from the most frequently-used modes such as Portrait, Scenery, Macro, Night Scenery and Night Portrait;
• Face Detection System, which helps the camera to focus, set auto exposure and detects up to 15 human faces capturing them clearly and brightly; and
• Continuous Auto-focus, which allows the camera to keep focus on the subject without having to press the shutter button halfway and allowing for the best results out of a shutter chance by minimizing the auto-focus time.
"The Intelligent Auto Mode in the DMC-FZ18 does all the work for you, making photo-taking trouble-free," noted Alex Fried, National Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "When taking into account the camera's 18x optical zoom, which is among the industry's longest zooms, and then adding 8.1 Megapixels, a 28mm wide-angle lens, MEGA Optical Image Stabilization, and Intelligent Auto Mode, the DMC-FZ18 delivers professional-level photo quality, in a powerful camera packed with advanced features that is still easy to use."
Similar to the entire 2007 line of LUMIX digital still cameras, the camera sports advanced countermeasures against blurring - the Intelligent Image Stabilization system, which combines MEGA Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) to compensate for hand-shake and Intelligent ISO Control to detect and adjust for motion blur caused by subject movement.
The LUMIX DMC-FZ18 also is equipped with a 2.5-inch large, high resolution LCD with 207,000 pixels, a 0.44-inch Electric Viewfinder with 188,000 pixels, f/2.8 brightness and is powered by the high-quality, high-performance, Venus Engine III, which boasts shooting at ISO 1600 in normal recording mode.
The DMC-FZ18 has been redesigned to make the camera more stylish and easier to use. The auto focus, auto exposure lock, and Macro buttons are now independent, to allow quick and direct operation, a metal-finished mode dial adds design strength and an enhanced rubber grip makes the camera easier to hold. The redesigned body also incorporates the joystick made popular by the DMC-FZ8 model, which enables a host of settings, such as manual focusing and exposure, to be done quickly and easily.
Other advanced features of the LUMIX DMC-FZ18 include:
• Custom Setting Mode that memorizes your frequent setting patterns for instance use applied by simply selecting this function on the mode dial.
• 1920 x 1080 pixel photos ideal for full-screen viewing on a wide-screen HDTV.
• Six auto-focusing methods including: face detection, multi, three-point high-speed, one-point high-speed, one-point normal-speed, and spot. With the one-point auto-focus or spot auto-focus method, the auto-focusing area can be chosen from as many as 11 points with the joystick or cursor button.
• Advanced Scene Modes provide users more control over some frequently-used scene modes such as, indoor and outdoor modes when selecting portrait or sports mode and nature or architecture settings when selecting portrait mode.
• Bundled SILKYPIX Developer Studio 2.0SE software application for editing and developing images in the RAW file format.
• 27 MB of built-in memory: Perfect for backing up SDHC/SD Memory Card recording. *
• Extra Optical Zoom feature extends zoom power to 28.7x at 3 Megapixels.
• Compatibility with large-capacity SDHC memory cards.
• Title Edit Function allows inputting of text and additional picture information.
• Picture Playback by category: Sorts images into categories such as portraits, landscapes, nightscapes, events and motion pictures. Also, allows slideshow playback of images in the same category.
• Optional accessories including a tele-conversion lens, close-up lens, ND filter, MC protector, lens adaptor, AC adaptor, battery pack, soft case and camera Bag.
• Available in two colors: silver and black.
• The LUMIX DMC-FZ18 will be available in September 2007 for an MSRP of $399.95.