Today, Panasonic is launching the Lumix FX33 and FX55, two 8 megapixel cameras with 28mm wide-angle 3.6X optical zoom Leica lenses. The DMC-FX55, with a 3" LCD, will sell for $349 in silver, black and pink; the DMC-FX33, with 2.5" LCD, will go for $299 and come in silver, black, blue and brown. I know, you're sick of hearing about shiny, pocketsized cameras. I just have to say, I played around with these two, and they have something called "Intelligent Auto Mode" (no, don't think about Knight Rider) that might make them stand out.
You start with optical image stabilization and intelligent ISO control. Throw in a face-detection system that can spot up to 15 faces, an intelligent scene selector that picks between the portrait, scenery, macro, night scenery and night portrait, and continuous auto focus, which means no more pushing halfway down then waiting before a shot. The end result is some major assistance for the casual shooter. I know I'm a nerd who digs this stuff, but I saw it in action, and plan to do some real world tests when these babies ship in September.
PANASONIC INTRODUCES TWO NEW COMPACT LUMIX DIGITAL CAMERAS WITH BRAND-NEW INTELLIGENT AUTO MODES
Stylish DMC-FX55 and DMC-FX33 Boast User-Friendly Features, Such as Face Detection and Intelligent Scene Selector
SECAUCUS, N.J. (July 24, 2007) - Panasonic today introduced the newest additions to its FX-series of compact digital cameras, the LUMIX DMC-FX55 and DMC-FX33. Like the entire 2007 LUMIX line, the two new models incorporate Panasonic's revolutionary Intelligent Image Stabilization technologies, and are the first Panasonic cameras, along with the newly introduced DMC-FZ18, to offer Intelligent Auto Mode, a system which combines Mega Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S) and Intelligent ISO Control with three new features: Face Detection System, Intelligent Scene Selector and Continuous Auto Focus. Both models combine 8.1-megapixels with a 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens with 3.6x optical zoom.
The new Intelligent Auto Mode available on both the DMC-FX55 and DMC-FX33, include:
• 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 maintain focus on the subject without having to press the shutter button halfway and allowing for best results of a photo opportunity by minimizing the auto-focus time.
"With our Intelligent Auto Modes, the DMC-FX55 and DMC-FX33 are the perfect combination of performance and style, giving consumers a user-friendly digital camera in a sleek and compact body that makes it easy to carry," said Alex Fried, National Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "Also featuring a 28-mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens and MEGA OIS, these cameras allow the on-the-go consumer to capture high-quality images with incredible features and convenience."
Intelligent Image Stabilization, a feature across the entire 2007 LUMIX digital camera line, comprises two features - MEGA O.I.S. which helps compensate for the effects of hand-shake; and Intelligent ISO Control, which takes into account the photo subject is moving and adjusts the ISO setting. Combining these two anti-blur features helps allow the DMC-FX33 and DMC-FX55 to photograph clear, crisp images.
In addition, the DMC-FX55 and DMC-FX33 feature the Venus Engine III, which supports a new High Sensitivity mode that allows images to be shot at a setting of up to ISO 6400. This is sensitive enough to capture subjects in low-light conditions without the need for a flash. Also, the high-speed Burst Shooting mode enables up to seven shots to be taken per second.
Other advanced features include:
• The DMC-FX55 has a 3-inch LCD screen and the DMC-FX33 comes with a 2.5-inch LCD screen.
• 27 MB of built-in memory, perfect for backing up SDHC/SD Memory Card recording.*
• The new Title Edit function allows the inputting of text to provide additional context to images. Additional functions for adding information to photos include the Text Stamp function and the Travel Date function.
• Category Playback sorts images into categories, such as portraits, events, baby, etc. to allow for easy playback and creation of slideshows.
• Clipboard function allows the user to hold and retrieve certain images that may be useful on a trip, such as a photo of a map or train schedule.
• The DMC-FX33 is compatible with a marine case for underwater shooting.
• The DMC-FX55 will be available in silver, black and pink, while the DMC-FX33 will come in silver, black, blue and brown.
• Both cameras will be available in September 2007. The DMC-FX55 for an MSRP of $349.95 and the DMC-FX33 for an MSRP of $299.95.
* 1 MB = 1 million bytes. Usable capacity will be less.