Three new Panasonic Lumix cameras unveiled

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., widely known by its Panasonic brand name, plans in late August to put on sale three new Panasonic Lumix digital still cameras. The lineup includes a model capable of shooting in a 16:9 aspect ratio, and another model that has a 19X optical zoom, the company said at a news conference held in Tokyo on Thursday.

The 6-megapixel DMC-FX9 is the smallest camera of the range at 94.1 millimeters by 50.5 mm by 24.2 mm and features a 3X optical zoom and a 2.5-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor. It has five focusing modes, with the high-speed mode enabling the camera to focus in 0.27 seconds, according to the company.

The FX9 can also shoot up to 270 pictures per battery charge, the company said.

The DMC-LX1 has an 8.4-megapixel CCD (charge-coupled device) sensor that is able to capture 16:9 aspect ratio images and comes with a 4X optical zoom and a 28-mm wide-angle lens that helps add depth and scope to pictures, according to the company.

The 16:9 aspect ratio images, stored on an SD (Secure Digital) memory card, can be viewed on a wide-screen TV without image distortion. The company is considering offering the 16:9 aspect ratio capability to future camera models if this feature proves popular, it said.

The LX1 comes with a joystick used to set the shutter speed, control manual focus and to shortcut to a menu containing frequently used settings. The camera has the same 2.5-inch monitor as the FX9, according to Matsushita.

The 8-megapixel DMC-FZ30 is aimed at advanced users and has an optical zoom that is capable of 19X magnification. The camera has manual focus and zoom rings similar to traditional film cameras and a 235,000-pixel, 2.0-inch LCD monitor, Panasonic said.

The three models use the company’s anti-blur technology. The cameras will go on sale in Japan on Aug. 26, and will be available internationally at around the same time, the company said.

The FX9 is expected to cost about ¥50,000 (US$444), the LX1 about ¥63,000 and the FZ30 around ¥75,000 in Japan. Pricing for other countries was not available.

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