Panasonic recently announced the latest additions to its popular Lumix line of cameras and lenses: the Lumix G5 interchangeable lens mirrorless system camera; the Lumix FZ200 super-zoom compact camera; and the Lumix G Vario 45-150 mm interchangeable telephoto zoom lens. “These products represent the next generation in their respective categories, allowing shooters at every level of expertise to benefit from Panasonic’s latest improvements in technology,” says Stefan Guelpen, Vice President of Sales & Merchandising, Imaging and Communications.
As the successor to the G3, the G5 offers a 16.05-megapixel Live MOS sensor, a Micro Four Thirds lens mount and a redesigned Venus engine. Guelpen observes, “The new Venus engine provides advanced signal processing capabilities and improved noise reduction, producing clear, crisp images for both photos and video.” Panasonic’s 3DNR technology detects smooth areas and adjusts the strength of noise reduction, while Multiprocess NR detects brightness throughout the image and applies the appropriate noise reduction in multiple steps.
Another improvement involves burst speed. “The G5 has superior speed in burst mode,” says Guelpen. “Lag time for image output has been reduced by 18 percent, making it easier to shoot fast-moving subjects.”
The G5 also boasts HDR (High Dynamic Range) capability, a highly accurate Contrast AF system and Light Speed AF to lock onto fast-moving subjects. A new function lever located near the shutter release allows direct control of zoom, exposure or aperture. In addition, the LVF (Live View Finder) has an integrated eye sensor, and you can easily switch between the LVF and the LCD screen.
The filter options in Creative Control Mode have been upgraded from six to 14: the new additions include Soft Focus, Dynamic Monochrome, Impressive Art, One Point Color, Cross Process, Low Key, Toy Effect and Star Filter. In iA (Intelligent Auto) or iA Plus modes, the camera intuitively recommends filters depending on the scene it detects. A new Scene Guide has 23 sample pictures available for review in-camera; shooters can choose the photo that most closely resembles the scene in front of them, and the camera will apply those settings automatically.
As far as video capabilities, the G5 can record high-resolution, full HD video in AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) or MP4 format, with a maximum recording time of 29 minutes 59 seconds.
The compact, lightweight body with built-in flash makes it easy to take the G5 wherever you go. Guelpen sums up, “The G5 gives you ultra-high mobility along with powerful camera performance. It represents a step up for users looking for greater control and creative flexibility.” The G5 comes with a lithium ion battery, charger and USB cable; camera-only price is $699, while the kit price for the camera plus a 14-42 zoom lens is $749.
This compact super-zoom digital camera replaces the Lumix FZ150 and offers the benefits of a high-quality, constant aperture zoom. “The FZ200 will appeal especially to travelers seeking an all-inone zoom camera with similar features to a full-fledged DSLR,” says Guelpen. As of the FZ200’s release date (July 18, 2012), it was the first digital compact camera to offer full-range F2.8 aperture at 600mm — allowing precise capture of moving subjects even from a distance.
The lens is a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit 25mm ultra-wide angle with a 24x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 25-600mm). The Intelligent Zoom function effectively doubles the power of the optical zoom, using Intelligent Resolution technology to maintain picture quality. Active Mode suppresses handshake vibration, and the Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) helps minimize blur. Light reflection is minimized throughout the zoom range by Nano Surface Coating technology, which dramatically reduces ghost and flare.
Like the G5, the FZ200 features 14 filter options in Creative Control mode. In addition, the Photo Style menu contains more creative options: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait and Custom. iA Plus functions range from AF Tracking and Face Recognition to Intelligent D-range Control, Scene Selector, ISO Control, Handheld Night Shot, HDR and Motion Deblur. There is also a Panorama Shot mode and a 3D Photo mode which allows playback of still images on a 3D device.
Data recording options for still pictures include RAW and RAW+JPEG, and there is a manual control mode for more advanced users. Full-HD video capability offers both AVCHD Progressive (MPEG-4) and MP4 formats, like the G5, along with a stereo zoom mic and an effective Auto Wind Cut function (borrowed from Panasonic’s camcorder technology).
The FZ200 comes with a lithium ion battery, charger and USB cable; cameraonly price is $599.
Lumix G Vario 45-150mm Telephoto Zoom Lens
This new interchangeable telephoto zoom complies with the Micro Four Thirds System standard and is designed for use with Lumix G series cameras. “The major advantages of this lens are its ultra-compact size (2.9 inches long) and light weight (7.1 ounces) when compared to similar lenses made for DSLRs,” says Guelpen.
The Lumix G Vario 45-150mm incorporates Panasonic’s MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer), which suppresses blur caused by hand movements. The lens is comprised of 12 elements in nine groups to achieve uniform sharpness throughout the image. Seven aperture blades smooth out-of-focus areas, and a multi-coated lens element reduces ghost and flare. Maximum aperture is F4.0 (wide) and F5.6 (telephoto), minimum aperture is F22 and the closest focusing distance is three feet. The price of the Lumix G Vario 45-150 mm is $299.
Based in Secaucus, New Jersey, Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America offers a wide range of products in the U.S. and Canada — among them, HD 3D TVs, Blu-ray players, LUMIX digital cameras and camcorders. Panasonic is pledged to practice sustainable use of natural resources and was the only consumer electronics company listed in the Top 10 by Interbrand Best Global Green Brands in 2011. For more information about Lumix cameras and lenses, visit www.panasonic.com/lumix.